The Different Types of Decorative Concrete Finishes

Concrete is popular for floors due to its durability, strength, and versatility. It’s commonly used in garages, basements, patios, and other areas. Recently, modern design trends have highlighted new, aesthetic uses of concrete.

Read on to discover various concrete finishes, their benefits, and their uses.

What is a Concrete Finish?

A concrete finish refers to the final texture, appearance, and hardness that concrete surfaces exhibit after they have been extensively worked upon following the initial pouring. This finish is important not only for the aesthetic appeal but also for the functionality and longevity of the surface.

Concrete finishes can withstand brutal traffic whilst retaining its beauty. When properly maintained, concrete can last up to a hundred years.

Benefits of Using Decorative Concrete Finishes

Decorative concrete improves a space’s look and has many practical benefits:

Perfect for Industrial and Commercial Settings

Decorative concrete is excellent for industrial and warehousing and commercial areas because it’s durable and easy to maintain. It handles heavy foot traffic and machinery well, keeping its look.

You can customise its design to fit any business style, from modern polished floors to traditional patterns like stone or brick. It’s also easy to clean and resists spills, making it a cost-effective option that looks good in different spaces.

Earns LEED Points Because of Its Long Life and Natural Impact on Air Quality

Decorative concrete finishes help buildings be more sustainable and can earn them LEED points. They last a long time, which means less waste and less need for new materials. Concrete keeps indoor temperatures stable, saving energy on heating and cooling.

It uses safe sealers and coatings that don’t release harmful gases, improving the air inside. These features make buildings healthier and help them meet LEED certification goals, showing how concrete supports the environment.

Treatment and Sealing Can Make It Impervious to Water Damage

Decorative concrete finishes can resist water damage if treated and sealed correctly. This is great for moisture-prone areas, protecting the flooring and making it last longer. Sealed concrete stops water, preventing mould and bacteria growth.

It keeps the surface of the concrete looking good and clean. The sealant also prevents stains, making spills easy to wipe away. Treated and sealed concrete is strong, perfect for indoor and outdoor areas, needs little upkeep, and lasts long.

Insect and Pest-Resistant

Decorative concrete floors repel insects and pests because they don’t warp, rot, or crack. They have a non-porous surface that pests can’t penetrate or damage. This makes them great for areas at risk of termites or mould growth, which attracts pests. They’re healthy, long-lasting, and don’t need pest control treatments.

High Load Tolerance

Decorative concrete is harsh and lasts a long time, which makes it great for places like sidewalks and floors where there’s a lot of walking. It doesn’t scratch or chip easily, so it’s suitable for inside and outside areas.

You won’t have to stress about damage when moving heavy stuff or from pets. It’s also strong enough for driveways and parking lots, keeping them looking good for a long time.

It is more accessible and Simpler to Incorporate Compared to Other Finishes

Decorative concrete requires little maintenance, making it super easy to maintain. Mop concrete flooring to remove dust and dirt. A once-a-year waxing can keep indoor concrete floors shining like new. And seal outdoor concrete surfaces every 4-5 years to protect them from weather.

Different Types Of Decorative Concrete Finishes

Different Types Of Decorative Concrete Finishes

Popular decorative concrete finishes include:

Troweled Finish

The “smooth finish” is a bare concrete finish that looks simple but is hard to perfect. It requires levelling, floating, and troweling the wet concrete to get a smooth, glossy surface.

Masons use screeds made of metal or wood and trowels to smooth the concrete. Screeds level the concrete surface, and trowels remove small lumps. On big projects, masons use power trowels that look like giant fans.

Broom Finish

A broom creates traction ridges on smooth concrete for safety. This finish is rough, non slip flooring, and suitable for pools and walkways. Swirl finishes add finesse with uniform swirled patterns. Changing bristle sizes varies the ridges’ depth and width.

Stamped Concrete Finish

Stamped concrete, or textured or imprinted concrete, is made by pressing shapes into freshly placed concrete. It looks like bricks, stone, tiles, or slate. It’s used to make outdoor areas look better.

Adding colour makes it look even more impressive. Workers need special training and tools to make it. This ensures it looks natural, lasts long, and can handle weather and lots of walking.

Rock Salt Finish

A salt finish on concrete is made by pressing coarse salt crystals, ⅛” to ⅜” wide, into fresh concrete and washing them off once the concrete sets. This creates a surface with small pits that improve grip and look decorative, making it perfect for pool decks, patios, and walkways.

It’s a popular finishing method because it’s both good-looking and practical, ideal for places needing safety and style.

