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.

Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Exposed Concrete Options

Exposed Aggregate Concrete is a very popular residential concrete application on the Gold Coast. With many different options for stone colours, there is always a choice that suits your natural surroundings of your house. However, Exposed Aggregate Concrete doesn’t always have to be just a standard plain grey concrete with different coloured aggregates. It can be mixed up in a few different ways to really create something unique for your property.

Standard Installation

Installation of exposed aggregate is usually quite a simple process for a contractor with enough experience in it’s application. Exposed is all about timing by your contractor, it takes skill and experience to know the timings of each stage of it’s placement. Typically after placing and screeding off your Exposed Concrete, it is then floated and the surface is continually worked to bed and flatten the stone correctly. When the timing is right, the surface is then retarded by with Raw Sugar or a chemical compound specific to this requirement, then again, when the timing is correct, the surface will be washed off revealing the coloured stones underneath.

Variation 1: Inserts / Borders

One way of mixing things up is with inserts and borders. As you can see in the image installation of plain coloured concrete with exposed aggregate has been installed for the middle section, followed by the same aggregate being installed surrounding it with a simple colour through the concrete to change it up. You can also do this with borders, plain concrete with a colour and also inserting tiles and pavers directly into the concrete.

Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Variation 2: Colour Through Concrete

One of the simplest ways to change things up is to add a colour oxide through your concrete during the mixing stage. The Oxide mixes through the entire concrete body and once we wash off the surface, with the right choice in colour, contrasts against the stone choice of our clients. There area many different options for colouring your concrete, please check out our Colour Charts under Customer Relations to have a look.

Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Variation 3: Polishing to Expose

Our final way of finishing your Exposed Aggregate Concrete is to place the concrete as per normal, but instead of washing off the surface during placement, we will wait for the concrete to set and cure, then return with our grinding and polishing equipment to remove the surface revealing the stones, along with flattening the stones along the surface for a very sleek, modern finish. At times this finish can be slippery when wet, however we can add texture to the surface within the sealer to assist with this.

Polished Exposed Aggregate

If you’re thinking about putting in Exposed Aggregate Concrete for you new driveway or other installation, have a chat with us and think outside the box. With these few, simple process’s we can create something unique that not everyone in your neighbourhood already has installed.

Concrete Resurfacing Toowoomba

Concrete Resurfacing Toowoomba

Project Description

Location: Toowoomba
Project Size: 160sqm

Our client had an old existing concrete patio, parking area and surrounds at their property and were requiring decorative resurfacing to make the areas match and repair cracking. Work commenced with floor grinding of the painted areas along with a quick skim over the entire surface to bring the concrete to a workable level for resurfacing. We then proceeded to acid clean and pressure wash all areas. Crack repairing was completed then finally base coating of our Covacrete products was applied. We decided to go with sharply taped line throughout with a Slate Grey main coating, followed by Cuban Coffee and Bluegum flecking, finished off with 2 coats of high grade acrylic sealer. Overall the project was a success as you can see from the before and after photos below and we’re happy to be walking away from another happy client.

Concrete pour

Properties of Concrete

Ever wonder about the basic materials that are mixed to make your concrete? In this article I’ll be going through each of the main materials and what part they play in your concrete.

Cement

Cement

Cement in your concrete is essentially a binding material that forms as a glue for the other materials in your concrete.
It is made by combining silicon, aluminium, iron, calcium, chalk, clay, slate and limestone with other chemicals in a controlled mixture. When combined and water is added, it reacts with the other materials to heat and harden, binding the fine and large aggregate together that make up your solid concrete structure.

Fine Aggregates

Concrete Sand

The fine aggregate (sand), is a very fine material which can assist concrete to solidify, giving the necessary strength required. Sand can fill up the pores or voids inside the concrete which is also a contributing factor for the strength of the concrete. Its considerable hardness and resistant to weathering makes it the perfect material for the mixture.

