The use of concrete can be the first and final stages in your home construction. Concrete laying is usually among the initial processes in a home construction project since concrete is used to build the foundation, the base floors and the structural supports of the home. Likewise, working on concrete should also be among the finishing processes, especially if the homeowner decides to have decorative concrete highlights in their home.
What is decorative concrete?
Concrete is not only used for structural support and foundation in a home construction project. Since concrete is a very versatile construction material, it can be used as an aesthetic enhancement to walls, posts, and flooring. You can transform ordinary concrete into decorative concrete by using a variety of materials that may be applied through different processes.
What are the things to consider when choosing to install decorative concrete?
Homeowners must remember that installing decorative concrete is not the same as laying down industrial concrete. The contractor who did the initial masonry work may or may not be skillful enough to create decorative concrete that will meet the expectations of the homeowner. So before choosing to install decorative concrete, homeowners must consider the following:
Always give clear expectations
Homeowners should provide contractors with a full description of what the finished decorative concrete should look like. In this way, the contractor can correctly assess if the expectations of the homeowner will be physically doable and financially feasible.
For example, it is always a good practice to let your contractors know whether a floor area is going to be transformed into a decorative concrete so that the contractors will pre-cure the concrete for further finishing processes. Otherwise, that specific floor area might meet all the basic standards of an ordinary concrete but will not be a suitable medium for further aesthetic modifications.
Choose the right contractor for the type of decorative concrete
Different concrete contractors have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their abilities to create decorative concrete. Contractors that are skilled in creating decorative concrete floors may lack the skills when it comes to making concrete walls more attractive. It is best to choose the right contractor with a specific skill set to work on different types of decorative concrete.
Schedule decorative work separately from other trades
If it is possible, it is best if you schedule the decorative concrete work after all other professions have done their job. Decorative concrete is susceptible to being damaged when other trades are still working within the project site. The best practice is to schedule decorative finishing on a weekend when all other trades are not around the project site.
Protect the finished work
There is a misconception that when concrete gets hard, it becomes even more durable and does not need further protection. On the contrary, decorative concrete needs to be protected. The chemistry of cement will change as it ages, and if the concrete is not water-proofed, water can cause physical and chemical changes to the pavement. It is therefore essential to plan how you will protect the finished decorative concrete with your main contractor.
Understand how to maintain decorative work
You can protect decorative concrete by properly sealing them against water and moisture. There are different ways of sealing decorative work, each having a unique appearance. You must coordinate with your concrete contractor what type of seal you want your decorative concrete to have and ask for recommendations on how to maintain decorative works properly and when to renew the application of the seal.
Understanding how to maintain and protect decorative concrete adequately will give you long-lasting aesthetics for your home.