Concrete Driveway & Surrounds Hope Island

Concrete Options

Concrete Options

Good ol’ concrete. Been around since the Roman times, realistically has only several appearances in variation of finish, but can be applied to almost anything, creating wonderful structures simple by mixing some of mother natures natural resources.

For us though, what we provide are residential finishes for your houses.

Over the past 20 odd years, there isn’t really much that we haven’t had our hands on for experience, so the level of expertise is second to none.

I do find however, that specialising allows a trade person to focus on a particular area, and instead of being a “jack of all trades”, become a master of what we do.

Not only do we provide all installations of our concrete works up to Australian Written Standards, but you’ll find in most cases, because we are concreting an area that is either a decorative installation (colour concrete), or something that will have decoration added to later (spray on resurfacing), our technical standards are far beyond what is considered “acceptable” workmanship.

Following are some basic examples of what we can provide our clients.

Plain Concrete Installation

Although the most basic of installations in regards to concrete, it is also the most common world wide. From pathways to bridges and sky scraper buildings, plain concrete is literally everywhere you can see.

For us, it is a rarity to pour plain concrete that will not have another finish applied at a later date. In our line of the industry, plain concrete is more used for the installation of the house slab itself, of which I refuse to work on anymore at this stage in life.

So you’ll find us installing plain concrete for a driveway, house surrounds or house extension with the intention of either spray resurfacing or epoxy resurfacing the top at a later date.

However, there is the odd exception where the right job comes along at the right price and we pull the boys out of the woodwork for a day on a deck, picture attached may or may not be having a little too much fun on one of these days.

Concrete Deck Ashmore

Colour Through Concrete

Colour Through Concrete is what you could call a modern approach to colouring your concrete.

Typically in years past, your contractor would pour plain concrete, only to throw the coloured Iron Ore pigments into the surface and finish accordingly.

However, this old way had a limited life span, if the client didn’t maintain their concrete, the colour would wear off and look horrible (not to mention the health hazards of throwing the powder colour on in high winds).

So these days, we have our concrete supplier mix the colour directly into the brew when batching our concrete. This colours the concrete right through and will hold the test of time (and erosion), keeping your colour true for years to come.

decorative concrete gold coast

Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Now this is where the quality of installer really shines through. There are contractors who are concreters, then there are contractors who can install exposed aggregate correctly.

From start to finish, every step of the way for installation of exposed aggregate requires attention to detail. Correct decision making and a keen reliance on past experience to make sure your stone is exposed correctly and evenly, no screed lines are in the surface, and your concrete will last the test of time and not erode and lose stone as it gets older.

Shoot us an email for some address’s of our work, go out and have a look, then take a walk around and look at 90% of other exposed concrete installations. A keen eye will see the separation in quality quickly and not hesitate to give us a call to install your new exposed driveway.

Concrete Driveway Upper Coomera

Stamped Impressions

Stamping of concrete is ever so popular in America, and really took off here in Australia during the 80’s and 90’s. However, the old process of throwing the colour in, combined with clients not maintaining their product, soon led to it becoming less popular as the finish got older and started to deteriorate.

But never fear! We have re-designed the wheel…..so to speak.

We’ve adjusted our installation to allow for colour to be mixed through the concrete completely (see coloured concrete above), then by applying off setting release agent colours, have come up with a similar overall look and appeal to the finish, whilst allowing the concrete to maintain its visual appeal for years to come.

With lots of different impressions that can be used, have a chat with us about what we can provide, even though it’s not done much anymore, I love stamping and welcome any new work for it.

stamped concrete

Mixing Things Up

Don’t get caught in the mindset of your decorative concrete installation having to be just a solid, singular design.

Why not use a few simple techniques of adding flavour to your installation.

  • A border in a different coloured exposed stone?
  • A border in a different colour concrete?
  • Tile inserts on your exposed installation?
  • Colour in your exposed concrete?

Have a chat with us today about some custom designs for your new decorative concrete installation.

decorative concrete
Concrete Refurbishment Arundel

Concrete Resurfacing

Decorative Concrete Resurfacing

Our first and most popular option, known by a number of names from varying companies, Spray on Concrete Resurfacing is the process of applying a new surface to your existing concrete by trowel and air compressor.

This is a cement product heavily modified to bond thoroughly to your existing concrete surface, along with having pretty colours and designs to spice up your areas.

Typically a product primarily used outdoors, you may choose this option for tired, old concrete that is in need of refreshing, or you may be trying to get a few different areas of concrete to all match together, or you may choose this approach for your new concrete driveway so you can do something a little custom and stand out from the crowd.

Our second approach to decorative concrete resurfacing is Epoxy Flooring systems. This is more of an “indoor” product most suitable to garage floors, commercial kitchens and other in-house environments.

Although the physical application differs from Covercrete Resurfacing, the results can be outstanding! From mild to wild, Epoxy Flooring is extremely versatile for any indoor area.

