Concrete Aggregate: Adding Variety to the Mix
Wednesday November 05, 2008
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Concrete floors don't have to be just flat, gray blocks. If you think of concrete as simply a smooth surface, it may be because you've only seen concrete that's created using fine concrete aggregates.
Aggregates are the materials added to wet concrete to improve its structural durability. What you may not know is that aggregates can be fine (such as sand) or coarse (such as crushed stone or gravel), and can be used to help determine the concrete's texture and appearance. Coarser aggregates can turn dull concrete flooring into a room's most interesting design element.
Consider one of these alternative concrete aggregates for your floor:
- Crushed stone or gravel: These are the most typical coarse aggregates and are often seen in concrete used for driveways and other outdoor areas. The result is a unique and eye-catching look, especially if you embed darker stones in lighter concrete. Note that stone aggregates can be a particularly unforgiving surface, especially for kids.
- Glass: Tumbled and polished pieces of glass can truly transform basic concrete floors. Try tinted concrete with glass aggregates in shades of blue or red for an attractive look that works in a variety of areas. If you want an entryway that really makes a statement, you can try a combination of stained red concrete with ruby glass aggregates. Glass aggregates can be added to concrete in circular patterns to create a beautiful outdoor path in your front or back yard.
- Shells: Searching for the perfect concrete look for a beach house? Polished shells will bring the fun look of the beach to your patio or sunroom.
- Plastic: Bits of colored plastic embedded in your concrete floors will add another kind of color and texture. Try a playful mixture of colors for a truly unique look. Concrete floors with a rainbow of plastic aggregate will never be boring, that's for sure!
If you're intrigued by the possibilities offered by aggregates, visit your local retailers (which are easy to locate using our Find A Local directory). And remember, concrete floors can be much more than just drab slabs!
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I need to refurbish some old concrete grave slabs. Could I use an aggregate such as small bluestone and make it be like terrazzo?