Inventive Ways to Make Use of Precast Concrete

When most people think of concrete, they draw on images of plain grey slabs used for walls, floors, and ceilings. While these images are certainly representative of how concrete is used, there's no need to stick with the same boring ideas. New technology allows commercial concrete contractors to create beautiful surfaces that look good and function well too. If you're considering revamping your business location, check out this handy guide to learn how you can ensure that it looks perfect.

Making Use of Stain Treatments

Applied after your concrete is laid, these treatments work in much the same way as staining wood works. It all starts with using a diamond grinder to even out the surface itself; this prepares it in just the right way for staining.

Fact: Although concrete feels hard when dry, it is still somewhat porous. This is why it's necessary to smooth the surface when prepping your concrete. Stain applied without smoothing will wear, chip, and/or fade.

As for which stain you can choose, you have a myriad at your disposal. If you can think of a colour or colour combination, you can likely find a stain to match it. From bright blues to muted natural wood shades, choose a stain that will suit the room's surroundings best.

Once the stain is applied, a clear epoxy can be used to seal it in. This will ensure that it remains durable and easy to wash.

Stain Options: Mimicking Expensive Marble or Wood

Marble and wood are two of the most sought-after materials in the world, especially when it comes to flooring and walls. Ideal for use in restaurants, high-end offices and other upscale locations, their polished surfaces and gorgeous nuances can lift a room from average to out-of-this-world. 

Unfortunately, both tend to be expensive and challenging to maintain--that polished sheen needs to be kept up each and every day. If marble or wood surfaces simply aren't in the budget, consider using a concrete acid stain to mimic the same appearance instead. This will give the right look with a much smaller price point.

This complex process involves several steps:

  • Laying the concrete
  • Smoothing it as evenly as possible with a floor sander
  • Choosing multiple shades of concrete acid stain to mimic natural stone or wood
  • Applying the stain itself in multiple steps, ensuring that colours mix well
  • Drying and epoxying the newly coated surface

Warning: This is not a project for the amateur DIY specialist--handling acid stains and multiple colours can be complex and difficult, even for experts. Before you attempt this project, ensure that you are 100 percent clear on how to go forward, as it is very difficult to remove and re-stain.

Using Paint for Simplicity

If you have a very small budget, you may be able to vamp up your concrete surfaces with just a bit of paint and sealant. While acid stains can be difficult to process and may be too much for the average DIY-er, simple paint is much more amateur-friendly. 

Flat matte paints can be used if you just need a general, overall shade to pull the room together. If you're after a more artistic approach, don't limit yourself to a single shade; you can use paint to create colour blocks, motifs, wording, logos, and just about anything else. 

The process for applying paint to concrete is somewhat similar to staining:

  • First, you'll need to sand down the surface as evenly as possible
  • Secondly, you will use a concrete primer to coat the entire surface
  • Then, allow the primer to dry fully before continuing to the next step
  • Next, apply your paint in whatever chosen style you prefer
  • Finally, use a clear urethane finish to seal your work in

This can be an excellent option for art galleries, cafes, and anywhere else that muralist-created design can be appreciated. Concrete painting is also very useful for displaying logos at the entrance to your building.

Tip: If you aren't particularly artistic, consider hiring a concrete specialist who has a bit of artistic flair.

Liven Up Your Location With Concrete

While the occasional business location is suited to plain grey concrete, the majority don't have to stick to this time-honoured approach. Whatever your industry, there's a style that can make your business look its best. If you're interested in livening up your location through the use of concrete, schedule an appointment with a precast concrete contractor today. He or she can guide you through your options to find the ideal choice for both your budget and your design goals.