What is printed concrete, for what use and at what cost?

In the garden as at home, you like what is beautiful, original, what looks like you. Printed concrete is a simple, inexpensive way to personalize and beautify your surfaces. Particularly suitable for outdoors, “imprinted concrete” can be applied wherever you want to add an aesthetic touch. The only limit to its decorative capacities will perhaps be… your imagination!

Printed concrete: a very versatile decorative coating, both simple and durable.

Simplicity and diversity

This coating technique relies on simplicity: it involves applying molds to fresh concrete to create a relief imprint of the most beautiful effect. From this simple technique, almost everything becomes imaginable in terms of decoration! The great diversity of molds and colors allows you to customize all kinds of surfaces, according to your personal taste and the use of the space to be decorated.

Easy to make, this type of decorative concrete can be applied to all kinds of spaces: terrace, swimming pool, garage, patio, porch, veranda, house, garden, driveway, public space, sidewalk, roundabouts, business, site industrial, etc. Everything is possible, everything is achievable!

All-terrain and still unique

Printed concrete is the champion of exterior surfaces, due to its high resistance to all climates. But it is also perfectly all-terrain: interior or exterior surfaces, horizontal or vertical, concrete adapts to all desires. Capable of imitating natural surfaces such as wood, tiles, paving stones or rock, it offers an elegant and economical alternative to usual coatings. Its ability to move from the inside to the outside makes it possible to harmonize a construction. Whether it is old or contemporary, the printed concrete can, according to your choices, bring modernity while respecting the charm of the old. In reality, this technique is available to infinity and meets all expectations.

Original and customizable

The immense variety of molds and colors available is your best creative asset. It’s up to you to imagine the effect to give to such or such surface. You can design a pool border with sand beige parquet, an industrial rock effect wall, an old wood terrace, an anthracite paved driveway… Be inventive; the catalog of dies and colors is extensive enough to bring all your ideas to life.

Strong and durable

One of the great advantages of printed concrete is its weatherproof strength, which makes it a particularly durable exterior coating. Not only can it withstand rain, humidity or frost without damage, but it is also not afraid of heat and sun. This resistance to climatic variations makes it an ideal candidate to blend in with all landscapes, whatever the regional climate. It does not fade in the sun and does not crack in the thaw. Its elastic fibers and expansion joints make it resistant to cracks and wear over time. In addition, a surface hardener allows it to withstand any impact without damage, whether it is falling objects or vehicle traffic. As for the colors, if the work is done well they keep their original appearance without ever fading. In summary, a printed concrete surface is made to last at least 30 years. The better it will be maintained, the longer it will resist time.

Pleasant and comfortable to use

In the garden, printed concrete does not allow itself to be invaded by moss and small grasses. Always clean, it also offers thermal comfort that allows you to walk barefoot on it without fear of getting burned in summer. If we add that it is naturally non-slip, printed concrete becomes the best friend of swimming pools and beaches! Integrated into the concrete, an abrasive additive guarantees non-slip use. There are also non-slip powders that can be added to the final varnish for total safety. Comfort, nothing but comfort!

Printed concrete in 10 steps:

Printed concrete can therefore be adapted to all needs, bringing a touch of elegance to all kinds of spaces. For floors, it can be used both in creation and renovation. In short, it is available to infinity, meeting the needs of individuals, businesses or public spaces.

We can entrust the production of printed concrete to a specialized company. But, with the right equipment, you can also make your own “concrete imprint” yourself for simple surfaces, provided that the following steps are observed.

1 – Check the climatic conditions

Ideally, it is better to start the work in the early morning, it will take time. We avoid this kind of work in winter, but you can get started between March and November, provided the weather is favorable (avoid frost, rain or strong heat during the two or three days of work).

2 – Prepare the site

First of all, it is necessary to prepare the support that will receive the concrete. This involves breaking down and stabilizing the ground, formwork and delimiting surfaces, calculating levels for evacuation slopes and laying welded mesh, intended to reinforce the solidity of the concrete. It will first have been necessary to clean the floor of all debris and plug any holes.

3 – Pour the screed

Prepared with a concrete mixer (in the case of a small surface) or directly delivered to the router, the fresh concrete must be poured into the formwork. This type of concrete is enriched with strength fibers, essential to ensure its resistance to cracks and allow it to deform without breaking. The slopes allow the evacuation of rainwater. Provide a screed 8 to 12 cm thick.

4 – smooth the concrete

Good smoothing is essential at this stage of the work.

5 – Apply colored hardeners

Depending on the choice of color made upstream, it is a matter of sprinkling the hardener of the desired color on the smoothed surface. Not only will this product give concrete its color, but it also helps to make it more resistant on the surface. A new smoothing must then be carried out.

6 – Apply the colored release agent

This new dusting over the entire surface is intended to prevent the concrete from sticking to the indentations.

7 – Apply the impressions

This is the moment when your surface will take on the aspect you imagined… The molds are placed and well printed (by walking on them); the chosen motif is embedded in the concrete. At this stage, wait until the next day for the rest.

8 – Create the expansion joints

Carried out the next day, their role is essential since it is they who protect the printed concrete from the undesirable effects of expansion or shrinkage.

9 – Clean the concrete

At high pressure, cleaning with water removes the residual mold release agent.

10 – Apply a protective varnish

The final stage of your site, the application of varnish aims to make your concrete completely waterproof and much more durable and resistant. Now is the time to apply a stain resistant resin, which will help you maintain the surface much more easily, especially if it is exposed to oil or gasoline residues …

Mini budget, maximum effect!

Here is a decorative solution that will not ruin you. Even if you use a specialized company to carry out your printed concrete work, the estimate will not cost you an arm and a leg. These are techniques that are easy to implement and quick sites, which do not last more than a few days (depending on the planned surface).

The cost of a printed concrete coating is calculated per square meter. The price can vary especially according to the type of surface and the accessibility of the site (for example to bring a top nearby). Prices generally vary between 60 and 150 € per m2 and are always competitive when compared to other types of exterior cladding. The easiest way, if you go through a professional, is to ask for a location scouting before getting a quote.

Do not forget tomaintain your printed concrete surface. No need to let dirt reduce its beautiful effect. A little mop every now and then for routine cleaning, and every three or four years the application of a water-based varnish will keep it looking like new.