Q & A
What is Concrete Texturing?
Concrete texturing is a general term used to describe a thin coat of acrylic or polymer concrete applied over traditional plain, boring concrete. Concrete Texturing is a decorative concrete option, which allows you to add your personal style to all your concrete surfaces. The acrylic concrete offers you multiple options in colors, surfacing styles and patterns
Concrete Texturing is also the name of our company. Concrete Texturing has been installing decorative concrete surfaces since January 1998. Our customers include architects, contractors, developers, concrete companies, churches, schools, pool and spa companies, restaurants, business owners and over 2000 satisfied homeowners. Concrete Texturing is a member of the Better Business Bureau and the Nevada Registrar of Contractors.
What is acrylic concrete and how long has it been around?
Acrylic concrete is a mixture of modified acrylic resin, Portland cement and sand. This acrylic product offers you multiple options in colors, surfacing styles and patterns.
Acrylic resurfacing has been in use since the 1970’s. The concrete material was originally used in a very plain form to cover eroded or deteriorated concrete. Over the years it has been transformed into an artistic medium as advanced texturing, staining and design technique have been introduced to applicators.
What does this product look like?
Your many options include our standard designs and colors, as well as a variety of colors, coloring techniques, textures and sealant.
We can imitate the look of flagstone, slate, Mexican tile, brick, and cool deck, or we can acid stain your floor for a unique and increasingly popular.
What are the color options?
Colors can be added to the concrete mixture for an even color application or it can be applied with a sponge, brush or spray bottle for a natural hand-stained variegated look. For the even color application, there are 21 standard colors, in addition to custom colors that can be ordered in advance or created on the job site. Stained applications have less base colors, but allow for more unique and interesting results.
The beauty of this product is that it is crafted on the spot. Thus, colors, textures and designs can be altered on what the craftsmen and the customer determine to best compliment its environment. The colors and texture the customer picks out at the time of the estimate is just a starting point. Concrete Texturings installers will come prepared to create a unique product in color and texture at each customer’s home.
Is the product slippery?
We have a range of textures available. We have products that are designed to be smooth, semi-rough or rough. Each job is applied in the manor specified by the customer.
Is the product shiny?
Concrete Texturing has an option of matte, semi-gloss and glossy sealants. The finish is dependent upon the customer’s personal taste and the environment in which it is applied. A discussion on the shine and longevity of each sealant is important before starting your project. Shine will also very dependent upon lighting, texture, coloring and absorption rate.
Is acrylic concrete like Kool Deck?
No. Kool Deck is a product that must be applied to freshly poured concrete, before it dries, in order to effectively bond. Acrylic concrete can be applied to new or old concrete. Acrylic concrete is finished with a solvent-based sealant that makes it stain resistant, where as Kool Deck is a very porous product that stains and discolors easily.
Is it cool to walk on?
It is much cooler than concrete, but typically not as cool as Kool Deck. The temperature of the surface depends on the existing substrate, the texture and color. Typically the flatter the surface and the darker the color, the hotter the surface can become. Typically our Kool Deck-like surface and sprayed texture surfaces are slightly hotter than an actual Kool Deck surface.
How does Concrete Texturing create its flagstone pattern and how is it different from its competitors and real flagstone?
Every inch of Concrete Texturing’s faux flagstone is done by hand. This means every simulated stone is individually cut, shaped, textured and colored. Concrete Texturing is one of the few companies in the nation who apply faux flagstone with this method.
Less craft minded companies install their flagstone using stencils, stamps and tape. Templates, tape, and stamps cannot create the realistic look of flagstone. They were created to standardize and minimize training and installation efforts. The very nature of stamps, stencils and tape creates a uniform pattern, which is desirable in some patterns such as slate, brick or tile. However, uniformity does not lend itself to a flagstone effect. The most desirable flagstone surfaces are created when each individual faux stone is different in color, size and texture. This can only be created when every inch of the surface made by hand.
Real flagstone installation prices range from $8.00 to $15.00 per square foot depending on the quality of stones and craftsmanship. Faux flagstone installed by Concrete Texturing range from $5.00 to $7.00 per square foot depending on job size and type of grout line.
Typically faux flagstone cost 1/2 as much as real flagstone
With faux flagstone you only ad 1/8” to existing surface, approximately 2” of clearance is needed for real flagstone
Faux flagstone does not stain as easily as real flagstone
Faux flagstone does not shale like real flagstone
No grout to worry about- flagstone grout or mortar tends to discolor crack or crumble overtime
Faux flagstone maintains its colors over a much longer period.
Faux flagstone is much easier to repair if damage occurs.
How is the concrete prepared before the application?
When preparing concrete for installation, Concrete Texturing uses a combination of Muriatic Acid, grinders, sanders, and pressure washers, depending on what is required to create the ideal profile. Chemicals are used to remove such items as oil, adhesives or paints.
How much thickness will this product add to my concrete?
