Friday, December 29, 2017

Is polished concrete better for a patio then stamped concrete?

Had a customer asked the question recently whether they should consider polished concrete for a backyard patio instead of stamped concrete.

The short answer is simply no.

I suppose there are always exceptions to the rule but I would say 99% of the time stamped concrete would make for a better backyard patio.

Let's take this one step at a time, first let's explain what is the difference between polished concrete and stamped concrete.

The similarity between the two is that both are made out of regular basic concrete. Polished concrete is the process by which you transform regular basic concrete into polished concrete through a very specialized grinding and honing procedure. Similar to using sandpaper on a piece of wood, the polishing process uses specialized sanding discs that technically are not sand paper but they are made with specialized diamond segments placed onto a specialized grinding machine. That grinding process starts with more course diamond segments then step-by-step finer and finer types of diamond segments to the point where the concrete becomes very smooth and develops a brilliant shine.

Concrete that has been polished with this procedure is also often dyed with various colors. Polish concrete is relatively new in the world of decorative concrete. Polished concrete is a great alternative for certain types of flooring but is generally used for indoor space rather than outdoor. Polish concrete is becoming more and more popular for schools, offices, retail, and other indoor spaces. When wet, polish concrete can be slippery as well.

Alternatively, stamped concrete is also regular plain concrete but while it is being finished the surface is stamped with specialized molds to create a texture and pattern so that the concrete appears to be brick or stone or wood depending upon the pattern selected by the customer. This technique is generally thought of to be more appropriate for an outdoor space such as a residential backyard patio.

This has very much over simplified the process of polished concrete and stamped concrete but generally explains the difference. True, some customers may want polished concrete for exterior patio but generally given the choice stamped concrete would be selected by most customers.

Hope this has cleares up this confusion a little bit. Feel free to call or email us any time to discuss further.

Salzano Custom Concrete

Friday, December 22, 2017

What is Vertical Stamped Concrete?

What is vertical stamped concrete?
We have had several customers asking about vertical stamped concrete.

Here are some of the questions that we get.
If you need framing to keep the concrete contained while it is wet how can you stamp the side vertical edges if the wood framing is in the way?
If you are going to build a sitting wall around the outside perimeter of the patio, why wouldn't you build that with vertical stamping rather than real stones?
I've heard of vertical stamping I assumed it would be about half the cost of real Stone because it's made out of concrete, no?

------ Well these are all great questions and deserve some explanation. First of all, in most cases vertical stamping is not done when concrete is initially poured. The one customer was absolutely right, the wood framing is in the way so no way to stamp vertically when the concrete still wet. Vertical stamping almost always refers to a coating that is put onto bare concrete after it is dry, then stamping tools are used to stamp a pattern into the coating. Together the coating with the stamping resemble stamped concrete but it is referred to a vertical stamped overlay.

Most all of the same color choices and stamp impression choices are same for stamped concrete and also for vertical stamped overlay.

As for cost, vertical stamped overlay can be a bit cheaper than Natural Stone but typically not as cheap as you might think. Usually vertical stamped overlay can take more time, more labor but the material is less expensive which trades are for less time and more expensive for Natural Stone.

One advantage for the vertical stamped overlay is the coating is typically only quarter to half-inch thick whereas Natural Stone can be 2 in thick or so.

Hope this helps, feel free to contact us anytime to discuss further.

Salzano Custom Concrete

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Pinterest updates


updated our feed on Pinterest with lots of new photos. check out our stamped concrete and stone sitting walls as well as some outdoor accent lighting photos.

Pinterest Salzano Custom

Few new boards
Pinterest Salzano cjsalzano

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

What is broom finish concrete?

What is broom finish concrete?
We talked quite a bit with customers about various surface types, styles of concrete. Much of our business is stamped concrete that is the process where we stamp Impressions into the surface of the concrete resembles brick or stone or other.

There are other concrete surface types that are more basic and also less expensive including broom finish concrete. Broom finish concrete is the name for regular, basic concrete you might see on a regular
city sidewalk. This is also referred to as brushed concrete. This is the process where a broom is drawn through the surface of the concrete as the concrete is hardening. If you look close you can see faint lines running through the concrete by the broom.

Broom finish, or brushed concrete has been around for many many years likely a hundred or more. The main objective for brooming concrete is for traction. For exterior concrete broom finish surface provides nice traction when the concrete is wet.

Broom finish, or brushed concrete is typically not colored, and is typically very light gray or even a off-white color particularly when it is new. Over time when it is weathered it turns more of a Light Beige tone. Color of brush concrete can vary depending upon the part of the country where it was manufactured due to various types of ingredients used in the concrete from different stories and other suppliers.

Broom finish concrete can also be colored, typically color added to the concrete either in the concrete mixer truck were at the plant while it is being manufactured.

Hope this helps explain some concrete terminology. Feel free to contact us to discuss further.

Salzano Custom Concrete

Monday, December 18, 2017

Does concrete really have gravel inside?

I had a customer one time ask the question if there is really gravel inside of concrete. The answer is yes. Gravel is one of the four primary ingredients in concrete.

If you were to go to the hardware store and buy a bag of regular ugly parking lot gravel, buy a bag of regular sand, buy a bag of Portland cement, and mix those three together with some water you will have concrete.

