They differ in the pattern material used. Stamped concrete uses rubber design mats while stenciled concrete uses disposable paper stencils. Using stencils also produces more distinctive grout lines since color is added after the stencil is placed on the concrete. There are different types of sealers used for both types of external surfaces. Breathable coats protect the concrete from the inside by penetrating and binding with the concrete. This type of sealer is advisable for pool decks and driveways since these are not as slippery as film forming type of sealers. Film forming sealers will give off a glossy finish while penetrating sealers will give a matte finish. Either sealer can be water or oil-based. When applying sealers to stamped and stenciled concrete there are a number of things to remember. The surface should be clean, free from dust, chemicals and other contaminants. When resealing, it is important to know the type of sealer used, the same type of sealer should be used otherwise it will not bind with the concrete surface. It is also time to reseal stamped and stenciled concrete when the concrete surface is stained, and there is increased moisture on the concrete’s surface.
It can be used in flooring, wall, and ceiling applications, or it can be employed to construct statues and furniture. It can be made to look industrial and cold as well as traditional and warm. With so many applications, it is nearly safe to say that concrete can be used to make almost anything, and countertops are no exception. Utilizing concrete countertops has become an increasingly popular way for designers and homeowners to achieve a look unparalleled by any other material. Concrete countertops can add the perfect design element to almost any design style, including traditional, earthy, modern, industrial, contemporary, and more. Concrete countertops are only limited to the imagination and the ability to make the forms as such. Obviously, the aggregates must allow the concrete to set up as it should. However, aggregates can have roles in the aesthetics of the concrete countertop, as well. For example, the type of fine aggregates chosen (i. In this case, aggregate sizes and colors are just as important as any concrete coloring to the final look of the top. Portland Cement. Portland cement is the binder that keeps concrete held together. Because traditional Portland cement is grey in color, it can have an effect on the overall look of the concrete countertop. If you are looking for a top that can be easily stained dark colors, or if you are wanting to leave the concrete countertops the natural, grey color, then regular Portland is the right choice for the project. There are a variety of techniques used to achieve a certain color in a concrete countertop. These colors are often called integral colors or integrated colors. Post-pour colors will grind off, exposing the original color of the concrete. Some post-pour concrete coloring techniques include stained concrete countertops, tinted concrete countertops, and dyed concrete countertops. Make sure to check rules and tips for each of these techniques before attempting. For every concrete countertop, you will want to use some sort of sealer. Concrete is naturally porous, so you will need a sealer to keep the pores from sucking in bacteria, stains, etc. Because this sealer will protect your concrete countertop investment, don’t cheap out on this step. Sealers can come in many different sheens and even tints. Decorative Props. One semi-common technique is inlaying decorative materials into the concrete countertop when the concrete has yet to cure. If used on a functional countertop, impressions should be shallow to avoid creating an area that collects dirt and grime. Impression materials are abundant and can include rubber stamps, hand or foot prints, leaves and sticks, cookie cutters or cake molds, etc. Surface Finishes. For the surface, there are many different finishes that you can choose, including flat, polished, stamped or impressed, troweled, textured, and more. This finish can have a enormous impact on the final look of the concrete countertop. The only limitation is the maker’s ability to create the mold or form. Also, you can use a router, like those used on granite or marble countertops, to create edge styles including bull nose, rounded corners, triple egg, ogee, and more. There are also a variety of Styrofoam and rubber edge molds that can mimic wood trim, jagged rock edge, and numerous more. This will mean you have one fluid piece that accounts for the counters and the sink with no seams. There are even more sink shapes available with concrete than there are with other materials. Again, if you can dream it and build the mold, you can make it with concrete.
The value of your home and location are the most important. Also, you need to choose a flooring style that is popular in your area. For homes above the 200,000 dollar range there was a dramatic increase towards tile, hardwood flooring and area rugs. But, recently there has been growth in Stained Concrete. Stained concrete is gaining in popularity in New York Loft apartments. But also, Tile, Marble, and stone are big sellers. Vinyl is more durable than Hardwood and is not as cold as Ceramic or Porcelain Tile. Hardwood Flooring is very common in upper middle class homes. Solid Hardwood is the largest seller.