The Romans referred to concrete as
liquid stone. It was cement that allowed the most famous monuments and
constructions of the ancient world to be completed, marking the most
significant change in building design the world has ever seen. With the
use of cement, architects were freed from the constraints of the past,
from the limitations of quarried stone and its limited strength to size,
from wood and the diminutive stature its buildings always possessed.
Cement enabled the ancient architects to design with their imaginations,
instead of their restrictions.
As anyone in the construction
business surely knows, cement has not yet stopped evolving. The science of
cement manufacture and production is continuing to make great strides,
enabling new and imaginative processes to be invented.
Decorative concrete is on the
forefront of this growth. With such techniques as dry pack cast stone,
homeowners and designers can create an unlimited array of outdoor and
textured surfaces and flooring options. These all enable the designers to
escape the one flaw seen with concrete: as a finish material, its
starkness can be downright plain. For instance, the durability of concrete
makes it perfect for a driveway, patio, sidewalk or floor, so a means to
"dress up" or disguise concrete without sacrificing any of the versatility
is the goal of many of these manufacturers.
One of the first ways to
transform concrete is through integral coloring. This is where pigment,
usually iron oxides, is added directly to the mixer. The mix is then
poured normally, producing a colored slab of concrete that will not fade
because the color is literally a part of the mix. These colors can range
from subtle pinks and browns to deep blues and greens.
This is usually done by adding a
precisely measured bag of pigment to the concrete, taking into
consideration the amount of cement, total yardage of the truck and
individual properties of the chosen pigment. The drawback of this dry
add-mix is apparent when trying to attain the same color for different
amounts of cement. Because the pigment attaches to the cement, the same
pigment added to a five-sack mix will be much darker than that of an
"By using four distinct liquid
pigments, added together in the correct ratio (similar to a four-color
printing process), a huge variety of color is available," then we measure
and test the resulting pigment for accuracy.
Integral color has many uses for
the concrete industry. Concrete roof tiles, garden accessories and pre-fab
concrete pipe are all starting to use integral coloring.
Other methods of coloring
concrete are more appropriate for different applications. For instance,
many companies make both dry and liquid color hardeners that can be
scattered or sprayed on top of newly poured concrete, and once worked into
the surface, strengthen the concrete while allowing the use of any color.
One of the most popular methods
for decorating concrete today is with the use of acid staining. Many
residential and commercial customers are using this method for obtaining a
durable, beautiful and relatively inexpensive way to decorate their
While this concept is not new
(Frank Lloyd Wright used some acid stains), innovative ideas are expanding
the range of the acid stained look. Multiple stains may be used to enhance
the depth of the color, grout lines may be cut into the concrete to
resemble tile, or highly detailed murals or rosettes may be stained for
any surface outside or inside the home.
Coupled with staining and
stamping, a number of options are available for designing decorative
concrete. Indeed, all of the processes described here can be mixed and
experimented with, limiting designers to only what they can imagine. There
are a few places for the curious designer to experiment with these
Master Builders (www.masterbuilders.com)
may be widely known for manufacturing concrete materials, but they have
recently helped produce an interactive online test grounds (www.concretelifestyles.com).
The site allows the user to swap patterns and colors to see different
The most impressive thing in
outdoor and indoor concrete today may be what has yet to be constructed.
Our Cast stone and precast concrete columns and
products are molded, hand
cast and manufactured near Los
Angeles, California as are our, precast columns, balusters and pool coping.
Many of our projects are in Santa Barbara including Santa Barbara sandstone
look-alike columns, Palm Springs columns, Beverly Hills precast columns, Malibu
columns and Orange County, California columns.
Cast stone and precast concrete installation projects are also regularly undertaken in Palm Springs, Orange
County, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica including precast concrete columns, in Malibu, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.
Each piece is carefully hand laid into special reinforced molds and hand
finished after removal
Many of our recent projects are cast stone in Ventura County and precast columns
in the City of Santa
Monica, and precast columns in Beverly Hills California.
Our products consist of concrete Santa Barbara columns, architectural precast
Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara stone
balusters, sandstone designs and our own concrete design window/door trim, Los
Angeles, California simulated stone
columns, concrete balustrade, our own concrete design precast balusters. Also
cast stone window & door trim, our own sandstone design and concrete pool
coping, precast wall caps or concrete wall caps in the Malibu area.
We have many precast columns and sandstone designs of many kinds installed in the Los Angeles area,
including precast in Malibu, Beverly Hills precast columns and Los Angeles
We use a fineline with precast when making Santa Barbara precast products and
Santa Barbara sandstone columns including Beverly Hills precast.
We have many colors and textures to choose from in our cast
stone and precast concrete