Both finishes have a great life span if looked after correctly and will keep you concrete areas looking new and shiny for many years to come.

Following are a few samples of different design options that you may find you like, but don’t be afraid to search Google for different ideas, remembering, if you can think it, we can most likely apply it to your concrete.

Tile or Diamond Patterning

This would be the most popular approach to most projects that we encounter. It’s basically a “can’t go wrong” mentality to the design.

We begin obviously getting a proper square from the existing house, or 45deg if going for a Diamond, then basically just spacing out each individual line to the size required by our clients. You’ll also notice on this example shown we applied a bulk border to the outside just to break things up a bit more with a different colour.

Always remember as well, the smaller the tiles / diamonds, the smaller the area will look as a whole as it appears more “busy”. Great idea to keep the patterns bigger to keep the areas looking more expansive.

Concrete Resurfacing Ormeau

Custom Patterning

For something a little less “formal” than tiles or diamonds, why not have us install custom triangles and other unique shapes.

This taping is completely done by eye on the day and is basically an expression of the installers artistic approach.

You’ll notice with the picture example, the first being a simple custom taped design, whilst the second has added to that taped design by applying custom decorative swirling and patching throughout, but we’ll speak more on this custom finish in a bit.

custom taping

Offset Tiles

Offset tiles is a more intricate approach to a contemporary tiled approach.

Each line is taped in both directions, so for instance, if your tiles are needed to be 800mm long by 400mm wide, the area is taped every 800mm in one direction, then every 400mm in the other direction.

From there, each second section of taping between tiles is removed by stanley blade, leaving the design as shown in the picture provided.

Obviously the time consumption for taping this design is more than a standard tile pattern, so the pricing does increase a bit, but the visual appeal is well worth the reasonable extra cost.

Concrete Resurfacing Tallai

Decorative Borders & Insets

A lot of the time, less can be more when making improvements to large areas, of course depending entirely on your personal outlook.

A great way to add just a little something to an area without going overboard, is a simple border on your new concrete surface.

This can be a bulk colour border, or we can add tiled taping for a busier look, we can also step up a bit from there and continue the borders as an “inset” into the main concrete surface along control joint lines.

Again, what we can do is only limited to imagination most of the time, and I absolutely love getting creative, it keeps my little crazy man in my head working overtime and enjoying what I do, so hit me with a challenge.

decorative borders

Custom Centre Pieces

If you’ve got a large area and are not fond of a tile like approach, there are other ways to break up the bordom of singular colours.

Apart from the standard flecking that is applied to pretty much all our work, you can break up large areas with custom centre pieces.

Whether its a simple taped in triangle like the one shown here, or an intricate compass design with different colours outlining each aspect of the piece, there are many options to choose from, and of course YES, let your imagination run wild.

custom center piece

Full Custom Designs

Got a little bit of a wild streak in you? Like to think outside the box a little with a bit of wow factor thrown in?

Yes?

Then you’re right up my alley of spectacular street and we need to talk more in depth, in person, about what we can provide and about bringing your vision to life.

Just a small sample of custom works shown in the picture provided, each and every custom design we provide is unique to both our clients desires and the vision of the applicator. No two pieces are the same, and no other contractor will replicate because we all have our own styles.

full custom resurfacing

Epoxy Flooring

Last but not least is of course our Epoxy Flooring options.

This resurfacing approach is much more suited to indoor uses, ranging from single colour designs for commercial environments, to full flake finishes for garage floors and finally complete custom, metallic finishes for that WOW factor.

Epoxy is a great, long lasting product that is applied through a series or trowel, squigy and rollers. Not only is epoxy great to look at, but it is a breeze to clean and keep stains away from the surface.

epoxy flooring
Stamped Concrete Carrara

End of 2016 Update

Happy New Year!

I’d like to tell you that I was that snowed under towards the end of 2016, that I just didn’t have time to update completed work on the website…..I’d like to tell you that….but I can’t. I was just lazy.

So here now at the start of 2017, I decided to just chuck some photos together of some of the work we completed and put them all into one post. No descriptions for any of the work, just a visual extravaganza of what we got up to.

Plenty of work lined up, 2017 has started with a bang. I will endeavour to not be a lazy ass and keep the website updated more often.

Concrete Resurfacing Gilston
Concrete Resurfacing Gilston
Concrete Resurfacing Gilston
Stamped Concrete Carrara
Stamped Concrete Carrara
Concrete Parking Labrador
Concrete Parking Labrador
Colour Concrete Driveway Tallai
Colour Concrete Driveway Tallai
Colour Concrete Driveway Tallai
Concrete Bin Area Logan School
Concrete Bin Area Logan School
Concrete Truck

Merry Xmas & Happy New Year

Just wanted to say a big thanks to everyone who had their work completed by us last year. We hope you had a wonderful Christmas break and a fun New Years Eve. This week we’ll be slowly getting our next projects organised to get a start on them next week when our suppliers start back up again. We’ve enjoyed our time off and are now bored and ready to get back into it with some nice projects all booked in and ready to go. All the best for 2017 to everyone!

