Think concrete is just about boring, gray slabs? Think again! Concrete is available in a huge number of decorative forms that make it suitable for just about any patio project imaginable. Whatever your goals, it is likely that there is a concrete solution that is right for you. Even if you haven't decided on a particular look yet, these four exciting decorative concrete options are likely to get your creative juices flowing.
1. Acid Staining
Acid staining is a method of permanently altering the color of concrete that has already been poured and hardened. Unlike some other forms of concrete decoration, this is not a process that needs to be done when the concrete is installed. In fact, acid staining is a great option for revitalizing existing concrete. Acid stains are available in a wide variety of colors and can be mixed and matched across a surface to create many interesting patterns.
Acid staining is so popular because it can be used in so many ways. It is commonly used to spruce up boring driveways, but it can be used for decorative concrete paths in gardens or concrete patio surfaces. Since you are not restricted to pre-existing patterns, you can create the exact surface that you want to complement the rest of your home or property.
Dyeing is an alternative coloring process for acid staining. While acid stains are generally restricted to more muted colors, dyes are available in an even wider range of styles including some truly vibrant options. Depending on the dyeing process used, dyes may or may not be stable under intense UV light. This means that a non-UV stable dye is not suitable for use on exterior concrete as it will tend to fade and lose its color over time. UV stable dyes or stains can safely be used on exterior concrete, although they will require sealing to properly protect their colors.
While acid staining and dyeing are coloring processes that are applied after the concrete has hardened, stamping is done while the concrete is still in a moldable state. The purpose of stamping isn't to add color, but rather to add texture. Stamped concrete is created by imprinting a rubber stamp onto the concrete while it is hardening, adding patterns either intended to mimic other materials (such as stone or brick) or to create decorative flair. Stamped concrete creates visual interest even without color, but color can later be added using acid staining or any other method.
Engraving is an alternative to stamping for creating textured concrete. Unlike stamping, pre-made patterns are not embedded into the concrete. Instead, patterns are created by etching the concrete while soft. This is great for creating completely customized designs, although it can also be expensive since every engraved concrete surface is unique. Engraving is usually performed by professional engravers who make use of a variety of specialized tools to create a customized, bespoke look for your concrete surface.
Concrete is a wonderfully versatile surface that can be used in a huge range of applications. With a little creativity, it's easy to create the concrete patio of your dreams. For more information, contact a company like Denver Pro Concrete.