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Stamped Concrete
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Textured concrete finishes range from simple to elaborate and affordable to expensive. Some are easy to create, while others require special skills. Certain concrete textures serve functional purposes, while others are highly decorative. Read on to decide which option is best for you.

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Stamped concrete

Stamped concrete, commonly referred to as textured or imprinted concrete, is a type of concrete finish designed to resemble brick, natural stone such as slate or flagstone, tile and even wood. Color hardener is a popular way of coloring concrete that accentuates the stamped pattern.

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Stenciled concrete

Stenciling concrete can be a great alternative to decorative stamping while permitting similar design flexibility. Stencils are typically used in conjunction with staining concrete or resurfacing. Concrete engraving can also be used to create similar effects.

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Exposed aggregate

An exposed aggregate surface is obtained by placing concrete and then removing the top layer of cement paste to uncover coarse decorative aggregate. The most popular decorative aggregates are richly colored natural stones such as basalts, granite, quartz, or limestone. But you can also use materials such as recycled colored glass or seashells and other interesting objects seeded into the surface of the concrete.

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Float and trowel finishes

Patterns can be made on the concrete, such as swirls, or different size arcs. The texture created can be coarse, medium, or smooth depending on the tool used to impart the pattern. Wood floats create coarser textures. Aluminum floats or steel trowels create medium or smooth finishes.

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Broom finish

Broom finishes can be light or coarse depending on the bristles of the broom you choose. This is not a fancy finish but provides a non-slip surface which is important for safety around swimming pools.

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Rock salt finish

Water softener salt crystals 1/8" to 3/8" in size are broadcast onto the fresh concrete. A roller is then used to press the salt crystals into the concrete. The surface is later washed, dissolving the salt and leaving small holes. Read more about rock salt finishes.

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Concrete floor finishes

If you are looking for concrete floor finishes, check out the following:

  • Polished concrete - a smooth, high-gloss finish that's durable and easy to clean
  • Stained concrete - colors can mimic marble, leather, natural stone or even wood
  • Epoxy coatings - choose from metallic, decorative chips, or mosaic-like terrazzo

Which finishes are most affordable?

Finishes that are done by the concrete finisher, or maybe one or two extra workers on the crew, are going to be the least expensive of the decorative concrete ideas listed here. The reason is because they require few added materials to produce (except for maybe several bags of salt or a broom). When special tools are required, like stamps or stencils, the price of your concrete project will rise.

Are certain finishes better for new concrete vs. old concrete?

Many people believe that stamping, exposed aggregate and even broom finishing require fresh concrete. But with concrete resurfacing you can often get the same finishes even on existing surfaces.

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