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Is That Concrete? Decorative Finishes That Wow!

By Steve Urzua on Oct 25, 2010 in Decorative Concrete

Concrete has undergone a reinvention. Thanks to decorative concrete coatings and techniques, a variety of colors, patterns and designs can be made from it. It is out to replace the traditional and yet expensive flooring materials.

Below are some reasons why decorative concrete is a great alternative flooring material:

1. It looks as beautiful as pricier materials

Hardwood, for instance, is beautiful, but it tops the list of the most expensive flooring materials. It is prone to water damage and requires regular maintenance. The next costly materials are natural stones like slate, marble, granite or limestone. Natural stones are difficult to source, hence cost more.

Whereas, with the creative use of decorative concrete coatings and techniques, this cementitious slab can be used as decorative floorings for any areas in the facility. It is a more cost-effective option for driveways, patios, walkways and indoor rooms. It can be fashioned to mimic the appearance of more expensive materials using the innovative use of colors in decorative concrete coatings.

2. It comes in many colors

Floor finishes provide aesthetic appeal to facility floors, thanks to the use of decorative concrete coatings that come in many shades. With the use of colorants, floors can even look like true marble, stone or wood flooring materials, at the price of concrete.

Below are some of the techniques used to achieve the colored effects:

  1. Chemical stains. The surface is etched with color when lime reacts with chemicals. The surface is mottled with translucent textures that make interesting patterns in the surface.
  2. Colored concrete. Pre-measured or bagged colorants are added to the mix to create slabs of uniform color.
  3. Sealers. Colored decorative concrete coatings seal the surface for waterproofing. The coatings are clear-colored to add gloss and highlight the surface color or pattern.
  4. Release agent colors. Stamp surfaces are applied with release agents to lessen the rough profile and reduce friction. The release agents come with color pigments to create an antique look in the surface.
  5. Colored hardeners. Colored aggregates are broadcasted onto the freshly-poured cement mix to create vivid hues on the topmost surface layer.

3. Floors can be designed with textures and patterns

Cement flooring is versatile enough to be transformed into patterned finishes. The textures and designs are limited only by the imagination, using the following methods:

  1. Stamping. Patterns are imprinted into freshly-poured surface using hard objects like stones, tiles, wood, or brick.
  2. Scoring. Old cement surfaces can be scored by making shallow cuts using masonry-bladed abrasive saws. Geometric patterns or simple grout lines are created using a combination of decorative concrete coatings, colorants and sealers.
  3. Aggregate finish. Stone or gravel aggregates are spread at the top of fresh cement for a natural-looking surface effect. Clear sealers bond the aggregates tightly to the surface.

Concrete finishes offer the double benefit of beauty and durability in one package. The floorings last longer than other materials. They are also very easy to clean and maintain.

The cost of installing decorative concrete coatings vary with the method and materials used. Off-the-shelf packaged decorative concrete coatings and materials cost little for small projects. To achieve artistic patterns and specialized designs, the cost is higher. Generally, however, concrete finishing projects are cheaper than jobs involving other flooring materials.

By Steve A. Parker
Platinum Quality Author
ezinearticles.com

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