decorative concrete supply

Market Insight

Sealing the Deal: Ask Your Installer About Outdoor Sealer

Sealing your decorative concrete is an important part of the installation process for several reasons:

  • As concrete is a porous material it can absorb stain-causing contaminants if it is not sealed. By sealing your concrete, a protective layer can help to keep the concrete clean and looking new for longer.
  • Sealing can protect concrete from weather exposure.
  • An outdoor sealer might help to bring out the colour of your decorative concrete and enhance its aesthetic appeal.


You should never assume your decorative concrete has been properly sealed after it has been poured

This short list shows why an outdoor sealer should be applied as your decorative concrete is installed. Surprisingly, not every concrete installer offers sealing as a standard part of their service. Therefore, you should never assume your decorative concrete has been properly sealed after it has been poured. Before you choose an installer, it’s important you ask them if sealing is all part of the service. While you’re at it, it might be a good idea to enquire about other key components of the installation, including:


  • Will you use plastic between the ground and the concrete?
  • What sort of steel reinforcement and steel mesh do you use?
  • Do you use the recommended membrane method when curing decorative concrete?
  • Where will the control joints be placed?
  • Will you still pour on a hot and windy day? (The answer should be NO, but steps can be taken if a pour is time-critical)
  • May I please see recent customer references, and some of the work you’ve completed?


Your decorative concrete should have a big and positive impact on the appearance of your home. For this to happen, it has to be installed correctly in every respect, including the use of an outdoor sealer. You have every right to be picky when choosing an installer who will do a complete job. Reputable suppliers of decorative concrete might be able to help you in this respect by recommending good installers in your area. It’s in the best interests of your concrete supplier to ensure their product looks its best once it is installed, so they will probably be very fussy about who they recommend to carry out the project.


Sealing your decorative concrete while it is being installed should not be a one-off. Resealing every two years is recommended, depending on traffic and resulting abrasion. Sealing every step of the way, either during installation or in the years ahead, will help to maximise the impact that decorative concrete can have on a property. When you see the end result, and the wow factor decorative concrete can provide, then sealing with a high quality outdoor sealer, and taking the time to find the right installer, is well worth it.


The Art of Colour Matching

When it comes to colour matching around your home, individual preferences probably play a large part in the hues and shades you select. Exterior and interior paint, curtains, bedding, and even the flowers you plant might be chosen with your favourite colours front of mind. So, are there any colour matching guidelines you should follow when using decorative concrete, especially coloured concrete? After all, it is probably going to be used in some of the largest and most eye catching features of your home: driveway, floors, pool surrounds, and outdoor entertainment areas. Are there some very general rules of thumb to follow when deciding on what colours to match in areas such as these?

Rules are made to be broken, but colour matching usually revolves around the following schemes:

Complementary – this refers to the use of two colours directly opposite each other on the colour wheel. Complementing colours generally enhance the vibrancy of each other e.g. yellow and purple are often used together for this very reason.

Analogous – analogous colours are next to each other on the colour wheel and are used when a more harmonious design effect is desired. E.g. red & orange, or yellow & green

Monochromatic – the use of the different tints and shades of one colour. Another popular way to achieve harmony when colour matching.

Primary colour matching – red, yellow and blue are the primary colours, and add energy when used together. With the colour range available these days, there’s no reason why concrete cannot be dyed in one of these primary colours.

Pastel – pastel shades are used for a softer, more subtle effect, Pastel colours are generally used with other pastel colours, and this is a very popular match in exterior settings. Decorative concrete is particularly well suited to colour matching along these lines.


You can’t always consult a colour wheel, or be expected to absorb the minute details of colour matching as it applies to exterior design. It can all be a little complicated. However, you can simplify things a little by following broad guidelines based on colour matching theory. Here’s an example: when colour matching, this very general rule can be applied – Conform or Contrast.


There are so many colour options now available when choosing decorative concrete that it is very easy to select a shade that conforms to its surroundings. For example, a concrete driveway and pathway can be dyed to match the colour palette of the front garden or the home’s exterior walls. Similarly, a honed concrete patio can mirror an interior polished concrete floor, in a classic example of indoor outdoor flow.


The other side of this colour matching rule is to contrast. On the surface, aColoured decorative concrete can help to highlight a bold and striking feature, rather than detract or distract from that feature.nd using basic definitions, the words “contrast” and “match” might not seem like a perfect fit. However, if you consider the bigger picture, contrasting can be a very effective part of the colour matching equation. For example, subtly coloured decorative concrete can help to highlight a bold and striking feature in near proximity, rather than detract or distract from that feature. In these circumstances, in the larger scheme of things, a contrasting colour is a great match for its environment.



