Concrete

Concrete has traditionally been the most popular paving choice for driveways, patios etc. It is obviously a very hard material that can support a lot of weight.

How Is It Made

Concrete is a mixture of water, a little air, cement and aggregate. The aggregate is usually crushed rock/gravel and sand. (Portland Cement is a type of natural product that hardens when water is added. It is made by heating natural materials, usually limestone)
The cement in the mix is what gives it the light grey color you see when it is done drying.
It’s main strength is resisting being crushed from the top down. It is not as strong in being separated or being pulled apart left to right. So when we install patios and walkways we often install reinforcing material like metal to help it from cracking under stress.

Finishes

There are several different finishes that you can do with concrete.

Broom: The most common is a broom finish, which gives you a little bit of texture on the top of the concrete, which reduces the slipperiness of smooth concrete. You literally use a broom and drag it across a new concrete pour.

Exposed Aggregate: This is where you expose the gravel that is mixed in the concrete. You can change the type of gravel you mix in when making the concrete to get varying types of looks.

Smooth: This is where you get a smooth surface on the top. This is most often used in garages and indoor applications.

Sanded: this is where you basically expose some of the sand on the top of the concrete so it gives it an even textured finish.

Salted: This is where you literally spread and press in salt over the top of the concrete before it drys. Then when it drys you pressure wash the salt out and it leaves little dents in the surface creating a unique look.

Stamped: This is a finish where you stamp the concrete using a premade form or stamp before it sets.

How Is It Installed

Since concrete is something that has to be molded and finished to look right, it is often a skill to combine both strength and a long lasting product with a beautiful finish.
The main concepts of installing concrete are: preparing the ground, installing forms or wooden restraints to hold the concrete in and then pouring and finishing.
There are a lot of different types of masons out there that do concrete. The results vary from fantastic to plain aweful.
At Picture Build we understand what it takes to do the job right, make it last long and look great as well. We will make sure:

  • The soils are prepared correctly first.

  • That appropriate material will be placed Before the concrete is poured.

  • That appropriate reinforcement is installed.

  • That appropriate measures are taken for an even finish.

  • That appropriate measures are taken for the correct curing (think drying) of the concrete so it creates the strongest concrete possible.

To see some more examples of concrete installations see our photo gallery.