Art Designs on Concrete

Concrete might be a suitable material capable of being used for any form of construction, but it is much more than that. Concrete can also be used for aesthetic enhancements of any structure, which means it will be functional and decorative. One of such ways to make concrete decorative is through art designs. Some concrete contractors specialize in using concrete for their art designs or putting the design on concrete. They do this in multiple ways, and technical developments have improved the craft of using concrete as a decorative feature. This article discusses how concrete can be designed with art and used to enhance structures.

Stamped Concrete:

One of the most effective ways of putting art designs on concrete is stamping it. By stamping concrete, you add color and texture to concrete and resemble anything you have in mind. Some stamp their concrete to resemble clay bricks, which is more beautiful and enhances any regular structure. When it comes to what to stamp into your concrete, the only thing that limits your choice is the unavailability of the mold of the design you may have in mind. Once there is a mold, you can transform a regular looking concrete wall or floor into something astounding. The stamping is usually done when the concrete is in a plastic state, i.e., it is not fully dry and hard. The mold is pressed into the concrete, and the color is generally added by using liquid or powder releases, acid stains, integral colors, or color hardeners. There are instances where these products are combined to make more intricate and better designs.

Concrete Dyes:

Another way of installing art designs on concrete is by using concrete dyes. These dyes come in different compositions and forms, and you can use them for just about anything that is concrete. The first concrete dyes used regular printing inks, which are dissolved into alcohol solutions. However, the problem with these alcohol-based dyes is that they fade when exposed to the sun. This is why they are now mostly used for interior applications. Later on, other solvents such as lacquer thinner, acetone, etc. were used instead of alcohol, and ultraviolet inhibiting agents were included in the dyes. This has made the new dyes more fade resistant, with only about a 5-8% fading rate every year.


You can also install art designs on your concrete by staining it. This can come either as water-based or acid staining. When it comes to acid staining, it is a pigment-based coloring or dyeing. Instead, it is a chemical reaction. By applying a solution of mineral salts, little muriatic acid, and water to the concrete’s surface, there is a chemical reaction between the chemicals in the concrete and the solution that is applied, which results in the concrete developing earth tone colors within four hours. Acid staining is usually inconsistent as the color tones will be different on the concrete, making it unique. On the other hand, water-based staining is more or less coating because there is no chemical reaction whatsoever. The water-based stains are merely applied to the concrete, and they bond with it.


There are other ways of installing art designs on the concrete, and some even craft statutes, artworks, and designs directly out of concrete. Adding art designs to your concrete is a great way to make it look better. Visit this site for more information on decorative concrete.

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Best Concrete Mixtures

Concrete is a multipurpose material used in different aspects of construction. Perhaps, for this reason, it exists in different grades, each determining the strength of the concrete after the first twenty-eight days of construction. Each mixture of concrete serves a purpose. For instance, the mix needed to build a sidewalk is not the same for a bridge. When working with concrete, it is essential to pay special attention to the mixture for the best results. Here, we look at the best mixtures for different purposes.

Four materials make up what concrete is. They are sand, aggregate, water, and sand. Each of these materials serves a particular purpose, and understanding how these materials work gives you an insight into how best to mix them together. The materials are:

Cement: This primary component of this material is calcium oxide. There are other ingredients such as aluminum, silicon, iron, and other elements—the material acts as the bonding agent holding all other materials together. Despite the exceptional cement strength when it cures, the strength can’t be compared to what rock and sand have. Cement is why the tensile strength of concrete is weak and needs rebar. You must note that the compressive strength of concrete is not determined by how much cement you use; cement only gives better adhesion.

Aggregate: This is a crushed rock that is responsible for the compressive structural integrity of the concrete. This material, which some called gravel and sand works together to give the concrete its high compressive strength.

Sand: Apart from adding to the compressive strength of concrete, it also acts as the filling agent blocking all the spaces and air pockets between the crushed rocks.

Water: This is the catalyst for the chemical change that makes the cement bind the sand and rock. It is also what makes the concrete usable as without, the forming, mixing, and finishing will not be possible.

Mixture of Concrete Based On the Construction

One-Two-Two Mix Ratio: Where the concrete is required for constructions such as fence posts, small precast, garden furniture, poles, and all types of work in the form of thin sections, this is the best mixture to use. For every one part of cement, there should be two aggregates and two of sand.

One-Two-Three Mix Ratio: When erecting cisterns, storage tanks, well curbs, sewers, watertight works, and any construction that would be subject to high stress, the mixture is best at one part of cement, two parts of sand, with three-part aggregates.

One-Two and Half-Three and Half Mix Ratio: A mixture that is one part of cement to two and a half parts sand and three and a half parts aggregate is best used for reinforced concrete works, beams, floor slabs, ordinary floors, steps, driveways, pavements, stairs, arches, etc. The water level, however, differs from medium to small, depending on the wok.

One-Two-Four Mix Ratio: This mix ratio of one-part cement to two parts of concrete and four parts of aggregates is best for building walls, sills, silos, lintels, bridges, etc. It can be used generally for structures subject to vibrations or those exposed to frost or water.


