Concrete has come a long long way since the sixties and seventies when it meant that drab gray stuff you saw everywhere and which made everything look like a bomb shelter when the rain started to stain it. Now concrete is a vibrant and flexible building material available in more flavors than Baskin Robbins and with those changes have come some very real differences in the way that it was used. Once there was just structural concrete – the heavy gray stuff usually reinforced with rebar. Then there came decorative concrete as the industry learned how to polish, stamp, and stain concrete into a rainbow of frankly fabulous looking effects that transformed the way we see and design with the material. But there's a third field where concrete is revolutionizing the way we build, and it's a field where only the truly expert play. That area is architectural concrete where the concrete concerned is structural in that it forms part of the fabric and strength of the building but also so good looking that it is deliberately kept on show as a feature. It takes specialists to make a success of architectural concrete since it requires an understanding of mixing for strength as well as designing for aesthetics but at Charlotte Concrete Stamping we are proud to supply architectural concrete and advise on its use.
Aggregates for Architectural Concrete
Charlotte Concrete Stamping are specialists in mixing the right concrete for the job and when the task is architectural concrete we can mix a beautiful blend of aggregates for an end result that is a million miles from dull old drab slab. Aggregates such as fine quartz crystals, or flakes of granite, limestone, or even man made materials like glass and ceramic can be added to the concrete mix for a concrete that is strong but shimmering.
Re-purposing Existing Concrete
One example of architectural concrete is to take existing concrete and strip back its outer layer, like a skin peel, to reveal a glowing new layer intended for display. These exposed aggregate surfaces are deliberately decorative and can give a rugged or rustic look. It takes some skill to analyze the nature of the aggregate and so predict the end result but that's why you turn to the experts at Charlotte Concrete Stamping. We then strip away the old outer layer with a mix of sanding, water blasting, and possibly acid etching. Sealant chemicals may then be needed to protect the new surface.
Forms and Form Liners
These are pre-cast patterned concrete slabs designed for display and can be mounted in form liners that hold them and make it easy to clad constructions with the brick/slate/paver effects that you want.
Concrete staining is often thought of as a domestic requirement used for patios and countertops. Which is true and it makes for the most fantastically subtly colored yet strong surfaces. Because staining is such an enduring process, particularly if it is done in the mix of the concrete itself it is also a great technique for transforming the look of buildings when used architecturally. Talk to Charlotte Concrete Stamping about how stained concrete could match your designer dreams.