exposed aggregate concrete

All
Awards
Market Insight
News

Demystifying Concrete: 5 Common Concrete Myths Busted

Your home is not only your shelter, but also a major investment.

For many of us, it is the largest purchase we will ever make, and we’ll probably spend many years, sometimes decades, working hard to pay for it.

We also spend a lot of time enjoying our homes, whether it’s cooking up a storm in the kitchen, entertaining friends, gardening or sleeping in on Sunday.

And sometimes, we’re hard at work making home improvements – updating, renovating and landscaping to nurture our investment and make our house a home.

So when we invest in home improvements, we want to be sure they are going to last. Concrete is a durable and versatile building material with wide-ranging applications, making it the perfect option for home improvement projects including driveways, pathways, entertaining areas, pool surrounds, landscaping, polished concrete flooring and even benchtops. Considered once merely a structural material hidden under other finishes, concrete is now rightly appreciated for not only its inherent strength but natural beauty. With the advances in finishes and the decorative range, concrete adds design gravitas to any area of the home.

To make sure there’s nothing stopping you from choosing decorative concrete for your home, we’ve busted some of the most common concrete myths.

 

Myth #1 – It cracks

One of the most common concerns we hear about concrete is that it might crack. It’s important to remember that all solid surfaces have the potential to crack, including tiles and paving, but measures can be taken to prevent concrete cracking.

Holcim Australia has revealed the major causes of cracking are poor site preparation and construction supervision issues – both avoidable factors. Design defects and unfavourable weather conditions can also contribute to concrete instability.

As always, prevention is better than cure. The Geostone Best Practice Placement Guide provides helpful advice for our customers and their concrete installers on the best methods to prevent cracks in concrete.

 

Myth #2 – It’s too slippery

Decorative concrete is a popular material for pool decks and pool surrounds and also high in demand is concrete floors for bathrooms and wet areas.

Exposed aggregate is ideal for outdoor use, while indoors, polished concrete offers a sleek flooring option, and honed concrete can be used both indoors and out.

The exposed aggregate and polished and honed concrete finishes from Geostone offer slip-resistant qualities, which make them a safe flooring and underfoot option for the family home.

In fact, new research shows polished concrete is one of the safest architectural hard surfaces available today. Concrete also provides a flat and stable floor surface, reducing tripping hazards or the risk of tipping furniture. In high traffic areas such as hallways, living rooms, kitchens and indoor/outdoor interfaces, concrete is the one material which can help link and define these zones and withstand the wear and tear.

 

Myth #3 – It’s old fashioned

A quick search for ‘concrete’ on Pinterest will reveal this building material is considered anything but old.

Concrete has experienced a modern-day resurgence as a highly sought-after building material, capable of creating award-winning and awe-inspiring homes and architecture. A look at the most recent Australian Architectural awards will show you how concrete is very much the go-to building material when it comes to cutting edge home design. It suits all Australian environments as its thermal properties keep interiors stable without excess heating or cooling costs.

The versatility of concrete means it can be used creatively to suit any style of home. According to leading designers, it’s also a material which complements all other  finishes. So whether you are looking for modern and contemporary building materials, or something a little more classic, you will soon discover why decorative concrete is the new cool.

Myth #4 – Concrete looks too industrial

In case you still need more convincing after busting Myth #3, let us say one thing.

Concrete doesn’t just come in grey anymore.

Geostone’s coloured concrete is available in a range of natural and earthy colours giving customers the power of choice when it comes to designing their dream entertaining area and home exteriors.

The exposed aggregate and polished and honed concrete ranges also feature natural Australian stone, creating a warm and welcoming finish to driveways, pathways, pool surrounds and more.

 

Myth #5 – It requires too much maintenance

Concrete is a naturally durable and long lasting hard surface, meaning it requires less maintenance than some other flooring and landscaping options.

Low maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance however, and decorative concrete will look better for longer by following a few simple steps for cleaning and care.

Regular sweeping is recommended for exterior concrete surfaces to avoid build-up and potential staining, while indoors a damp mop is sometimes all you need for cleaning decorative concrete.

Taking steps to preserve the concrete surface such as waxing polished concrete floors or sealing outdoor concrete can also help to protect your solid long term investment.

Still have questions about concrete? You might like to check out our Frequently Asked Questions, Contact Us directly for more information, or to see Geostone’s wide range of decorative concrete in person, find your nearest Geostone display centre.

 

The Seamlessness of a Concrete Pool Deck

Pool decks made from decorative concrete are growing in popularity for a number of reasons. For a start, exposed or honed concrete has skid resistant qualities in wet areas making it a naturally safer choice for pool surrounds, as well as driveways and walkways, and even laundries and bathrooms. Concrete pool decks are also UV-resistant, weeds are less likely to grow through them, and they’re relatively easy to maintain.

