Concrete no longer has to be a necessary evil that serves solely as a building material. You no longer have to hide its boring surface with something else. Decorative concrete has come a long way and you are now able to turn your driveway or a patio into a piece of art. There are several methods of decorating the concrete and each can provide you with different results. Now your concrete surface can give a whole new look to your house or yard and make it more attractive. With so many possibilities, everyone can find a texture that will go well with the rest of the household. Some of the most popular methods of decorating a concrete surface are stamping, polishing, and acid-staining.
Today Decorative Concrete is gaining in popularity. With this inexpensive raw material, the manufacturing technology of which does not require much time, a number of finishing materials and many building materials can be successfully replaced. After passing through the three stages of chemical treatment, the most ordinary concrete is able to imitate marble surfaces and cobblestones, while comparing favorably with its strength and durability indicators.
The most widely used in the construction of domestic and industrial buildings was printed concrete. It easily simulates classic coatings, has a large palette of shades and its functionality. Printed concrete is used to decorate parks, sidewalks and squares, as well as for interior decoration of premises, for example, it can be found in cafes or trading floors.
Due to its resistance to aggressive environments and petroleum products, Decorative Concrete is very convenient for use in megacities, as well as at gas stations and car parks as a road slab. This material also withstands temperature extremes without negative consequences. Concrete decorative coating is much stronger than asphalt or paving slabs, plus it does not adversely affect the health of others, unlike conventional road materials.
Of course, Decorative Concrete has gained the widest distribution in the construction industry. It is perfect for making columns, finishing socles and walls. In the construction of buildings and structures, decorative concrete is used as material for flights of stairs, window sills and floor slabs. Also, such concrete perfectly replaces building materials such as gypsum and natural stone.
The latest technologies for the production of decorative concrete allow you to recreate a wide variety of structures and surfaces that can even mimic a weathered tree. This feature is especially appreciated for the reconstruction of materials that are no longer available for sale or manufactured.
Modern paving slabs and ordinary concrete are significantly inferior to Decorative Concrete in terms of strength, durability and weather resistance. Such material is used in unlimited quantities as a road slab for laying walkways, driveways and around pools.
To make such a material, concrete undergoes several rather complex processing processes and, in addition, other materials are additionally included in it. To begin with, a multilayer base is created, which is strengthened. Dyes are applied to the surface to give a uniform color, which also create resistance to the influence of ultraviolet rays. To increase the service life, concrete is covered with a hardener, and thanks to special sealants that penetrate deep into the material and improve bonding, the product acquires increased resistance to aggressive environments.
Decorative Concrete is capable of serving a fairly large amount of time, while it does not require maintenance and is able to withstand various loads and external influences.
STAMPED Decorative Concrete: ALTERNATIVE TO PAVING TILES
The stamped Decorative Concrete technology is used to create coatings that mimic the color and texture of natural materials. This is the best development that allows you to simulate natural stone, brick, pavers, animal skin, wooden boards. This technology makes it possible to obtain a concrete coating surface that is fully consistent with the architectural style of buildings and landscape design elements.
Decorative and printed concrete is an innovative type of monolithic concrete, processed by stamping in combination with chemical impregnation.
History of printed concrete technology
Decorative Concrete first appeared in America over half a century ago. This technology was originally developed for the construction of runways for heavy US bombers. But the innovative concrete coating turned out to be so reliable and versatile that it began to be used in many areas. Improving the decorative characteristics of the material has led to its wide distribution in urban planning.
A little later, the scale of the use of colored textured concrete began to grow rapidly, first in the UK, and then in all countries of Europe. Printed concrete helped transform the cities completely, giving rise to the harmony of the architectural styles of palaces, squares with shopping areas and modern residential buildings.
The main competitor to stamped Decorative Concrete is currently road tile. But this material has a number of significant drawbacks: poor color gamut, the inability to use more than one color on one element, a complex base device. The manufacture of tiles from low-quality concrete leads to its rapid wear, fading, cracking.
Decorative Concrete is devoid of all these shortcomings. But its widespread use is restrained due to the high requirements for the composition of concrete and the qualifications of the pavers.
Performance of stamped concrete
In the production of this material do not use substances harmful to human health and the environment, therefore, toxic emissions are absent both in the production process and during the operation of stamped concrete.
Unlike concrete tiles and asphalt, the surface of decorative concrete has increased resistance to aggressive alkaline and acidic environments.
On the coating there are no stubborn stains from oils, solvents, gasoline, since it is easy to clean.
Decorative Concrete is able to withstand temperature fluctuations from -50 ° C to + 50 ° C. Without loss of performance, this material can tolerate more than 300 freezing and thawing cycles.
Stamped concrete has a non-slip surface, does not lose its color gamut, and is resistant to ultraviolet radiation.
The surface of this material is resistant to abrasion and pressure.
