Are you planning on a new concrete slab, but are not sure how to finish it? Or maybe you have a few options, but would like to get introduced to a couple more?
It’s often repeated that concrete is guaranteed to do three things. Those are getting hard, turn grey and crack. Not very flattering when you think it like that and we don’t have to be that pessimistic these days as decorative concrete is becoming more and more common.
After all, while it’s one of the most versatile and most commonly used construction materials on the planet, it doesn’t really look that good when it’s left like that without further decor. The good thing is, it’s not hard to decorate if you plan ahead correctly.
Actually, you will have so many options open that it will most likely be annoying to decide which one is the best. That’s not even all, you can even pick and choose here and there what parts you like and if you could combine some of the finishes.
If you’re pouring concrete or it’s already in place, you may want to consider using one of the following concrete finishes to create an aesthetically appealing concrete finish for your home or business.
Textured designs like stones, bricks, or blocks can be easily recreated using a concrete stamp. Concrete is poured in the conventional fashion and stamps are applied to the surface to create a pattern and texture.
Colored concrete or stains can then be applied to make any faux materials appear to look like the real thing. Stamping is often done to driveways and patios to create a more expensive-looking cobblestone design without the high costs of materials or installation.
Still, nothing stops you from stamping indoors as well. Kitchens and living room comes to mind first where the imitated surface could do well. If there is a fireplace even better as concrete is safer than wood there.
If you want something for the outdoors, stamped concrete patios are quite popular. It’s hard and easy to clean the surface and you can combine it with a firepit without worrying that everything will burn down. You can barbeque all you want and it will be easy to clean.
Salt finish on concrete
This concrete finish is an old-school method of texturing concrete that is making a comeback in popularity. Sometimes the simple things just work so well that you can’t get rid of them, not that there is anything wrong with the salt finish.
It’s simple to create and leaves a finish that is as unique as it is easy to install. What more could anyone beginning with concrete décor ask.
Finish concrete surfaces as you normally would. Then as the concrete is beginning to stiffen, rock salt pieces are scattered onto the surface and allowed to harden into the concrete.
After it dries, the salt rock is washed out of the rock and an amazing texture appears on the surface. This texture can only be applied to outdoor concrete surfaces that can get wet thought, but that is plenty of concrete and I might not want that rough surface indoors anyway for cleaning reasons.
Swirl acid stain
For concrete finishes that are already hard, swirling makes a neat texture that can be applied to hardened concrete of any age. This just gets a little bit challenging and if you’re interested read here about acid staining as it falls into the same category.
Simply apply a gallon of muriatic acid to five gallons of water and mix in a plastic bucket. Apply the mixture in a swirling pattern to the concrete using a cotton mop.
Allow the swirls to dry overnight before applying a clear coat of concrete stain. You will also have to neutralize the acid before you do anything so be sure to read the guide so you won’t have trouble applying sealer on it.
Acid stains can also create different colors, so if you’re interested in that, look at this guide on 8 acid stain colors. You will get a better idea of what kind of colors are possible with acid staining.
Sprayed concrete stain
Spray on concrete stains and finishes have been in use for many years, but are becoming more popular as a way to cover up older damaged concrete.
The surface materials of the concrete can be repaired using conventional methods and allowed to dry. Next, a spray texture hopper gun is used to spray colored concrete onto the surface.
A large trowel is used to knock down the spray to create a lace-like pattern. Add in multiple colors and spray patterns for a unique concrete finish that has the look of marble.
The surface might need grinding to bring out all the colors.This might need more work and skill and might not be everyones thing. Still it’s a possibility.
This finishing technique requires some really well-finished surfaces to complete. A floor polishing device similar to a floor grinder is used to smooth the surface of the concrete into a mirror-like finish.
It is then covered with a clear stain to protect the finish from scuffs and scrapes. This expensive finish is usually reserved for higher-end commercial buildings but can be applied to nearly any indoor concrete surface.
The good thing here is that polished concrete is really easy to keep clean and it looks good. I mean it looks really good if done well.
If you’re interested, here is a guide on how you can polish concrete at home. You will need to know how to use polishing tools, but most of the details are written there. You can give it a look and think if it’s something you would like to try.
These are just 5 examples that act as a door into the concrete floor world. There are a lot more options than what I can imagine while writing this. The important thing to remember is that concrete can be custom made, like the expensive things those who can afford them have.
If you’re a skilled worker who’s not afraid to try and do new things, it might be a good way to bring your property value up. One thing that wasn’t mentioned here, as an example, was honed concrete floors which is a variation of polishing.
Then there are different exposed aggregates finishes that let you use the aggregates in the concrete as a decorative finish. It can be done with honing or exposing the aggregates when the slab is being made or later with sandblasting for example.
We haven’t even talked about epoxy coating and other options when it comes to coatings. But these are just examples as the world of decoration is constantly developing as different things are becoming popular.
We just need to try to keep up with times.