All this functionality should not overshadow the aesthetic appeal of decorative concrete around the pool, in particular its “seamless” qualities. In these modern times, where flow from one area of the home to another is often considered to be a highly desirable feature, decorative concrete stands out for being able to link one location to another. A concrete pool deck can, through colour and texture, perfectly reflect its surroundings including the house, other outdoor entertainment areas and garden.

This is achieved through the sheer versatility of decorative concrete. Exposed, honed and coloured concrete options can all be used in a pool deck to varying degrees. On their own, or in combination, they can create a mirror image of the environs outside of the pool area. For example, a pattern or strip of coloured concrete within a honed pool deck can match the colour palette of a nearby garden. A concrete pool deck can also lead onto any walkway that links the pool area to another outdoor entertainment space, or the home itself. With all the ways a concrete pool deck can make a connection between different outdoor areas or buildings, it is no surprise that the surface is now a common choice when pool areas are being built.

While other pool deck materials may provide a limited amount of exterior flow, few, if any, can match the versatility of decorative concrete. When colour, texture and finish combine in a concrete pool deck, it accentuates the feel of exterior flow. This degree of seamlessness might not be possible when using other surfaces. For example, timber decking may be available in a range of colours, but the texture and finish might not be as versatile: this is a major consideration if exterior flow is a desired look in an outdoor area. With decorative concrete, texture, finish and colour are used to striking effect in many applications.

Great looking driveways add much street appeal and value to a home so it is no surprise to see decorative concrete used quite often on new driveways, as well as accompanying walkways. Polished internal floors and honed concrete of the same colour in adjoining outdoor spaces allows for flow from one area to another. Why shouldn’t it be the same for pool decks? The use of decorative concrete certainly allows you to create an exterior where one area naturally flows or connects to another; such is the seamlessness of a concrete pool deck.

 

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.

 

Four Reasons Why Decorative Concrete Is Family Friendly

Decorative concrete is an increasingly popular surface, and it’s not hard to figure out why. It is extremely versatile, offering a wide variety of looks – exposed aggregate, coloured, multi-coloured, dyed, stained, honed, polished, stamped, trowel finished…you get the idea! But decorative concrete is also gaining popularity beyond its eye-catching qualities. For example, it can be considered a very family friendly surface. Here are four reasons why:

 

Decorative concrete is hypoallergenic – in other words, it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction. This makes a polished concrete floor potentially a better choice if you’re trying to create a healthier, low-allergen home where your family can breathe easily (obviously seek your own independent advice). You’d probably be surprised, and terrified, if you could see what could live in the average carpet – millions of dust mites and other tiny creatures that can trigger cold and hay fever-type reactions, and possibly even symptoms that resemble asthma. Vacuuming the carpet does little to alleviate the problem, so it can be an ongoing, if unseen, headache. This is less of an issue when decorative concrete is used as an easy-to-clean and hypoallergenic floor surface.

 

Decorative concrete is slip resistant – decorative concrete around the pool, on the driveway, or on the floor in internal areas like bathrooms and laundries, is not just there for its good looks. Decorative concrete, such as honed concrete or exposed aggregate, has skid-resistant qualities that can reduce the chance of falls in slippery places. Accidents are likely to happen in every family home, but reducing the risk of spills and tumbles on wet floors and pool decks will help to make that home a safer place.

 

Decorative concrete is stable – furniture situated on unstable or uneven surfaces can present a number of potential dangers. Assuming that it is correctly placed, the stability of concrete, and the ability to create an even surface when using it, can alleviate the risk of people toppling backwards in a chair, or items sliding off a table, or other mishaps. This is probably why concrete patios and floors are now a selling point, particularly in family homes. Not only do they look good, but they also add stability and safety.

 

Decorative concrete is a time saver – “quality time” is probably the most precious resource a family has. Because decorative concrete is a relatively low maintenance surface that is easy to clean, less time might be needed to look after it. Concrete’s renowned durability also means it should last longer, so money is saved on frequent repairs and replacements – and in this day and age, money is definitely another precious resource for any family.

 

Many other materials are nice to look at, and some are comparable to concrete in terms of practicality and safety. However in the decision making process it is wise to consider decorative concrete along with other materials. Throw in decorative concrete’s visual appeal, and you have a material that can be family friendly in a very good looking way.

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.

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.

 

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]

WHY EXPOSED AGGREGATE IS CONSIDERED THE KING OF DRIVEWAY MATERIAL:

  • 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