The Wonders of Concrete: From Creativity to Concrete Curing

The word “concrete” most often conjures images of plain grey slabs. While this is certainly the most common form concrete takes, the creative possibilities of concrete are nearly endless. From stamped concrete driveways to faux hardwood interior floors, concrete can do it all! It’s truly an amazing product.

decorative concrete driveway

Concrete’s Real Potential

 

While plain and grey are most often associated with concrete, texturizing stamps, paint, and epoxy allow for a myriad of creative finishes on otherwise boring concrete installations. Decorative concrete can replicate just about any other flooring material including stone, pavers, brick, tile, and even hardwood.  It can be brushed, stamped, dyed, painted and coated. Let’s take a look at some of the popular places creative concrete is being put to use and some of our favorite decorative ideas for each application. 

 

Driveways

decorative concrete driveway

Decorative concrete driveways provide a wide variety of creative options not available when other materials are used. Nearly limitless colors and textures can be combined to achieve the desired outcome. Additionally, using decorative concrete instead of plain concrete is sure to boost curb appeal. Stamped concrete driveways make it possible to create more affordable versions of popular materials such as brick, cobblestone, field stone, and slate. Concrete is also more convenient; there’s no need to lift and place individual pieces of (often heavy) material. Furthermore, with the help of paints and dyes, the color can more precisely match your home aesthetic. Here are a few of our favorite design ideas for decorative concrete driveways:

  • To simply add a bit of stone-like texture, use seamless texture skins
  • If you’re wanting to breathe new life into an existing concrete driveway, you can resurface it with a stamped concrete overlay. Concrete resurfacing is extremely affordable compared to other options. 
  • Include borders in contrasting colors and/or patterns to add interest.
  • For an even more affordable (but still stylish) option, only add stamped stone or brick-like details to the border of your driveway. Keep the rest of surface a simple exposed aggregate or brushed-finish concrete. 
  • To increase curb appeal, create a driveway design that complements the style and color of your home. 

 

Pool Decks

decorative concrete pool deck

Decorative concrete pool decks help turn your pool area into a beautiful oasis without compromising the durability and low maintenance that concrete provides. Like stamped concrete driveways, stamped pool decks offer a variety of options other materials simply cannot match. Whether you want a brick, stone, or even wood grain finish, concrete’s got you covered.  Additionally, properly sealed concrete is resistant to pool chemicals, water exposure, and fading. To combat slick, wet surfaces a non-skid additive can easily be added to concrete. Here are some of our favorite ideas for using stamped and decorative concrete around your pool:

 

  • Create different steps and levels on your pool deck to break up the space and add visual interest.
  • Avoid deep faux grout lines or crevices. They can be uncomfortable to walk on with bare feet and can be difficult to keep clean. 
  • Use lighter shades of concrete to help keep your pool area cool.
  • Use a different pattern, texture and/or color around your pool to create a stand-out border.

 

Patios and Decks

Decorative concrete deck

A stamped concrete patio can offer all the beauty of much more expensive materials with the durability and weather resistance of concrete. Furthermore, concrete can be poured to fit any size and shape of space and can easily be installed around other features such as pergolas and fire pits. 

 

Indoor Flooring

indoor concrete flooring

While decorative concrete isn’t ideal for all indoor applications, it can sometimes be a great alternative to traditional flooring options. Some great spaces to consider placing concrete flooring are kitchens, entry ways, bathrooms, and basements. Concrete offers the durability and water resistance these spaces often require. Concrete can also be used in living areas and other spaces. Just like in outdoor applications, decorative concrete offers nearly limitless creative options, is often more affordable, requires very little maintenance, and resists moisture and stains. Indoor concrete will last decades, reduces indoor allergens, is pet friendly, and can be heated with a radiant system. 

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that concrete flooring will require occasional re-sealing, can become slippery when wet, can develop cracks over time, and can be difficult to patch. It also lacks the warmth and comfort of some other indoor flooring options; this can be easily remedied with area rugs. 

 

Indoor decorative concrete is also a great option for commercial spaces. Businesses can easily replicate the look of hardwoods, tile, or stone at a much lower cost. In addition, concrete offers excellent durability for high-traffic commercial spaces. Decorative concrete flooring will hold up to decades of wear from customers and patrons. Furthermore, concretes gives businesses the opportunity to incorporate their logo into their flooring. Many businesses choose to do this in an entryway or lobby. 

