What Are the Different Types of Artistic Concrete?

Lori Kilchermann

Artistic concrete is used in a variety of commercial and residential settings and ranges from colorful mosaic patterns on walkways surrounding swimming pools to stamped or stenciled concrete driveways. Showroom and household floors can be transformed through pattern stamping and staining, creating symmetrical checkerboard patterns or more natural-looking stone, brick and marble finishes. In the kitchen, artistic concrete is used for counter tops, sinks and backsplashes. Other artistic concrete creations include stairs, benches and fences.

Adding artistic elements such as stain, paint or stencils can transform a dull concrete floor.
Adding artistic elements such as stain, paint or stencils can transform a dull concrete floor.

Concrete counter tops can offer a versatile medium for a one-of-a-kind look. For a nature-inspired room, the concrete counters can be stained in shades of amber and rust and imprinted with deep leaf patterns for sink bowls. Artistic concrete can also be used on walls to serve as backsplashes for areas behind stoves and sinks. The concrete backsplashes can be colored, patterned or feature designs.

Artistic concrete can be used in the construction of a patio.
Artistic concrete can be used in the construction of a patio.

Fireplaces, both indoor and outdoor, can be created from artistic concrete applications. The concrete can be carved and colored for a unique appearance, or used in chunky blocks for a more primitive style. Artistic concrete can also be used to form outdoor barbeque pits, where a functional grill can be built into a patio area.

Concrete floors can transcend their typical dull, gray finish by using artistic concrete techniques, such as staining and coloring. Concrete is porous, lending itself to topical color applications. Acid-based chemical stains are available in a variety of colors, including earth tones that can be used to create finishes resembling marble, wood and stone.

Concrete's durability enables it to be used to create benches and other elements in outdoor settings. Benches and tables can be built into concrete patios and decks. Both indoor and outdoor features, such as sinks, furniture and even pool tables, can be made using artistic concrete. Arched walls, entryways and planters can be built from concrete on decks and patios as well as indoors.

Stencils can be used with artistic concrete to create ornate, colored patterns on floors and walls. The type of materials used in the concrete determines how intense or pale the colors will appear when applied to the stencil area. Stencils can also be used in an overlay style, where the stencil is placed over the concrete, then topped with colored concrete that is troweled on and textured with rollers. After the overlay dries, the stencil is removed to reveal a dimensional pattern as well as grout lines. The concrete is then sealed to help preserve the color and pattern.

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