Concrete – a versatile material being used in home decor products

Concrete is one of the most versatile materials we are using for various purposes, as residential architects in Bangalore, we at Studio J decided to dig a little deeper about concrete.

The natural and versatile material concrete looks very close to natural stone. Being natural in colour, it can be placed in a simple white room to add texture or in a room with a lot of materials to balance the colour and texture. For industrial look –colour and the variety of the finishes available makes an ideal craft home accessories. Its colour and texture are very versatile and unique. It can be showcased like a wall/ flooring or even as accents in spaces with dramatic counters or installations like light fixtures and sculptures. It’s so versatile that it goes well with both metal & wood finishes.

These pieces are easy to blend with both indoor and outdoor spaces due to its versatility of colour texture and finish. In interior spaces home accessories like table top, lamp shades hanging light fixture etc. can be added. They can be made as panel installation to the walls in various sizes & shapes. In outdoor space these could be the pavement the finish for a waterfall, sculptures, or benches or table tops or even flower pots. The only problem faceable with these beauties is that they are not scratch resistant. Another coating also needs to be done. It acquires character over time. These surfaces are easy to clean with a wet cloth & makes it option for the dust environment in India.

The latest textures / finishes in concrete used in home decor products.

Exposed Aggregate Finish
It is commonly found in sidewalks of old cities, is created by washing the top layer of concrete away, which exposes the edges of the natural stone aggregates that are mixed into the concrete. This provides an attractive and slip resistant finish. In addition to the use of the normal concrete materials (cement, sand, gravel and water), other materials may be added into the mix to provide exposed finishes with unique looks.

Salt Finish
It is a type of finish used mainly for swimming pool decks. Salt finishes are created by applying rock salt to the top of the wet concrete and then washing it away, which leaves small pits in the finished surface.

Stamped Concrete
A common method of texturing is to use concrete stamps. It comprises of panels with inlaid designs, which are placed on concrete while it is still curing. Designs may consist of brick, stone or other decorative patterns to provide the desired look, but retaining the strength and durability of concrete. Once the forms are removed, the concrete surface may have colour applied via staining.

Concrete colouring using pigments is a simple process, accomplished by adding the pigments directly to the concrete mix prior to pouring. Pigments are available in liquid form or in “mix-ready” dissolvable bags. The range of colours available is typically brown and tan, green, blue and grey can also be purchased. It is important to keep pigmented concrete well sealed throughout its lifetime in order to prevent water infiltration, which may cause the pigment to fade.

Concrete Stain
The colour of concrete can also be manipulated through the use of various staining products. One common method of staining concrete is through the use of acid. Water-based (acrylic) staining provides for a much larger number of colours, including black and white. Stains can be applied to concrete of any age, though the colours are typically more vibrant if the stain is applied relatively soon after the concrete has been placed. Application of stain is typically followed up with installation of a seal over the concrete to protect the surface.

Polished Concrete
Cured concrete, whether freshly-placed or well-aged, can be provided with a polished surface for a clean and glossy look, ease of maintenance. The polishing process is typically accomplished using concrete floor grinders that are outfitted with diamond abrasives.

Edging of the concrete is conducted to provide rounded or bevelled edges on the finished concrete as well as to create joints where needed in the surface to help minimize cracking.

Broom Finish
In order to make concrete surfaces slip resistant, a broom finish can be applied. This is done after placement, levelling, and trowelling of concrete. Once a smooth surface has been created, a broom is dragged across the surface of the concrete to create small ridges that provide for traction control, particularly when the concrete surface is wet. Concrete surfaces without a broom finish tend to be slippery and dangerous when liquids are present on the surface.