Course Aggregates

Aggregates

Course aggregates are the larger stones in your concrete mix. They are also considered somewhat of a filler material making your concrete mix stretch further, but they are also one of the main strengthening properties of your concrete. 20mm aggregate is considered the base size and has the best strength properties. Once you lower the size of the large aggregates to 10mm you are weakening the strength of your concrete, so typically to make up for this you MPA rating will be raised (amount of cement) to counter the loss in aggregate. There is also an option for “reduced line” aggregate, which is basically a reduced mixture of large aggregates that are used. Personally, I would never place reduced line concrete as it’s strength properties are far below anything I would be confident in placing and standing behind as a contractor.

Water

Concrete Water

Water in the mix makes the concrete workable during placement. During the setting process, the cement materials start to super heat, which in turn makes the water start to evaporate and be forced out of the concrete mix, making all the properties start to harden and bind together. As a general rule of thumb, it will take only a few hours for the water to evaporate enough for the concrete to begin to harden to the point it can be finished and by the next day, enough water has removed from the concrete to harden enough to walk on without damaging it. It can take up to a month for 100mm concrete to cure properly with all the water evaporating from within the concrete.

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Concrete Crack

A Tale of 3 Cracks

Cracks, cracks bloody cracks.

They’re ugly, unwanted and sometimes a sign that your concrete is falling apart. But not always….

We as concreters do very little during an installation to prevent cracking of the concrete, rather, we put a lot of effort into controlling that cracking.

  • With proper installation of steel reinforcing, we aim to control the crack from being able to pull apart from itself.
  • Installation of Abel Flex allows for the concrete to move hard against another solid structure, which in turn removes excess tension from the slab attempting to help the concrete crack less.
  • Control joints create a weak point in the concrete depth which it is hoped, that the concrete when under tension will find the weakest spot to crack along inside our cut or tooled line, subsequently controlling where the concrete cracks.
  • Installation of crack inducers are installed under the concrete (usually where a control joint will be cut, to again assist in this area being a weaker spot to find under tension.

As you can see, the majority of tactics we undertake to combat cracking, are actually for controlling the cracking and not stopping it. It is fundamentally shallow thinking to believe your concrete, being a solid structure placed on soft ground, will not find a point where the tension is too great and over the length of the concrete and cause a fault.

Apart from the ways we as contractors go about your structural project, lets go into a little more detail of the 3 main types of cracking and how serious they actually are.

Shrinkage Cracks

These cracks occur during the pour due to the concrete surface setting too quickly. The water evaporates to fast out of your materials, then the surface sets too quickly causing it to shrink and crack.

These cracks usually happen when pouring on extremely hot days or overly windy days. Unfortunately, there is very little a contractor can do to stop and fix this once it is happening. The only real two ways to go about this is to use an Alcohol based vapor on the surface to re-add some moisture, then continuing to work the surface keeping the small cracks closed and holding together.

These cracks are not structurally a problem for your concrete, they are unfortunate, but will remain small hairline spiderweb cracks without pulling further apart.

Concrete Crack

Non Structural Cracking

Non structural cracking is where your concrete has started to tension either from the ground underneath moving under the weight of the concrete, or by heavy vehicles / items being placed on the concrete.

This type of cracking is called non structural because although the concrete itself is cracking, our preventative and controlling measures are working and the crack is not separating any further.

There is typically no need for any rectification work for this type of cracking, as they are considered normal and just unfortunate that they haven’t found the control joints to crack along that have been installed.

Concrete Crack

Structural Cracking

Structural cracking is caused by the same reasons I mentioned in “non structural cracking”, however in difference, these cracks are not being controlled by our preventative measures and are not only beginning to pull apart further than they should, they can lead to lifting or dropping of the two section of concrete surrounding the crack and have serious consequences for your concrete slab.

If you have this type of cracking occur, it is normally due to failure during the installation by the contractor and they must be dealt with immediately to rectify the problem.

Concrete Crack

After you’ve had your new concrete installed you get some cracking, take a little further investigation into what kind of cracking it is.

Most of the time, cracking in concrete is considered normal however unfortunate it is to both client and contractor, nobody likes to see them.

If you do however, notice that your cracking is starting to pull apart more than say a $1 coin in width, then it could be structural. Give you installer a call to come and inspect and if required, for rectification to begin.

Satisfaction Blog

Job Satisfaction

A lot of people seem to have a misconception about concrete and concreters, sometimes thinking of it as a dull industry with just a lot of hard, physical work involved. Of course this can be true from time to time, but, unless you’re in the industry you won’t get to see the job satisfaction that is brought about after completing a project, especially a decorative project or something freehand.

