At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Decorative concrete is created through a finishing process that is intended to provide an aesthetic quality. Various patterns, textures, and colors are applied to create decorative effects that enhance and beautify concrete. Concrete finishing techniques turn ordinary concrete projects into artistic impressions suitable for exterior and interior custom design applications. Design experts use decorative concrete as a cost effective substitute for natural stone, brick, and other more expensive construction elements.
Concrete is one of the most durable and versatile construction products ever developed, and is more widely used than any other building material. Modern finishing methods have expanded the uses of concrete to include products such as kitchen countertops and finished interior flooring. Typical exterior projects such as driveways and patios have been transformed into realistic stone and brick designs that are more durable than the real thing.
The commercial and industrial uses for decorative concrete are visible on highways, bridges, and buildings all over the world. Decorative concrete structures built over 2000 years ago are still standing in Rome. Retaining walls and highway barriers are erected to look like hand laid stonework. Modern staining techniques bring realistic textures to concrete stonework on bridges and buildings.
On a residential scale, the products available to homeowners can add value while controlling construction and renovation costs. Realistic patterns can be stamped into concrete during the pouring stage, allowed to cure, and then stained to look like real stone. The less expensive concrete is actually more durable than stone. A variety of different patterns are available that simulate many kinds of stone and brickwork.
Drab concrete floors have been transposed through the use of stains and stencils. A glasslike finish is possible with colors, patterns, and designs that are virtually unlimited. Concrete kitchen countertops provide an incredibly hard surface that will endure the test of time. Even the kitchen sink can be formed, poured, colored, and mounted to suit the most discriminating taste.
Precast concrete pavers and slabs are available in a variety of designs and colors. These handy products are a good choice for the do-it-yourself homeowner. Precast products can be used for paving projects, retaining walls, and freestanding walls. Decorative patios and walkways are easily designed and installed using ordinary landscaping tools.
Decorative concrete adds a new dimension to utilitarian construction. The typical durability and strength of concrete can be combined with aesthetically pleasing designs to enhance the total effect of an ordinary concrete project. The cost effective nature of concrete enables the homeowner to complete expensive looking projects at a reasonable price. Decorative concrete products are available from local contractors and building supply stores.