Exposed Aggregate Concrete

No High Rise Concreters!

I remember seeing an ad in the paper years ago for a residential exposed aggregate contractor in need of a good finisher. At the end of the advert stated the words very specifically, “no high rise concreters”.

I giggled a little reading it at the time, knowing very well exactly what they meant. Over time as well, I’ve seen many more occasions where these words have rang true for unsuspecting clients choosing the wrong contractor for their exposed aggregate. The contractor has come in and has plenty of experience on house slabs for instance, but very little time on exposed aggregate and gets a little lost when installing the work.

On one such occasion quite recently, I was called out to a driveway that had been completed by another concreter. The home owner was stuck for options as the concrete that had been placed look fairly terrible. The installer was contracting primarily to builders doing house slabs and clearly hadn’t completed much exposed aggregate work. The contractor had made sure the levels were all ok, I could also see that he/she was not bad on a screed for levels as it all appeared relatively flat, but it’s the finer details of placing exposed aggregate properly that really make the job look great.

Now this of course wasn’t much of a problem, even though the aggregate was poorly finished there are still options we have for resurfacing. But, if you’re having your driveway done in exposed aggregate, choosing the wrong contractor can often lead to a fairly ordinary finish of which you then need to spend more money on to get it right.

Here are a few special steps we follow to ensure a good exposed aggregate concrete installation that isn’t typical for normal plain concrete installation.

1: Not filling boot holes back in with aggregates
When the installers are placing your concrete, as you can imagine it’s all hands on deck in the concrete, shoveling it, raking it, mag troweling and of course screeding it off. Now this especially rings true for the person on the screed. As we move around and back through the concrete we of course leave boot holes in the surface. I’ve personally watched many concreters simply screed back over these boot holes and hope for the best. Now most of the time, they’ll be fine with new aggregate filling the holes and making sure it’s spaced out properly. But a good installer will always take the bit of extra time to fill each boot holes in properly with new and good amounts of the exposed aggregate stone. It only takes a few seconds extra and is an assurance worth sweating for.

2: Leaving screed lines in the surface
Screed lines are a tricky one as you can’t actually see them really until you wash off the surface matrix revealing the stones, along with the lines. Basically screed lines are long straight lines caused by, you guessed it, the screeding process. You’ll often see a good exposed aggregate screeder using more of a pulling motion through the concrete, as opposed to the usual cutting motion on normal plain concrete. The cutting technique will often cause the sharp edge of the screed to dig in, in turn leaving a line where there is no stone because it has been pushing too far down into the concrete in that area. A good screeder will also use lots of pressure with back blading making sure theyre almost “floating” the concrete with the screed to finish off each run.

3: Over working the troweling
Once your boot holes have been filled in, the screeder has been extra careful with the leveling and all the floating has been done, it’s time to finish the surface typically as we would for normal plain concrete. However once the initial steps have been completed, there is no need to over work the surface. A good finisher for exposed only really needs to work the surface 2-3 times making sure the stone is flattened properly within the concrete and taking out any bad cement lines that may be there. Keep in mind, this surface is only going to be washed off again, so making it perfect like a polish finish is not required, also keeping in mind the more you work the surface, the more chances there are of making a mistake and having the trowel dig in, also leaving bare patches after you wash off.

4: Retarding the surface
Once the concrete has been placed and troweled to a satisfactory level, a retarding agent is then used on the surface to slow down the setting to allow ample time to wash it off properly without too much difficulty. There are chemical products that you can use, but the tried and tested age old raw sugar is always a fan favourite. This section is all about timing. If your contractor puts the sugar on too early, it will penetrate too far into the surface, then when it is washed off, will over exposed the aggregate leaving the stones coming out then and there, and of course over time as the concrete gets older. If it’s applied too late, it will not penetrate far enough making it difficult to keep the expose even over the entire project. There are a few simple ways a good installer will tell when the timing is right, some just by looking at the surface, others by dragging a finger lightly and others by lightly pressing down. I won’t give away what we’re looking for as not all secrets need to be shared, rather learned through on the job training.

From there, if everything has been completed right, your contractor should have a nice easy time on the hose and brooms removing the surface of your concrete, hopefully exposing a lovely, even blend of chosen stones with no boot holes and screen lines.

These steps I’ve discussed here are the simple ways exposed aggregate is placed different to plain or coloured concrete. Although they might not seem like much, if your contractor hasn’t had their boots in exposed aggregate enough, they will be found a little lacking in these steps and often bring up a finish that leaves a lot to be desired.

If you’ve got a new exposed aggregate project in mind, give us a call today. Not only will we be more than happy to pop out and run through your project, but we’ll also provide multiple job sites of our completed work for you to see the quality of our finish first hand.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Top 3 Concrete Projects

Continuing on from our last articles for our top 3 decorative resurfacing projects, here we are with our top 3 concrete projects that we have completed.

