If you are thinking about a concrete patio or a new driveway, it is good to know what are the concrete types and what kind of concrete you can have.
Exposed aggregate concrete
What can it be and how can you expose it? Exposed aggregate concrete is a type of decorative concrete, which reveals the true beauty of concrete. It is not only looks very good, but also is durable and skid-resistant material.
Exposed aggregate concrete is achieved by removing the top layer of cement paste and revealing the underlying aggregate.
Advantages of Exposed Aggregate Concrete:
- It does not doesn’t cost a lot, to create this decorative effect, because not much additional materials needed. Basically, you need a surface retardant, sprayer and a garden hose.
- It is a fairly easy task to do and not require long time or specific professional to do it.
- There are various types, colors and sizes for the exposed décor
- It also blends well with other decorative concrete
- Almost no maintenance is required, except some occasional cleaning with water
Three Basic Methods used for aggregate exposed concrete:
Monolithic – the aggregates are batched right into the concrete truck at the concrete plant. This method is the easiest and most commonly used. Smaller aggregate is typically called Pea stone.
Seeded – immediately after the concrete is placed the decorative aggregates are broadcast, or hand placed, onto the surface of the concrete and floated in by hand.
Overlay – this method is used on existing concrete that is in a good shape. Aggregates are mixed into the overlay topping material and applied to the old concrete to give it a new look.
The “secret” to exposing the aggregates is keeping the top layer of cement paste soft while the underlying concrete hardens. This is done by spraying on a surface retardant immediately after installing the concrete and aggregates. A few hours later soft cement paste can be rinsed away with a garden hose and the aggregate is exposed on the surface.
The biggest benefit of the exposed aggregate compared to other decorative styles, is that this method looks terrific, but has the lowest cost.
Stamped concrete also can be called textured or imprinted concrete. It is a concrete that replicates stones such as flagstone, tile brick and even wood. This type of decoration is perfect for pool decks, driveways, entries and patios.
Stamped concrete is a very popular option among homeowners because if offers wide variety of patterns and colors, and with all that it is much cheaper than real flagstone or pavers.
So how stamped concrete is made? The main part is to do a pattern. After you pour a concrete, and it isn’t fully dried, you need to use texture press, so you stamped your concrete with a pattern that you had chosen.
Broom Finished Concrete
This is, as you may say, regular way to do and finish a concrete. Of course, there is a smooth finish, but broom finished provides a high-traction surface and better drainage (note, broom marks should always be running towards the drain). However, if you don’t care about drainage, you can create decorative effects by running the broom texture in various directions.
And lastly, colored concrete
Concrete doesn’t have to be grey. They are so many different colors and products to color concrete – it is amazing. Colored concrete cost more than plain grey, but it worth an investment. Prices are not crazy-biting, but the result will look wonderful. It can help your concrete patio or walkway to match your overall design.
Some of the products can be used on existing concrete too, which is a great news, if you don’t want to install new concrete element, instead of the old one.
So how concrete gets colored? Color for the concrete is not a paint, dye or stain; it is pigments. Pigments are available in powder, liquid or granular forms. Iron oxide pigment particles are 10 times smaller than a particle of the cement. When color pigment is added to the cement based mix, the smaller pigment particles cover the larger cement particle.