gray has gone glam
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By: Thomas M. Ciesla
Old Versus New
But what if you already have a patio or sidewalk that has been stained by life? Or are you 'too-through' with the size of that typical subdivision patio and want to enlarge? Do you have to tear it out and start over? Not necessarily, for hope springs eternal with decorative concrete techniques. As long as your existing concrete is structurally sound, you can expand it without tearing out the original by simply adding a two-inch overlay on the old section to blend in a stamped pattern with the new concrete. As Carrie Anciso of Paving Design explained, We receive many calls from people who need repairs to existing patios, sidewalks and driveways. With over 20 years of experience, Paving Design can solve just about any concrete problem with unique solutions. Anciso is especially proud of this fact: We work with our clients to suggest a repair method that fits their budget. Often the existing patio can be covered with a thin overlay and stamped with a decorative design, avoiding the extra expense of tearing out and replacing a four-inch thick slab.
If you have carpeting over a slab foundation, there is hope. Although a bit trickier than working with clean new concrete, old slabs often offer a more complex and richer patina when acid stained. If a consistent color is required, however, the best results come with new pours where the architect has warned the contractors ahead of time that the slab is going to be used in a decorative concrete application. This way, extra care is taken to avoid accidental spills (chemicals, coffee, soda, etc.) as the concrete cures to allow an even, blemish free application. The decorative contractor will stain and seal the slab as quickly as possible to avoid dirt or water from penetrating into the concrete.
Regardless of whether you are considering an interior or exterior project, a major attraction of decorative concrete is affordability. Stamped concrete can deliver the look and feel of real stone or wood for roughly 40% less. And unlike wood or carpeting, a stamped wood plank floor will never wear out or have to be replaced, even if subjected to flood damage. Similarly, interior applications of acid stained concrete will never fade or require replacement under normal wear conditions.
Decorative concrete is truly an art form requiring specialized skills. Not every concrete contractor is capable of executing these applications. Before selecting your contractor, take the time to review what the company has done in the past and ask for references. These experienced contractors also possess the creative skills to help you with pattern and color selections, assuring you that your interior or extended outdoor living area will blend perfectly with your existing home.
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