I can personally look back on the projects that I/we undertake at Walker Concreting & Resurfacing and recall at least 9/10 jobs where I’ve actually stood back when the work was complete looking over the job and feeling very proud of myself and the boys for what we have accomplished.

Here I’ll go through a few of the things in detail which make our industry so rewarding for the men and women who ply their trade within.

Physically Hard Work

First things first. A lot of the time, concreters aren’t drawn to this trade for lack of better options. We’re a funny breed of people who would rather be out getting our hands dirty and having sweat over the brow as opposed to sitting in an office with a tie on having to shave every day to keep up appearances.

Concreting can be a very physical line of work for a good part of it. Everything is heavy, the steel, demolition, new concrete, it pushes our bodies with everything we seem to touch.

This brings about a sense of accomplishment and pride by the end of the job. Sitting back and going through in your head exactly how much materials you have moved and placed by hand is not something anybody can just come and do. It not only takes a fit, strong person to complete the work, but also years of training and expertise in knowing exactly how to handle the materials to get things right (and make it a bit easier on the body as well).

Pouring Concrete

Winning Projects

Apart from all the work that goes into the backend of the business through advertising and years of good, quality work provided to gain a good reputation, the quoting process of a project is extremely important and takes a lot of work to make yourself stand out from the competition.

Firstly, getting that call from a potential client, then going out to inspect the work that is required, to writing up the quotation in detail and outlining the entire project’s schedule to expect to complete it in. Then finally providing our clients with website information, address’s to inspect our work and several other items to make yourself stand out.

Having all of this information come together properly and having our client call us to approve our quotation to pick us above our competition is extremely satisfying. It means we have done everything right in gaining confidence in our client to have the knowledge that we can complete their work to the standards they require….being put first among our peers who competed with us.

Quote Sample

Project management

Organising a concrete project can be relatively challenging. Not only are there many things to bring to site to complete the work, but it all needs to arrive at the right time to make sure the project runs smoothly, and we make the required profit from the job. Time is money, and if something isn’t there when it’s meant to be, can hold the project up costing dollars.

Disregarding the the preparation stages of a project, I’ll just run through what a typically pour would be like getting things managed correctly.

First of all there are several men/women working on the project for the day, these people need to be organised to turn up on time and to bring the right equipment with them.

From there, there may be a concrete pump that needs to be pre-organised with a specific time they need to turn up. We also have concrete delivery of 3-4 trucks or more to complete your project, these also need to not only turn up on time, but have certain separations between each truck allowing for proper placement without waiting time being charged.

As the concrete is being placed, heights and falls need to be strictly adhered to to allow for a good installation, this all needs to be completed in a certain time frame as the concrete is going off as soon as it is mixed, so we’re on the clock.

When the concrete has been placed, we need to then keep a keen eye on what the concrete is doing as it is our boss for the day and we work to it’s requirements. Some places go off quicker than other, as well as all the edging and floating that needs to be done yet. It takes an experienced eye to keep up with concrete and not start falling behind it….as well as physically hard work of course.

Finally finishing the concrete which is again usually done while chasing it on a time frame. That surface needs to look good and there’s only a relatively small window to make sure it happens.

When all this works out well and we have done our managing correctly for times and materials, it’s very rewarding seeing the results of our work.

Concrete Carrara

Decorative Applications

Decorative concrete and decorative resurfacing is by far the most rewarding part of this line of work. From exposed aggregate to covacrete resurfacing, the results speak for themselves.

Years of practice in our trade lead to expertise in these sectors. Exposed aggregate for instance can be tricky at times getting the timing right, being ultra careful with your screed as to not leave screed lines in the surface, to working the surface and timing the sugar correctly, every part of exposed aggregate installation is important and we only see the success of our installation during the final stages of washing off the concrete.

When we are decorative resurfacing, we are taking an old, worn out structure of concrete and turning it into something sharp, dazzling and modern that looks out of this world. Taking something from horrible to amazing leaves a great sense of pride in our efforts.

