Why Is Decorative Concrete So Popular?
First, let's define what is meant by the term "decorative concrete." Essentially, this is the process of transforming the dull, boring, grey concrete surface of a driveway, walkway, patio, pool deck, or garage into a bright, colorful, attractive surface.
Decorative stamped concrete is appealing for many reasons. First, it’s an economical alternative to pavers and natural stone, especially for applications such as patios, driveways, walkways, and pool decks. It also requires less maintenance than those materials because it has no joints where weed growth can occur. Adding to the value of stamped concrete is the material’s longevity. When properly installed and maintained, stamped concrete will last for decades.
There are four main decorative concrete choices that a homeowner may choose from, including:
- Stamped concrete
- Stained concrete
- Polished concrete
- Epoxy concrete
Each of these different types require different techniques, materials, and equipment and therefore the cost of each varies.
Stamped concrete is an excellent choice for several reasons: it is quick to install and thus much more affordable compared to natural stone. It’s perfect for pool decks, patios, driveways, entry ways, courtyards and more.
Stamped concrete can be made to look very realistic because most stamping forms are molded from the actual materials they are designed to replicate. To achieve natural-looking color variations, such as you would see in real stone, a stamped concrete contractor will often use similar or dry-shake color along with coloring choices applied to the surface.
Stains can be used to impart rich color to both new and existing concrete that will last for years. With a variety of stain colors to choose from and options for adding decorative patterns such as saw cuts and stenciling, stains are anything but boring.
Stained concrete appeals to many people who want to achieve unique decorative effects for a reasonable cost. For as little as $2 per square foot, you can use stains to create an infinite array of colors and special effects on both interior and exterior surfaces.
Polished concrete has become the most desired no-wax flooring finish. As a result of recent advances in polishing equipment and techniques, contractors are now grinding concrete floors, whether new or old, to a high-gloss finish that never needs waxes or coatings.
Be aware that the process of polishing concrete floors requires a great deal of expertise and the use of specialized heavy-duty polishing machines equipped with diamond-impregnated disks that gradually grind down surfaces to the desired degree of shine and smoothness. Considering the investment in equipment and the skill required, it's definitely not a project for the do-it-yourselfer. You'll want to hire a professional concrete polishing contractor to do the work.
Epoxy Garage Flooring
Epoxy flooring can be installed in a variety of settings but the garage floor is the best choice for homeowners. Today garages have taken a more prominent place in the design of homes, often built to house three vehicles, and more often than not attached to the home. Garages have evolved from basic storage areas, becoming organized shops or showrooms.
A garage floor coating is one of the most economical and aesthetically pleasing ways to enhance a plain gray concrete garage floor. These heavy-duty epoxy-based systems not only upgrade the look of the floor, they also increase resiliency to stains and tire marks and hide minor imperfections. With many colors to choose from for the base coating, which can be further enhanced by decorative quartz or paint chips, garage floor coatings give you a wide array of design options.