With spring giving way to summer, the time for home renovations and repairs is in full swing. That may mean upgrading your windows, redoing the landscaping, or even working on your backyard patio for summer cookouts.
Here at Kent Home Services, our New Concrete and Decorative Concrete departments are helping homeowners plan their upgrades and outdoor projects. We often get asked about what new concrete means or how decorative concrete is different from the regular stuff you see. Here is an explanation of each term, how to begin planning for your home projects, and general cost and pricing guides to consider.
What is New Concrete?
Have you been noticing cracks in your driveway or sidewalk? Is there more than one crack per slab section? We previously detailed the process of concrete repair and how we assess a concrete job. Most homeowners and property managers would like to salvage their current concrete job instead of replacing it. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible.
If this is the case for you, we would recommend “new concrete”. Simply put, new concrete means removing the old concrete, and pouring all new materials for your project. We would essentially replace the concrete you have.
The process of concrete replacement will follow roughly the same procedures:
- A Kent Home Services Project Manager will come assess the area needing replacement and determine the size and grade of concrete needed. They will then provide a detailed estimate for the job based on their assessments and design options you specify (i.e. the curves of a patio or design patterns).
- Our team will demolish and remove the old concrete. These materials are disposed of in dumpsters and hauled away.
- We will prepare the area so it is graded and leveled for a proper base. The team will set up boards to establish the curvature and design of the area.
- The new concrete is then mixed according to the climate for maximum strength. This specially mixed concrete is then poured into the design you chose.
- To finish the concrete, we use either a broomed or trowel finish to complete the look. You can also opt for stamped or colored concrete, or a more decorative finish like exposed aggregate.
- Last, we cut or tool control joints to the right size and design. An initial sealant is applied, and any optional weatherproofing sealants you chose. This will ensure your concrete cures properly.
A Multitude of Options with Decorative Concrete
Many experienced homeowners opt for decorative concrete to help their homes look polished and creative. Decorative concrete adds elements to the concrete for coloring, designs, and textures. The best way to understand decorative concrete is by looking at pictures of our work. Here are some pictures of recent decorative concrete projects so you can see the finished results.
Colored concrete is just that, concrete that’s been expertly mixed with professional-grade color to complete your design goals. Coloring can be used to add depth to your exterior decorating style. With coloring, you can pick one color, or a combination for a layered colored look. Another option is staining the surface of your concrete. This adds tone and depth to the appearance of your concrete. Staining is most often used for interior concrete work while coloring is often used for exterior projects.
Stamped concrete has become increasingly popular worldwide. We recently saw a home renovation show, Grand Designs, that brought together many concrete design ideas. One idea the show highlighted was stamped concrete.
With stamping, the concrete is imprinted or textured to look similar to wood, slate, brick work, or even stone. The concrete is usually colored to have a well-rounded effect. There are a multitude of stamping and textured options.
Exposed Aggregate Concrete
This type of decorative concrete may sound more complicated than it actually is. Aggregate simply means to combine several elements to create a whole item. With exposed aggregate concrete, we mix in other materials with the concrete to achieve a different look. We commonly mix in gravel, pebbles, or sand to achieve a new textured appearance. The top layer is then washed away to reveal the details of the added material.
Planning Tips and Cost Estimates
We’re often asked questions about how to plan a concrete project and an estimated cost. These are important steps and great questions to ask. Here are some tips on how to begin planning your concrete project, and factors to help you assess the cost.
Planning Your Project
Planning and knowing what you want are the most important first steps to any project. Here is a brief guideline of how to begin (or look online for more planning details):
- Begin gathering ideas of what you like and the look you’re going for. This may begin with checking out home renovation shows like Grand Designs, or perusing through magazines and saving clippings. And of course, there’s always good ol’ Pinterest to save your online research.
- Make a list of things that are important to you. This is especially important when asking for an estimate. We often want many options and things that our budgets don’t allow. Having a list of “musts” can help when deciding on concrete elements versus how much you can afford to spend. Also include how this space will be used, by whom, and what some hazards could be (i.e. areas susceptible to car oil or kids running or playing). It also helps to know the size of the area that needs new concrete.
- Now that you have a list of “musts” and “maybe” items, determine your budget. How much are you comfortable spending on this project? Knowing this limit helps us greatly as we help you navigate the planning phase. With a determined budget, we can give you a variety of choices and concrete options that won’t break the bank.
- Once you have an idea about what you want, the size of the project, and your budget, schedule a free estimate. We will assess the area and be able to provide you with choices and an individualized quote for your home projects.
Trying to figure out cost for home projects can be difficult. While general estimate are not perfectly accurate, here are a few insights about how your individualized quote will be affected. These insights are not specific to any one project, so your quote will differ from these general guidelines.
The most common concrete projects are typically the backyard, sidewalks, and patios. For a typical 300-320 square foot patio, new concrete may cost approximately $2000 and up, while decorative concrete could run $3500 and up for colored concrete or a simple stamped design.
Now that you have these general numbers in mind, here are some features and considerations that may increase your cost:
- Size matters. The bigger the project, the more it costs. This is one general rule that applies to almost every home improvement project!
- For concrete, location and accessibility matters. A concrete truck must be able to pour the concrete in your desired location. While we can pump concrete up and over a house, there’s a cost that goes along with it. The more accessible the location is to a concrete truck, the better the price tag. Also, with patios or garages, clearing all items off the project area will help.
- Features are also a factor. If your patio is a 15-foot square, there are few features to work around. But if you have a pool complete with waterfall, stone landscaping, and swirling flower beds, there’s a lot more to work around. Basically, the more features we work around or into the project, the higher the quote will be. This point is a great one to consider as you decide on your budget and that list of “must have” items.
Beginning Your Home Projects
Now you have all the tools, tips, and considerations you need for your home projects and improvement goals. Start planning today, and get your free estimate scheduled in time for a few backyard parties this summer.