Covacrete Resurfacing

The final overly satisfying part of our industry are happy clients. To firstly win the project, then give our clients our up most professionalism, along with getting all the process’s correct to complete the work properly and having our clients satisfied and happy with what we have done for them, this is the best sense of accomplishment we can ask for.

Next time you have a look over a great looking concrete project, have a little think to all the work and thought that has gone into creating such a project. You’ll find there was a concreter there at one stage looking back over the job with a big smile on their face feeling good about what they have achieved.

Little Things Feature

All The Little Things

Often spoken of lightly, the small items that are used during a concrete slab installation are often the most important. From Abel Flex to Control Joints and beyond, it is imperative they are installed correctly to ensure a quality installation.

Abel Flex Expansion Foam

Abel Flex is used at cold joints (new concrete against another hard compound). It is placed vertically and is used to allow the concrete to shrink during the setting and curing phase without leaving a gap between the two hard structures. It also allows the new concrete to slightly move away from the other hard structure again without leaving a gap later on in it’s life, plus, allows the new concrete to move closer to the other hard surface without causing too much friction and making the new concrete “lift” up the face of the opposing structure.

Abel Flex

Starter Dowels

Starter dowels are drilled into cold joint areas approximately 150mm into the adjoining hard surface. Then the new concrete is poured around the end sticking out. What this does is adhere the two hard surfaces together which stops the new concrete from either lifting or dropping as opposed to that other surface. This of course helps is strength overall, but also stop trip points from creating at that given area.

Concrete Dowels

Re-Entry Bars

Re-Entry bars are typically made from N12 deformed bar or R-11 3/bar trench mesh. They are placed at the internal corners of your new concrete installation which is a high percentage crack area. They act as an extra reinforcement attempting to stop the early cracking and control it from these points.

Re Entry Bar

Trimming Bars

Although not commonly used, trimming bars are installed around the perimeter of your new concrete slab attached to the slab mesh. They act for initial assistance in the setting tension of the concrete, which helps prevent and control cracking directly from the edges of the concrete.

N12 Deformed

Control Joints

Control joints can either be tooled into your concrete during the pouring phase, or can be saw cut into the surface after initial setting of the concrete. The length in between control joints is dictated by the thickness of the steel reinforcing that is being used, along with the installers general experience on where he/she predicts to be a high percentage crack point. They basically create a weaker spot in the concrete which is hoped that the concrete during tension will find it’s weaker spots to crack along, keeping said crack inside the control joint instead of being a dirty crack in the middle of nowhere.

Control Joints

There are also other minor things that are used during a concrete installation, but you’ll find these to be the most common and useful. When you receive your quotation, ask your contractor about these items. If they aren’t included in the pricing, then give us a call to quote your work and rest assured the installation is being done correctly.

Concrete Tools

Concreters Specialised Tools

Ever wondered about some of the specialised tools a concrete contractor needs to complete their work?

In this post, I’m going to run through each of the specialised tools that are typically needed on a concrete installation, along with their pricing for each tool to give you an idea of just how valuable our trailers are at any given time.

Concrete Saw

Used to cut through existing concrete before demolishing, also used to cut out the concrete kerbing if required. A steel blade is put on to cut through heavy re-bar. Also used at the end of the job to complete the control joint cuts.
Price: $1700

Concrete Saw

Hammer Drill

A Hammer Drill is used to drill into the existing concrete where our new concrete is going to meet, to install starter dowels.
Price: $250

Hammer Drill

Impact Driver

Impact driver drill is used to install the screws the hold the formwork to our star pickets..
Price: $250

Impact Drill

Circular Saw

Use to cut our formwork to make everything fit.
Price: $250

Circular Saw

Laser Level

Laser Levels are setup and used to install our formwork to exact levels to make pouring of the concrete easier. It is also used during the concrete pour to make sure everything is being installed to the heights required.
Price: $1500

Laser Level

Trowel Machine

Trowel Machines are use during the finishing stages of the concrete surface. A large machine that is counter balanced across the surface, compressing the matrix of sand and cement and smoothing out the top.
Price: $1800

Trowel Machine

Concrete Screed

A screed is used to level the sub-grade prior to pouring, also leveling the concrete of course. They come in a range of lengths to suit every situation and you’ll often find at least 6 on the back of a concreters truck.
Price: $70