Decorative concrete, despite its excellent decorative qualities and high performance, has a low cost compared to natural materials.
Subject to the annual treatment with a hydrophobic composition, the decorative concrete coating retains a fresh appearance for many years.
Applications for stamped Decorative Concrete
In the manufacture of printed concrete, 15 primary colors and about 30 shades are used. The combination of the diversity and beauty of natural materials with high performance makes it possible to use stamped concrete in places of accumulation of various types of vehicles – at bus stations, gas stations, car parks, tram tracks. It can be used to design marinas.
To protect the building from destruction, it is necessary to know the possible causes of cracks in concrete. You can buy cheap high-quality concrete for the manufacture of garden paths and areas of printed concrete.
The material is suitable for arranging city alleys and squares, garden paths, outdoor café areas, in courtyards.
Stamped Decorative Concrete is used not only for outdoor work, but also for indoor. With its help, floor coverings of museums, exhibition halls, restaurants, residential premises are made out.
Manufacturing technology for decorative printing concrete
The manufacturing technology of decorative concrete coating allows you to do all the work yourself, subject to the basic rules.
Work must be carried out in dry weather at a temperature of at least + 5 ° C.
With the help of stakes and twine, they limit the area on which the coating will be arranged.
When conducting outdoor work, remove the topsoil with a depth of 150 mm – for pedestrian walkways and 200 mm – if cars are to be walked along the track.
A sand and gravel pillow 100-150 mm thick is poured into the exposed formwork, rammed.
A plastic film with an overlap of 100 mm is applied to the sealed pillow, a reinforcing metal mesh is arranged.
Concrete grade must be at least M350. It is prepared on Portland cement M400-500 with the addition of plasticizing modifiers.
In the production of concrete for decorative coatings, it is recommended to add reinforcing polypropylene fiber in a proportion of 0.6 kg per cubic meter of mixture. It prevents cracking and improves the performance of the coating.
Composition Decorative Concrete: 1 part Portland cement M400, three parts sand and granite gravel fractions 5-20 mm, plasticizer C-3-0.5% dry matter (added as an aqueous solution), polypropylene fiber – 0.6 kg per 1m3.
The prepared concrete mix is placed in the formwork, evenly distributed, compacted by vibrators. To obtain the desired surface level, use the rule.
Rolling the surface with a roller ensures the deposition of coarse aggregate and the removal of small particles to the surface.
The surface is smoothed with an aluminum smoothing device, large or small, depending on the surface area. Along the perimeter, the area must be treated with an angle trowel.
Basic steps of Decorative Concrete
Before applying the color fixer, make sure that there is no excess concrete on the surface. The top layer should be matte.
By manual spraying, 70% of the fixative is applied to the surface, smoothed with an aluminum smoothing device, the edges of the site are treated with an angular smoothing device.
Spread the remaining 30% of the fixative, smooth it with a steel trowel. Color hardener is a mixture of persistent pigments, a binder component, a filler made of ground quartz sand and granite. Each layer is rubbed so that the coloring component is saturated with moisture and the surface of the concrete becomes smooth and evenly stained.
Dispersed color hardener increases the density of the concrete base, excluding micropores, and gives the coating a stable color.
Without waiting for complete drying, a soft surface is pressed using special forms that mimic the selected surface: stone, brick, boards.
Printing is carried out without delay, while the concrete lends itself to light pressure of a finger.
The first texture matrices are laid moving along the formwork along the length of the track or platform. Matrices must be closely pressed together – this creates straight lines at the joints.
Depending on the plastic hardness of the concrete at the time of installation, the texture matrices are imprinted with hands, feet, or tampers.
After not less than two days of hardening, remove the excess disconnector with long-bristle brushes.
The surface is washed with water using hard brushes.
After drying, a protective acrylic layer is applied to the concrete, which provides the coating with high protective properties against abrasion, ultraviolet radiation, and aggressive media.
Ways to create a picture
If you want to decorate your garden in an unusual way, use pigmenting chemical additives for concrete in the manufacture of decorative stamped concrete.
To create a textured type of concrete coating, various forms and stamps are used. They are produced from inexpensive and lightweight materials – silicone, plastic, polyurethane.
The variety of forms for stamped concrete makes it possible to choose the option that matches the specific architectural style and design intentions. It can be squares, rhombuses, “sea wave”, basket weaving, imitation of animal skins and many other options.
When creating a Decorative Concrete pattern, etching chemicals can be used to create muted colors of various shades, giving a convincing imitation of glazed stone or marble. The lines of the picture can be applied with a saw with a diamond blade. This allows you to limit the effect of the chemical composition and give the picture clarity. Etching can create sophisticated finishes on an existing image.
Decorative Concrete coatings can be combined in color and texture with the basement of the building, can contrast it or create unusual color combinations.
In many localities, modern urban planners increasingly prefer durable and reliable decorative stamped concrete with its rich texture and varied color.