Exposed vs broom coloured concrete finish

There are various textures that can be used in conjunction with coloured concrete to achieve specific themes and looks.The combination of colour and texture is very much in trend at the moment. So when you are considering options, are you working with new/wet concrete or existing/hard concrete.

Textures for new, wet concrete

Externally, a broom or coving trowel finish is very common to driveways, pedestrian precincts and wet areas. These are economical finishes that are widely offered throughout Australia and provide a solid texture. Broom or coving trowel finishes are also the preferred choice for sloped areas.

Introducing tool joints into wet concrete to create a large format paver look is also becoming more popular, particularly to create paver look of 1 metre x 1 metre. Commercially, introducing more saw cuts to create a large size granite paver look is also getting traction, particularly over large streetscape projects where coloured saw cut concrete can be much more economical that traditional natural stone.

Rock Salt finishes with concrete can also provide a natural, volcanic rock feel with concrete. Traditionally, this has been achieved by broadcasting large pieces of rock salt into the wet concrete surface, allowing to dry and then washing off thoroughly the next day. However, salt is not a preferred engineering option as salt accelerates steel corrosion and is very reliant on salt size availability and the skill of the contractor. To allow greater areas to be textured with rock salt in a more consistent and reliable form, a new CCS Rock Salt seamless mat is available. Salt is not required for this method, nor is the excessive labour on the following day to wash the salt out of the concrete.

Various other stamping mats can be used with wet concrete to achieve an imprint on the surface. Consider the natural environment as inspiration – CCS have been involved with project imprint palm leaves, children and dinosaur handprints, and even elephants walking on fresh concrete in zoos!

Polished concrete is also becoming more popular in external environments. There are two common forms of polished concrete: one method that shows the stone/aggregate and the other, no or minimal stone/aggregate.

Common forms of polished concrete include:

  • A steel or machine trowel finish – provides a ‘smooth’, slightly varied coloured concrete and is often sealed with a satin or high gloss sealer.
  • A ground or honed finish – involves removing the surface layer to reveal the sand/cement matrix and aggregate in a ground or honed finish. With this type of polished concrete, the colour of the sand and aggregates will have as much bearing on the final colour as the pigment used.

Steel or machine troweled concrete achieves a very smooth finish and is only designed for internal applications. Ground or honed concrete can be completed externally (keeping to only a coarse grit of maximum 60-80 grit). Internally, ground or honed concrete can be highly polished, similar to terrazzo in appearance.

Coloured concrete with an exposed aggregate is also very common. Utilising various levels of light, medium and heavy exposure can offer different finishes. This is a great idea for achieving an economical finish – one concrete pour, one mix finished in different levels.

Looking for something new? CCS  have recently launched a new surface texture designed for use with both coloured and grey exposed aggregate mixes.

CCS Pro X-pose is sprayed in liquid form on the surface of wet concrete and is washed off later that day. The end result is a consistent, very light exposure similar to sandblasted concrete. It is very simple to use and offers both the specifier and the contractor a more predicable surface texture particularly where there is a combination of both shade and sun on the concrete.

Textures for existing concrete

If you require additional texture for an existing concrete surface, the most durable method is to apply CCS Stylepave Overlay System. CCS Stylepave Overlay System allows you to introduce colour and texture to the concrete. Typically, the most economical method to apply this system is by spraying to achieve a coarse or fine sprayed finish. Multiple colours can be incorporated. CCS Stylepave Overlays can also be knocked down, troweled and broomed to achieve “smoother” finishes.

Traction aids such as kiln dried sand, glass bead and carborundum can also be added to film forming or topical sealers to improve surface texture and slip resistance. Please note these traction aids will wear with abrasion. Traction aids can not be used with CCS penetrative sealers such as CCS Streetscape Seal as there is no resin on the surface to hold the traction aid.

If you require guidance on the typical slip resistance of these textures or a higher resolution image of a specific texture for your presentation board, please touch base with us at the CCS helpline.

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