I’ve selected the following projects somewhat due to the size of the project, but also because of the methods in which they were completed, overcoming obstacles and having everything run smoothly through solid organisational methods.

Exposed Aggregate & Plain Grey Unit Surrounds Paradise Point

Location: Paradise Point
Size: 140sqm
Value: $17000.00

I’ve chosen this project not due to the size of the work, being only 140sqm it is considered a relatively small job, but the extent of manual labour required to complete the project was exhausting.

Upon original inspection of this project we were confronted with both sides of the unit complex sub-grade being extremely low, along with the rear section where the new water tank was to go. Also the front driveway was at a high rise from the road to the garage entries, also having an existing driveway in place that needed to be removed before pouring the new driveway.

First things first on this one, we ordered 20m.cub of 20mm road base to the front of the property, due to the limited access up the sides, (just enough room for a wheel barrow), we proceeded to hand wheel in all 20m.cub of fill to raise the side sub-grade the required 300mm~ higher ready for new concrete. Given the area was so skinny and long as well, we also needed to accommodate for garden areas and falls on the concrete to take the water to the garden beds, where drainage was installed to remove the water from site.

After some heavy days and lots of sweat and swearing, the sides were filled up and we brought in the machines to remove the old driveway and sub-grade it ready for the new pour.

We pumped in the side pathways first in plain grey concrete, along with the rear water tank. Surprisingly this pour went very smoothly. Typically when pouring areas like this it is difficult getting access, especially considering the multiple fall points that needed to be leveled every few meters to make sure of water run off. With a nice soft brush finish we then returned the next day to tackle the driveway.

The driveway was a relatively simple pour, but given the gradient a lot of care needed to be taken to keep both sides looking symmetrical, which of course we accomplished with some due care. We finished off here washing off the salt and pepper exposed aggregate nicely and saw cutting the control joints right through with an acid clean on the aggregate.

This project being 140sqm would typically take us 2 days to complete on a regular project, however, we were on this project for just over a week. That gives a little idea of just how much extra manual labour was required. We don’t mind working hard as concreters, in fact, we welcome it a lot of the time, but I have to admit this project was above and beyond what we’re used to.

Exposed Aggregate Driveway & Surrounds Helensvale

Location: Helensvale
Size: 400sqm
Value: $30700.00

Second on our top concreting project list is the exposed aggregate driveway and surrounds we placed at Helensvale a while back. I’ve chosen this project due to it’s size, limited and awkward access, along with the time of year and weather that we encountered.

Our client was required plain grey concrete to the rear and side of the property in 2.0m wide pathways, along with a salt and pepper driveway with 4 car wide parking at the top, slowly bending back around and tapering down to the property entrance.

The rear of the property was retained behind the house and at the bottom of a hill, which received large amounts of water when it rained. We decided to install 5x pit drains through here and basically fall all of the concrete in “wash pit” fashion towards these drains. Once we got to the side of the house, we installed a ramp tapering down the hill, then finally all the way around to join the new exposed driveway we were to place.

The plain concrete at the back for the paths needed to be pumped as there was no other access, and given the amount of falls that needed to be hand done throughout the pour, we decided to break it down into 2 pours. After everything was prepped ready to go, the rains started. Having delayed a few days with bad weather and falling behind schedule, we had booked concrete on a Thursday morning to pour the first section, only to have horribly wet and hot weather the night before continuing into the morning. We postponed the first pour until midday, which is something we basically never do, but we had to do what we had to do. With the hot and stormy weather, couple with concrete from Hytec which has a habit of going off very quickly, myself and the boys busted our tails and only just got back onto the concrete in time to give it a nice brush finish.

We returned the next day to complete the side path of the house with the ramp and decided to call it a week to return the following and get started on the driveway.

The driveway was a somewhat easier affair, with the only problems being the actual size of the project. We broke the driveway down into 3 pours over the next week, wanting to make sure we broke the pours off with construction joints as we went due to it’s expanse.

Finishing off the project with saw cutting the control and acid cleaning the aggregate, our clients were grateful enough for our work to buy a very nice bottle of scotch, of which we opened it up and enjoyed it with them for a few good stories and tall tales.

Plain Concrete Hinterland Driveway Molendinar

Location: Molendinar
Size: 375sqm
Value: $22000.00

Finishing off our top 3 concrete projects was our plain grey hinterland driveway at Molendinar. I’ve chosen this job because it was one of those projects that had a good amount of size to it, but also displays what good concreters can achieve when things go well.

Faced with a 125m long gravel driveway leading from the road to the house, our client was requiring a 3m wide concrete installation that they had been waiting 15 years to go ahead with. With only a few sharp corners, it was one of those projects that you just start at the house and keep working your way out.

