Here we look at the tools and techniques you will need to achieve some of the more popular concrete flatwork finishes and textures.
Polished concrete is popular as an interior finish for commercial, industrial and residential buildings. It can also be used to create bench tops and other decorative surfaces. Appealing features of this ultra smooth finish include its durability, seamless design and ease of cleaning.
Achieving polished concrete requires a multi-step process that involves first pouring the concrete – using a cement mixer for smaller quantities, or pumping it for larger areas. Once the concrete has hardened it must be repeatedly mechanically ground and honed, and polished with bonded abrasives to achieve the desired texture and appearance.
Some of the tools and equipment you might need to polish concrete include:
Industrial standard floor vacuum to extract hazardous dust and silica particles
Hardening agent for polishing
Compacting agents to improve the water and stain resistance and enhance shine.
Stamped and stencilled concrete finishes allow concrete flatwork to feature decorative patterns that resemble slate, tiles, pavers, stone and brickwork. Often used for driveways, walkways, stairs and other outdoor areas these concrete finishes offer a quick, relatively cost effective and low maintenance alternative to paved surfaces. Whilst stamping techniques can only be applied to freshly poured concrete, stencilling can be used to rejuvenate existing concrete surfaces.
Depending on your preferred technique some of the tools and equipment you may need include:
A stencil or stamp in your chosen design, suitable for your method of application.
A pigmented powdered or liquid release agent to be applied to concrete prior to stamping.
A sandblasting tank and air compressor for sandblasting over stencils.
Additional concrete is required to apply a stencilled finish using a concrete overlay.
To achieve a salt finish, coarse rock salt is pressed into the surface of freshly poured concrete. Once the concrete has set the salt granules are washed away using a high-pressure hose, leaving small, irregular indentations in the surface. This clever outdoor concrete finish is an easy and cost effective way to achieve a textured and slightly weathered looking concrete surface.
Some of the tools and equipment that you might need for salt finished concrete include:
Roller to distribute salt rocks relatively evenly over the concrete surface
Float or roller to press the salt into the surface
High-pressure hose or electric water blaster to dissolve and wash away salt rocks.
Exposed aggregate is another common, highly textured concrete finish often used in driveways, patios and poolside areas to create a durable, non-slip surface. Random patterns and varying colours can be achieved when the small pebbles (or aggregates) that form part of the concrete are left protruding from the surface.
Once the concrete is poured and levelled, a chemical retarder is applied across the entire surface to keep the surface layers soft while the lower layers harden. The top layer of concrete is then gently scrubbed away, leaving the aggregate exposed.
To create this finish some of the specialist tools and materials you will need include:
Additional aggregates for the concrete mix
High-pressure hose or electric water blaster to wash away the top concrete layer.
If you are applying any of these finishes to fresh concrete you will need some additional equipment to lay and prepare your concrete – including: screeds; scrabblers; trowels (hand held or mechanical); bull floats; brooms; groovers; and edging tools. Concrete kibble crane and forklift attachments can help transfer concrete mixes across less accessible work sites. And if you’re mixing your own concrete check out these tips on getting the most out of your mixer.
To find out more or for all your concrete equipment needs, contact Coates Hire today.
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