CD Designs Blog

    Glittery Gritz, for Concrete Glitz!

    We’ve covered a lot of different pattern imprinted concrete techniques on the CD Designs blog, from the conservative to the creative, and from the sublime to the ridiculous. But here we’ve got a unique and very special effect to share: glittery concrete! Maybe you are a fan of musicals or cabaret (are you Frank ‘n’ Furter?), or maybe you just love it loud (your decor, that is). Whatever the exact details, if this sounds anything like you then you’re gonna love this!

    Glittery Concrete Floor; We're Fans

    Glittery Concrete Floor; We're Fans

    To achieve such a result, it really doesn’t take that much effort beyond a normal concrete sealing treatment. Pop down to your local DIY store and get a regular floor coating kit. Everything you will do to apply it is completely standard, except that instead of adding a subtle treatment for decoration and texture (normally a few multicoloured flecks), you should mix in a good few bottles of glitter, the kind that you can buy in any kids’ craft shop.

    Apply the coating treatment, flatten it all out and get it all even, and then sweep off any excess. When the coating has set, you should just seal it all in with a standard clear sealant, and you’re done!

    Image via Diary of a Crafty Chica

    How to Stain Concrete

    Imprinted Concrete Driveway

    Stained and Pattern Imprinted Concrete

    Staining concrete is a great technique to consider for pretty much any pattern imprinted concrete driveway, patio, internal floor, or other concrete project. It is fairly easy to do, and inexpensive, and you can use it to get pretty much any colour and style of finish that you desire, from polished wood to marble and other stone effects. Done well, it is almost indistinguishable from the real thing, but can you really do it yourself? Of course! Below we will tell you how.

    1. First of all, choose the staining method. the three choices are
      • Acid stain, which is actually a chemical reaction between acid and concrete surface, producing a unique colour depending on the acid being used.
      • Acetone dye, which is available in dozens of colours, and stains the concrete using coloured particles suspended in a solution.
      • Water-based stain, which is basically an acrylic dye and works in a similar manner to acetone.

      There are pros and cons to each. Acid staining is a bit more imprecise than the others, as it relies on a chemical reaction rather than specific colours, so it is impossible to guarantee exactly what you are going to get. Also, it usually gives you earthy colours and tints. Acetone has a wide range of colours and is pretty precise, but doesn’t give quite the same look as acid stains – it gives more of a bright solid colour, without much texture. Water-based stains are available in a more limited choice of colours and they are often used in corrective work. The choice is up to you, depending on what you want.

    2. Next, you need to prepare the surface. Make absolutely sure that it is clean and dry before getting started. Also, you should apply the colour before you apply any additives, sealers or coatings, as these can and will interfere with the colouring process.
    3. Time to apply the colour! Make sure you wear protective clothing, as the materials used here are pretty corrosive. Also protect any areas that you don’t want stained. the stain is usually applied with a sprayer or a brush. Try to get it as even as possible.
    4. After applying the colour, you need to seal the surface, with a sealer that is compatible with the method of staining that you used. Make sure you research this carefully.

    Texture Effects Colour: A Consideration Not To Miss!

    When you are working out the design of your next pattern imprinted concrete masterpiece, there are lots of things to consider, one of the most important being the colours you will use.

    However, it often isn’t as simple as just working out the colours you want, and then choosing the right mixture of sand, cement and colour pigments. The colour you choose for the concrete will obviously affect the overall look of the design, but many people don’t realise that the finish can directly affect how the colours turn out. Factors to consider are as follows:

    • For a start, a more reflective surface will result in a lighter colour, due to more light being reflected back at the viewer. You can create a more reflective surface by making it smoother, for example by polishing the concrete. A rougher finish, such as broomed or steel-troweled concrete, will result in a rougher less reflective finish, and a darker colour.
    • Also bear in mind that mind that polishing concrete results in a thin layer of the concrete being removed to reveal a small degree of aggregate. This will also affect the final colouring.
    • It is also well-known that more porous concrete results in a less vibrant colour.
    • The more textured the surface, the more the colour will vary with the viewing angle of the observer. Think about how much variance in the colour you are happy with, on the end result. Brooming concrete can really accentuate this phenomenon, creating a really beautiful shimmering look for passers by to behold. But one quick tip – make sure the broom is not too dry when you attempt to apply the effect, otherwise it may wash out the colour.
    • Different stamps can also drastically affect the final colour perception too – try a really light subtle stamp compared against a deep aggressive stamp, and you’ll see a big difference!

    Food for thought, certainly. For examples of colours and finishing textures have a browse of our case studies.

    Stained Concrete Designs Inside Your Home!

    Concrete Designs Inside Your Home

    Concrete Designs Inside Your Home

    We are well known at CD Designs for our high quality work on home exteriors, introducing some polish and sparkle all over North West with our pattern imprinted concrete driveways and patios! But the good news is that we’ve expanded our horizons indoors – much of our pattern imprinted ideas have been shown to work already, in projects such as our Millet Street, Bury case study, where we used fairly standard pattern imprinted concrete flooring to create a great effect.
    But why should we stop there? There are many more inventive ways that concrete could be used in interior designs. We have seen a number of designers that make use of single piece poured concrete structures for baths, sinks, shelving, and combinations of the above! Take the work of designer Jeremy Levine, for example, in which he has used a single pouring of concrete for the bathtub, sink, and connecting shelving and storage areas. The concrete mix is 50% fly ash – the waste left over after coal is burnt – which is a great use for a waste material as well as providing the concrete with extra strength.

    The concrete is finished off with a bold red colour and a waterproof finish, and the result is a really striking bathroom layout with thick lines, and which seems to defy gravity.

    Image by Jeremy Levine

    Concrete: isn’t it a Bit Plain?

    Concrete is an everyday sight, but that doesn’t mean it has to look boring. Having traditionally derided it as a grey, utilitarian substance, concrete’s critics can now consider themselves silenced. Because more now than ever before, home owners and other customers can benefit from a number of different potential techniques that craftsmen and skilled workers can use to alter the appearance of concrete. In this article we’ll focus on one in particular. It’s called concrete staining, and its results are very pleasing indeed.

    It’s a simple enough idea. Once set, the surface of your concrete flooring or driveway (or patio, or whatever else; concrete has numerous applications) is treated with an acid- or water-based stain. Because of the porous nature of concrete, the liquid stain enters its surface. In acid-based stains this process is accelerated by the mildly corrosive nature of the liquid, and by traces of metals dissolved along with the colourant.

    The stain then reacts chemically with the lime in the concrete mix and becomes part of the surface of the concrete itself. After the application of stain the surface should be sealed, to further protect and enhance the final product. This means that the stain cannot be scrubbed, washed, or chipped off the concrete; to remove the colouring you would have to remove the entire outer surface.

    Because each concrete surface is different- due to natural irregularities in the mix and the manner in which it sets –each area of stained concrete will be unique. While the colour will be uniform overall, these tiny variations in the surface of the concrete will provide natural variations in the depth and intensity of the stain. Handily, this variability and partial-translucency increases the attractively natural appearance of stained concrete.

    Stains are available in many shades, from rich rustic reds to cool neutral blues. The visual impact of these shades is increased by the subtle mottling effect created by the nature of the stain.

    Staining can be combined with thoughtful design and layout, along, perhaps, with other concrete-improving strategies such as the use of imprinted patterning. By doing so, a wealth of beautiful finishes become available and attainable.

    Complete Driveway Designs Ltd

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