Decorative Concrete Techniques and Design Ideas For Your Home’s Patio

How To Upgrade Your Home’s Patio With Decorative Concrete Designs

Summer nights are going to be here before you know it. It’s the time of year to have friends over, fire up the grill and eat dinner on the patio. But is your patio dinner party ready?

There are endless options to update your outdoor living space. From decorative decks, to pergolas, firepits and more, it gets difficult—and expensive—to decide what you want. This is when it pays off to use concrete!

If you’ve been thinking of sprucing up your patio, now’s the time to do it. And we’re here to help! You may not have thought about the different ways that concrete can give your patio the facelift it so badly needs, so we’ve compiled a list of three different decorative concrete techniques and four concrete design ideas to help transform your patio.

Why Choose Concrete Over Other Materials?

Many homeowners choose wood, brick or stone to decorate their patio. While these finishes give a nice touch, the same effect can be achieved with concrete while also achieving many other benefits!

It’s customizable

Concrete can be placed and constructed in a way that mimics stone and brick, and even have the same grain lines as a piece of wood. Plus, stains, pigments and antiquing agents can be applied to give concrete a completely unique look.

Additionally, concrete can be placed in any shape and size, allowing you to fully customize your desired design. The options really are limitless when it comes to decorative concrete techniques.

It’s affordable

Concrete is a much more affordable option than other design options such as stone, too. When you consider that you can get the exact look of stone, for a much lower price, it’s easy to see why concrete is a better option.

It’s durable

When you decide to use concrete for your home’s patio, you’re adding an extension to your home that will last for decades. Concrete is known for its durability, so you’ll be able to enjoy your patio for a lifetime! Not to mention, concrete is highly weather resistant, so it’ll be able to withstand the unpredictable Carolina weather.

3 Decorative Concrete Techniques To Transform Your Patio

Before deciding on what elements you want on your patio, consider the type of texture, finish and color you want your concrete to have.

1. Concrete Color

Concrete can be mixed to the color of your choosing through various pigments or stains.

Pigments can be added to the concrete prior to pouring, allowing the color to fully mix in. These pigments can be in liquid or powder form, and usually, only allow earthy colors such as brown and tan, but green, grey and blue can be added as well.

There are multiple types of concrete stains which can be applied at any point throughout the process. Typically, however, you want the stain to be added quickly after the pouring is complete so the final product is as vibrant as possible. Like pigments, stains come in more subtle, earthy tones. However, acrylic-based stains can add black or white coloring to your patio!

These decorative concrete coloring techniques allow your patio to perfectly complement the architecture of your home, while giving your patio a completely unique and custom look.

2. Concrete Finishes

Consider how much moisture exposure your patio will experience. Do you have a pool? Are you located in an area that receives a lot of rain? Maybe children running back and forth results in unexpected spills? If this is the case, consider a decorative concrete texture that adds more traction for the safest results.

One of the ways to add traction is with a broom finish. A broom finish is used after the concrete has been smoothed to give traction. This is done by dragging a broom across wet concrete, leaving small ridges to give grip.

If you have a pool, a salt finish would be the ideal finish for your concrete. Rock salt is applied to wet concrete, which is later washed away. Once completed, small pits are left behind that give some much-needed traction around the pool.

And remember, finishing your concrete surface with a layer of sealant provides a whole host of benefits!

3. Concrete Texture

While there are multiple different ways to achieve concrete texture, the one we want to focus on is decorative concrete stamping.

Stamping has three main steps: base color, accent color and stamping. Say you want to add a wood-like finish to your patio. You would first choose the color you want the wood to have. Once decided, these colors will be added to the concrete though powder pigments or stains. Next, the design will be stamped.

The concrete is stamped by using patterned “stamps”. The stamps are laid on wet concrete, and the pattern is softly pressed in, allowing the concrete to mold to the pattern. Finally, the stamp is carefully removed and the process is repeated throughout the rest of the surface.

Concrete stamping is a popular method because it can mimic the exact look of stone, brick, wood, tile and more. Plus, concrete stamping is a much more affordable option than using materials like brick, stone and wood.

Want to see stamping in action? Watch this video from HGTV to see how concrete can be transformed into wood-like pallets.

