The Ways to Use Decorative Concrete are Unlimited!
When deciding which building material to use for your project, there are many options. A driveway can be built of crushed stone, pavers, asphalt, or concrete. Patios are typically wood decks, brick pavers, hand-laid stone, or concrete. Floors may be covered with carpet, tile, vinyl, wood, laminate, or concrete. Countertops or bar tops might be formica, Corian, granite, marble, stainless steel, or concrete.
Do you see a common thread? Concrete can be used for almost any building application. Its versatility and durability make it the perfect choice for nearly any project. Whether it’s interior or exterior, rustic or elegant, floors or walls…it doesn’t matter. Concrete can do it all! But don’t make the mistake of thinking that concrete is cold, boring, and gray. A myriad of decorative treatments allow concrete to be not only functional, but beautiful as well. To illustrate this point, join me in a virtual gathering at your imaginary home.
Tour Your Virtual Concrete Home
While approaching from the street, your driveway is the first thing we notice. It used to be asphalt, but you replaced it with decorative concrete. Your colored & textured concrete driveway provides curb appeal that asphalt simply cannot match. Passers-by think you spent a fortune on hand-laid cobblestone, when instead you saved a bundle by getting the same look with stenciled concrete. In addition, you no longer need to perform yearly sealcoating with messy tar, which would eventually get tracked into the house. Cost was a consideration, but since concrete has a much longer lifespan than asphalt, it will be more economical in the long run. In fact, with oil prices so high the concrete was about the same cost as asphalt anyway.
Your sidewalk is the next thing we see. You originally opted for brick pavers as a means of sprucing up your entryway, and they looked great at first. Then the inevitable happened. Chipmunks began burrowing under the sidewalk which caused some of the pavers to settle. Freeze/thaw cycles heaved some of the bricks, creating a tripping hazard and making it difficult to shovel snow. Insects took up residence in the sand bed and kept making tiny hills which would then be tracked indoors on the kids’ shoes. Perhaps worst of all, weeds constantly grew up between the individual pavers. You never envisioned having to mow your sidewalk or spray it with harmful chemicals!
Fortunately, you decided to replace the pavers with decorative concrete. All of the past problems were solved. The path is aesthetically pleasing, flat, weed-free, and safer. There is no longer the need to take up pavers, flatten the subgrade, and re lay them. The concrete was properly reinforced, so there is no differential heaving or settling between sections. Chipmunks can tunnel to their hearts’ content without affecting the integrity of the walkway. Best of all, your sidewalk has the shape, color, and pattern you wanted instead of being constrained by the limited choices available with pavers.
After improving the sidewalk, the porch looked a bit drab. However, you didn’t want to remove the whole thing and start over because it might have damaged your home’s brick facade. Instead you decided to have it overlayed with a thin coat of polymer modified cement. Now it complements the walkway and improves the overall appearance of your home.
Upon entering the house, your friends are impressed by the look of the decorative concrete flooring in your entryway. You appreciate the ease of cleaning and maintenance. You tell us that concrete floors can resemble marble, slate, stone, tile, brick, wood plank, terrazzo, or virtually anything else one can imagine. Acid stained, polished, or overlayed floors exhibit a rich, unique appearance unattainable with more conventional flooring options. You chose acid staining and couldn’t be happier.
In the living room, we are thoroughly impressed by the fireplace surround constructed entirely of concrete. Over there is a very unique concretecoffee table, as well as several interesting wall hangings. Who knew that you could do all that with cement?
Moving to the kitchen, we are stricken by the uniqueness of the concrete countertops that perfectly complement your home’s decor. Because it was infinitely customizable, the concrete could be formed into the exact shape and size you wanted. It fits perfectly into that odd space in the corner. There was no need to settle for something close to what you had in mind. With concrete countertops, you got the exact shape and color you wanted and at very competitive prices.
While having cocktails in your basement bar, we all marvel at the concrete bar top and acid stained floor. We never imagined that a man cave could be so… awesome. “What kind of rocks are those walls built from? I’ve never seen anything like it. And those antique wood beams are incredible!” says John. “They must have cost a fortune!” When you answer that it’s not stone or wood but carved concrete, you watch his jaw drop.
After a couple of drinks, you point the direction to the washroom. Your guests are in awe of the shower and vanity top with an integral sink. Surely that’s not all concrete too! However, after everything else we’ve seen here, we’re not surprised when you confirm our suspicions.
After dinner we retire to your new backyard patio. It resembles random pieces of flagstone but is, of course, stamped concrete. There is even a gas fire pit and sitting wall for relaxing outdoors on chilly fall evenings. It’s much nicer than that slippery wood deck you used to have out here. Remember last year when you had to dig that splinter out of Meghan’s hand? And you won’t miss the constant wood repairs, yearly restaining, and mossy mildew removal! Simply rolling on a new coat of clear sealer every few years will keep this patio looking great.
In fact, you enjoy your (nearly) maintenance-free backyard so much that you’re considering adding a swimming pool. Then your home would be like your own private resort! For comfort and appearance, you wouldn’t dream of having the pool deck built of anything but decorative concrete. Your neighbor Jim wishes he’d done that instead of using pavers. Not only are the uneven bricks extremely hot and hard on his family’s bare feet, but the pool filter is constantly getting clogged with sand.
Because your guests have all been so enamored with your amazing concrete, at the end of the evening you can’t resist showing them out through the garage. The stained & polished concrete floor make your garage and workshop look like a showroom. It’s so beautiful that you almost hate to park on it! Oh well, you’ll manage.
To see even more ways that decorative concrete can enhance the look of your Hoosier home, please view the photos in our various galleries. Then simply click on our Contractor Locator link to make your dream a reality!