The art of colour matching, as it applies to decorative concrete, is made easier thanks to the versatility of the product. Contrasts can be as sharp as you desire, and conforming colours can beautifully reflect their surroundings. When coloured concrete can be customised to match your vision, or satisfy your personal preference, or follow widely accepted colour matching guidelines, anything is possible.


Cool Pool Surrounds

Before the sun goes down and the barbecue is fired up, it’s your pool that is usually the centre of attention on a hot summer’s afternoon. It’s perfectly understandable that you want the pool to capture that attention in a very eye-catching way, and cool surrounds can help you make that desired impression.


One of the keys to creating beautiful pool surrounds is integration with the rest of the backyard. There’s nothing wrong with bold, contrasting touches here and there, such as a brightly coloured feature wall, or clever lighting effects, but the overall impression should be one of a pool area that fits in beautifully and naturally with its surroundings.


An intelligent selection of plants can help achieve this sense of integration. Plants similar to the ones already in the garden might strongly emphasise the flow from back yard to pool area. Similarly, furniture that reflects the architecture and age of the home can also help to form a seamless impression. Indoor outdoor flow is seen as a major selling point these days, and creating a similar feeling from back yard to pool area might be seen as just as desirable.


A pool’s immediate surrounds should have the biggest visual impact, so pay extra attention to the surface you choose. Timber decking might once have been the “go to” surface, a staple of many Australian pools. Today, however, decorative concrete seems to be leading the charge as people look for more innovative ways to combine looks with practicality. Decorative concrete can achieve this in many ways:

  • Exposed and honed concrete have slip-resistant properties that many other surfaces lack.
  • Coloured concrete can be used as a border or pattern amongst exposed or honed concrete. It can be customised to complement other features of the back yard and tie everything together.
  • Mosquitoes are less likely to breed under concrete surfaces.
  • Weeds cannot grow through concrete pool surrounds.
  • The raw texture of Australian stone in exposed concrete can create a striking visual effect around water.
  • Concrete is comfortable on bare feet, while honed concrete is smooth and very easy to walk on.
  • Decorative concrete is versatile with a wide range of design options.


For these, and other reasons, decorative concrete is a smart choice as the centrepiece of your cool pool surrounds. In conjunction with the right plants, furniture and accessories, it has the potential to give you a stunning yet easy-care surface.

One final note, the most important thing surrounding your pool should always be the fence. Safety must be a high priority, even as you’re trying to create great looking pool surrounds. By all means, go all out when designing your pool area, but keep in mind the safety of everyone who will use it. A good idea is to go to the Royal Lifesaving Society’s website for their Home Pool Safety Checklist. When you’re creating your cool pool surrounds, refer to this checklist as often as you refer to your wish list.

What Is Thermal Mass?

Basically, thermal mass refers to a material’s ability to absorb and store heat energy. The next question is: what does thermal mass have to do with decorative concrete, and specifically, a polished concrete floor?
Concrete has what is known as high thermal mass. Because it is a dense material, concrete can absorb and store a considerable amount of heat energy. (In comparison, lighter materials like timber can’t absorb and store as much heat. For this reason, timber is known as a material with low thermal mass.) While concrete stores heat energy during the warmer part of the day, it releases this energy when the temperature drops later on. This release can be an efficient way to keep a home warm year round, and polished concrete floors can play a large part in this.

A polished concrete floor, with its high thermal mass, can absorb, store and release heat over a wide area of the home. This should lead to lower heating bills and a more comfortable environment within the home because thermal mass can moderate temperatures, and average out day/night extremes (please ensure you do your research to compare the different products and their performance). But just putting down a polished concrete floor does not guarantee you’ll be able to take maximum advantage of thermal mass. Some key factors should be taken into consideration.

Polished concrete floors must be exposed to capture heat energyGood planning and design will help to make your polished concrete floor an energy efficient feature, as well as an aesthetically pleasing one. For example, when exploiting thermal mass as a source of passive heating during winter, it should have maximum exposure to sunlight. You’ll need the correct ratio of glazing to concrete to help achieve this. Conversely, minimum exposure to sunlight is required during summer to avoid overheating. With this in mind, shading becomes a very important part of the design process.

The orientation and layout of the floor is something else to keep in mind, as is insulation. Adequate insulation is needed to prevent released heat energy from being lost too quickly. Even floor coverings should be looked at. Polished concrete floors must be exposed to capture heat energy; rugs and carpet act as impediments to thermal mass in this regard.

