Traditional concrete is made up of cement, lime, and water blended in precise ratios to create various structures. While concrete provides a high level of strength and durability, it typically features a dull, gray finish that many consider to be fairly boring. Traditionally, builders have used tools such as brooms or trowels to create concrete texture in patios, sidewalks, and other paved surfaces. Today, contractors have many more concrete texture options to choose from. This makes it easy to create an innovative concrete texture that goes far beyond the basic broom or trowel finish.
One of the easiest ways to create concrete texture is to use a simple roller. These rollers have patterns or molds cut into them that resemble a variety of materials. Concrete rollers may be designed to mimic the appearance of cobblestone, brick, or even tree bark. Rollers work best to create concrete texture on small surfaces such as barbeque grills or walls rather than patios and walkways. They tend to produce a fairly uniform and repetitive pattern, which can be unattractive over a larger area.
To create concrete texture over a large area, crews often rely on stamps or stencils. These large sheets feature patterns of brick, stone, or other materials. By pressing the stamp into wet concrete, contractors can transfer the pattern on the stamp to the paved surface. Concrete installers often follow up with hand-molding techniques to add some variety to different parts of a stamped surface. This breaks up a monotonous pattern and makes the concrete texture appear more realistic.
Concrete skins offer a relatively new method of creating concrete texture. This process involves using flexible sheets of material to mold shapes into the concrete. An entire plastic skin may be embossed with shapes resembling leaves, cracks, or even intricate symbols. Installers lay the entire skin over the surface and gently press the design into the concrete. This technique is particularly popular in theme parks, where it can be used to create anything from bear paws to dinosaur footprints.
Rock salt can be used to create a simple yet interesting concrete texture in any horizontal paved surface. During this process, large crystals of rock salt are poured onto the fresh concrete. They are then rolled in place using a lawn roller or wood float. Finally, the surface is sprayed with water until the salt dissolves, leaving holes and voids in the concrete.