Finishes

Concrete can be colored, stained, mixed with other products or stamped. In addition to stamping, patterns can be added with a trowel before the concrete has dried.

Color can be added to wet concrete during the mixing stage. Shades of browns, tans and reddish browns are common choices. By adding a different color as a border, additional design detail adds a custom flair to any concrete project.

Once concrete has dried, stains can be applied to unsealed concrete. Coffee and salts of copper, iron and manganese are natural stains that can be used to add unusual designs. Additionally, commercial acid stains are also available and applied to dry concrete. Stained concrete should be sealed to preserve the color unless a worn and faded look is desired. Be aware that unsealed concrete can be stained by liquid spills, scuffs and scrapes.

Adding smooth pebbles to the mix for an exposed aggregate concrete design is also a popular choice for home and business applications. Exposed aggregate is often used around pools and spas because of its bumpier surface. Smooth concrete can be slippery when wet. By contrast, exposed aggregate provides better traction, even when wet.

Concrete finishes include stamping designs into the wet material. The designs are limited only by the property owner's imagination, since custom designs can easily be made into a template. Popular designs include stone, tile and masonry stamps. By combining different colors and stamp designs, a large project, such as a driveway, will become an appealing design element.

Because of its durability and beauty, concrete is also used for countertops. Custom colors can be mixed and poured to create a distinctive countertop for kitchens or bathrooms. Some specialty concrete artisans add beads, bits of recycled smooth glass or other items for custom projects.