If you look around your home, chances are you’ll recognize several concrete surfaces—your driveway, the walkway between the street and your front door, the area around your pool—that are flat, gray, and unassuming. But all that square footage is really a blank canvas, just waiting for you to take the initiative and let your your personality and creativity shine through. Concrete doesn’t have to be bland and boring. From staining to stamping to encrusting, there are a multitude of ways to jazz up your home’s new or existing concrete.
Manufacturers of water-based concrete stains generally offer dozens of colors for homeowners to choose from. Most stains are also available in various levels of translucence, from the most see-through to 100% opaque. The stains comprise acrylic polymers and pigment and seep into the concrete to give it color that won’t wear away over time.
According to ConcreteNetwork.com, stamping is the most popular way to decorate concrete walkways. With 100% customizable patterns, there is literally no limit to the options available when it comes to this method. Traditional stamps include brick, slate, wood planks, and flagstone, but homeowners have been known to use stamps to create everything from mural-like scenes to abstract designs.
Stenciling can impart a similar look to concrete as stamping, but one advantage is that it can be applied to already existing concrete. A paper or plastic stencil is laid on the concrete, and color hardener is applied.
If you’re looking for a decorative concrete surface that also provides improved safety, look no further than aggregate. “Aggregate” refers to pebbles, colored stones, or other rough materials that are incorporated into the surface layer of the concrete to give it a textured finish. With aggregate, the sky is the limit. You can choose fine or coarse, colored or natural, single color or multicolored—and you can choose to incorporate it throughout your concrete or in specific areas, contrasting the exposed aggregate spaces with smooth, unadulterated concrete.
Like stenciling, scoring is another method that can be used to add decoration to already existing concrete. It involves using concrete saws to saw patterns or designs into the hard, dry surface of the concrete. These grooves can be left as they are, or they can be enhanced with the addition of color.
If you’re looking for a fast, and in most cases relatively inexpensive, way to add some curb appeal to your home, upping the profile of your concrete is a good option. And while it may be tempting to try some of the above methods yourself, in most cases it’s a good idea to work with a contractor, such as CTI Of The Desert, who has experience working with concrete to ensure that your end result is rock solid.