Information About Concrete
It may not be the first material that comes to mind when thinking of stone countertops or floors. In fact, it may even be that most people think of driveways, curbs, and sidewalks when the word concrete is mentioned. Yet, as we will discuss, there are some very creative features that can be created using this strong and versatile material.
What is Concrete?
People that have not explored the details regarding concrete have a tendency to think that it is the same thing as cement. You may have heard someone even use the terms interchangeably. However, cement and concrete are two different things. Note what the distinction is, as described by ConcreteNetwork.com. They describe the difference this way:
Contrary to popular belief, concrete and cement are not the same thing; cement is actually just a component of concrete. Concrete is made up of three basic components: water, aggregate (rock, sand, or gravel) and Portland cement. Cement, usually in powder form, acts as a binding agent when mixed with water and aggregates. This combination, or concrete mix, will be poured and harden into the durable material with which we are all familiar.
Concrete is used for many applications. And the applications in which it is used require a material that is strong and long lasting. Some of the many applications for concrete include:
- Marine Applications
Concrete's strength makes it a frequent choice for a number of uses in which durability and strength is a requirement. So, you'll often find concrete used for highway, tunnel, and bridge construction. However, in more recent times, concrete is increasingly being used for surfaces inside residential spaces. For example, as flooring and countertops.
It used to be that some may have considered concrete floors to be plain and uninteresting. If that was the case at one time, it has certainly changed. Now, concrete surfaces can be treated to become very distinct and memorable surfaces. Knowing this, can afford designers and homeowners opportunities for floors that may have been overlooked in the past.
The first surface treatment used to finish concrete floors that we will discuss is acid stained concrete. Treating a concrete floor with an acid-stain product has a two-fold effect as the name suggests. The two components work together to create very interesting visual effects on concrete.
Another treatement that is used to finsh floors made of concrete is polishing. Polishing concrete is perofrmed much like polishing other materials. Abrasive polishing pads are used in succession to create a shiny looking surface to an otherwise dull looking surface.
Finally, concrete flooring can be colored to add a distinct and creative appearance. Coloring concrete is done using dye or paint to make completely custome designs and uniques looks that distinguish a floor from all others.
Floors are not the only creatvie use for concrete these days. Concrete countertops also are a recent application for the verstile and adaptable material. Using concrete, skilled professionals can plan, mold, pour, shape, and color the material into a wide variety of countertop surfaces. Because concrete is so durable, this technique has put concrete countertops into a somewhat competitive position with other materials used for kitchen and bathroom countertop materials. And just because it has not been a traditional material for countertops does not mean that it is boring or plain. Some very unique and interesting coutnertops have been made using concrete.
Caring for and Maintaining Concrete
Caring for and maintaining concrete surfaces is carried out in a variety of ways. Cleaning, removing stains, and maintaining the seal are all facets of concrete care. How do these facets of maintenance work together to keep concrete looking good? Let's consider that now.
Keeping unwanted stain-causing liquids from penetrating the pores of a concrete surface is a large part of the care and maintenance process. After all keeping the unwanted substances out of the material in the first place is very effective. In line with this, the following practices can help:
- Do not place black rubber materials on the finish of a concrete surface.
- Refrain from setting potted plants directly on your decorative concrete surface.
- Clean your concrete surfaces with cleaners and chemicals designed to clean your concrete.
- Take steps to keep your concrete surfaces from becoming overly moist.
Another practice that contributes to a nice looking and performant concrete surface is keeping your concrete sealed. Selecting an appropriate sealer like one of the ones provided by Tenax4You.com and maintaining the material with it contribues to a nice looking concrete surface. Why seal concrete surfaces? Two of the benefits to sealing your concrete surfaces are breakage protection and stain resistance.
Some areas have climates in which the temperature climbs and falls. You can imagine how much freezing and thawing takes place in these areas. Since concrete is porous, it inherently absorbs moisture that comes from humidity and/or rain. As the moisture expands and contracts with freezing and thawing it can breakdown the concrete's surface. Keeping the surface treated with a sealer helps to keep the moisture out of the pores. Thus the freezing and thawing does not have a chance to destroy the surface.
In addition to keeping concrete surfaces intact, applying sealer to concrete helps accomplish something we mentioned earlier. Concrete sealer helps keep stain-causing substances out of the material. Keeping the dirt and grime out of the pores alowws for easier cleaning.
As we have seen, concrete is a versatile material that can be used for a variety of purposes. It withstands tremendous forces; making it suitable for structural applications. And whether you use it indoors or out, you will likely want to keep it looking its best. By caring for it and maintaining it using the appropriate products, you will not only get long term use form your concrete surfaces, but you will also keep them looking their best.