4 Concrete Designs Ideas For Your Patio

Now that you know some of the endless technique options for decorative concrete, it’s time to put them to the test! Here are four ways to transform your patio with concrete design:

1. Stamped Stone-Like Concrete

If you want the look of stone without the cost, go with concrete. Not only is concrete a much more affordable option, but it can be poured in any shape or size to look just like real stone!

The concrete can be manipulated by hand to mimic almost any stone you would choose. This stone-like look will upgrade your patio and give it a true one-of-a-kind look.

2. Tiered Concrete Steps

Decorative concrete steps will also elevate your patio. Adding steps can lead your family or guests to an element such as a pool or firepit, making your patio a directional feature of your home.

3. Colored Borders

Around the patio or walkways, add colored concrete borders to give your patio extra definition. These can also be poured with any texture or finish you want. These borders are a great way to add more personalized touches to your outdoor living space.

4. Concrete Fire Pit

A concrete fire pit can also be poured in any shape, design or texture you desire. A fire pit is a wonderful addition to any home because it gives an extra gathering area for family or guests.

Again, a concrete fire pit will be much more affordable than other options, but will still add a high-end touch to your home. Not to mention the level of safety of a concrete fire pit! The right contractor knows to line concrete fire pits with protective veneer, which may be fire brick grouted with fire clay or a steel ring. This extra level of protection makes a concrete fire pit and safe choice for your home and family.

Upgrade Your Patio With Concrete Supply Co.

When you’re looking to upgrade your residence or patio, trust the team at Concrete Supply Co. to help with your project!

Since 1958, we have been providing ready-mix concrete to projects and transforming areas—big and small—all over the Carolinas. When it comes to concrete, we are your source!

We are ready to help take your patio to the next level with our state-of-the-art concrete. Plus, we value sustainability, so we can keep your project eco-friendly.

Reach out to us so we can talk about the opportunities for concrete to transform your outdoor living spaces!

Want more information about concrete? Download our free guide, Concrete Checklist: Gets The Best Ready Mix For Your Project!

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Home Construction Safety Tips

Reduce The Risk Of An At-Home Construction Project Accident With These Safety Tips

A survey by the National Safety Council revealed that 26 percent of homeowners who completed a DIY home improvement project experienced some type of injury to themselves or someone else in their household. We have to wonder, were they taking the correct safety precautions in order to avoid these accidents?

With the National Center for Health Statistics identifying accidental injury as the third highest cause of death in the US–accidental injury is not a risk that should be taken lightly. With the rate of accidental injuries increasing every year, it’s more important now than ever before to take steps that ensure the safety of you and the people around you.

Taking basic steps towards safety can significantly reduce the risk of an accident (or worse) occurring during an at home construction project, DIY project, or home improvement renovation. Check out our home construction safety tips:

Know How Each Piece Of Equipment You’re Using Works

Read over the manual on each piece of equipment you plan to use for your project. This is especially important for power equipment, which when used incorrectly can lead to serious accidents.

TIP: Check YouTube for a visual tutorial on how a piece of equipment works and its safety features.

Be On The Look-Out For Misplaced Objects

Tools and other materials left unsecured are accidents waiting to happen. Frequently, tools and other objects left on top of ladders, set on framing, or left unattended on roofs are the culprits behind falling object injuries. Tools and other building materials left on the ground can lead to falls or punctured feet.

TIP: Pay attention to how often you leave tools and objects lying around. We think you’ll see it happens quite frequently.

Minimize Your Chances Of A Back Injury

Back injuries are very common on many types of construction sites–even at home, in the backyard, or in your garage.


  • Do not lift more than you can handle. When a load is too heavy, ask for help.
  • Keep your back straight, knees bent and the load close to your body when lifting to minimize strain on the back.
  • Lift with your legs, not with your back.
  • Never twist your body when carrying a heavy load. Think about pivoting your feet and not your spine.
  • Make sure your paths are clear of hazards that might cause you to trip, slip, or fall.

Practice Ladder Safety

Of the almost 500,000 falls from ladders that occur annually, 97 percent occur at home. For such a useful piece of equipment, ladders can certainly be dangerous. Luckily, you can avoid most accidents with some good ladder safety techniques–and a little common sense.  


