Find a Contractor
Stamped Concrete
Stained Concrete
Decorative Concrete Overlays
Colored Concrete
Concrete Polishing
Concrete Countertops
Concrete Resurfacing
Design Ideas for Decorative Concrete
Concrete Designs: Decorative concrete ideas for patios, floors, driveways, pool decks, countertops, and more
Six Hot Decorative Concrete Design Ideas on a Budget
What Is Decorative Concrete?
Glossary of Decorative Concrete Terms: What is a band? What is a field?
Types of Textured Finishes: Float and trowel textures, broom finishes, rock salt
Decorative Concrete Mix Design
Decorative Concrete Cost
Maintaining Decorative Concrete
Cleaning Decorative Concrete
Concrete Sealers
Other Resources
Going Green with Concrete Floors and Countertops: An overview of concrete's eco-friendly benefits
Concrete Contractors: Find A Concrete Product Supplier or Distributor

Sawcutting Patterns and Designs in Concrete
Time: 05:56
Bob Harris creates a decorative floor medallion using a variety of diamond cutting tools, including a walk-behind saw with a special pivot that allows it to cut perfect circles.

An excellent option for both new and old slabs, scoring is an easy way to add depth and texture to an otherwise blank slate. Scored concrete features a series of groves that have been cut into the concrete to create a distinct pattern or design. It is different from stamped concrete in that texture is not imparted onto the surface of the slab.

Scoring, also known as sawcutting, can be done both indoors and out to achieve a variety of decorative effects. Before moving ahead with a scoring project, ensure that your concrete is structurally sound and has an intact surface. If there are unsightly cracks or spots where the concrete is chipping or flaking away a decorative concrete overlay may be the better solution.

Find decorative concrete contractors near me


Special equipment must be used to score hardened concrete. Diamond masonry blades are the choice of most decorative concrete contractors. However, for more detailed patterns, concrete engraving equipment may be used.

If you know you want a scored pattern before your concrete is poured a groover can be used to make the lines in the fresh concrete instead of using a saw. Score lines do not have to be as deep as control joints, ¼” is sufficient, whereas joints must be cut to 25% the slab’s depth.

Many tools are available for cutting pattern lines into concrete including grinders, hand-held saws, and special engraving tools designed specifically for scoring concrete (see Power Tools for Concrete). Dramatic effects can also be achieved by using stains along with stencils, tape or custom templates to create tile patterns, free-form designs and other graphics. Concrete stencils are usually made from plastic and have adhesive backings that stick to the floor surface (see Stenciling Concrete Floors). Some contractors also trace patterns onto floors using tape, PVC pipe, angle iron, and other materials.

Floor sawcutting and staining tips

  • If the floor will be all one color, you can cut the lines and patterns after staining is complete.
  • If the colors will change at the pattern line, cut the line first to form a barrier to stain movement, which will result in a crisper design.
  • If you cut patterns before staining, cut them just before cleaning the surface in preparation for the stain to remove all sawing dust.
  • If you cut after staining, do it after the first coat of sealer has been applied.


Scoring can be used to create straight borders, bands, diamonds, stars, rectangles, or other shapes on the surface of the concrete and then stained to contrast with the abutting concrete. Scored and stained concrete floors are an economical option for homeowners compared to other choices such as hardwoods, which often have hidden costs (especially if you live in a multi-family dwelling that requires a cork base for noise reduction).

The most popular and cost-effective scoring pattern is a large grid design, sometimes cut on an angle to look like diamonds and often stained a shade of brown to create the appearance of warmth (see 10 Design Ideas for Diamond Cut Concrete).

A recent trend is to have your floors scored with a pattern that resembles hardwood. See how scoring and staining can be used to get the look of wood. Plus, specialty designs such as this hand-scored vine or these custom logos can also be created.

RS Concrete Solutions in Strathroy, ON Custom Concrete Solutions in Schertz, TX

A scored grid pattern like those shown above is a great way to add interest to your concrete without over-spending. You can go with a basic, single color design as shown on the left or upgrade to a more complex version of the same pattern with multiple colors as shown on the right.

Diamond D Company in Capitola, CA Max Power Concrete in Columbus, OH

If you are looking for something with a bit more pizazz than the basic grid, consider adding some curved lines or even circles to your scoring design as displayed above. The photo on the left shows a grid pattern interrupted by a gentle arch, while the picture on the right shows two concentric circles with radiating lines. See more pictures of concrete floors.

Hapax in Norfolk, VA Woodland Concrete, Inc. in Brownstown, PA

Furthermore, scoring can be used to cut the outline of a graphic or logo into your floor or to create a unique focal point. Circular designs, like the one shown in the image on the right, work particularly well in entryways and lobbies. Learn more about creating grand entrances using concrete floors.

See these stained and patterned floor projects:


Additionally, scored patios, pool decks or driveways are typically more affordable than natural stone paving or stamped concrete and are especially popular with homeowners looking to upgrade existing surfaces. Grid patterns are also common outdoors, but there are a variety of other popular patterns as well.

Designer Concrete Restoration in Indio, CA Tom Ralston Concrete in Santa Cruz, CA

Scoring is often used to transform concrete pool decks, both examples above feature grid patterns, but with a bit of a twist. The pool deck on the left has accent squares stained a darker color at certain points where the grid lines meet, while the one on the right has a typical grid design, but on top of stained and textured concrete. Seamless stamped concrete with score lines is an excellent option if you are having new concrete poured.

Artistic Concrete Floors LLC in Covington, LA Salzano Decorative Concrete in Aldie, VA

Your patio, or any outdoor concrete surface for that matter, can be scored with a pattern that mimics natural stone. Typically it is much easier and more authentic looking to mimic cut stone which has straight edges; however a skilled decorative concrete contractor can score concrete to have a random stone or crazy paving pattern. A larger pattern with one stain color, as seen in the left image above, will be more affordable, while a smaller pattern with multiple colors, as seen in the image on the right, will cost more. Get more patio design ideas.

Stockness Construction Inc in Hugo, MN Decorative Coatings and Concrete Company in Aurora, CO

Bands and borders are also commonly scored into exterior concrete. For the patio above, parallel score lines and a contrasting color were used to create decorative bands that intersect in the middle of the patio. For the driveway, a border was scored along the edges resulting in a clean, finished look. In this case, a secondary color was not used, showing that score lines are still effective, even when using only a single color.