 

Powerblanket and Concrete

 

No matter what beautiful concrete project you have planned, when temperatures aren’t ideal, concrete won’t cure correctly. It will take significantly longer to cure, adding unnecessary delays to projects. Additionally, It will fail to reach full strength and often easily form chips and cracks.  

 

If you want to take advantage of all the durability concrete has to offer, it needs to be installed in the right conditions. That’s where Powerblanket comes in. Powerblanket concrete blankets can keep cement at the right temperatures as it cures, helping it reach its full strength.

Learn More About Concrete Curing Blankets

How to Stain Concrete: Stain your way from gloom to glam

Let’s get one thing straight. Plain, gray concrete is best used in military bunkers. Other than that, it’s downright boring. What can you do to spice up your concrete patio, concrete counter-tops, and concrete floors? There’s one solution: stain it. Staining concrete takes time and effort, but the results are beautiful.

concrete stain
Image taken from www.thatisconcrete.com.

Types of Concrete Stain

If you’re a parent, the word “stain” probably doesn’t make you think of something beautiful or decorative. Nonetheless, concrete staining is a great way to turn a slab of gray into luxurious concrete with color or shine. Concrete experts generally use one of two ways to stain concrete: acid and water-based stains. Each one has a specific purpose, but which one should you use?

Acid Concrete Stains

  • Acid stains are made up of metallic salt minerals dissolved into a water-acid mixture. The acid causes a chemical reaction during the curing process that permanently changes the concrete surface color and texture.
acid stained concrete porch
Acid stained porch in Colorado. Image taken from www.denverconcretecompany.net.

Non-Acid Concrete Stains

  • Non-acid stains treat concrete differently than an acid stain. Instead of altering the structure of the concrete, non-acid stains create a layer over the concrete surface, filling pores and leaving behind a flat, smooth finish.
non-acid stained concrete
Non-acid stained concrete. Image taken from www.super-krete.com.

Concrete Staining Process

Do Your Prepwork

According to industry experts, the best way to stain concrete is as follows:

  • Thoroughly clean and prepare concrete
  • Apply concrete stain
  • Clean up and neutralize concrete stain
  • Seal concrete for lasting protection

In order to stain concrete, the concrete must be cured to its proper strength. This can take up to 48 hours, but with concrete curing products, this time can be nearly cut in half. Concrete Blankets help keep concrete at stable temperatures above 50°F, curing 2.8 times faster than open air curing. This is especially helpful when staining concrete in places where temperatures are variable or close to freezing. Make sure your concrete creation cures correctly.

Once it is cured, you can move on to the concrete staining process. Begin washing down the concrete surface. You don’t want any food crumbs or shoe scuff marks to get in the way of the stain, so make sure to give it a good scrub down. Also remove any layers of glue, sealers or curing membranes that might prevent the stain from coming in full contact with the concrete. Finally, apply a concrete acid cleanser to the project surface to ensure the concrete is as porous as possible. Once it has dried, rinse the concrete with water. Some concrete manufacturers, like Quikrete, even make their own cleaners, etchers, and de-greasers so you know you are using the best DIY staining products on your concrete.

Let The Staining Begin

After the concrete is no longer wet from rinsing, use a brush or roller to spread the stain across the project surface. If it’s a puddle you can splash in (don’t), it’s too thick. If it disappears right after applying it (i.e. it absorbed into the concrete), you need more.

Once your initial layer is down, allow 24 hours of drying before applying another layer of stain, even if it’s the same stain color.

Most concrete stains have difficulty drying in cold temperatures. If you must do a concrete staining project in the dead of winter, a Concrete Curing Blanket can save the day, allowing the stain to dry within a controlled environment.

Protect Your Project

You’re so close to being done! After the stain has dried, use a sealer or wax to protect the stain from dirt or grime that could change the color or texture over time. You’ll need to regularly clean the concrete surface, but don’t use powerful chemicals like bleach, vinegar or ammonia. Such solutions can damage stained concrete. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?

concrete stain
Image taken from www.kronion.pw.

Finally, bask in your work. Enjoy the fruit of your labors and invite friends and family over to see your decoratively stained concrete.

Learn More about Concrete Curing Blankets

The Wonders of Concrete: From Creativity to Concrete Curing

The word “concrete” most often conjures images of plain grey slabs. While this is certainly the most common form concrete takes, the creative possibilities of concrete are nearly endless. From stamped concrete driveways to faux hardwood interior floors, concrete can do it all! It’s truly an amazing product.

decorative concrete driveway

Concrete’s Real Potential

 

While plain and grey are most often associated with concrete, texturizing stamps, paint, and epoxy allow for a myriad of creative finishes on otherwise boring concrete installations. Decorative concrete can replicate just about any other flooring material including stone, pavers, brick, tile, and even hardwood.  It can be brushed, stamped, dyed, painted and coated. Let’s take a look at some of the popular places creative concrete is being put to use and some of our favorite decorative ideas for each application. 

