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Amanda Harvey
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Amanda
Harvey

5 things to know about architectural concrete

Last modified: 2019/10/28 | Approximate reading time 3 mins

Architectural concrete is a material that has the ability to combine business and pleasure. Its aesthetic properties, combined with some structural advantages, making it a modern material that’s a seductive option for homeowners. When it comes to this material, the options are endless when it comes to colour, shape, and texture. Versatile, flexible and malleable, this flexible material will lend itself to your desires. 

Architectural concrete is found on facades, balconies, stairs, but also on sinks, tables and kitchen counters. This decorative concrete can be used in any renovation project, on both the interior or exterior of your home.

Concrete countertop

Here are 5 things to know about architectural concrete

1- Architectural concrete and the choice of colour

When we think about concrete, we tend to imagine gray matter, without much charm as well as an extremely rough surface. However, architectural concrete is nothing like this. As a consumer, you can select your pick from an infinite array of colours. Whether you’re looking for a light or a dark colour, note that custom shades can be created.

By playing on their constituents, as well as surface treatments, the realization of a wide colour palette is possible. Were you considering a white bathroom sink, a dark green counter, or new beige stairs for your front facade? There are plenty of professionals who work with this material and can help you to create exactly what you’re hoping for.

In fact, the creation of colours for architectural concrete is quite simple to understand, yet more difficult to implement, since it requires precise calculations to obtain the desired hue. In general, white cement is the base for coloured concrete. On the other hand, we should associate colouring pigments with sands and aggregates of the same colour to obtain an extensive palette of hues, including yellow, green, blue and much more. Lastly, all that remains is to mix these colours to obtain intermediate colours, as is similar to any painting project.

Concrete sink

2- Imitating brick and stone with architectural concrete

Architectural concrete can be either smooth or rough. This material is exceptionally malleable and has the ability to imitate innumerable materials such as stone or brick. Therefore, you can play with the composition of the concrete, including the choice of cement, aggregates, and pigments. Some choose to install exterior cladding in imitation brick architectural concrete. This allows you to take advantage of the insulating and soundproofing qualities of concrete while enjoying the charm of brick. 

In addition, architectural concrete can be a very good alternative to natural stone, which is much more expensive. It’s fairly common to see this used for a kitchen countertop.

3- Colour and surface treatment of architectural concrete

Sandblasted green, bush-hammered beige, washed pink, polished black gloss, the hues of architectural concrete are endless. Regarding finishes, you’ll have to choose between satin, matte, gloss, and several others. 

Whether it’s exterior siding or the construction of a bathtub, it’s important to note that the cost of your project will be closely linked to the complexity of making the moulds as well as the number of castings with the same equipment. The cost will also relate to the pigments used and the treatment of the surface. Concerning the surface treatment, it’s important to note that a washed appearance will impact the cost by 10%, matte will be 15% and 20% for a glossy finish.

Archictectural concrete table

4- Architectural concrete: an ecological choice

If you’re interested in taking care of the environment and making responsible choices, then architectural concrete is an excellent choice of material. Indeed, its properties offer this material durability as well as a long life span. If you opt for a concrete countertop in your kitchen, you won’t run the risk of having to update it every five years due to wear and tear. Concrete doesn’t burn, rot, or rust. Moreover, it requires little effort for its maintenance. 

Also, in 10 or 20 years if you decide to replace your architectural concrete furniture, know that this material is perfectly recyclable. Its components can be used to create other products. Be aware that concrete is an inert material that emits no gas, which makes it all the more valuable.

architectural concrete fireplace 

5. Success with architects and designers

Architectural concrete is versatile, which means that once moulded, designers are able to adapt it to all shapes, textures, and surfaces imaginable. It’s a material that facilitates innovation and creativity, as it is used in the construction and renovation sector as much as in other fields such as art, decor, furnishing, and landscaping. All these attributes make it the perfect material to allow designers and architects to prepare exceptional pieces.

Photos provided by Johnstone architectural concrete

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