After spending a few hours with the machine to sub-grade the existing gravel making it smooth and ready for concrete, we proceeded to box up the first pour of this project which would be around 90Lm long. All the steel was cut to size and left beside the job all the way along, we then returned the next day to begin pouring the concrete.

As we reversed the trucks along the driveway, we proceeded to shoot out the concrete over the steel that we were placing as we went, having 2 men in the concrete screeding and raking, 1 labourer on the shoot and two men falling back finishing. We finished off the first pour with a trowel machine finish with a light broom for some traction and found ourselves with beer in hand setting up the next days pour by around 12pm.

The second days pour was much shorter, but being up a relatively steep incline it still made us work quite hard for the result. Finishing off this pour up the hill, this time no trowel machine as it was too steep, the boys had it edged, troweled and broomed for a going home time around 1pm.

I returned the following day to run our saw cut control joints right along and pick up all the timber from site, leaving it a nice little 4 day project that ran as smoothly as you can get it.

If you’ve got a project coming up, we’d love to hear from you. We take a lot of pride in our work and you won’t find a more professional outfit in the residential sector. Give us a call today for an obligation free quotation and advice on your job, you won’t be dissapointed.

Concrete Resurfacing Robina

Top 3 Concrete Resurfacing Projects

I thought I might start off a couple of articles portraying our top 3 projects for the areas of firstly Covacrete Decorative Resurfacing, which this article will entail, then following in a day or so out top 3 concrete projects.

The main reason why each entry has been chosen for each category is the level of satisfaction that I personally received from that particular project. Each entry will have an outline of the project and what was involved, plus a detailed walk through of the thought process behind the end designs, plus also during their installation to keep things on track.

So without further ado, please find below our top 3 Decorative Concrete Resurfacing projects.

Swirl and Patch Resurfacing at Robina

Location: Robina
Size: 220sqm
Value: $11000.00

I’ve chosen this project to be first up due to the final result achieved for a complete freehand project. When in talks initially with our client, they were unsure exactly in what direction they wanted to head. After presenting them with many different options, I presented to them what we have done previously with sandstone mock finishing, but with a custom edge. Our clients property backed onto a lake and their pool area was quite pretty, so we had the vision of creating a watery feel to the entire surrounds and driveway.

I asked my client for a little faith in the design and advised them roughly of what the actual outcome would be, of which they were excited about. The existing concrete was exposed aggregate concrete right throughout, which of course had to be based with modified covacrete to create a nice smooth finish to the concrete surface for us to apply the pretty stuff. After completing this and repairing the areas that needed repairing we were set to complete the spray.

Standing back on each section and taping large triangular sections of the concrete surface, trying to get all the odd corners and angles to blend into each other to appear as one large piece of concrete all working together in harmony. We then proceeded with the two main coats of our main colour.

From here the tricky part began. With this finish process each section needs to be blocked off from the individual section that you are applying the patterning too. This alone is a time restricted process, especially when trying to keep everything clean from over spray. We proceeded to apply our swirls firstly to the entire area, standing back after each section was applied looking for a visual contrast of where to apply the next swirling.

After moving through the entire swirling process, we then return to block off each section to apply some light spray patching to the corners and randomly throughout the remaining triangle areas. As always with this process there was some drips and over sprays, so finally we finished off returning with our main colour to patch up the mistakes, then finally finish the project off with 2 coats of sealer.

I really loved this project due to us having a set plan of attack on what we foresaw the outcome to be like, along with hitting the mark at the end for a beautiful, ocean feel to our clients pool surrounds and driveway.

Custom Resurfacing Monterey Keys

Location: Monterey Keys
Size: 120sqm
Value: $7250.00

Second on our top 3 list is the recent concrete resurfacing project at Monterey Keys. Upon quoting this job we were presented with a tile base that was all cracked up and looked pretty bad. We got a lot of satisfaction from this project because removing tiles and grinding back tile glue is always a bit of a nightmare and more often than not, a real bugger to lift the tiles up.

With only a limited amount of whinging, I decided to bring in a fellow concreter who has a dingo digger, using him to pick all the broken tiles up for us after we’d jack hammered them up from the concrete. I have to say this is the first time I’ve used this method, typically just relying on manual labour to get the job completed. Guess what? It worked a treat. 120sqm of tiles jack hammered up and removed from site in roughly half a days work, not bad if I say so myself.

Next was the floor grinding of the tile glue to reveal the concrete surface to bond to with our resurfacing products. After spending basically a full day grinding, we had removed 150kg~ of tile glue from the surface, which was all swept up into a tarp and removed from site in a big dusty mesh everywhere (of which we cleaned up nicely of course).

Our client was after something unique and different from the every day grind of all the other covacrete finishes up their street, so we decided to put together a 3 colour design with large taped out areas attempting to blend both the wide driveway and pathway together whilst seamlessly blending with the house.

As you can see from the photos everything matched nearly perfectly, from the colours to the angles and how it all blended together. This was another project where our clients gave us some leeway with the design and succeeded with flying colours (no pun intended).

