How to Create a Salt Finish
As the name implies, a salt finish is traditionally achieved with the same coarse rock salt sold for use in water softeners or as a deicer in winter. Concrete finishers broadcast the salt particles over wet concrete and then press the grains into the surface with a float or roller. After the concrete sets (typically after 24 hours), they power wash the salt away, revealing a speckled pattern of shallow indentations left by the dislodged salt particles.
While salt imprinting is relatively quick and easy to master, there are newer methods that can speed up the process by doing away with the salt altogether (see "Ways to Produce a Salt Finish, Without the Salt").
Salt finishes are more commonplace in the warmer western and southern regions of the country. The reason: In areas subject to freezing weather, water tends to collect in the indentations and freeze, potentially causing spalling. But if you like the look and use good-quality concrete protected by a waterproofing sealer, a salt finish should be durable enough to endure any climate.
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