  • Face the ladder while climbing it.
  • Always carry tools in your toolbelt holster or pouch–not in your hands.
  • Always maintain three points of contact while climbing (one hand and two feet or two hands and one foot).
  • Set the ladder on a firm and level base.
  • If you must place your ladder in front of a door, make sure it is locked.
  • Make sure the ladder you use is the right height for your job.
  • Remember, the top two steps are not the safest place to stand.
  • Fully open stepladders and lock spreaders in place.
  • Use ladders with non-slip feet.  

Wear The Necessary Safety Gear

Of the 26 percent of homeowners who admitted to injuries from their DIY home projects, 41 percent said their injuries were the result of not wearing protective gear. Protective gear can prevent your body from a number of injuries:

  • Safety helmets: Protect your head from falling objects by properly wearing a good quality hard hat. When the hard hat is not on your head, be sure to take good care of it. Never leave it in the window of your car as sunlight can weaken its strength and cause damage.  
  • Eye protection: Protect your eyes from dust and other damaging particles with full-cup, side shielding, shatterproof safety eye protection. Avoid wearing contact lenses on the job site as chemicals, gases, or dust may get under them and cause irritation or even damage to the eyes.  
  • Ear protection: Protect your sensitive ears from loud and repetitive noises. There is no cure for hearing loss so take precautions to avoid damage.
  • Safety footwear: Keep your feet safe from falling objects, crushing hazards or punctures from sharp objects with steel-toed safety boots.
  • Knee pads: Avoid “bad knees” with a pair of knee pads.
  • Safety gloves: Look after your fingers with a high-quality pair of gloves.
  • High visibility vest: Be sure you’re seen especially on sites that aren’t lit well or where you could potentially blend into your surroundings.

Check The Health Hazards

Eliminate the risk of accidentally poisoning yourself and others by keeping chemicals like paint thinners and corrosive cleaners out of reach. Make sure chemicals and cleaners are tightly sealed, and only use when wearing protective gear (like goggles, work gloves, and a ventilation mask).

Whenever you get started on a maintenance or restoration project, check to see if the home or area you’re working on has a history of hazards such as led or asbestos.

Know When To Ask For Help From A Professional

Just because you can complete a DIY project doesn’t mean you should. Leave the dangerous and risky projects to the professionals. Professionals have the equipment, experience, and safety protocols to get a project done the right way and accident-free.

Make Safety A Priority When Dealing With Concrete

Contact with wet concrete can cause skin irritation, severe chemical burns, and serious eye damage. Skin exposure to concrete may be associated with allergic contact dermatitis.


  • Wear waterproof gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, full-length pants, and proper eye protection when working with concrete.
  • If you must stand in wet concrete, wear waterproof boots that are high enough to keep concrete from getting into them.
  • Wash any concrete, mortar, cement, or cement mixtures from your skin immediately.
  • Flush your eyes with water immediately after contact and see medical attention if necessary.
  • Take indirect contact, like through clothing, seriously–often it can be just as damaging as direct contact.

Have a DIY concrete project you’re planning to start soon? First, check out our handling and storage safety data sheet.

Then head over to our Get The Best Ready Mix For Your Project Concrete Checklist which contains expert advice on how to make your next concrete order process easier and faster, a PSI Index to gauge the strength needed for your next concrete project, and a step-by-step guide to walk you through considering need-to-know features like consistency and durability.

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Residential Concrete Trends of 2018

Top Residential Concrete Trends of 2018

Today’s homeowner tends to value a home that is not only visually appealing but is structurally safe. They want a home that will stand the test of time. But at the same time, they want a home that is energy-efficient, low-maintenance, and environmentally friendly.

As a result, the concrete industry is always changing to accommodate those desires with new advancements in technology and techniques.  

More and more homeowners are realizing concrete’s potential for beautiful aesthetic and structural capabilities in one, while also being affordable!

We’ve seen a number of concrete trends emerge with residential homeowners this year, both structurally and aesthetically.  

Structural Concrete Trends

Resilient Construction with Concrete

In a time where natural disasters seem to be more common (and destructive), residential homeowners are concerned with resilient construction. Standing up to hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, floods and more–concrete is the answer to resilient construction. In 2018 we’re likely to see an increase in concrete use throughout the residential construction industry because of its resiliency. Leading us to our next trend….     

