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What is decorative concrete? Decorative concrete is basically concrete that has no real structural value. It is primarily for the purpose of enhancing property value and visual appeal. Decorative concrete also makes it easy to maintain. Concrete is very porous and friable, so these two things make it very unattractive.

The different types of decorative concretes are thin sets, overlays, stamped concrete, acid stain, alkaline stain, polished, stain and polish, and epoxy coatings. Skim liners are typically 1/16 inch. They are made from Portland cement and different types of adhesive polymers. This would give your concrete surface an even and consistent look. Thin layers can be tinted. They can also be stamped and decorative saw cuts. Surface coatings are considered an overlay.

Stamped concrete would also be considered an overlay. These start out as a ¼ inch. to ½ in. thickness. More prep work is needed on the concrete before the stamped overlay is complete. The thickness of this would allow the stamping to be carried out. This could look like a brick path or huge chunks of natural stones connected together. These can be stained any color and are usually required to have a top coat sealer.

Acid staining gives concrete a deep, natural look. The concrete would have to be thoroughly cleaned of any glue, paint, grease, dirt, and thin-set debris. The best way to properly prepare the concrete for this is to diamond cut the floor surface to a two hundred grit flat surface. This will ensure that the concrete is open and that the acid penetrates the surface. Since the acid etches and burns the concrete, it will be almost impossible to further polish the concrete. The acid would have to be neutralized and a top coat sealer applied. These are typically water-based acrylics, solvent-based acrylics, water-based acrylic urethanes, and solvent-based acrylic urethanes. Acrylics alone tend to last two years and acrylic urethane tends to last 5-7 years. All four of the sealers mentioned are breathable, which is Vidal’s way of keeping concrete in excellent condition.

Concrete staining is the easiest to do. It is especially good for new concrete. The prep work would primarily involve a power wash at 2500 PSI and over 180 degrees of hot water. The hot water expands the concrete and allows the dirt to go away so you can stain it. Cold water cracks concrete. The right technician can stain concrete any color.

Concrete polishing involves cutting the surface of the concrete until it is perfectly flat. Polishing starts on a 400 grit surface. They can go up to 3000 grit. 400 grits are typically for shops and will be very low maintenance. The 3000 grit would be for high end homes.

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