 

Driveways

decorative concrete driveway

Decorative concrete driveways provide a wide variety of creative options not available when other materials are used. Nearly limitless colors and textures can be combined to achieve the desired outcome. Additionally, using decorative concrete instead of plain concrete is sure to boost curb appeal. Stamped concrete driveways make it possible to create more affordable versions of popular materials such as brick, cobblestone, field stone, and slate. Concrete is also more convenient; there’s no need to lift and place individual pieces of (often heavy) material. Furthermore, with the help of paints and dyes, the color can more precisely match your home aesthetic. Here are a few of our favorite design ideas for decorative concrete driveways:

  • To simply add a bit of stone-like texture, use seamless texture skins
  • If you’re wanting to breathe new life into an existing concrete driveway, you can resurface it with a stamped concrete overlay. Concrete resurfacing is extremely affordable compared to other options. 
  • Include borders in contrasting colors and/or patterns to add interest.
  • For an even more affordable (but still stylish) option, only add stamped stone or brick-like details to the border of your driveway. Keep the rest of surface a simple exposed aggregate or brushed-finish concrete. 
  • To increase curb appeal, create a driveway design that complements the style and color of your home. 

 

Pool Decks

decorative concrete pool deck

Decorative concrete pool decks help turn your pool area into a beautiful oasis without compromising the durability and low maintenance that concrete provides. Like stamped concrete driveways, stamped pool decks offer a variety of options other materials simply cannot match. Whether you want a brick, stone, or even wood grain finish, concrete’s got you covered.  Additionally, properly sealed concrete is resistant to pool chemicals, water exposure, and fading. To combat slick, wet surfaces a non-skid additive can easily be added to concrete. Here are some of our favorite ideas for using stamped and decorative concrete around your pool:

 

  • Create different steps and levels on your pool deck to break up the space and add visual interest.
  • Avoid deep faux grout lines or crevices. They can be uncomfortable to walk on with bare feet and can be difficult to keep clean. 
  • Use lighter shades of concrete to help keep your pool area cool.
  • Use a different pattern, texture and/or color around your pool to create a stand-out border.

 

Patios and Decks

Decorative concrete deck

A stamped concrete patio can offer all the beauty of much more expensive materials with the durability and weather resistance of concrete. Furthermore, concrete can be poured to fit any size and shape of space and can easily be installed around other features such as pergolas and fire pits. 

 

Indoor Flooring

indoor concrete flooring

While decorative concrete isn’t ideal for all indoor applications, it can sometimes be a great alternative to traditional flooring options. Some great spaces to consider placing concrete flooring are kitchens, entry ways, bathrooms, and basements. Concrete offers the durability and water resistance these spaces often require. Concrete can also be used in living areas and other spaces. Just like in outdoor applications, decorative concrete offers nearly limitless creative options, is often more affordable, requires very little maintenance, and resists moisture and stains. Indoor concrete will last decades, reduces indoor allergens, is pet friendly, and can be heated with a radiant system. 

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that concrete flooring will require occasional re-sealing, can become slippery when wet, can develop cracks over time, and can be difficult to patch. It also lacks the warmth and comfort of some other indoor flooring options; this can be easily remedied with area rugs. 

 

Indoor decorative concrete is also a great option for commercial spaces. Businesses can easily replicate the look of hardwoods, tile, or stone at a much lower cost. In addition, concrete offers excellent durability for high-traffic commercial spaces. Decorative concrete flooring will hold up to decades of wear from customers and patrons. Furthermore, concretes gives businesses the opportunity to incorporate their logo into their flooring. Many businesses choose to do this in an entryway or lobby. 

 

Powerblanket and Concrete

 

No matter what beautiful concrete project you have planned, when temperatures aren’t ideal, concrete won’t cure correctly. It will take significantly longer to cure, adding unnecessary delays to projects. Additionally, It will fail to reach full strength and often easily form chips and cracks.  

 

If you want to take advantage of all the durability concrete has to offer, it needs to be installed in the right conditions. That’s where Powerblanket comes in. Powerblanket concrete blankets can keep cement at the right temperatures as it cures, helping it reach its full strength.

Learn More About Concrete Curing Blankets