A concrete contractor must be able to provide the exact work that is described in a construction bid. This includes a description of the project’s scope, schedule, and milestones.
Carving into a concrete mix creates decorative accents that look like stones, rocks, chiseled wood, and other materials. Concrete carving gives homeowners and businesses one-of-a-kind decorative surfaces that enhance walls, patios, and other spaces. Click Here to learn more.
Unlike stone carving, where the sculpted pieces remain attached to the material’s surface, relief sculptures are carved into a background of the same material. The word comes from the Latin verb relevo, meaning “to raise” or to elevate.
The sculpted designs are called bas relief or low relief. A high relief sculpture is raised above the background plane, while a low relief sculpture is carved lower than the surface of the concrete.
To prepare a panel for relief carving, the artist creates a pattern on paper and transfers it to the surface with carbon paper or another transfer medium. Then the artist chisels away the wood behind the patterns, leaving only the sculpted areas.
When you hire a contractor for a concrete carving project, ask to see pictures of previous work and read reviews. It’s also important to wear gloves and a dust mask when working with concrete, which contains silica that can irritate the skin and lungs if inhaled over time. Many concrete contractors specialize in certain types of projects, so make sure you choose a specialist who has experience with your type of project.
Stamped concrete is a popular choice for patios, driveways and other paved surfaces. It’s versatile and highly customizable, able to mimic the look of many other materials including stone, wood and tile. It’s more affordable than pavers and offers the same durability as poured concrete.
Stamping can be done in new concrete pours to create different textures and finishes or it can be done on existing concrete. It’s also a great way to hide damaged or discolored concrete. The concrete is stamped before it hardens to give it a unique design. It can then be stained to achieve the look of stone, brick, wood or tiles.
The process starts with pouring the concrete. Then a color is added to the cement mixture. This can be done in two ways: adding it to the mix as the cement is mixed (integral coloring) or after the concrete has been poured, using a technique called broadcast coloring, where color is spread evenly across the surface of the wet concrete.
After the cement has been poured, it’s then textured with special rollers, skins or stamps to imitate a particular material. Some installers use a production-oriented method, while others prefer to hand carve the concrete for additional detail and realism.
Giffin explains that the vertical tools used for stamped concrete require more skill than flatwork stamps because they need to be light and flexible in order to maneuver into the tight spaces of rock, stone and wood patterns. They must also be strong enough to hold their shape and provide a high level of detail.
A benefit of stamped concrete is that it’s extremely durable and doesn’t have to be sealed the same way as other paving materials. However, it can be sprayed with slip-resistant coatings if needed and must be washed with a garden hose and mild detergent to remove dirt and other debris from the surface. It’s a good idea to have the concrete resealed every two or three years.
It’s important to hire a qualified contractor when having decorative concrete work done. It’s a complex and time-consuming job, and it should only be done by a professional with the right equipment and experience.
Vertical Concrete Carving
Concrete isn’t just for smooth, horizontal applications anymore. It can be shaped and colored to resemble stone, rock and even chiseled wood for unique and one-of-a-kind decorative accents for interior and exterior walls and surfaces. Carving into a fresh concrete mix allows contractors to create realistic rock and wood formations that hold their shape without moving, sluffing or drooping. This is accomplished using a special vertical concrete sculpting mix that contains finer grades of aggregates and polymers than regular concrete.
For homeowners interested in a more personal touch, contractors can also etch or engrave into cured concrete to produce custom markings or patterns. These can range from company logos to names and dates, flowers and animals or any other design a customer desires. This process can be used on top of or in conjunction with other finishes, including pattern stamping, exposed aggregate and textured overlays.
Both Russell and Emil Gera agree that a growing interest in unique and artistic forms is helping to drive the market for carved concrete. In addition, they both point to the rising popularity of foam core construction as another factor that’s adding to the diversity of this market. This newer method of building structures is enabling contractors to quickly and cost-effectively complete larger projects that would be difficult or impossible with traditional methods such as rebar and lath.
While it’s important for contractors to keep up with the latest trends in decorative concrete, they should always remain true to their skills and experience. It’s also a good idea for them to take precautions when working with concrete, especially since it can irritate the skin and lungs when inhaled over long periods of time. This may mean wearing gloves and a dust mask, and keeping project areas well-ventilated.
A concrete overlay is a cement based material that is placed over existing concrete to repair or enhance its appearance. Overlays can be a single color or they can be stamped and textured to look like pavers, rock or chiseled wood. They are available in a range of thicknesses from feather finish up to 3/4” inch depending on the desired final product.
Overlays are a great solution for concrete flooring that is showing signs of wear and tear but does not require full replacement. It is important that the concrete slab is in good condition prior to having an overlay applied. If the surface is weak or damaged it will not support the weight of foot traffic and may delaminate. Our concrete resurfacing contractor will be able to inspect your concrete and let you know if it is a suitable surface for an overlay.
Most decorative concrete overlays are polymer based systems that contain a combination of dry ingredients and liquids to create a thick cement-like product. These materials are easy to work with and provide a variety of different options for finishing. Some popular systems have up to seven different dry ingredients each providing a unique nuance or performance characteristic to the finished product.
Experienced contractors can use trowels, hopper guns and other tools to texture a concrete overlay to create a one of a kind surface. Carving into a fresh concrete mix allows homeowners and business owners to make their surfaces look like a stone, paver, chiseled wood or any number of other designs without having to tear out existing concrete.
Overlays can be used on exterior and interior concrete surfaces, including patios, driveways, sidewalks, and pool decks. They can also be used on walls to resurface sagging, spalling, and cracked walls. They are a great alternative to drywall and can be designed to match the style of your home or business. The resurfacing process requires a thorough clean-up to remove oil, dirt, and other contaminants from the surface. It is also essential that the concrete be prepped properly for an overlay to ensure a strong chemical bond and minimize cracking.