Taking your surface to another level
The reasons for creating an artistic pattern, border or stencil vary, but one thing is for sure decorative concrete will never
be the same. When a simple colored concrete floor just won’t cut it and your budget allows for the addition of other decorative elements you just might want to consider an artistic pattern, border or stencil.
From a simple cut pattern to mimic large slabs of stone or tile to a more elaborate sand blasted border or design, decorative concrete professionals are pushing the boundaries typically associated with concrete design.
Some typical ways of adding designs and patterns are listed below.
Diamond cut lines and patterns:
A common method for adding a pattern to concrete is by cutting. A craftsman can use a variety of tools usually equipped with a concrete cutting blade, to groove or cut a straight or curved line into a concrete surface. This is a great way of mimicking tile or large slabs of granite, marble or exotic stone.
The cuts can be of various thicknesses but usually are that of typical tile grout line sizes ranging between 1/8″inch and 1/4″ inch thick. If the lines are to be grouted they must be deep enough so that the grout will adhere within the cut a minimum of 1/8″inch.
Cut patterns are a great way of breaking up large rooms or areas, as well as create a color stop point if the floor pattern will be comprised or two or more colors.
Abrasive Blasting: Includes sand blasting, dry ice blasting and calcium carbonate blasting. Abrasive blasting is a way of removing the top layer of finish of a surface. Abrasive blasting can be used to etch a pattern, design or image into concrete. Many standard templates are available as well as can be custom created. Abrasive blasting is a great way of adding a border, design, logo, lettering or numbers into a concrete surface to add an additional functional or design element.
Acid etching: Also known as acid gel etching.
This is another way of adding an etched pattern or design into concrete.
In order for this process to work the concrete must be unsealed and able to react with Muriatic Acid. Without the need for sand blasting equipment, many of the design possibilities of sand blasting can be done but with an acid based etching solution.
Concrete Engraving: Specialty designed engraving equipment as well as simple angle grinders equipped with diamond attachments can engrave and removing the top layer of a finish of a concrete surface. The engraving process can be used to etch a pattern, design or image into concrete. Many standard templates are available as well as can be custom created. Engraving is a great way of adding a border, design, logo, lettering or numbers into a concrete surface. Professionals that specialize in engraving have a variety of tools and equipment, and it is a great way of taking a concrete slab, or driveway and adding an intricate brick or tile pattern, as well as create large feature areas within a home or business.
Stenciling or Masking: Stencils or masks are used to create detailed patterns or designs, which in turn can be sand blasted, acid etched, engraved or colored.
Another technique involves using stencils as color blocks or stops. This means that when a stencil is applied to a surface and the areas of the stencil requiring coloration are removed or revealed a surface colorant or thin cement based skim coat can be applied. The remaining masked areas don’t get affected. If a cement based skim is used the pattern will be slightly raised (not much more than paper thick) this can add an element of design and texture to the project. Only removing portions of the mask and adding varying layers of color with each removal can achieve beautiful multicolored and intricate design.