Contemporary Resurfacing Nerang

Location: Nerang
Size: 120sqm
Value: $6400.00

Last but not least of our top 3 is a project we completed in Nerang a year or so ago. I’ve chosen this project not only for the outcome which is very fitting, but again also because our client gave us some leeway with the design choice and let us work out magic.

This was another project where upon quoting the project it kind of made us twitch a bit with what had previously been completed by the previous owners of the property. I discussed with our client the options that we had and upon handing over the price, advised that it’ll be a challenge, but we’re up for the task.

The previous owner had done things on the cheap. At one stage it had had other sections added that needed to be removed and replaced, also leaving one of these sections out for a new garden area. The existing concrete had also been painted with I’m sure what seemed at the time a great coloured finish, only to then be repainted by the same owner again without removing the first coating of paint. The second topping clearly wasn’t up to their standards, so guess what? A third coating of a different design was applied as well, again without the removing the previous two coatings……..which didn’t work out either. You’d think after failing twice previously you’d give up the ghost and try something different? Well at least the new owners (our clients), had enough brains to change what wasn’t working.

We set about with our floor and hand grinders for two days removing all the layers of paint from the surface, then followed that with a heavy acid wash and crack repairing, all ready for our coatings to be applied.

After base coating we then taped down a 100mm border around the perimeter, with inserts going approximately 2/3rds along from the sides into the driveway following the control joints that were existing. We then taped these borders into a tile pattern 300mm long and sprayed these sections openly with our darker colouring.

From here each of these borders and inserts were taped off so the main surfacing spray did not go onto them, which of course is relatively time consuming, but nothing we don’t have the technology for.

From here we applied our main coating, followed by 2 flecks to add some depth to the project, then removed all the taping to reveal a really sharp, textured contemporary feel to the property matching the newly rendered walls.

As you might be able to tell, we take a great deal of pride in our decorative concrete resurfacing projects. To us they’re not just another paycheque, rather an opportunity to tickle our creative brains and create something new, from old.

Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Matching Exposed Aggregates

As with most entries I make on this website in regards to concrete and contracting, they generally come about through my day to day experiences with projects and clients expectations.

One topic that comes up more often than not, are clients wanting to match their existing exposed aggregate concrete that they already have placed, with the new exposed aggregate concrete being placed.

It is correct to consider exposed aggregate stones in the same relative category as decorative resurfacing colours and colours for your colour through concrete. It is a natural product that is not calculated to precise measurements during mixing at the plant. Quite literally, the aggregates are mixed with the concrete by machinery and conveyor belts typically by weight, meaning, that no two loads of exposed aggregate will be exactly the same.

In saying this, you can trust (on most occasions), that when pouring a driveway for instance, where two or more truck loads of concrete are required, that the multiple loads supplied on that same day will be close enough to a match together that it is unnoticeable to both client and contractor. However, I have come across the rare occasion where we have poured a selected exposed aggregate, only to return a week later to pour the remaining part of the job, (with of course the same selection of stone), and have it look different enough that it was noticeable. The project itself still looked fantastic as a whole, but the blending of stone was different.

Now this is all well and good when we are talking about a singular project that we are completing at a given time. Even with a difference coming through, because the two parts of concrete are poured within a given time frame, along with being supplied by the same company, there isn’t a problem at all.

From here though is where we enter the problematic area. Lets say for instance you as the client, have had your exposed aggregate poured previously, for sake of conversation lets say it was 12 months ago. Now you are after some new exposed aggregate to be poured adjoining the existing slab. You’ve done the right thing, remembered who the company was supplying the stone and exactly what it is called, even with these measures in place, there is absolutely not guarantee that your new stone will be the same blended mix as the one that was poured a year ago.

Also you need to take into consideration the after a few months, concrete starts to build up dirt and mold in the actual cement, which typically starts to darken you cement within the concrete (seen between the stones). Then when we place the new exposed aggregate concrete, as normal, when cured it comes out a very white, bright colour. This will make the two sections of concrete appear different overall when looking at them together. This aspect of course will get better over time as the new concrete starts to get dirty and mold as well, so time is your friend in this case.

Now we get to the really tricky part. You’ve had your concrete poured a year ago and you’ve forgotten what company supplied it and what it’s name was…..This side of things is considered a bridge too far with matching. Yes, you can have your contractor look over your concrete and advise you what he/she thinks is the “best match”, you can also have a sales rep come out to site to also advise you on their thoughts, but at the end of the day it is a calculated guess and more often than not will be a wrong guess.

Our exposed aggregate concrete we supply comes in sections separated sometimes by 10%. For example, “Dalmation” (Salt and Pepper), concrete starts at 10% white stone and goes up in 10% intervals right up to 90%. So if we’re trying to match your existing “Dalmation” concrete and you can’t remember what percentage it was, we are basically then taking a guess at the problem. It might not sound much only being out by 20% of the white stone mix, but this will make the difference stand out dramatically when the two concrete’s are next to each other.