Exposed Aggregate Finish

The exposed aggregate finish is made by removing the top layer of cement to show coarse aggregate. This finish adds traction and is suitable for outdoors. It often uses coloured stones like quartz, granite, or limestone for decoration. Recycled glass or seashells can also be used.

Stenciled Concrete Finish

Stencilled finishes aim to add decorative appeal like stamped finishes but use paper stencils instead of stamps. They are easier to install and require less expertise. Workers lay stencils on fresh concrete and press them gently.

After the concrete cures, they remove the stencil to reveal the design. Stencil patterns often resemble bricks, tiles, stones, geometric shapes, and cobblestones.

Polished Concrete Finish

Heavy machines with diamond abrasives grind the surface to polish concrete for shine and smoothness. Chemical hardeners and coatings protect it from water and stains. Polished concrete is popular in modern designs because it’s durable and customisable.

Coloured Finish

Colouring concrete surfaces is effective. It allows for many colour combinations and creative designs. Pigments can be mixed into concrete before they are set. Staining is done after the concrete cures.

Epoxy Resin Finish

Epoxy resin is a popular choice for sealing concrete floors. It’s a paint that hardens to a glossy, durable finish, ideal for busy spaces. Not only does it look good, but it also protects floors from damage. It’s great for warehouses and retail spaces, offering many colours and textures.

Stained Concrete Finish

Staining is a popular way to improve concrete floors in homes and businesses. It works on new or existing floors and concrete overlays. You can get colours like marble, leather, stone, or wood.

It makes floors look good and fits any design. Acid or water-based stains soak the concrete, creating deep, varied colours. The finish is durable and makes any space look better.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Decorative Concrete Coating

Choosing the right decorative concrete coating means thinking about a few important things to make sure it looks good and works well:

Budget

When researching decorative concrete coatings, consider your budget. Stamped and polished concrete are more expensive than stained and textured types. The price depends on the design’s complexity and the area size.

Durability

Decorative concrete coating durability is essential. Epoxy and polished concrete are durable and resistant to heavy use. Stained and stamped concrete needs more upkeep to stay looking good.

Aesthetics

Consider the look of the decorative concrete floor coating. Match it with your space’s design and style. For a modern, minimalist space, choose polished concrete. For a rustic, farmhouse-style space, textured concrete works well.

Versatility

Decorative concrete coatings are versatile for indoor and outdoor use. Stamped and textured finishes work well for both. Epoxy coatings are unsuitable outdoors because they’re sensitive to UV rays.

Maintenance

Finally, think about how much work it takes to keep the decorative concrete coating looking good. Polished concrete and epoxy are easy to take care of and clean. Stamped and stained concrete needs more sealing and maintenance.

How to Choose the Right Decorative Finish for Your Concrete Floors?

Choosing the right finish for your concrete floors means considering looks, use, cost, and upkeep. You should consider all factors to pick a finish that looks good, meets your needs, and lasts long.

Options include polished concrete for a sleek look, stained concrete for texture, or durable epoxy. You can always get a professional’s advice to choose your space best.

FAQs

How do I choose stamped concrete colours?

To choose stamped concrete colours, match the area’s overall look for a natural appearance. Consider the colours of nearby buildings, landscapes, and hardscaping. Choose colours that complement or contrast these.

Use a base colour that looks like natural materials and an accent colour for depth. Test colours in a small area first. A professional can advise on trends and durable colours.

Can you put decorative concrete over existing concrete?

Yes, you can upgrade old concrete by applying decorative concrete on top. This method refreshes and improves the look without removing the existing concrete. You can stain, stamp, or use epoxy coatings directly on it if it’s in good shape.

First, fix any cracks or chips and clean the surface. It’s best to get a professional’s opinion to pick the correct method and ensure the new finish lasts.

How long do concrete overlays last?

Concrete overlays can last 10 to 20 years if maintained well. Their lifespan depends on material quality, the condition of the base concrete, how it’s applied, and exposure to damage and weather.

Regular cleaning and resealing can make them last longer. Choosing a skilled installer is vital for a durable overlay.

Can you change the colour of the concrete?

You can change concrete’s colour using several methods. Acid staining changes the colour by reacting chemically with the cement. Water-based stains or dyes offer a range of colours. For new concrete, integral colour can be mixed in before pouring for a solid colour.

Concrete can also be painted, but it’s less durable. Each method depends on the desired look, the condition of the concrete, and the project size.

Are concrete coatings worth it?

Concrete coatings protect and beautify floors. They prevent wear, stains, and moisture and improve the look. This is good for garages, showrooms, or patios, adding value. It saves money long-term by reducing repairs. There are many finishes and colours to choose from, letting people personalise their spaces.

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