Concrete has what is known as high thermal massThermal mass can also be used to cool a home during summer. It does this by drawing in and storing the heat in the air. As this energy is released later in the day, good ventilation is needed to stop the home from overheating; yet something else to consider. With all these things to think about – and they are worth thinking about for financial and environmental reasons – expert advice should be sought at the planning stages. The Australian government’s Your Home website is a good place to start, and will help to guide you in the right direction should you decide to use the thermal mass of a polished concrete floor as a way to passively heat, and cool, your home.


Images from Australian Government, Your Home

Can Concrete Really Be Beautiful?

The short answer is YES. Concrete really can be beautiful. The question of beauty could be a nagging one though, even if you’re sold on concrete’s other qualities, such as lower maintenance, durability and strength. Deep down however, you might see concrete as a big grey slab of functionality. Lots of functionality to be sure, but of little aesthetic value. If you’re thinking along those lines, it could be time to change your mind set and explore the world of decorative concrete.

Decorative concrete can be beautiful concrete in and of itself, but it can also enhance the rooms or outdoor areas where it is installed. The versatility of decorative concrete with its different colours, textures and finishes means it is able to be applied in many settings around the home, including:

The natural colours of Australia are captured in exposed aggregate concrete.Exposed aggregate concrete:
featuring the raw texture of Australian stone, exposed aggregate concrete can lend unique character to areas as diverse as driveways, pathways, pool surrounds and outdoor entertainment areas. The natural colours of Australia are captured in exposed aggregate concrete, with the additional benefit that its texture can help to create a skid resistant surface. These slip resistent qualities can make exposed aggregate a good-looking and safe choice for pool surrounds in particular.


Coloured concrete can enhance the area in which it is located.

Coloured concrete: there are now so many colours to choose from, that you can use this type of concrete to match many existing features around the property. By doing this, coloured concrete can enhance the area in which it is located. For example, coloured driveways and pathways can match the palette of a front garden, which should significantly add to a home’s street appeal. A qualified installer should seal coloured concrete at the pouring stage, and with regular resealing, the colours can stay vibrant for many years.


Polished concrete is becoming a popular choice as an interior flooring surface.Polished and honed concrete:  for a look of sheer luxury and indulgence, similar to marble, polished concrete is becoming a popular choice as an interior flooring surface. Meanwhile, honed concrete has had its top layer removed to reveal natural stone and a matt finish. In wet areas such as bathrooms, the laundry, and pool surrounds, honed concrete comes into its own. Its slip resistent properties help to make it a safer surface, but one that is also very eye-catching.
Decorative concrete might have changed the way we use concrete around our homes, but it should also  change the way we think about concrete. No longer should it be considered as just a functional surface. When you use decorative concrete, you can enjoy the benefits of its many practical qualities, with the added bonus of huge aesthetic appeal. Reconsider your opinion of concrete and take a new look at how decorative concrete can be used as an interior and exterior feature. You’ll probably be very pleasantly surprised by what you see.


The Benefits Of a Concrete Patio

If you’ve never considered concrete as a surface for your patio, you’re overlooking the myriad of benefits it can provide. A concrete patio can be a highly attractive and distinctive feature of your home, with the added benefits of durability, ease of maintenance and even safety.


A Concrete Patio Looks Good – outdoor entertainment areas are different spaces than they used to be. Years ago, a few pavers and a barbecue near the fence were probably a close approximation of an outdoor entertainment area. Not anymore. As al fresco dining and entertaining have become more popular, the need to create spaces that are more like outdoor rooms has increased – and like any room inside the house, first impressions count. Decorative concrete is manufactured to provide that “wow” factor, with surfaces like coloured concrete, exposed aggregate and honed concrete being used in creative and colourful ways that go far beyond that “concrete slab” aesthetic.


A Concrete Patio IsConcrete surface can be skid-resistant A Safer Patio – safety should always be a primary consideration, particularly in family homes, or in areas where large numbers of people congregate. This is where a concrete patio can provide yet another benefit. Concrete is a mould resistant material if treated correctly, and hypoallergenic. As you’d imagine, a concrete patio can also be a more stable area. Honed concrete basically eliminates uneven surfaces, so outdoor furniture, such as chairs and tables, are at less risk of toppling over. Finally, a concrete surface can be skid-resistant, a very important thing to remember when creating an entertainment area that is exposed to the elements. This skid-resistance is part of the reason why concrete is a popular choice for patios, pool surrounds, and even internal wet areas like bathrooms and laundries.


