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Exterior decorative concrete

Far from the image of industrial austerity with which it is often associated, the concrete can, in reality, be worked in such a way as to present a very pleasant decorative aspect. The various decorative concretes (which are in fact mortars) make it possible to benefit from the many advantages of this resistant and inexpensive material, without giving up the visual harmony that they can produce around the house or on a terrace.

The different types of decorative concretes

Although, in principle, nothing stands in the way, decorative concretes are generally not used indoors, but rather outside the home, to dress a terrace, a driveway or a descent. garage. They are more and more used in the cities that they enliven of their colors and decorative reasons. Concrete is a resistant material that is easy to maintain, wear-resistant and whose neo-industrial aesthetic has been completely rehabilitated for a few years.

There are different types of decorative concretes, both in terms of the material itself and the way they are used.
Printed concrete
Sometimes we also talk about stamped concrete, see molded concrete. A footprint is printed on fresh concrete to put a decorative pattern on it. Sometimes called "stencil concrete", it is currently a very fashionable process. With time and wear, this type of concrete tends to look like natural stone. The molds or dies are generally made of polyurethane. There are all forms to make the most varied footprints, allowing imitating all the coating materials.

Forged concrete
It is the cousin of the printed concrete, but the matrix that prints the pattern is inserted in one piece in the fresh screed. This type of concrete is particularly suitable for reproducing the effect of pavers, slats of wood or tile tiles. It can perfectly imitate these different materials or accessories. However, this technique is difficult to apprehend by the amateur because it assumes specific equipment of large dimensions.

The deactivated concrete
Large diameter gravel ("aggregates" of large caliber) are incorporated into the concrete to obtain a decorative rendering. Their hue can modulate the color effect of the whole, just like the color chosen for the binder (gray or white, or even colored with a pigment). Once poured, and at the end of setting, the concrete is washed using a deactivating agent, product which delays the hardening of the concrete on the surface. The passage of a jet of water in high pressure brings out the aggregates. This type of concrete is extremely resistant over time and ages very well. This technique is widely used for the manufacture of garden slabs concrete with a rough surface made of rolled river gravel.

Washed concrete (or sanded)
According to the same principle as for deactivated concrete, a large proportion of gravel (the diameter of which may vary depending on the desired effect) is incorporated into the concrete. Once poured concrete, and before its total setting, it is "washed" by a high-pressure blasting of abrasive (sand most often) to make emerge the embedded chippings. If patterns are made at this stage (playing on the depth of sanding), then we speak of "sanded poached" concrete. Like deactivated concrete, it is very resistant and, as such, perfect for a descent garage.

Brushed concrete
Just after laying, when the concrete is still cool, the surface of the concrete is swept to reveal decorative streaks. Slightly rough, it is not the concrete whose decorative effect is the most striking, and we prefer it in essentially functional areas (ground garden shed, down garage, etc.). Formerly used brushes branching, but we now find specific brushes large aluminum bristles more or less hard depending on the desired surface result.

Polished (or smoothed) concrete
More often used indoors, this concrete is polished after drying (by a machine called "helicopter") for a very contemporary smooth rendering. Its sleek appearance is perfect for a terrace or swimming pool. It is this kind of material that is used for interior waxed concrete.

Bushed concrete
Gravel and small stones are incorporated into the concrete which is smoothed by mechanical bursting after curing. The resulting effect is that of a cross section of pebbles and gravel, which gives a visual very mineral. By varying the color and the diameter of the gravel and pebbles, we can modulate the final appearance.

Colored concrete
Pigments (natural or synthetic) are sprinkled on the concrete at the time of drying to give it a particular color. The range of possible colors is vast and can be combined with other surface treatments. The quality of the pigments plays a significant role on the final price of the material.

Maintenance of decorative concrete

Decorative concretes are very easy to maintain and are very resistant (they last several decades without deteriorating). By annually passing the pressure washer, without approaching the nozzle of the surface of the coating, and renewing every two to three years of protection products, it is ensured to perpetuate their visual appearance. A slipper may be necessary on the smoothest supports.

On the same topic

  • DIY tips
    • Decorate the garden: barbecue, pizza oven, etc...
    • Apply decorative waxed concrete
    • Outdoor flooring: terraces, driveways
    • Cleaning and waterproofing protection for outdoor floors and floors
    • Gravel driveway
    • Installation of interlocking pavers
    • Make a mortar screed on a slab before tiling
  • Questions answers
    • What about printed concrete for a terrace in front of a pool?
    • Paint wax concrete
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of waxed concrete?

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