The best concrete mixture is a matter of function, and what is best for one construction may fail woefully at another. So, the function and prevailing conditions should always be considered.

Is Concrete Or Stone Better For a Retaining Wall?

A retaining wall serves multiple purposes in function as well as aesthetics. It can help hold the soil back, thus preventing erosion. It can also help create a flat surface on hilly terrains, thereby converting an impossible piece of land into a usable one. Aesthetically, it improves landscape designs. Unlike the regular walls that support vertical loads, a retaining wall supports horizontally. This difference in function also means a difference in how it is designed and built. 

Various building materials can be used for retaining walls, including stones, concrete, blocks, bricks, wood, etc. Here, we examine two of such materials, stone, and concrete, to determine which one is a better choice for building a retaining wall. We do this by comparing them based on different qualities.


When it comes to cost, stone comes out as the most expensive of the two materials due to the fact that it is natural. Installation is also costly as there is a need to be more precise in setting the stones. When you add up all this cost, you may arrive at something that is completely above your budget.

For concrete, the situation is quite different. Whether it is concrete blocks or poured concrete, the cost of material is much lower. Installation is also simple, which means the cost of labor is much lesser. 

Design Options

Gone are the days when concrete was all bland and dull grey. Today, concrete is available in different colors and decorations. Add this to the fact that the material is ductile and can be shaped in any way. You will understand why many don’t mind using it for their retaining walls.

On the other hand, natural stones offer something that concrete can never replicate – the natural beauty. It is this natural beauty that makes many people ignore the cost of buying and installing stone walls. If you are looking for a wall that gives you that unique appearance, then you should know that stones are your best bet.


For all the fantastic qualities that concrete may have in terms of cost and design options. Its durability is one place where it is questionable. While it is strong in its own right, it requires a lot of maintenance and is likely to crack, which means you have to regularly spend money on repairs.

On the other hand, natural stone makes up for its high material and installation cost by lasting longer and requiring least maintenance. Stones are sturdier, harder, and denser than the regular concrete, which makes it a better choice if you are looking to build a stone wall that will last decades or even centuries. You only have to check the history of retaining walls to discover that many of the prehistoric walls still existing today are made of concrete.


Making a choice as to which material to use for your retaining wall is a complex choice that boils down to personal tastes in the end. You will definitely have to consider your budget, the function of the wall you are building, and the size of the wall itself. All these, in addition to your taste, will help you make the best choice. Visit here to get more advice on building concrete walls and stone walls!

How To Make Your Own Concrete?

Concrete is the most popular building material for many reasons. It is cheap, low maintenance, high quality, durable, resistant to many environmental conditions, among many other qualities. This material is a mixture of cement, which is the adhesive material, coarse aggregates such as sand, stones, gravels, etc., and water. If you are looking to make some improvements in your home, concrete is one of your go-to materials. While you can simply get a load of concrete delivered for your project, you can make an adventure out of it as well. One way to do that is by making your own concrete.  While you cannot make concrete on a large scale on an industrial scale, you can still make enough to use for your little projects around the house. Here are the ways you can make concrete

Make Limestone Cement

For you to make homemade concrete, the first thing you need is to make homemade cement. Making this is quite easy if you can follow the steps outlined below. The materials and equipment you need for this work include limestone, a shovel for breaking, a kiln or oven, and protective gear like gloves, boots, goggles, and nose masks.

Step 1

To make cement, the first thing you’ll need to get limestone is the raw materials used to make industrial cement. There are many options for getting limestone. You can choose to buy or collect it naturally. You can collect limestone naturally if you live in an area where limestone is common. If you collect and you’re unsure whether it is limestone or not, a coin scratch should reveal the truth. Limestone are soft and will be easily scratched. However, if buying is your choice, you can find limestone in landscaping supply stores.

Step 2

After acquiring the limestone, the next step is to break down the limestone into smaller pieces: the smaller the pieces, the better.

Step 3

Now that you have broken the limestone, the next step is to heat it in the kiln or oven. The heat should be up to 900° C, and the limestone are expected to bake for between 4-5 hours. When using the oven, make sure you protect yourself by wearing gloves and a nose mask.

Step 4

After 5 hours, remove the baked limestone, also called quicklime, and let them cool over. Wearing a nose mask is essential here as fumes and dust from limestone are harmful to the lungs. 

Step 6

The next step is to break the quicklime into dust. Since it is baked, the quicklime will easily crumble into dry powder. This dry powder is cement. You can always store the powder for later use; make sure it is in an airtight container.

Make Concrete with Limestone Cement

Once you have the cement, all you need is sand, gravel (depending on the purpose of the concrete), and water. Here the steps to making concrete out of the material.

Step 1

The first step is for you to mix the cement with coarse or fine sand at a ratio of 2:1. To mix the two, you can use a wheelbarrow and shovel or if you can get a concrete mixer, which would be a much better choice. 

Step 2

You can also add gravel or any other stone material to the mixture. The purpose of the coarse material is to bind the concrete together.

