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Concrete Surfaces and Uses
There are several different types of concrete surfaces and which type you install depends on the area it will be installed. Here are where the most common types of concrete are typically used.
Garage or basement
Garage or basement concrete surfaces work well in garages and basements because they are structural floorings and can take heavy use with little maintenance. Cleaning concrete is also easier than other, more-delicate flooring.
Driveway and parking areas
Most driveway or parking areas are either concrete or asphalt. Brick or stone masonry is an expensive alternative. These areas need to handle heavy use and be easy to maintain. With concrete, you will need to finish the surface with a "brush-textured finish," a rougher surface that helps with traction.
Concrete or stone masonry are popular options for exterior walkways. Stone masonry will be more decorative, however, concrete will be less expensive and requires less maintenance. A concrete walkway should also have a "brush-textured finish."
Like walkways, concrete or stone masonry are popular options for a patio. Concrete will be less expensive and quicker to custom make and should have a "brush-textured finish" like all exterior concrete surfaces.
Detached garages, sheds and porches
Detached garages, sheds and porches need a concrete base flooring for support and structure.
Concrete steps are commonly installed at the same time as concrete walkways, patios and porches and the same factors should be considered.
Concrete is often one of the very base foundations of any structure. However, good site preparation, including proper excavation and grading, is necessary to insure a good foundation.
Concrete form work
Concrete can either be flat or shaped into three-dimensional objects. If you need steps, curbs or other form work, discuss your options with your contractor.
In some cases it is necessary to install steel rebar within the concrete, as this makes the concrete structure stronger.
Removing old concrete
Removing concrete or paving material is difficult work. Often it's best to leave this to a contractor, who will have proper equipment and training to handle the removal.
Concrete surfaces come in three different finishes. The most common for interiors has a smooth finish created by running a flat trowel over the top. This can be quite smooth, almost like glass.
Smooth surfaces don't work well outside. A little water can turn a smooth concrete surface into a slip hazard. Contractors should texture exterior surfaces with a brush-textured finish, a rougher surface that wicks away water and provides traction.
Exposed aggregate finish is a rougher finish and less common. The gravel that makes up the concrete is exposed to the surface and good for traction.
Concrete color additives
Concrete can come in a wide variety of colors created by adding dyes to the liquid mixture.
Fixing damage to colored concrete is tricky. Getting the right blend of colors is not an exact science. Don't expect a repair person to create the perfect match.
If a perfect match is critical, consider removing and replacing the area with new concrete.
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