Decorative concrete is growing in popularity for both interior and exterior applications and with good reason. It’s in our nature to surround ourselves with creative expression and color. However, working with decorative concrete is not as straightforward as working with paint. It requires prior texturing experience, familiarity with several texturing tools, and a thorough understanding of base preparation. Here are a few pointers to help you plan your next decorative concrete project.
Decorative concrete application is frequently equated to that of texture paint, and thus sometimes can be overlooked by design teams and clients as something that does not necessitate thought at the design stage. However, designing with decorative concrete is an artistic process that requires careful planning and ample time for experimenting in order to produce the best results
Decorative concrete was once only available in a few different finishes: coloured concrete, acid-etched stained concrete, and stamped designs. However, there are now an endless number of finishes available for both horizontal and vertical surfaces. The possibilities are unlimited, from stampable and self-levelling overlays to exposed aggregate and coatings. Individual finishes can also be blended, limiting the creation of new textures to the imaginations of designers’ and concrete applicators’ creativity.
It is precisely this inventiveness that makes decorative concrete so appealing. However working with decorative concrete is an art, so here are 5 tips you should keep in mind when working with decorative concrete.
1. Be clear on requirements and expectations
Clients frequently like textures with depth and movement. Because decorative concrete is so versatile, it’s easy to be enticed to mix and match textures to create something unique. These finishes need a lot of time and effort. As a result, it is always preferable to choose from a standard range of textures, where the price is decided. In the case of a bespoke texture, there should always be clarity on what the client can spend and whether the bespoke design is physically, aesthetically, and financially viable.
2. Remember it’s only aesthetic
Decorative concrete is not the same in composition as structural concrete and it lacks the inherent characteristics of the latter. Thus it’s very important to ensure the right substrate is used to construct the base on which decorative concrete is going to be applied. As a base substrate, you can use MDF, wood, fibre, or ACP. If you choose precast concrete sanitaryware, make sure the material is high strength and has low porosity.
3. Choose the right decorative concrete installer
The creative ability of decorative concrete contractors might vary significantly. If you want highly creative work, you must identify a contractor who can perform at that level and is skilled in their craft. These days, contractors tend to specialize in specific types of decorative concrete, so you’ll need to concentrate your search to find the appropriate one for your work. We at Evolve, are skilled at crafting seamless walls, wall panels, doors and decor pieces using decorative concrete.
4. Schedule the job correctly to avoid undue repair work
Decorative concrete takes longer to dry and cure than other surface decoration products such as wallpapers and paints. Decorative concrete reaches its full strength 14 days after it is set. But don’t worry, you simply need to let it dry overnight for it to set properly. It is ideal to work with decorative concrete after your flooring and painting jobs have been completed, so there is no spill on the concrete treated surfaces. To minimize difficulties, start decorative concrete work on a Friday afternoon and work through the weekend. It has the best chance for success because there is no one on the job site to cause complications or delays.
5. Provide the right protection for the finished work
A long-term maintenance plan should be part of the discussion with the client before the application begins. There are several ways to seal decorative work; each sealer provides a unique appearance. If the client wants a glossy “wet look,” an epoxy, polyaspartic urethane, or acrylic finish is a good choice. These finishes must be renewed per the manufacturer’s recommendation. If the owner wants a natural concrete look without a glossy appearance, there are penetrating sealers on the market that restrict pore openings so that dirt and other staining materials will not penetrate the surface. For table tops, food spillage must also be removed and cleaned as it occurs.
Gone are the days where the only aesthetic possible from concrete was raw and stark. However, with the innovation in decorative concrete, the application is only limited by one’s imagination. If you’re looking for unique concrete finishes for your next project, fill this form here to receive our e-catalogue.