You might think that a sidewalk is a sidewalk. When most people think about sidewalks and walkways, they think of a strip of light gray concrete that leads a path from one building or area of a property to another. While we have all seen fancier, more stylish sidewalks and paths, not a lot is known about the different types and styles of sidewalks available that can be used to enhance a commercial or residential construction project. This article will feature some industry insider information into the different variations available to property owners that are designed to add both function and flair.
This is a term that you should know if you are shopping for a new sidewalk or walkway. There are many different types of decorative concrete options available, with some being more artistic than others. While it is easy to go a little “overboard” in this area, even slight upgrades compared to the traditional light gray concrete walkway will get noticed and make a big difference in your construction or landscaping project.
There are three primary ways that concrete sidewalks can be altered to create a decorative effect: color, texture and shape. In fact, chances are good that you have seen at least one of these methods used in a commercial or residential property recently. These techniques are being used quite frequently for restaurants, retail shops, offices and homes – the only limit to their application is the imagination of the property owner.
One of the easiest ways to change the look and feel or your sidewalk or walkway is to add a little color. This can be done in a couple of ways. Color can be added when the concrete is mixed, creating a colorful material that is used to imitate brick, natural stone and other common construction materials. Color can be used in a number of ways to help draw attention to or help blend the new sidewalk into its surrounding environment.
Staining is another means of adding color to concrete sidewalks. This process is done after the concrete has been poured and can be used to add color, shading and even to create patterns within the finished product. This method has become increasingly popular over the years and skilled tradesmen who have knowledge of this technique can create some pretty amazing results.
The great thing about working with concrete is the ability to enhance its look and appearance with a number of unique finishes. The most commonly seen surface finish is the mag trowel or smooth finish. This creates a very even and smooth finish, making for a very professional-looking, unadorned finished product. Other textural options, such as the broom or architectural finish, can help add much-needed contrast and depth to the concrete, while at the same time, increasing function by reducing slippage, particularly in areas that receive a lot of wet weather.
Exposed aggregate finishes are also a great way to go, enhancing the look of the finished product while, at the same time, increasing safety and function for those who will be using it. The exposed aggregate method is created when stones or pebbles are added to the concrete mix and are then “exposed” during the pouring and curing process. It creates a sort of pebble-stone walkway effect, while still retaining the strength, durability and cost-effectiveness of a traditional concrete sidewalk.
Who says your sidewalk needs to be a straight line from “point A” to “point B”? Many curved and geometrical shapes and designs are now being used in both commercial and residential projects, creating sidewalks and walkways that are unique and interesting compared to traditional patterns and styles.
In fact, many builders are using functional sidewalks and walkways as part of their landscaping design, taking advantage of the color and texture techniques available to enhance the overall look and feel of the property. An exposed aggregate finish on a winding pathway through a well-landscaped property adds much value and creates an experience for visitors and customers who meander through it before shopping at a retail property or visiting businesses in an office building.
Where to Get Decorative Concrete in New England
Located in Massachusetts, Sandstone Construction Inc. serves a variety of clients all throughout the New England states. They offer many different options, methods and techniques to their clients, providing a wide array of decorative concrete solutions for sidewalks, walkways and curbing.
From cost-effective monolithic sidewalk solutions to more decorative, colored and stained concrete options, Sandstone Construction has the knowledge and experience to help you achieve the look and feel you desire. Contact Sandstone today for more information about using decorative concrete in New England and all of the products, materials and techniques available for your next sidewalk project.