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6 Great Ways to Finish Your Exterior Concrete

Concrete Exterior
When installing exterior concrete, you have dozens of methods of finishing to choose from. Concrete is a flexible, versatile material that can mimic the appearance of many others, offering durability and attractiveness at a minimal cost. Here are six of the most popular methods of concrete finishing, including both their benefits and their drawbacks.
1. Floated or Smoothed Concrete
Floating or smoothing concrete produces the slick, polished concrete look that most people are used to. After the concrete is poured, workers smooth it over with a flat tool, either manually or with the use of a machine. The surface will be attractive but not slip-resistant.
Commercial interiors are the most likely to use smoothed concrete, as it's an attractive and lowmaintenance surface. Warehouses commonly use smooth concrete because its surface makes spills easy to clean up.
2. Broom-Finished Concrete
If you want to add some texture and slip-resistance to your concrete, consider a broom finish. Broomfinishing is one of the most common methods of finishing concrete, because it's simple, fast, and easy. Compared to the installation requirements, broom-finishing provides an attractive appearance with almost no work.
After the concrete is poured, workers sweep a broom pattern over it, in overlapping arcs. This technique has the dual purpose of hiding potential imperfections. 
3. Stamped Concrete
Through stamps, concrete can be formed into stone, brick, and many other patterns, creating interest and elevating the concrete toward a more sophisticated appearance. Stamped concrete is often both more affordable and more durable than the materials that it is replicating.
Complex stamped concrete designs may be more delicate than a simple concrete block, as there will be raised surfaces that could potentially scratch and chip. Simpler stamped concrete designs are still durable enough that they can be used for high-traffic areas, driveways, and patios.
4. Stained Concrete
Concrete can be stained to virtually any color through the introduction of pigment after it has already set. Staining can wear off eventually but is normally fairly long-lasting. It can be applied multiple times for greater darkness and depth.
Stains can be lightened by adding water to reduce the saturation of the pigment. Adding additional water to concrete itself will generally make it more difficult to work with and fundamentally weaker. Acrylic stains, which are closer to paints than traditional stains, can be used to add brighter, more saturated colors. 
Staining can be applied by nonprofessionals, but this project is challenging because the stain is quickly absorbed. Failing to apply stain evenly leads to blotches and streaks. Thicker stains or more pigmented stains are generally easier to apply because they hide imperfections. 
5. Pigmented Concrete
Rather than staining the concrete after it is poured, the concrete can be pigmented before it's set. Pigmented concrete generally keeps up its appearance for longer, because even if the concrete is chipped, it will remain the same color.
Comparatively, a chip on stained concrete will reveal the concrete's original color beneath. 
Pigmented concrete is available in virtually any shade. However, it needs to be mixed carefully to ensure that the balance and hardness of the concrete is not altered.
6. Epoxied Concrete
Both the most expensive and most dramatic option, epoxied concrete involves a solid epoxy layer over a concrete base. Epoxy does a few things: it protects the concrete, changes the color and surface of the concrete, and improves the waterproofing of the concrete. Concrete epoxy is frequently seen in commercial settings and in finished basements and garages.
Epoxy is often installed as a multilayered design, involving colored epoxy paint and nonskid granules. Some more complex epoxy designs appear as galaxies, swirls, or other patterns.
These are only some of the options available for finishing concrete. Concrete finish comes in many other types, such as aggregate finishes and salt finishes. Depending on your needs, there may even be custom options available for you. Contact B M H Concrete to find out more.