Concrete Design
Concrete Design
PURPOSE AND PLACEMENT  .......................................................................

Depending on your yard size you may consider having more than one outdoor living space or delineate a larger space.  Each area can have its own distinct appeal offering entertainment, relaxation or preferred activity.  You may want a family room for socialization or entertainment, a bbq/dining area to prepare and enjoy your favorite food, a swimming pool deck to warm up or to do some sunbathing, a viewing area to relax and reflect or a patio cover to get away from the sun or rain.  When reviewing locations for your outdoor room you may consider sun, shade, wind, view, and proximity to your home. 

DEFINING OUTDOOR ROOMS ......................................................................

Each outdoor room may have its own unique style and function.  Adding pergolas, pavilions, columns or water features enhance the atmosphere creating a pleasant visual ambiance.  You may want to surround part of your outdoor room with a seatwall helping to frame your space while providing additional seating for guests.  A built-in bbq with bar creates a food preparation area and dining space.  A fire pit or fireplace creates a focal point and anchors the room.  

SIZE CONSIDERATIONS ..................................................................................

The size of your outdoor room will be influenced by built-in structures, accents, furniture, and activities.  Access to, from and through the area must be part of the design process.  Consider how your space will function when chairs are pulled out during usage and the trend towards deeper furniture.  Below are some outdoor room examples with furnishings to help illustrate design considerations.

- pdf - arbor with furniture
- pdf - table layout
- pdf - bbq with tables
- pdf - chairs and couches
- pdf - fireplace
- pdf - fire pits


Color Coordination

The surrounding architecture can be used to select the right color combinations.  The colors selected should complement each other and the home architecture.  Consider the house veneer, trim and roof to coordinate the colors as well as furnishings and accent colors.  Lighter colors will stay cooler from the sun and provide a more pleasant atmosphere when enjoying your backyard in the summer heat.  Colors are usually broken into two groups, “warm” (tans, beige, brown, sand, oyster, etc.) and “cool” colors (blue, gray, green, etc). 

Color Method

Colors can be applied using three methods.  We can use an integral color (colored mixed into the entire concrete before installing), a dust-on color or a color hardener (applied after the concrete has been installed but it is still wet) or a combination of integral, dust-on color or color hardeners.  Using a dust on color will require sealing the concrete to protect/preserve the dust on color from fading. Color hardeners can provide a more consistent concrete surface appearance and reduce the presences of blotchy concrete. 

Using a color hardener increases your color options and provides a stronger, brighter, more durable concrete surface.  It creates a denser surface providing higher stain resistance.  A color hardener is harder, messier to apply and costs more than integral colored concrete.  Color hardener also provides more control over your concrete project by reducing issues related to ready-mix trucks mixing your color.  Concrete that is colored using a color hardener is easier to match if additional concrete is installed at a later time.  

Stamped Concrete Texture

Stamped concrete texturing has two categories, seamless and pattern.  Seamless textures resemble the exterior surface or veneer of natural materials such as stone, slate or flagstone.  It is a continues consistent appearance that provides a simple elegant finish that can be enhanced with multiple colors, score lines, bands or in-lay.  Pattern textures imitate the entire material such as stone, slate, flagstone, brick, tile, pavers, wood, etc. These can also be enhanced with multiple colors, bands or in-lay.  Some of the textures are deeper than others creating darker shadows and a more pronounced texture.

Control Joints - Score Lines / Banding / Masonry In-lay

Control joints are used to control concrete cracking and to add interest to the concrete.  Spacing is usually between 6 and 8 ft.  Control joints and banding also provide an artistic flair helping to define shapes, borders and balance. Banding is a technique used to frame, separate or accent sections of concrete patios, walkways or driveways.  Banding can have a different finish providing contrast and separation.  Masonry in-lay or masonry banding produce similar effects.  You can increase your color, shape and texture options by infusing masonry materials into the design.  These materials provide a deeper more intense contrast creating a richer bolder impact.

ENGINEERING AND SPECIFICATIONS .......................................................

Experience, knowledge, and craftsmanship are the skills necessary to perform quality concrete installation. Project requirements will vary depending on the concrete function, concrete finish, layout, site conditions, and weather.

One of the first considerations is the elevation of the patio.  If the patio is next to the home it is usually set 1-1/2" below the weep screed.  This elevation can be changed to meet specific layout objectives but step height, air vents, and transitions must be considered.  Planters can be installed between the home and patio to add interest and provide a buffer zone which in turn allows more flexibility when setting patio elevations.  Step and landing elevations from the threshold can vary from 1-1/2" to 7-3/4".

Drainage is a major concern and must be dealt with by sloping the concrete.  Drains can be installed inside or on the perimeter of the concrete to catch water.  The location of the drains maybe driven by elevation objectives.  We usually slope our concrete between 1.5 and 2.0 percent.  Our most common slope is set at 1-1/2 percent for smooth surfaces such as concrete.  This provides amble sloping to remove water from your hardscape and prevent standing water.  It also allows a small cushion for soil expansion or contraction which may affect the slope in the future. 

Rougher surfaces with deeper contours may require a 1.75 or 2.0 percent slope to reduce standing water.  Landings and steps will usually follow the slope of the patio concrete up to a maximum of 2 percent.  High and low points may have lower percent slopes to provide a gentle transition between areas.

When pouring concrete next to homes additional planning and attention to detail is required.  We can install clean-out boxes over sewer pipe stub-ups, flashing between steps and siding/stucco or an expansion material between the foundation and new concrete.

We offer different specifications for pedestrian traffic vs vehicle traffic.  Structural design components such as sub-grade preparation, base rock depth, base rock moisture content, concrete sack mix, concrete rock size, concrete depth, concrete slump, rebar type, and rebar spacing are common considerations. 

Additional structural considerations such as piers, reinforced borders and bands can be used to increase strength and durability of walkways, steps, patios or driveways.

The concrete finish will influence the concrete mix as well.  We normally use a 6 sack mix with pea gravel when installing an aggregate finish.  This provides a better surface condition to embed and anchor the aggregate. The layout will affect where control joints are located and expansion felt is used.  Site conditions may impact sub-grade preparation, base rock installation or the necessity for piers to provide stabilization.  Weather dictates how many finishers are needed and if additives should be considered as part of the concrete mix.

Sealing Tips - Pro’s and Con’s ................................................................................

See Link - Sealing Tips Pro's and Con's

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