Concrete Resurfacing

Concrete Resurfacing Mudgeerabah

Project Description

Location: Mudgereeba
Project Size: 92sqm

Having previously installed all the new concrete at this address a week or so ago, we return at the start of this week to begin the resurfacing stage. Starting things off with a quick floor grind due to all the leaves and seeds that had fallen onto the surface during the poor while it was windy, we then proceeded with a heavy acid clean and pressure wash removing all the bad particles from the surface for the best boding possible of our covacrete product. We had already completed several projects at this address for our client, so we basically just followed suit matching the new surface with what we had already completed before. A nice base coating was applied to smooth things out, followed by 2 coats of charcoal with an ash grey fleck, finished off with 2 coats of sealer. This project all complete now and we hope to see our clients again in the near future for their next project they have in mind.

Concrete Pathway

Concrete Pathways Mudgereeba

Project Description

Location: Mudgereeba
Project Size: 92sqm

After receiving a call from an old client that we have completed several job for them in past, we were happy to find out about the new things they have been completing on their property, along with the new concrete needed to go with it. A new de-mountable granny flat has been installed at their property in a beautiful natural timber finish and now pathways and a driveway were to be completed for access and parking. We started off with the typical machine works to sub-grade the area as needed, then formed up some nice curved pathways leading from the existing house to the granny flat, followed by another path leading down to the new driveway. After everything was all formed and steeled up, we completed the concrete pour today with a solid 100mm of 25MPA concrete. Only needing a limited finish as we will be returning soon to covacrete the new concrete, the surface it has on it now will be removed completely before adding a nice charcoal and ash grey flecked finish. It’s always a pleasure having clients call us back to their property after a few years have passed because they know they can rely on us to give them exactly what they require.

Concrete Resurfacing

Covacrete Clean and Seal Ormeau

Project Description

Location: Ormeau
Project Size: 307sqm

Having previously installed the concrete and decorative resurfacing at this property just over a year ago, it was time for our clients to re-treat their concrete with a good clean and fresh coat of sealer. Unfortunately as well, another contractor had been back not long ago and had placed a full load of stones on top of one section, then whilst removing the stones with their bobcat, had damaged a large area with grazes and chips. So firstly, we hit the surface with a light acid clean and pressure wash, removing all the old dirt and stains that were hanging around, followed by mixing up another load of our Covacrete colour and hand brushing out the imperfections, trying to get everything to blend better through the area. This will leave the patched sections slightly darker than the existing covacrete as it is newer, but over time it will begin to blend back to the existing colour again, (at least the damaged areas have been removed now). We finished it off with a full coat of acrylic sealer for a nice new glossy shine. We recommend re-sealing your decorative resurfacing every 12 months, it’s the most effective way of making sure you get the longest life span possible out of our products.

Concrete Driveway Oxenford

Plain Concrete Driveway Oxenford

Project Description

Location: Oxenford
Project Size: 81sqm

A nice little in and out project here for our lovely client over at Oxenford. Requiring a plain grey concrete driveway installation to possibly be Covacrete resurfaced at a later date, we began with the typical removal of the concrete curbing followed by excavation and sub-grade of the site. Once the boxing and steel requirements were all in place, along with the council inspections being approved, we return to pour the concrete. Unfortunately I was quite sick today with flu, so an extra man was brought in to carry the dead load that I was. The driveway was installed with a soft broom finish all ready for resurfacing further down the track.

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 Resurfacing Pimpama

Driveway Decorative Resurfacing Pimpama

Project Description

Location: Pimpama
Project Size: 70sqm

Having previously installed this plain concrete driveway a few weeks back, we returned to complete the Covacrete Resurfacing to finish it off. After a heavy acid clean and pressure wash to remove any unwanted particles and dirt, we base coated the surface with Light Bluestone Covacrete. Taping down an 800mm diamond pattern, we then proceeded to spray 2 coats of Bluestone Covacrete, followed by 2 off setting fleck colours and 2 coats of acrylic sealer. A beautiful finish matching the roof of the house and contrasting the other surrounding colours.

Exposed Aggregate

Exposed Aggregate Driveway Reedy Creek

Project Description

Location: Reedy Creek
Project Size: 70sqm

With our client requiring an exposed aggregate driveway for his newly built home, we set about the task at hand. Cutting and removal of the council kerbing and council footpaths was completed, followed by doweling of said areas and the garage door entrance. SL72 reinforcing mesh was placed throughout during the concrete pour allowing access for the truck up the tricky off angled incline. Unfortunately, (due to a miscalculation by the boss), we fell short on concrete by about 0.2mcub and had to order a plus of Dalmation 50 exposed aggregate. All in a days work though and the driveway was hosed off nicely to expose the ever popular “Salt & Pepper” variety of stone.