Total thickness is typically 1/16 – 1/8 inches. When applying this product we are more concerned about getting the acrylic to penetrate the concrete than building up the surface. If the surface needs to be substantially built up beyond this range other products on the market can be used as a base coat with the acrylic concrete texturing applied as the top coat.
With this product, thicker does not mean better. Actually the thinner it is applied the better the flexural properties. Flexibility is very important to allow for expansion and contraction of concrete during freeze/thaw cycles. When the acrylic concrete is applied 1/16” to 1/8” thick it is allowed to move with the concrete as opposed to against it, such as other products like tile, slate, pavers or concrete patches.
Can cracks be repaired?
There are many methods to repair concrete cracks and a wide range of cost. The method used to repair a crack is determined by many factors including, but not limited to, the purpose for repairing the crack, size, budget, and material going over the crack (tile, coating, etc…).
Regardless of the method used to fill a crack, there is the possibility of the crack retracing itself or re-appearing. Whenever possible the crack should be worked into the coating pattern. The repaired crack should be placed in a grout line of the coating design. If cracking is an issue, Concrete Texturing may recommend a flagstone pattern. Since we free cut our flagstone we can trace along any crack making it a grout line within a flagstone pattern. Since our grout lines are a little recessed, the crack is less visible. The crack is also much easier to repair if it opens up again in the future.
Should controlled joints be covered up?
Concrete must be allowed to expand and contract with temperature changes. Joints provide a controlled crack for movement. Thus all expansion joints are left in place and should not be filled with concrete.
Caulking can be placed over the cracks inside the control joints to prevent water from getting underneath your concrete surface and creating damage. However, if a coating is being applied over concrete, the expansion joint or control joint should still be worked into the design. (This type of caulking is not available in retail shops. Retail caulking typically has a short life and will prune over time and pull from the edge.)
How long do you have to stay off the surface once it is applied?
After the sealant is applied you must stay off the surface completely for 24 hours. All items that need to be permanently placed on the finished surfaces, such as boxes or light furniture must not be placed on the surface for three days. Heavier furniture, appliances and vehicles should stay of the surface for four or five days while
How does it stand-up against oils, stains, salts and discoloration?
Every Concrete Texturing application is finished with a seal coat. The seal coat makes the surface non-porous resulting in a surface that will not discolor or show extreme fading due to UV (ultra violet) rays. Most stains caused by drinks, food, oil and grease will wash off.
When a spill does occur you should clean up the surface as soon as possible. Any stain left on the surface for long periods of time is more difficult to remove and will potentially become part of the surface. Potted plants should be elevated above the surface to prevent rings. Watered plants should have a pan or saucer underneath to catch water over flow and prevent hard water stains from working there way into the surface.
Pans should be placed underneath vehicles that constantly leak. The oil from the vehicle will wash off, however constant oil and cleaning will prematurely wear the sealant. Highly corrosive materials should be prevented from touching the surface. Items such as battery acid and radiator coolant could cause the acrylic concrete to discolor.
Will it wear or chip off?
The special formulated concrete material is extremely durable, but it is not indestructible. As a rule of thumb, if it can scratch or damage traditional concrete, chances are it will damage your Concrete Texturing surface. Exercise caution when moving or placing heavy things on the surface.
Visible wear does not typically occur as long as you reseal the product when wear begins to occur. This includes vehicle traffic on driveways.
When should a seal coat be reapplied?
Your surface should be re-sealed every 2-4 years depending upon sunlight, cleaning and traffic pattern. A good time to reseal is when the surface becomes dull or difficult to clean, and/or when water can immediately penetrate the surface. Once a fresh coat of sealant is applied, colors are brought back to full intensity and the surface is made easier to clean.
read the article from Home & Hearth Magazine (pdf format)
There seems to be many manufacturers of acrylic or polymer concrete material. Which product is the best?
Although most companies claim they have a revolutionary or unique product, there is very little distinguishable difference between products among leading manufacturers. Even if there was a difference manufacturers cannot control each independent company and their installation techniques. There is a considerable difference in craftsmanship and each company should be judged on their own merits and craftsmanship, not the merits of the manufacturer.
Concrete Texturing recommends the consumer conduct some research: Call the Better Business Bureau and Registrar of Contractors, talk to customers and go see previous installations.
This is a permanent product. It is very costly to remove if the installer makes a mistake. Be prudent and know what you are purchasing.
What warranty and service is provided?
Concrete Texturing offers both a 2-year and 5-yr limited warranty from fading and delaminating. The 2-year warranty is applies to any product sealed with our acrylic sealant. The 5-yr warranty applies to any product sealed with our deluxe polyurethane sealant. All 2-yr warranties can be extended to 5 years if the surface is sealed after 2-years.
FAUX FLAGSTONE METHODS
NOT ALL FLAGSTONE IS CREATED EQUALLY.
Like Mother Nature’s creation of real flagstone, faux flagstone runs the gamete in quality, texture, durability and color. Those educated on the many grades of real and faux flagstone available will be careful to choose the most durable, natural, colorful and artistically applied flagstone.