With all this said, I guess at the end of the day if you follow a few simple guidelines you can at least be assured that the best efforts are made to match your concrete…..

  1. Write down the name of the concrete exactly when you have it poured
  2. Write down the supplying company of your concrete
  3. If possible, try and complete all exposed aggregate at the same time

If you haven’t or couldn’t do these three steps…..

  1. Contact sales rep and contractor for their advice with samples
  2. Understand that the two concretes will look different
  3. Or….Choose a different aggregate to try and contrast rather than matching

Be reasonable with your expectations. We are dealing with natural products that are not mixed like paint through a computer, there is always room for error when matching these natural products and as with all colour and stone options, typically, the contractor should not have to take any responsibility for variations in these products.

Concrete Strength

Strengthening Your Concrete

A lot of clients I speak to ask about strengthening their concrete installation by making their concrete thicker throughout, but this method isn’t always the best option for making your concrete stronger.

There are more things you need to consider rather than just thickening the depth of concrete.

Now this isn’t to say that your concrete won’t be stronger by thickening it, but you need to consider the weight of the concrete upon the ground that it is sitting on. Concrete is extremely strong in compression and relatively weak in tension. Compression obviously being the sheer weight pressing straight down on the concrete, as opposed to tension being allowing the concrete to flex along it’s axis.

If you are considering making your concrete thicker simply because you need to drive heavy vehicles over it, then the difference between say 100mm of concrete and 125mm of concrete is negligible, as typically 100mm of concrete will handle the same weight in compression as 125mm will handle.

The main areas to attack firstly in strengthening your concrete I will explain now in better detail below. The trick is to initially strengthen the concrete in tension, then worry about the compression factor lastly.

Increasing Thickness of Steel
Steel Reinforcing acts as the backbone for the concrete under tension. It is used primarily to control cracking if/when it occurs by not allowing the cracks to pull apart and become structural. On a standard driveway installation for example, you can expect a contractor to install 6.2mm steel mesh throughout (hopefully chaired into the concrete). A good first step to improving the strength of your concrete under tension, is by installing a thicker version of reinforcing anywhere from 7.2mm to 9.2mm. A house slab for instance will usually have 8.2mm reinforcing installed. Thicker steel has less “bend” if you will throughout it’s horizontal line, which helps holding the concrete from being allowed to move along it’s horizontal line as much, therefor limiting the tension.

Concrete Steel

Thickening Beams / Footings
As you can probably imagine by looking at a slab of concrete, it is along the edges that the concrete is most at risk from moving up and down along the horizon (tension). Concrete, as a general rule of thumb as well, tends to want to tension crack roughly every 2-6m of laid concrete. It used to be if you’re using 6.2mm mesh that you need controls every 2.4m, 7.2mm mesh you need controls every 3.0m, 8.2mm mesh with controls every 4.0m then 9.2mm mesh controls every 6.0m. This I put into memory a very long time ago as per Australian Standards, so don’t check me up on this as they’ve most likely changed since then, although they are still a good reference point to work from. When I talk about “controls” they can either be saw or tool cut control joints, but also a thickening beam or footing can do the job just as effectively. By installing thickening beams or footings along your perimeter, as well as throughout the middle of your slab, you are effectively adding more strength in base compression whilst restricting the concrete from being able to “tension”.

Concrete Beams

Maintaining Course Aggregate Size
The course (or large) aggregate within your concrete is kind of the backbone of your concrete. It acts as the main property of your concrete that all the other properties (cement, fine aggregates etc), bond to to form your concrete. Standard concrete is installed with 20mm course aggregate, this is considered to be the strongest standard for the size of the aggregate. From here, contractors can install smaller aggregate of 10mm depending on the installation, usually though when this happens, the MPA rating is also increased to assist with de-strengthening your concrete. There is also an option getting around of “reduced line” concrete, which has approximately 30% less aggregate through your concrete, plus also a maximum size of 7-10mm course aggregate….if you ever have a contractor looking to install reduced line concrete, sack him/her immediately and find someone who is serious about supplying you a proper installation.

Concrete Aggregate

Ground Compaction / Subgrade
Typically the most common reason for your concrete cracking under tension is by the ground underneath the concrete moving under the weight of the installation. Upon request, an contractor can bring in a better sub-grade material than what is already on your site, typically being good fill sand, crusher dust or even 20mm road base depending on the depth of fill that is needed. Then from there, have this sub-grade compactor with a plate compactor making sure the ground is as solid as it can be to assist with holding that new concrete in one place.

Concrete Compactor

Further, typically when a professional contractor is out to install your project, there are base standards for your new concrete installation. The contractor is usually seeing what the underlying ground is like and endeavoring to install your new concrete to a good, solid standard for strength. Concrete has been around since the Romans, and for instance, having your concrete installed by Walker Concreting & Resurfacing, you will receive what is considered “the norm” for a good installation.

