5 Tips For Working With Concrete
Concrete can seem to be a messy and dirty material to work with, but sleek, modern, designs can be done easily with some knowledge. The industrial vibe of concrete and it's clean classic look will never go out of style. Professional-quality projects are totally accessible to the average person as long as you have patience. In this article, we will go over some trade secrets that make working with concrete easier and to get attractive professional results.
Include An Additive To Make Your Concrete Easier To Mix
Most do-it-yourselfers can start with a bargain $5 bag from the hardware store instead of a more expensive concrete. Stick to the standard mix for simple projects because there are no additives needed. For larger or more complicated projects, adding a plasticizer will help the concrete mix flow easier ensuring it gets into all the areas. There are no mixes that will slow down or speed up the drying time, however, in hotter temperatures, using a tarp to cover the concrete as it cures at a cooler temperature will prevent cracking and yield better results.
Better Consistency & Curing Is In The Pour
The major factor to a successful project is to reach the right texture when you make your concrete batch. The goal is to have a cookie dough consistency, not too dry or too runny, which can cause cracks or voids in the end product. When pouring the concrete, using a vibration technique will help eliminate any voids or holes. This can accomplished by tapping a rubber mallet against the sides and bottom during the pour.
Choosing The Right Mold Can Save Time
There are a lot of materials you can use for the mold such as cardboard or plastics but melamine is the best option for one reason is that it is not porous. With a porous material like cardboard, the water from the concrete will seep out and create a rougher finish; in a melamine structure, the water has nowhere to go. The concrete takes on the melamine’s smooth appearance resulting in an attractive finish without the additional work. When creating a custom cast from the material, piece together the strips using screws, then run a thin layer of silicone over any cracks so no water seeps through. Just remember to make a mold that is sturdy enough to hold the heavy concrete.
Use Concrete's Impressionable Quality To Your Advantage
While concrete is soft, you can add virtually limitless design elements. Rocks, coins, sea shells, or bottle caps to add your own style are possible.
Choose The Right Finish For A Custom Look
There are many options on the finish of the concrete. Many of these options are simple but make the final look custom and expensive. Acid stains, concrete dyes, and stamping all can create a unique finished look. For a clean smooth finish, polish it with an orbital sander and then seal it with three to four thin coats of a water-based acrylic sealer and your concrete structure will look sleek and even be easier to clean!
If you don't have the time or inclination to do the work yourself but want professional results, give the experts at All American Concrete a call.
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The author is an entrepreneur and freelance digital nomad based in Bangkok.