How to Make Concrete Beautiful
Decorative concrete has been a definitive trend in the construction market for some time, and the popularity of its use keeps increasing. Several members of the Decorative Concrete Council (DCC) referred to their industry's potential during presentations at the group's 2002 Spring Event, April 5-6, in Oklahoma City, Okla. More than 70 attendees learned about the techniques commonly used to color and add texture to concrete. Skilled decorative concrete contractors also demonstrated the step-by-step techniques of creating artistic designs in concrete slabs and shared some of their job-site experience in the process.
A specialty council of the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), the DCC formed 4 years ago; its current Council Director is James D. Engelman, Engelman Construction, Inc., Macungie, Pa. "Our goal is to train and educate our peers on the importance and necessity of decorative concrete in the marketplace," says Engleman. "It's a booming industry across the country, and it may be the fastest-growing segment of the concrete industry right now. Consumers are seeking information on decorative concrete from contractors, designers, and architects... so that's what we're trying to do -get the message out."
KNOW YOUR CONCRETE CHEMISTERY
DCC's program at its Spring Event began with a look at enhancing slabs with stenciled and stamped patterns. Stenciling offers the advantage of faster installation at about one-third of, the time compared to stamping, according to Doug Bannister of The Stamp Store, Oklahoma City, Okla. He is a founding member of the DCC, its current Secretary/ Treasurer, and an ACI-certified Flatwork Technician.
A stenciling application involves laying out a kraft paper stencil pattern on top of a slab of fresh concrete and slightly embedding the stencil into the surface with a long-handled roller. The crew then throws a color hardener onto the surface and works it in; the hardener also adds an element of wear resistance. A final pass with a textured roller adds the look and feel of stone, tile, or brick. Once this surface has hardened enough to walk on, workers pull the stencil and natural-looking grout lines remain. Bannister cautions against embedding the stencil too deeply, which could cause defects in the finish after the stencil is pulled. Removing the defects may require hand-retouching. It is also important that the slab formwork be absolutely square.
Stamping and texturing are other ways of imprinting integrally colored concrete, or concrete with a shake-on color hardener. The stamps are plastic or metal platform tools that usually leave deep grooves, which can later be grouted or left open. Contraction joints can be disguised as part of the pattern. Stamping mats imprint a shallower pattern of grooves and produce a texture that resembles slate, field stone, or other materials. Mat-texture skins impart only a seamless, free-flowing texture. To produce a pattern or texture, workers tamp the stamping mats or skins into a surface that has been treated with a release agent to permit removal without disturbing the imprint texture
Contact Us today to find out more about how decorative concrete will enhance the beauty and functionality of your home. We offer free estimates and have great references!
Fasco, Inc. Concrete Contractors of Indianapolis
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