The factors I have listed above are considered above and beyond the standard requirements and are for clients who require that little bit of extra piece of mind with their concrete installation.

After the above factors have been met, you can then start talking about thickening your concrete installation, to assist with “compression” of the concrete. A good rule of thumb when thinking about “compression”, is taking a look at Hoover Dam in America, it was specifically designed in an arc against the force of the Colorado River because the compression strength with the water constantly pressing against it is when it’s at it’s strongest.

As always, by using these guidelines to strengthen your concrete, you can be assured of a structurally solid installation. This is not a guarantee against cracking, as cracking and concrete go hand in hand. But, these processes’s will assist in making sure your installation is there to last a lifetime.

Concrete Resurfacing

Covacrete Resurfacing Process

Here I’m going to go through the nuts and bolts of a typical Decorative Concrete Resurfacing Project (Covacrete). The following articles consists of what I consider to be base standard with your application of the process when you choose Walker Concreting & Resurfacing to complete you project.

First things first. Typically, when we get to your concrete that you require to be resurfaced, lets be honest, it’s usually in pretty bad shape. It’s either a dirty old moulded surface, or has been previously sealed or painted in it’s history and all these things will hinder the bonding of our new Covacrete application.

Majority of the time we will complete either a heavy or light surface grind of your concrete to remove all these foreign properties and make sure that our new Covacrete product is bonding directly to the natural concrete surface. This is completed with a walk behind floor grinder and also a 9″ hand grinder for the tight to reach corners.

Surface Grinding

Concrete Floor Grinding

Next up is giving your concrete surface a nice, heavy bath in hydrochloric acid.

Using approximately 3-4 Liters in a 10 Liter watering can, your concrete surface is covered thoroughly with the acid and it is allowed to soak right into the concrete and all the pigments on the surface.

This helps to break up any remaining unwanted particles on the surface, but also lets us eat into the surface finding a more appealing structure to adhere our Covacrete to when applying it.

Acid Bath

Acid

After the hydrochloric acid has been applied and allowed to soak in for several minutes, we then attack the surface with a high powered gurnei to further remove anything we don’t want on that surface.

The combination of acid and pressure washing loosens up the surface particles even more so and again helps us get down to the bare bones of the concrete for a better Covacrete application.

Pressure Washing

Pressure Washing

Next we take care of the cracks. Cracks repair varies depending on what type of cracking it is, I’ve explained all this in another article, I really should link it here, but you’ll just have to do some research yourself :).

For standard hairline cracks that are non structural, then we simply go about grinding out these cracks thoroughly, then applying our “secret sauce” crack repair product to them. The idea behind this is that your concrete has already tensioned and cracked along it’s weak point and the crack is being held together by the steel. So if we expand that crack through grinding, then fill the area, then technically the crack should not pull apart any farther and not come back through.

This of course is not a fool proof system, although we do our best, and most of the time succeed, these little buggers do sometimes come back through again, but, typically only a hairline crack will show.

If you have structural cracking, then realistically your only option is to remove sections of your concrete where the problem is, and replace that section with new concrete before applying any Covacrete.

Crack Repairing

Crack Repair

Covacrete Application

Base Coating
After priming your newly cleaned surface, our next step for your sexy new concrete surface is applying our base coating. This stage of the application will allow us to level all of your surface smooth and give us a good initial coating of our products. Covacrete comes standard in “Ivory” colour, but there is the option of adding in a colour to your base coating. Your base coat will be visible as the “grout lines” if you will in your taped patterning. Colouring the base coat works really well when applying a lighter colour top coating of Covacrete and using a dark base to make those lines contrast well.

Taped Patterning
From here we apply our taped patterning to your hearts desire. You might decide you want diamond or tiled patterns, maybe borders, tile inserts or full showpiece compass’s installed. The world is your oyster here and we love getting a little creative with our patterns.

Top Coatings
After all our patterns have been completed, we then proceed with the fun stuff. Air compressor pumped up and hopper oiled, we begin spraying on your top coatings of Covacrete in the colour / colours that you have chosen. The top coatings are applied with a minimum of 2 coatings, with the initial run being more of a “covering” application and the later coatings for the even application and good looks.

Decorative Patterning
To finish up the spraying we then apply your decorative aspect to add contrast and depth to your installation. You might choose to simply apply a few different colour flecks to the surface or go all out with Sandstone Swirls and hand done patching. Obviously pricing matches the level of detailing we go into, but as always, we’re here to give our clients what they require and consider ourselves top of the game in the artistic side of things.

Finishing Up
From here, after all the spraying has been completed, we then rip off all the taping that we applied earlier, remove all the tape from your walls, blow off the surface, then proceed to apply 2 applications of high grade acrylic sealer to protect your new surface and give it a lovely shine in the process.

If you’re interested in our services for concrete resurfacing, give us a call soon about your next project. You’ll love what we have to offer and our professionalism and service is beyond reproach.