So why is there gravel in concrete? Basically to make it stronger. Without the gravel, concrete would be more brittle and would not be as resilient as it is with gravel. There are various concrete mixes, aka, recipes where different variations of gravel are used, bigger sizes, smaller sizes, mixtures of sizes for various uses of concrete. Engineers spend lots of time determining load calculations for the best gravel for particular situations.

Good news and more good news. Gravel is relatively inexpensive and when put into concrete as one of the primary ingredients makes concrete super strong and has wide variety of uses. More good news is that when the concrete is finished the workers smooth out, or float the concrete which will essentially push the gravel down inside so you don't see it.

Hope this helps to clear up some mysteries about what is inside of concrete. Feel free to call or email us anytime.

Salzano Custom Concrete

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Why do some patio stick up out of the ground?

Lots of customers ask why concrete slabs or patios sometimes stick up out of the ground particularly the sections further away from the house.

Customers often ask why can't you dig more to lower the concrete so it is at ground level. Most often customers want concrete to be at or below blades of grass or right with the level of the ground in their yard.

Concrete could be installed to follow the existing terrain, problem is most customers would not want that either. Most customers would want a patio, let's say, to be essentially level, of course with a small bit of slope to drain water off. That level of the patio is typically not as sloped as the backyard thus why the concrete at the outside edge of the patio can be higher than ground level. This is very typical where a patio at the outside perimeter would be 4 in or 8 in or even a foot higher than ground level. Patio is typically a level surface being installed in an area where the ground is not level.

The suggested approach would be to initially build the concrete at the correct elevation with it being higher than ground level at the outside perimeter then after the concrete is installed backfill the area around that outside edge in other words bring in additional topsoil and put it around the outside edge to essentially raise the ground to accommodate the new elevation of the concrete.

This is a very confusing topic and customers are not used to seeing concrete up out of the ground this way. Customers typically see concrete that has been installed for one year or 5 years or 50 years where the landscaping and surrounding terrain have been adjusted already. That Landscaping part of the project is something that has to be explained so this makes sense.

If you have additional questions about this feel free to email or call us anytime.

Salzano Custom Concrete

What is World of Concrete?

What is World of Concrete?
In short, World of Concrete is an annual trade show for the concrete industry.

This trade show has been held for many years, I would have to look up the original date but approximately 15 years. First few years were held at various locations but the last dozen years or so have been held at the convention center in Las Vegas Nevada.

The officials of this trade show report that there are typically 60,000 or so attendees that come from all around the world.

The show has hundreds of booths set up primarily by vendors selling all different types of concrete Supplies and services for the concrete industry.

World of Concrete also hosts hundreds of educational seminars, training classes, and certification programs. Attendees can sign up for these classes individually or can purchase several classes in various packages.

The World of Concrete show is divided up into various categories, for example there is an entire area of the show dedicated to concrete producers, those companies that specialize in manufacturing of concrete. This part of the show has production equipment, concrete mixers that deliver concrete to job sites, pump trucks, etc.

There's also a large part of the show dedicated to services related to Concrete Industries such as various software products for estimating project costs, materials needed, sketching tools, tracking devices, and other software products.

Another section of the show is dedicated to decorative concrete, those contractors and suppliers who specialize in colored concrete, stamped concrete, decorative coatings Etc.

The World of Concrete show is typically held during winter months when contractors tend to be a bit slower and might have more time to attend the show. Most commonly the show is held at  the end of January and last one week.

Search for World of Concrete website for lots of additional information, education schedule, list of vendors and lots of other information.

Salzano Custom Concrete

Wood pattern variations, stamped concrete

Stamped concrete has had a lot of Innovations in the past couple years. Lots of customers ask about building stamped concrete to look like wood.

The most common wood pattern for stamped concrete is wood planks about 8 in wide. Planks are all 8 in wide but very in the length from about 4 feet to about 8 feet randomly.

Some of the new Innovations with wood pattern stamped concrete include a wider plank referred to as Bridge plank that are 16 in wide. All planks are same width, but vary in length similar to the more narrow planks about 4 feet long to about 8 feet long randomly.

Other Innovations include Edge forms that can be placed on the vertical outside facing of a patio or steps that resemble the end grain of wood.

There are also specialty molds to make a tabletop or longer more narrow bar top that resembles thick pieces of reclaimed lumber with heavy grain, splits, nuts, Etc. To make the concrete resemble old thick pieces of wood.

Call anytime to inquire about the services. 703-929-9299.
Salzano Custom Concrete

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Does stamped concrete have to have a border?

Does stamped concrete have to have a border?
The short answer is no.
Borders are a decorative element around the perimeter of a stamped concrete patio, walkway, etc. The border is strictly optional and is installed only to enhance aesthetics.

Some customers prefer borders and want a more distinct edge detail, however other customer feel that borders make the stamped concrete area too busy and just prefer the stamp pattern to continue out to the edge of the area.

There are 3 or more types of borders. The most basic border is a 6 or 8 (or more) inch decorative band that runs around the perimeter of the patio, but the border is the same color as the main area. The border can also be installed as a different color from the patio. A third option is a brick style border with grout and multiple accent colors to make the border appear to be real bricks. There are other border options that include specialty stamps such as grapevines, medallions, etc. These types of borders can be hand-colored also to enhance aesthetics.

Contractors generally charge a separate fee for borders, so please ask about borders if that is something you’d like to include with your stamped concrete project.

Thanks for reading.
Salzano Custom Concrete