More Durable, Less Maintenance – outdoor entertainment areas should be lots of fun, not lots of hard work. A concrete patio, when installed by an expert, can become a long lasting feature of your home and likely to require less attention than other materials. The renowned durability and strength of concrete means it can better withstand the weight of large groups, as well as outdoor furniture and cooking equipment. As a low maintenance material, concrete is also virtually unmatched. Again, installation is key. Get it done by a professional, and your concrete patio will probably need less TLC than a patio made of any other surface.


A Solid Value Adder – when the benefits listed above are put together, they add up to a very solid way of adding potential value to your home. Every home renovation should add value, and an aesthetically pleasing concrete patio, that is safe, durable and low maintenance would almost certainly make a positive difference to a property’s bottom line. The way we regard outdoor entertaining these days makes it imperative that an important feature of that area, such as the patio, is eye-catching and easy to care for. It’s not only beneficial to us, but a potentially big selling point somewhere down the track. A concrete patio, with all the benefits it entails, can certainly fit the bill in that area.


Your Driveway Renovation Checklist

Renovating your driveway can have many benefits. A great driveway can add functionality, convenience, street appeal and, crucially, value to your home. But, like anything in life, if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right. With that in mind, this short checklist will help you maximise the benefits of your driveway renovation.


Will It Be Easy to Maintain? – high maintenance can have little appeal, both to a homeowner, and to a potential home buyer. So choosing a low maintenance surface for your driveway renovation is very important. For example, a concrete driveway can be a low maintenance option, requiring basic cleaning and minimal need for repairs if installed properly. Not all surfaces can be as forgiving, so during the planning stages of your driveway renovation, do your research on how much maintenance might be required once the project is complete.


Make It a Driveway That Lasts – like the roof, a driveway is a very big, if not unmissable, part of the home. If something’s not right, it could be rather obvious. A driveway that is durable enough to stand the test of time and keep its good looks over the years will help to maintain street appeal and value. Plus, it should be even more appealing if it looks like it won’t need to be replaced in the near to medium term. As you choose the surface for your driveway renovation, check its ability to handle vehicle traffic and local conditions e.g. ask if the surface will be UV and weather resistant.


Does It Add Street Appeal? – Just because a driveway is low maintenance and highly durable, you shouldn’t have to compromise on its aesthetic value. A driveway should add street appeal to a home because of its sheer size. On the other side of the coin, anything less than attractive will probably detract from its surroundings. In this day of coloured concrete, or exposed aggregate, it is very easy to choose a surface, colour, texture or design that can enhance street appeal. As you plan your driveway renovation ask yourself: will my final choice add to that appeal?


It Has to Do the Job – your driveway renovation design might look good, but its functionality should also be a priority. Consider the size and number of vehicles that will use it and ensure your final design comfortably accommodates those vehicles.


Have You Chosen the Right Installer?  – Possibly the most important step of your driveway renovation checklist. Did you know that not all installers include sealing as standard when installing a concrete driveway? As sealing is such an important component when installing a concrete driveway, it might be a serious error of judgement to assume all installers did this.


This is just one example of why it is vitally important to choose the right installer, regardless of the surface you choose for your driveway renovation. A good way to find the best installer for your project is to check their credentials and look at previous examples of their work. Another good idea is to contact the company providing the surface materials for your driveway renovation; they might have a list of recommended installers or, at the very least, they can provide you with the questions that every good installer should be able to answer.

Exposed Aggregate: The King of Driveway Materials

Low-maintenance, visually appealing and affordable – exposed aggregate concrete is an excellent way to get a spectacular-looking driveway.

The techniques involved in stripping away an upper layer of cement skin to reveal the exquisite natural qualities of stones and granite have been around since the early 1900s. It remains popular today because exposed aggregate is a stylish and versatile form of decorative concrete which will keep your property looking modern for years to come.

Exposed aggregate concrete is one of the best surfacing materials you can invest in. The concrete surface is removed to uncover a solid river bed amassed with the natural stones and quarry materials that had been added to the mix prior to the pour. These could include decorative rocks, granite, quartz or even a mosaic of sparkling recycled glass crystals.

An exposed aggregate driveway is a perfect way to make a unique statement about your home. You can choose a single colour for the entire driveway or have a collective of various natural and recycled materials added to the concrete to create an astonishing driveway that’s uniquely your own. An unlimited array of textures and colour choices allows you to customise the appearance of your driveway and paths to complement your home’s existing design elements. If you’re planning to sell your home or are just looking for a cost-effective home improvement project, exposed aggregate is a practical and versatile way to beautify your home and potentially increase its value. The smooth clean lines and magnificent visual effect of an exposed aggregate driveway can leave a lasting impression.

