Concrete in the Modern World
By Ian McPearson
Concrete is a material you hear about people using as a building material more and more these days and not just in the slabs, driveways or pool surrounds of the home, but in ways never thought imagined before. Concrete is not a new material in construction and has been used for centuries. Concrete was first being used in the 19th century, in 1849 Joseph Monier invented reinforced concrete and his son continued developments and he earned recognition for the development of “modern” Portland cement. The first concrete house was built by Francois Coignet in 1853 and the Romans constructed numerous concrete structures that still survive to this day, including Pantheon in Rome, which is a 42-meter diameter dome made from poured cement.
The ability to use concrete in many applications and forms gives it an amazing advantage to other building materials. You can also mix other materials with it to create different looks and add things like fiberglass to give it strength without the weight like in GFRC (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete). I have been using concrete though out my years of construction in so many different ways and we are still continuing to create new ways to use it, the versatility of this material is amazingly endless.
There are many advantages to using concrete in your building projects including the obvious strength and stability of the structure, but also as an architectural element. We are able to create many different molds and forms to make things like gfrc columns, wall caps, faux stone, crown moldings, statuary, fountains, and waterfalls just to name a few. This has given a new wave of possibilities for designers and homeowners alike to start thinking of using concrete in more ways that the traditional usage. Probably the most seen usage lately would be concrete countertops that can be polished and sealed to give it an industrial look or it can be finished using stains or dyes to even give the appearance of stone. This has become such a largely sought after request to builder’s the industry has taken notice and has started making concrete sack materials specific for this application that you can purchase at a local hardware store. Concrete also has an additional advantage over other select materials that could be used in this application and that is cost. Using a concrete countertop rather than granite for instance you could save up to fifty percent or more depending on the choice of stones.
Stamped concrete is also another way that investors or builders can save money and give the home or commercial space a unique look. There are so many different styles of stamps that can be applied to the fresh cement to have it take form of the stamps from slate to brick patterns in many arrangements and patterns. Customers can also choose to color the concrete prior to pouring or they can wait and add color using processes like acid staining or concrete dyes to have an artist create a completely custom look. We have been helping our clients do these process for many years and it is still amazing what we can come up with and create out of concrete.
If you are building or even remodeling you should consider possibly using this versatile material in your upcoming project and see where it could enhance your finished design. The possibilities are truly endless as you can see even after centuries of usage and applications we are still evolving and learning all the abilities of concrete. To see some examples, check out our site www.tropicalfinish.com