When it comes to home remodeling, the kitchen and the bathroom are usually the first places homeowners consider. In fact, it is common to overlook the exterior of your home, which is not only the first thing others notice about your home, but improving the exterior is also one of the primary ways to increase the resale value of your home. First impressions count and although concrete may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering decorative options for the exterior of your home, one of the easiest ways to make a great first impression is with the use of decorative concrete. Here are some of the ways decorative concrete can add beauty to the exterior of your property.
What Is Decorative Concrete?
Decorative concrete makes use of traditional concrete, but adds an extra touch of charm that concrete typically cannot otherwise provide. Depending on your tastes and preference, a concrete contractor will take the necessary steps before the concrete has cured to provide the design and style you are interested in. There are several different styles a concrete contractor can incorporate into the project. So, what exactly is decorative concrete? It is basically a term used for concrete that is patterned, stained, embossed, and/or textured. A few of the decorative styles to choose from include:
- Epoxy Coating:epoxy is a type of adhesive that is typically used in high traffic areas. When applied over the concrete it provides the concrete with additional strength, while giving it a smooth and elegant finish. Although epoxy is typically used for commercial and industrial treatments, it has become increasingly more popular for homeowners, especially for use in the garage or basement.
- Acid staining: during this process, an acid is applied to the concrete after it has hardened, then an etching is carefully done on the top layer of the concrete, which also adds colors as well. This type of application provides a marble-like effect on the existing concrete slab. This type of decorative concrete is ideal for walkways, patios and even driveways.
- Stamped concrete: This style is done when the concrete is being cured. There are numerous design options that can be stamped into the concrete to provide various effects, including the look of bricks, blocks, cobblestone and slate.
- Reflector enhancer: this is one of the most recent developments in decorative concrete. This look is achieved by mixing metal shavings with other additives that are reflective in nature. The mixture is added to an epoxy and once applied to the concrete, the end result is a 3D look. This type of concrete treatment is often used for commercial areas; however, it is also ideal for residential driveways that may be hidden in a curvy road or in a wooded area.
- Dyes: as the concrete is poured, it can be mixed with a wide variety of colors. Some of the most popular and commonly used colors include blue, red and brown; however, almost any color can be used to coordinate with your surrounding landscaping.
- Concrete overlays: one of the most common reasons for homeowners to contact a concrete company is due to cracked, pitted or damaged concrete. An attractive, easy, and inexpensive solution to these problems is with concrete overlays. There are varying thicknesses of overlays available, depending on the severity of the problem you could choose anywhere from 1/8 of an inch to 4 or more inches. The concrete is basically coated with a mixture that hardens, strengthening the concrete below, as well as covers any damages to the concrete and the overlay can be decorated with dyes, stains or stamping.
There are several different ways decorative concrete can be used to improve the exterior look of your property. Most of the decorative techniques can be combined to create a unique look for your driveway, walkways, decks and even a retaining wall.