In a December 2016 survey, more than 400 Perth and Adelaide homeowners were shown three images to assess the impact of driveway materials on perceived house value. The three houses in the three images were identical except for the driveway. The driveways were of the same dimensions and gradient but were made of three different materials: plain concrete; pavers and exposed aggregate. More than half of the group chose the house with the exposed aggregate driveway as the property they believed to be of the highest value of the three.[1]


  • Very low maintenance compared to other outdoor renovation materials such as wooden decking or stone pavers. Once installed virtually no upkeep other than periodic resealing to protect from stains and an occasional sweep with the broom. No weeding necessary, not susceptible to moss growth and exposed aggregate concrete is an ant-free environment.
  • Easy to install and few tools and installation materials required. Favoured by architects, builders and contractors as a simple technique to make driveways look more stylish, modern and appealing. Basic procedures easily mastered by experienced finishers.
  • Cost-effective due to shorter installation time. Exposed aggregate is an ideal surfacing option for a large driveway on a tight budget.
  • Skid resistant as exposed aggregate’s granular finishes offer a lot of grip and so steeply sloped driveways are safer to walk on when wet. Exposed aggregate’s properties make it a perfect choice for pool areas.
  • Durable as exposed aggregate shares the same structural integrity as conventional concrete. Incredibly tough and long-lasting. Handles all weather conditions and resistant to heavy traffic areas. Unlike timber, no rot, warping or termites.
  • Highly decorative and customisable as wide choice of stones, colour and textured effects can create a driveway that’s an attractive front yard focal point and standout feature of the home.



[1] Internal Survey Data, Brand Storey December 2016

Pour Concrete and Add Value to Your Home

More than just a basic construction material, concrete is now one of the most versatile building, paving and decorative products in existence.

Decorative concrete has become an integral part of modern building design and renovation projects. In its wide-ranging applications to commercial and residential architecture, it provides functionality and enhancement.

Concrete used to have a reputation for being drab, grey and dull. This was at a time when its household use was limited to driveways adecorative concrete flooring is relatively affordable.nd paths that were plain, flat slabs; unimaginative in colour and texture. A lot of homes have concrete surfaces that have been there for decades and are starting to show their age or are getting damaged. Homeowners sometimes leave these surfaces, not knowing what to do with them. With decorative concrete, it’s never been easier to give almost any area of your home a new lease of life and your creativity with concrete is limited only by your imagination.

Decorative concrete is created when materials such as natural stone, sand, shells and crushed quarry material that have been mixed into the concrete are later exposed or highlighted by grinding and polishing methods. A decorative effect can also be created by stamping elegant lines and geometrical patterns or acid-staining the concrete. Decorative concretes are affordable and are a quick and practical way to increase the kerb appeal of your property.


The aggregate materials near the surface of the finished concrete are revealed. The end result is a low-maintenance, rugged, non-skid surface that fits in beautifully with the surrounding outdoor environment. Exposed concrete is generally a less expensive option to tiles and timber decking and a perfect choice if you’re intending to make your driveway match your home’s colour scheme. It’s a perfect hard-wearing solution for garden paths, driveways, pool surrounds and al fresco areas.


A smooth low-maintenance matt finish is created by honing the concrete surface and exposed aggregates. Honed concrete brings to life driveways, patio areas and pool surrounds and is an ideal choice for transition areas that crossover to the stylish polished concrete that may feature inside the home.


A smooth flat finish is obtained when the aggregates are polished even further using progressively finer abrasives so as to impart a glossy lustre. The end result is a top-of-the-range look, a sophisticated design that can be manicured to look like marble or granite. Polished concrete flooring is a relatively quick and inexpensive way to get the look and elegance of natural stone. It’s a budget-friendly alternative to flooring of similar appearance such as terrazzo or marble and this can be especially important in spacious living rooms.

Decorative concrete can provide a striking uplift to wet areas such as showers and bathrooms. Picture a slip resistant concrete floor embedded with cut coral, ground and polished to stunning effect, or blotted and dappled concrete shower walls with rendered pebble floors showing off some traditional chrome tapware and white porcelain fixtures. Concrete bathroom floors can be designed for any budget, incorporate the warmth of in-built heating, require little maintenance, resist moisture and stains, and can reduce allergens. Why put up with the angst of cracking and discolouring tiles when you can have a superbly crafted concrete bathroom floor that gives the natural beauty of polished stone in a tile-like finish?