Step 3

Add water to the dry mixture and mix everything. If you are using a shovel, continue to stir till it is pasty.


While using limestone cement with all the other ingredients to make your concrete can be fun, it may also be stressful. You can save yourself this stress by using pre-mixed concrete.

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Decorative Concrete Tips

Concrete is a great material that got better when techniques were discovered to decorate it. Today, there are many countless ways of creating decorative concrete from stamping, pattern, painting, coating, etc. Decorative concrete has revolutionized the material as it is now possible to use it in places where it was once considered dull. If you are considering decorating your concrete, there are a few things you should know. It is always essential to get the texture right when decorating your concrete because a poor texture is not only an eyesore; it is also not going to last. Here, we focus on stamping and the tips that can help you get the best out of the process.

Do The Stamping or Decorating Early:

The best time to stamp concrete is as soon as it is dry and strong enough to carry weight. This means doing it before the concrete becomes too hard. Most homeowners or contractors wait till the concrete is super hard, and they have to use a tamper in order to be able to stamp. The result is that the imprint is not fully formed on the concrete, and there is little texture on the edges of the concrete.

Use Set Retarders and Evaporators:

On the flip side of stamping, your concrete very late is stamping too early. Usually, stampers take a dry surface to mean the concrete is fully hardened, whereas it is only the surface. Stamping at this time will go deeper than it should. Thus, it is advisable to apply evaporation retarder to the concrete to prevent the surface from drying too fast. Set retarders could also be used to delay the setting of the concrete.

Crawl The Slab:

Properly working on the concrete slab and ensuring it has the same consistency as the edges are essential. Most times, concrete contractors focus on the concrete edges and only use a bull trowel or bull float for the other part of the concrete. This is done mostly because they don’t want to step on it. However, the result is a crusty or too smooth surface. By properly floating all parts of the concrete and achieving consistency, stamping is easier to do.

Wear Texture Shoes:

These shoes work best for stamping and are further buttressed by how convenient they are to wear. With these shoes on, you can get on the concrete earlier. It perfectly distributes your weight over the area and allows you to walk well on the soft concrete and not sink in. The shoe soles have the same texture as stamping mats; thus, you are unlikely to leave a mark even when you mistakenly step on concrete.

Start Stamping from The Center:

When the stamping stats in the middle, it is easier to achieve a uniform texture with two people stamping in opposite directions. This is because the concrete starts hardening with time, and the texture can be similar across-board. Beginning in the middle will require at least two stamps, but it is worth the price of a better and more uniform texture.


When it comes to decorating concrete by stamping, it is advisable to use liquid stamp release to achieve a uniform color for your stamped concrete. With these tips, you will achieve a better texture.


Many factors determine the quality and durability of any construction. These include materials used, installation, environmental conditions, etc. Of all these things, the most significant is the quality of the contractor who carries out the construction. The contractor can make or mar any buildings process. Given this importance attached to the contractor, it is not surprising that homeowners usually have difficulties with picking the right contractor for a project, whether it is remodeling or initial construction. With thousands of contractors online and hundreds in your city, picking the right one is a headache, which is why it is not surprising that many homeowners pick the first contractor they interview. It is not that they don’t know all the good things the contractor is saying is pure marketing strategy; they do. They just don’t have the time to listen to more sweet-tongued professionals before arriving at a decision on who to go for. The best way to avoid this mistake is by using reviews and testimonials of previous customers.


A customer review is usually an independent opinion of a customer about the services of a contractor. These reviews are important to both the customer and the contractor. Here is why?


Full Awareness Of Contractor’s Strengths And Weaknesses: Checking a contractor review and testimonials gives you an idea of how good the contractor is, not just on the job but also on customer relations. Customers usually give full details about their experience with the contractor, and by reading through, you can immediately tell if this contractor is right for you or not.
Streamlining Potential Contractors: With hundreds of contractors within your locality, narrowing down your search can be challenging, but you can do it with testimonials, reviews, and ratings. By the time you remove those with bad customer service or low ratings from the list, the number of those you will interview is lesser, and this time, picking the first contractor you interview might not even be a costly mistake.


Content And Marketing Strategy: Beyond all the marketing strategies that a contractor may use, one of the easiest and most effective ways to convince a potential customer to choose your service is positive reviews. You can display these reviews on your website to give visitors an idea of the quality service you offer, and of course, that’s marketing. No marketing strategy is better than a happy customer. However, it is impossible to escape a few negative comments once in a while, even the customer was actually satisfied, or perhaps your service was below par. Don’t ever think a negative review is bad news; most times, it is just news. What determines if it’s good or bad news is how you respond to the review.
Identify Your Weakness: You can recognize your areas of weakness and where you need to improve from the customer’s review and testimonials. As a contractor and a business, you must always strive to be better, and this would only happen if you get negative reviews and immediately step in to rectify all complaints.
Online Presence: Your reviews can determine the digital footprint you will have. Getting reviews will help you with your search engine optimization, and the more reviews you get, the higher your chances of being in the top results each time someone searches for a contractor in your area.