THREE METHODS USED TO CREATE FAUX FLAGSTONE
This list does not encompass all methods used to create faux flagstone, but represents the most common methods used in the Southwest.
1. Free-cut technique: Step 1 – trowel to create texture, Step 2 – hand-cut to create flagstone forms, Step 3 – hand stained with iron-oxide pigment to create color.
2. Tape or template technique: Step 1 – tape down flagstone design, Step 2 – trowel to create texture, Step 3 – hand stained with acrylic colorant to create color.
3. Stamped technique Step 1 – trowel to create texture, Step 2 – stamp to create form, Step 3 – spray color hardener over entire surface to create color.
An Analysis of the Faux Flagstone Method
The beauty of flagstone lies in its natural free-flowing appearance. Each piece is different in size, color and texture. Therefore, using templates or stamps cannot create the realistic look of natural flagstone.
With certain limitations, if applied by a conscientious applicator, the taping method can create a free-flowing flagstone pattern. However, tape can only bend so much before it loses its bond to concrete. The advantage of hand cutting is that you can create irregular grout lines very similar to a real flagstone application. The ability to create angles, chipped edges, jagged lines can not be done with tape. With tape the grout lines will have a uniform appearance, in contrast to varying widths achieved with the hand-cut method.
Handcrafted flagstone allows you to apply much more realistic texture in each stone. By using this method faux flagstone can be created with pockets, pits, ridges and imperfections, much like real flagstone. Again, the beauty of faux and real flagstone is that each piece looks different in texture, size and color.
When installers use tape or templates, their main concern is enabling the tape or template to do its job. In order for the tape or template to do its job the modified concrete material must be troweled thin and tight. If material is troweled too thick it tends to moisten the tape or template and displace it. Another concern for the applicator is that if the material is too thick it will bury the tape once it hardens, making it impossible to pull up the tape. Thicker texture also makes it significantly more difficult to pull up the tape and create clean crisp grout lines. Consequently, most taped flagstone is flat and smooth and lacks the character of the thicker free-cut flagstone
Stamping by its very nature creates uniform texture throughout the pattern. However stamped concrete is at least 1/4’ thick, which combined with the texture, gives it a nice look, but lacks the realism of free cut faux flagstone.
Iron-oxide pigment has been used for hundreds of years in coloring concrete, brick, block and pottery. It is noted for its strength in holding up to UV rays. Great examples of the rich and magnificent colors of iron-oxide pigment can be found in rock formations in and around Sedona, the Grand Canyon and the Arizona-Utah border.
By applying iron-oxide pigment you can create a very natural blend of earth tones, that holds up very well to UV Rays. Iron-oxide pigment gives you the flexibility to create subtle changes in color or extreme color changes. The pigment also naturally reacts with the texture in each stone to create a natural variation of color. Thus, this technique gives the flexibility of designing slight to extreme color variations in each stone.
Many companies use a water-based colored acrylic to colorize their finished flagstone. While easier to apply than iron-oxide pigment, acrylic colorants do not allow the subtle differences in tone and do not hold up to UV as well as iron oxide pigments.
Also, acrylic can add a glossy or florescent look to your faux flagstone. Furthermore, if damage is done to the surface, acrylic stains are much more difficult to touch up, particularly if the surface is relatively flat and smooth.
Most companies don’t use iron-oxide pigment because they find it difficult to apply. A company who installs this type of flagstone must hire craftsmen with significantly more skills than the average laborer, incur more labor cost at each project, and spend more money and time training and maintaining employees. Concrete Texturing estimates it spends $1.00 – $1.25 per square foot more per job using the free-cut method in comparison to using tape or template methods.
While the business of concrete surfacing or concrete coatings is categorized under the construction trades, the employees of Concrete Texturing do not view themselves as just contractors. In our hearts and minds we follow the standards and codes of an artisan who wants to make a lasting impression. Concrete Texturing objective is to create the most realistic, artistically pleasing faux flagstone. We know our long-term success is dependent upon producing a product that people want and want to tell others about.
FAUX FLAGSTONE VS. REAL FLAGSTONE
Price of real flagstone ranges from $8.00 – $15.00 per sq. ft. depending on the quality of flagstone and quality of craftsmen. Flagstone that is in the $8.00 to $9.00 range usually is not very durable and tends to scale and deteriorate fairly quickly. It does not handle very well and is very porous. (Meaning it is very prone to staining.) Interior flagstone usually ranges from $12.00 – $18.00 per square foot, because of difficulty in applying the flagstone and the higher quality stone that is much more desirable.
Surface Elevation- Faux flagstone elevates your surface 1/16” to 1/8“. Real flagstone usually elevates your surface approximately 2”.
Have you ever tried to get a flagstone installer to come back and touch up flagstone? Customers tell me its impossible. Concrete Texturing offers a service that will come and touch-up your faux flagstone and reseal it.
Real flagstone grout dries up and crumbles over time. With faux flagstone, there is no more crumbling grout to worry about.