Tired of dealing with plain concrete? Need a bit more flair for your stepping stones, walkways, and soil borders? You don't need to deal with basic concrete pouring or monotone gravel with so many color options out there, but you need to know how to place, curate, and properly preserve your decorative work. Here are a few techniques, problems, and brainstorming angles for getting more decorative with concrete and other flooring materials:
Mixture Ratios Matter
Material sciences are all about getting the right mixture to gain a desired effect. It's not quite chemistry--at least not in the strictest sense because there aren't chemical reactions that take place--but if you don't have the right materials to get a quality concrete setting at the end, a lot of problems can happen.
Concrete brands are designed to work with a specific mixture of product and water. Although you need to give an exact amount of water to the best of your abilities, there is a bit of leeway baked in (via chemical reactions and special materials that happen at the manufacturer) since manufacturers know that not all concrete pouring will be perfect. Unfortunately, adding other objects can create unknown results.
If you want to add glass, rocks, dye, or other materials to your concrete, you're not working within the concrete manufacturer's designs. The concrete could become too dry because other stones soak up the water to the point of leaving behind layers of uncured powder. Certain dyes may take too long to dry or may react with the mixture to create a brittle or separating result.
If you're going to make your own concrete mixture, test it beforehand. Get a small sample, measure your additives and plot down the results. If necessary, speak with a concrete expert to figure out how to increase the size of a given mixture, as it isn't always as simple as multiplying your test by the size of your bigger mixture needs.
Pre-made Mixtures And Special Requests
If you don't want to mix your own decorative concrete, there are pre-mixed options.
Decorative concrete is designed with material science in full practice. These businesses have laboratories, testing areas, professionals with material science knowledge and exacting measurement tools to make sure that their products produce predictable results as long as you follow the instructions.
Not all of the concrete options require mixing. You can order pre-cast decorative concrete tiles or plates that already have a specific design, allowing you to place a dazzling array of color and design created by people who know quite a few tricks. Whether you use it as a faster way to deliver unique design or as an inspiration to meet and exceed, there are many intricate designs that are ready for delivery.
Contact a decorative concrete professional to discuss other aspects of decorative concrete design.