Jan 31, 2022, 4:34 PM
Five More Cool Things You Can Do With Concrete
Concrete is the world’s most widely used building material for a variety of reasons. Cost-effectiveness, versatility, availability all factor into the appeal of this material. But have you ever thought of concrete as cool? We think it is because there are simply so many things you can do with it. So, we are picking up where we left off a few days ago and introducing you to five more cool applications for concrete.
This time, rather than focusing on different types of concrete, we are mixing things up between types and creative applications:
- Insulation: Lightweight Concrete
- Interiors: Kitchen Countertops
- Interiors: Polished Floors
- Outdoors: Ping-Pong Table
- Home Decor
Insulation: Lightweight Concrete
Traditional concrete is made by mixing cement, water, and aggregates, such as sand. Using a volumetric concrete mixer, contractors store the ingredients in separate bins ready to be combined. However, the actual mixing only starts when the mix has been confirmed and fresh concrete is needed.
Using natural aggregates like pumice and scoria helps create a lighter mix. Artificial materials like clays and processed aggregates like perlite and vermiculite achieve the same effect. The concrete mixes produced with these aggregates are not only lighter.
They also have very low thermal conductivity, meaning they struggle to transmit heat. This characteristic makes them ideal for insulating purposes. Consider this: plain concrete has thermal conductivity values of 10 to 12 K. For lightweight concrete, this value is approximately 0.3 K.
Apart from insulation purposes, lightweight concrete is also a good choice to protect steel structures.
Interiors: Kitchen Countertops
High-end concrete is an excellent choice for stylish, hard-wearing kitchen countertops. If you are designing a contemporary look for your new kitchen, the modern industrial aesthetic of polished concrete may be a perfect fit.
Concrete countertops are as hardwearing as granite or natural stone, and they can be shaped to your exact specifications. Most concrete kitchen counters are installed in place, ensuring they fit your space exactly.
Plus, there are almost endless options for customization, including colored concrete.
Another stunning kitchen countertop option is glass concrete. To make this type of concrete, contractors simply use recycled glass as an aggregate. The result changes depending on whether the glass is the only aggregate used or whether some sand and gravel remains in the mix. The effects can be like a mirror reflecting light, or it could resemble marble, terrazzo, or granite.
Apart from decorative purposes, waste glass can also enhance the workability of fresh concrete. Adding glass powder to the mix of ingredients makes it more energy- and cost-effective to place and consolidate the concrete. Once the concrete has hardened, the glass powder increases its overall strength and makes it more resistant to damage from freezing and thawing.
Interiors: Polished Floors
Mention concrete floors and you could be forgiven for thinking only of unloved garage floors or basements. In those areas, as well as utility spaces, concrete has been a convenient, cost-effective type of flooring for a long time.
But concrete flooring can be so much more. This type of floor can be a striking feature of any modern, contemporary home. A solid, polished slab is only the beginning: using progressively finer polishing pads creates a glass-smooth finish. Add the sealer and you have an attractive, shiny floor in your home.
Treating your concrete floor with mild acids results in an utterly unique mottling pattern that resembles marble flooring. Even if your neighbor had the same floor installed using exactly the same materials and techniques, their floor would look different. For a more solid color effect, concrete floors can also be dyed.
Outdoors: Ping-Pong Table
Does your home have a great outdoor space? How about adding a stunning, luxurious ping-pong table that will double up as a dining surface?
Furniture designer James DeWulf used reinforced concrete for his creation. Also known as reinforced cement concrete (RCC), this material combines the benefits of steel and plain concrete. Steel has high tensile strength, meaning it can be pulled and stretched without breaking. Concrete has high compressive strength, which means it resists damage when the particles of the material are pushed closer together.
Adding steel reinforcements to plain concrete means the resulting material can resist different types of stresses before it is damaged. Your ping-pong table will become a focal point for generations to come.
Most of us think of concrete as a material used for the basis of large-scale building projects. Depending on the size of the project, you may choose to set up several volumetric mixers to deliver continuous flow concrete.
But what about the other end of the scale, where concrete is used to create home accessories and decorations? Remember, one of the material’s big advantages is its versatility. Concrete can be shaped to fill almost any mold. Drawer and door pulls are just as much an option as cutting boards.
Compared to wooden or plastic chopping boards, concrete boards will last longer before they are damaged. Especially if you are considering concrete kitchen countertops, concrete chopping boards would complete the modern look of your home.
Back in the garden, concrete planters are a stylish option to house plants of all sizes. There are no limits to your imagination.
Concrete is cool. Of course, we would say that but consider the wide variety of types and applications. Whether you decide to use concrete as a material for a DIY home décor project or change the look of your home with polished concrete floors, there is a suitable concrete for any purpose.
Volumetric concrete mixers are the perfect tool for smaller jobs and massive projects. They allow you to pour the exact type and exact amount of fresh concrete, exactly when you need it. Changing the specifications of the mix and using diverse aggregates is easy and convenient, allowing you to achieve the perfect finish.