Cast Stone Institute

Very little can be done to change the appearance of architectural concrete details once they have been incorporated into a structure. For custom or made-to-order pieces, it's essential to discuss your expectations with the precaster from the start to avoid disappointing results.

With the visual prominence and impact of architectural concrete, it's especially important to make sure that the final color, texture, finish and detailing of the cast piece meet your aesthetic expectations. Ask the precaster to prepare shop drawings of your plans for approval to ensure the accuracy of detail. Also ask to see a sample of the concrete to be used for final evaluation of color and finish. Here are some additional tips from the Cast Stone Institute:

  • Expect some minor variations in color and texture in cast stone elements, similar to what you might see in natural cut limestone.
  • Some pieces will show more color inconsistency than others. For example, those made with gray cement will show more light/dark variations than those containing primarily white cement. And pieces containing high concentrations of integral pigments such as reds and browns will vary more in color than neutral shades such as buff.
  • Special mixes containing contrasting and multicolored aggregates may also show greater variations in color.
  • Deficiencies you should not accept in architectural cast concrete products include obvious bug holes or air voids on the finished surface, ragged or chipped edges, stains on exposed faces from foreign substances, inconsistent areas of rough texture or smoothness, visible cracks wider than hairline, and rust stains on the surface caused by reinforcement or iron pyrites (see Caution: Avoid Aggregates Containing Substances that Can Stain Concrete).

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