Concrete Screed

Concrete Vibrator

Used to vibrate the concrete during installation, it is important to compress especially the internal and edge beams to make sure the concrete is at it’s strongest.
Price: $1800

Concrete Vibrator

Plate Compactor

Plate compactors are used to compress the underlying sub-grade of the new concrete installation. It’s basically run across the ground to make sure there is little movement underneath the concrete weight after it is poured.
Price: $2400

Plate Compactor

What I have listed here are only the specialised tools that a concreter may carry at any given time. Whilst not all used at the same time, all the time, they are all very necessary to a contractors arsenal.

There are many other smaller tools required to complete works from rakes, to shovels and hammer and everything in between. If you ever get the chance, take a sneak peak into a concreters trailer / truck, you’ll be surprised with the amount of equipment required.

Our Team

Meet the Team

Looking back on another successful day in the concrete, I was thinking about the team we have here at Walker Concreting & Resurfacing, not only being efficient tradesmen in placement and finishing of the grey stuff, but also a damn good bunch of blokes to work alongside.

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce the regular lads that work with us on our concrete and resurfacing projects and give our clients a little insight into the boys.

WARNING: Images may or may not truly depict each team member.

Ben Walker

ben blog

Title: Boss
AKA: Ben HURRRRR
Age: 35 years, often feels much…much older
Strengths: Screeding and singing

Has had his boots in the wet stuff for around half his life, which can either be a good thing for experience….or a terrible thing thinking “where the hell did I go wrong?” Jokes aside of course, you’ll find Ben giving his upmost in professionalism towards his clients and his work, whilst all the time pursuing his passion by rattling off random jingles all day long.

Ollie Recker

ollie blog

Title: Finisher
AKA: Tommy Diamond
Age: 51 years
Strengths: Finishing and yelling at truck drivers

Ollie has been concreting longer than concrete has been around. He paved the first footpaths in Rome and was an integral part of Emporer Vespasian’s building design of the Colosseum. Having invented the Stippler finish, he has then continued on to ply his trade throughout the centuries, subsequently ending up in the warm embrace of Walker Concreting & Resurfacing. He has also been a competitive body builder throughout his time and for a little bloke, really has quite the set of guns on him.

Greg Elkington

greg blog

Title: Finisher
AKA: Cool McGool
Age: 50 years
Strengths: Finishing and staying stress free

Greg is another veteran of the mud borne from the fires of Mount Vesuvius and carrying on his expertise for centuries to come. Quite possible the coolest cat you’ll ever meet, always having the hair tied back and a smoke hanging from the lips, stress is just not an option here. Often referred to as the Bionic man, he’s got two false hips and several pins and plates in his legs due to shenanigans that would make confidence driven 20 year old men shiver with fear.

Honorable Mentions

brad blog

Brad Mooney will often find his way to our sites from time to time to show the boys how to screed. Claiming to just be warming up after 200sqm, he’s the only man we’ve seen able to hold a beer and screed at the same time, something we’re all yet to master.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading a brief run down on our team.

As you’ve probably noticed, the boy’s aren’t the youngest concreters you’ll ever see, however, age breeds experience and experience breeds success. Some of the best quality concreters getting around the Gold Coast. (Apart from the boss, he’s usually just there to do the heavy lifting….go figure).

Give us a call soon to have us quote your work, you’ll enjoy our company.

Plain Concrete Carrara

Plain Concrete Carrara Markets

Project Description

Location: Carrara Markets, Gold Coast
Project Size: 227sqm

Being installed at Carrara Markets on the Gold Coast was a new concrete slab extending onto the existing concrete areas to form a future Pavillion for local entertainers. We began by removing the unwanted concrete areas by machine, bringing in 30mcub of fill to raise levels as required and sub-grading the entire area. N12 starter dowels were then installed at cold joints to assist in lifting, along with SL72 reinforcing mesh chaired throughout. Concrete was placed with a line pump having it take 24mcub of concrete to complete the work. The concrete was finished by trowel machine then stick wiped for a nice smooth finish. We’re looking forward to seeing the end result after all the construction is complete, then will return to finalise all the other areas surrounding.