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CONCRETE’S GONE COUNTRY

As the U.S. faces critical infrastructure repair and rebuild demands, everyone is counting on the concrete industry’s ability to execute on thousands of major projects. Once viewed as only the strong guy that holds together sky-high skyscrapers, or the surface underneath your tires, or the massive structure storing and securing your water, concrete is redefining itself…again. In the past few decades, architectural and design trends have pulled concrete into new roles that further showcase its many fine qualities.

Restoration with Concrete
A few years ago, concrete became the newest trend in countertops. When restoring farmhouses as primary residences became wildly popular, concrete was the go-to material for farmhouse countertops, floors – even dining tables – to complete the perfect farmhouse motif. This decorative application for concrete and ‘farmhouse madness’ show no sign of slowing down.

Versatility and Personality
Who knew concrete was so versatile? This ancient material can be cast into any color, shape, and texture, making total customization possible. You can embed seashells or tiles – pretty much anything - into a sink border. Concrete slabs can be made as thick or thin as you like. New design trends are being unveiled all the time. Expense-wise, concrete is more than tile or laminate, comparable to granite, and less expensive than marble.
Some cautionary notes about decorating with concrete:

  • Patience is required. It can take about a month for concrete to cure.
  • It’s better to order precast; pouring in place can cause cracking.
  • It has to be resealed every few years.
  • Concrete is very porous; it absorbs stains. It has to be cleaned regularly.
  • You want a concrete artisan to oversee the project, not just any contractor.

Design experts say you should let the concrete be, and allow it to develop its unique look over time, small cracks, stains and all. Not everyone agrees that’s part of its charm.

Dressing Down
If you live in or near a city, you’ve probably seen local warehouses, formerly run-down and ready for demolition, transformed into hip urban restaurants, bars and music venues. The fashion these days is to keep the distressed vibe of a concrete or bricked wall. This look is so popular, a new wall will often be built and then intentionally distressed to reflect the neighborhood’s sense of history. Another option is to apply ‘concrete wallpaper,’ which literally transforms the wall into a vertical concrete slab. A popular variation on the theme is botanical concrete wallpaper, with greenery – bright and clear, barely there, or somewhere in between. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the decorative concrete market is blushing with pride.

Today’s concrete is pretty much the same material it was thousands of years ago; innovators and entrepreneurs continue to expand its applications, and find new ways to package and use it. It’ll be interesting to see what’s next.

Designers and installers expect their crews to be equipped with state-of-the-art concrete and masonry cutting tools. Acecutting.com will make sure they’re prepared with the best. Call us today: 888-283-2597.