Almost all residential homes utilise concrete in some form, and whether you’re renovating or building new, engaging the services of a professional will ensure that your concreting project looks as good as possible while fulfilling its function. Read on for more information about concreting:
©Designer Concrete Resurfacing
There are many concreting options to consider when building or renovating your home, including:
- Asphalt: This is a very durable concrete option that can be used in driveways, pathways and paving. Asphalt is also very easy to repair should it get damaged, and can be sealed to make it even more lustrous. A qualified concreter will be able to advise you on whether asphalt will suit your outdoor space, as well as lay the material (see asphalt concreting).
- Coloured concrete: Don't settle for drab grey concrete, when you can choose from a rainbow of colours. Coloured concrete is an attractive option that can be used anywhere in the home as well as external flooring, driveways and paths (see coloured concreting. Ensure the concrete is sealed to retain the colour and protect the concrete from staining.
- Driveways: When it comes to your driveway, you will want to use a material that is both attractive and durable. Concreting is a great option for driveways and is available in a wide range of colours and finishes such as stencilled, stamped and exposed aggregate. Ensure your driveway is laid by a professional as they will ensure the right amount of expansion joints are cut into the concrete (see concrete driveways.)
- Footpaths: Decorative concrete is an aesthetically appealing option when it comes to designing the exterior of your home. Concrete footpaths can be utilised in the garden, to create a walkway from the house to the clothes line, or from the driveway to the front door (see concrete footpaths). A concreter, handyman or landscaper can lay concrete footpaths.
- Foundations: Concrete is one of the more common materials used in house foundations. This is because it is strong, long-lasting and cannot be damaged by termites. The type of concrete foundation used in the construction of your home will depend on the soil conditions of the block. Stable soils can be used for shallow foundations, though looser soils will need pile foundations that are sunk deeper into the ground for added stability. For more information see concrete foundations.
- Formwork: This is the mould that concrete is poured into, to allow it to set into place. Formwork is necessary for all concreting projects including driveways, slabs, walls and paths (see concrete framework).
- Grinding: This is a process used to ensure the concrete laid on your property is smooth and features a sleek finish. Grinding is also an option for removing old coatings or sealers, so that new ones can be applied. After grinding, the concrete will need to be re-sealed. For more information see concrete grinding.
- House Slabs: Concrete is commonly used to pour house slabs, as it is a strong and low-maintenance material (see concrete house slabs). It is also completely insect-proof and the surface can be used as flooring or to lay flooring on top of it. Some types of house slabs include footing slabs, waffle raft slabs, stiffened raft slabs or pile and slab. Your concreting expert will be able to advise on the best materials and construction options to suit your property.
- Sealing: Once it has been poured, the concreting used on your property needs to be sealed as it is a porous building material. Sealing the concrete ensures water cannot penetrate the surface and that it cannot be stained. Decorative effects are now available which can also improve the slip resistance of the concrete, making it safer. For more information about this process see concrete sealing.
- Spray-on concrete: This allows you to turn a drab concreted area into an impressive design feature. Essentially, spray-on concrete involves spraying a decorative coating onto the material to create a pattern (see spray-on concrete).
- Exposed aggregate concrete: This is concrete that has aggregates such as stones and pebbles exposed in it to create a special effect. Exposed aggregate concrete is perfect for driveways, pathways and entertaining areas. You can also choose from a range of colours, sizes and finishes to create a stunning visual effect that complements your outdoor space.
- Swimming pools: If you are thinking of installing a pool on your property to cool off during the summer months, concreting is a great option as it is both strong and versatile. Concrete pools can be built in just about any shape or size according to your needs and budget. You can also implement features such as islands and benches (see concrete pools).
- Retaining walls: Concrete retaining walls are used to add a unique feature in any garden. They are also useful for holding back large loads and can be used for terracing. Another benefit of concrete retaining walls is that they cannot be destroyed by termites, and are virtually maintenance-free. For more information see concrete retaining walls.
What Concretors Do
Concretors perform a variety of tasks including:
- Cutting and removing concrete (see concrete cutting and concrete removal)
- Cleaning dull and dirty concrete (see concrete cleaning)
- Reinforcing concrete to strengthen it (see concrete reinforcement)
- Mixing sand, cement, water and aggregates on site to make concrete
- Using concrete pumps to put concrete into position
- Putting concrete into formwork, spreading and levelling it before compacting it
- Operating paving and trowelling machines
- Polishing concrete
- Creating different concrete surfaces through the use of stencils, stamps or hand tools
- Cutting joints into concrete to allow for expansion and shrinkage
- Digging foundation trenches
Types of Concreting
There are several different types of concrete available including:
- Spray on patterned concrete
- Exposed aggregate
- Grinded aggregate
- Polished concrete
Concrete can be used almost anywhere in the home, such as in:
Selecting a Professional Concretor
There are several things to consider when selecting a concreting professional. The first is to ensure that the concretor is licensed and has insurance (necessary for larger concreting jobs). You should also ask if the concretor will provide a warranty, and what the warranty will cover. Some forms of concrete such as stamped or stenciled concrete will need to be resealed periodically so check if your professional is willing to do this for you. Also gain several quotes before choosing a concretor and ask for a timeframe so that you know how long the job is likely to take. There is more information on the licensing of concretors on Licensedtrades.com.au.
What Does Concreting Cost?
Concreting costs will be determined by the size of your job, with concreters charging anywhere from $50 per hour for their services. Factors to consider in the final pricing include ease of access and how much work is needed to get the site ready for work to commence.