Insulated Concrete Form Walls

ICFs, or insulated concrete form walls, are becoming a popular option for residential owners and builders. The growing popularity of ICFs is due to the fact that they make the building process quicker, easier. Additionally, they create a structure that is durable, efficient, and safe.

The process of constructing ICFs involves stacking the dual-sided expanded polystyrene units held together by a high-density polypropylene webbing. Steel reinforcement is locked in to place as the wall is constructed and then filled with high-strength concrete to form a solid wall structure.

ICF walls create a structure that is energy-efficient, fire-resistant, and can withstand flying debris. These walls can handle debris from tornadoes and hurricanes with wind speeds of up to 250 mph. ICF construction is quiet, low maintenance, healthy, and has a lifespan that is significantly longer than traditional building methods. Compared to a wood-framed home, ICF walls provide 20 percent or more in energy savings. As well as 10-30 percent less outside air infiltration and three times less noise and a 4-hour fire rating.  

We expect to continue to see the ICF wall system be used throughout the residential and even the commercial construction industry in the future.

Aesthetic Concrete Trends

What was once just a construction material is now a high style decor material for residential homeowners everywhere. There are several advantages to using concrete for decorative purposes:

  • Few seams and the ability to minimize the appearance of seams with the use of a color matched filler.
  • Water and stain resistant with the use of a surface sealer.
  • Infinite color options with integral coloring, staining, or both which gives a homeowner the ability to coordinate or match with any room.
  • Can be cast in any shape and almost any size.
  • The ability to create custom edges or replicate designs using molding products.
  • Can be personalized with unique embedded items like pebbles, recycled glass and, seashells.
  • The appearance will improve with age. Since concrete is not a static material, it will evolve and acquire character over time.

The trend of using concrete for architectural and decorative purposes on the residential level is flourishing thanks to new products, advanced techniques, and designers promoting the look. Achieving a particular decorative or architectural appearance with concrete typically requires special forms, unique finishes, different ingredients, colors, and other variables. Here’s how people are using concrete within their homes:

Concrete Countertops

Concrete countertops are especially trendy today. The demand for concrete countertops is growing as people learn the advantages of using the material in their kitchens. One of the most appealing factors swaying people towards concrete countertops is how easy they are to maintain!

Decorative Concrete Floors

Also associated with the decorative and architectural concrete trend are decorative concrete floors. A range of pigments, stains, stamps, dies and stencil patterns, glass and friction finishes allow you to create a walkable piece of art that fits any location.

Concrete floors are economical when compared to quarried stone, they’re also strong, require little maintenance, are long lasting, and provide you with a variety of decorative options!

Pool, Patio, and Other Outdoor areas

Generally, people look to cover their outdoor surfaces with a material that is strong and durable yet practical. Decorative concrete can add a fresh and unique look to your pool, patio, or other outdoor areas, which is something everyone is prioritizing this year!

Driveways and large walkways

Compared to gravel and asphalt, concrete is a more expensive material to pave your driveway or large walkways with, but less expensive than brick or cobblestone. The incentive to use concrete? It’s strength, minimum maintenance, cooler surface, and longevity. Concrete is strong by its very nature standing up to heavy loads through its ability to disperse those loads evenly throughout the pavement. Concrete requires little to no maintenance and its high reflectivity means that more of the sun’s incoming radiation is reflected back into the atmosphere, lowering the amount of heat absorbed by the pavement and its surroundings.

While these are the current trends in residential concrete use, one thing is for sure, the full potential of concrete as a material is just being tapped into. Trends will continue to emerge, taking the concrete industry to new places.

From small do-it-yourself projects, retaining walls, driveways, walkways, and outdoor living areas, to major home renovations and new home construction, plus everything in between, we’ve got you and your residential concrete needs covered. Get an estimate for your residential concrete project today.

Keep in mind, no concrete mix is going to work perfectly for every project, that’s why it’s important to understand how to get the perfect mix. We’ve created a checklist of questions that can help guide you to the best mix for your application. Click to download your checklist.

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