11 Must-Know Facts About Decorative Concrete

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Real Estate Agent with Daily Real Estate Update

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What you know about decorative concrete could probably be summarized in a few sentences: It is a highly popular flooring material that has a number of customization options; there are decorative concrete contractors like https://www.lasvegasconcreteartisans.com/ who are capable of delivering highly decorated and high-quality concrete floors; and finally, it is an affordable flooring choice for most homeowners. 

But to further enhance your knowledge, here are 11 more facts to know about decorative concrete:

  1. The word concrete comes from the Latin word “concretus”

As we will soon find out, the Ancient Romans were pioneers of all things to do with concrete in construction, and the word itself comes from them as well. The word has a number of forms that can mean “hard”, “solid”, and “growing together” or “molding together”. 

  1. The Ancient Romans used the first and earliest form of concrete in their own construction

Also called opus caementicium, the earliest use of Roman concrete dates as far back as 150 BC. But scholars reckon it could have been invented even earlier than that. It is also the same material that can be found in popular Roman structures like the Pantheon and the Colosseum.

It is a testament to the sheer strength and longevity concrete has that we are still able to see these structures standing in Rome today.

  1. The Romans discovered its underwater capabilities by mixing in a surprising ingredient

When archaeologists discovered the harbors and underwater structures built by the Romans, there was some confusion. How did they manage to use such an early form of concrete near, and in, water and how are those structures still standing today?

Much research went into the question, and researchers found that the Romans were mixing one extra thing into their concrete to make it waterproof: volcanic ash. When early concrete developers found that this made their concrete water-resistant, they started using concrete to build harbors and other structures that can still be found today.

  1. The earliest use of decorative concrete was by the Romans for structures like the Pantheon 

Even early Romans recognized the customizability of concrete, and proof of this is in the very structure of their buildings like the Pantheon and the Hagia Sophia.

When closely inspected, you can see that their walls and floors were hand-engraved with designs and decorated. Roman columns, especially their capitals and bases, have detailed decorations that make them a beautiful sight.

  1. After the fall of the Roman Empire, its use was largely lost until the 19th century

For reasons we are not entirely sure of, the use of concrete fell dramatically after the fall of the Roman Empire. It is likely that the concrete developers of the time died without divulging their secrets for great concrete, and so the entire art, unfortunately, faded with them.

What we do know is that concrete was rediscovered in the 19th century after the development of Portland cement by Joseph Aspdin.

  1. After its rediscovery, its popularity in construction soared

Following the development of Portland cement, the use of concrete in construction soared, especially in road building. Prior to the use of modern concrete, people used bricks and pavers for roads. But they were quickly surpassed by concrete because of how much smoother and durable concrete roads were.

And in 1909, the first concrete highway in the US was built.

  1. It was used in the Second World War for a fascinating reason

Construction during the Second World War was highly inventive and innovative because of the desire to win the war. One highly innovative use of concrete was the construction of parabolic acoustic mirrors by the British.

They were massive concrete structures that were used to reflect sound waves and served as early-warning devices for incoming enemy airstrikes and attacks. They can still be found on the shores of England today.

  1. Early concrete stamps were made of aluminum

Concrete stamping today is a highly efficient and easy process; a lightweight stamping mat is used on wet concrete to imprint whatever design you want. But in the 1950s when concrete stamping was first invented, contractors had to use stamps made of aluminum, which were incredibly heavy and hard to manufacture.

Plastic stamps were later invented and concrete stamping has not been the same since.

  1. Concrete is fire- and water-resistant

Yes, you read that right. Because of its natural properties, concrete is resistant to both fire and heat. That is why it is incredibly difficult to burn down a concrete structure. 

But furthermore, once properly sealed, concrete is also resistant to water damage and can survive most extreme weather and flooding. And as we previously learned, concrete can also be used to build underwater.

  1. It has become, in recent years, an incredibly popular flooring material

While its better known for its use in industrial and commercial spaces, concrete is becoming an increasingly popular flooring material for homes and indoor spaces.

This is because concrete floors have been re-recognized as a stylish flooring material for those wishing to take a more minimalistic route in their homes. It also has a great number of benefits like durability, longevity, and low-maintenance. 

Additionally, it can be decorated using methods like stamping, staining, and polishing, which makes it a versatile flooring option for any homeowner.

  1. Over 10 billion tonnes of concrete are used each year

These 10 billion tonnes mostly go to uses like construction and road-building, but more and more of it has gone toward flooring and other home decor uses.

Doesn’t that fact just cement how popular concrete still is?

 

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