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Concrete Patios

After Patio Addition

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Backyards, especially concrete patios, are being transformed into luxurious extensions of the house. They're the new room to relax, entertain, cook, and actually the heart and soul of the backyard resort area. Tired of walking outside and into the mud, utilize this area and give us a call today so we can turn your dreams into reality!

Tips for Your Concrete or Cement Patio:

Outdoor Patio Designs

Extend Your Front Porch with Flagstone Stamped Concrete

When to Pour Cement Patios

Patio Cover Ideas for Fall

Cement Patios vs. Decks: A Backyard Showdown!

Applying a Salt Finish to Concrete Patios

6 Benefits of Cement Patios

How to Maintain Your Colored Concrete Patio

Patio Cover Ideas: How to Create Shade

Outdoor Patio Designs

A fireplace makes a great addition to your outdoor patio designs. Summer or winter, an outdoor fireplace provides an ideal spot to relax. A full-blown fireplace on your patio is a classy step up from the traditional fire pit. However, the choice between gas and wood must be conquered before your outdoor patio designs can become a reality. This choice is completely up to you. Here are a few pros and cons to assist you in this decision.

Your Personal Style

Your own wishes ultimately make the choice between gas and wood fireplaces. Stacks of corded wood lend your patio a rustic feel, and the bonfire smell produced by its burning is inimitable no matter how real your gas fireplace appears. Burning cedar, mesquite, or other premium wood intensifies this effect. Wood-burning fireplaces can give food cooked over it a distinct rich and smoky flavor.

However, gas is much easier for those with a busy lifestyle. There is no need to build a fire—your fireplace alights with the simple flick of a switch. The fire is doused in the same manner when you finish basking in its glow. Gas fireplaces produce no ashy cleanup. For smaller outdoor patio designs, gas is ideal. There is no need for space to store corded wood. 

Costs

Gas and wood are about equal on supply costs. A gas burning fire costs roughly 20 cents an hour to burn. Wood costs nothing per hour in terms of utility, but the availability of wood in your area dictates the cost of materials. Chopping your own wood renders your material costs nearly insignificant.

Environmental Concerns

Wood-burning fireplaces use a renewable resource, while natural gas supply is finite. The chemicals produced from either fire are about equal in terms of environmental effect. Both fires are safe for you to enjoy. 

In the end, the choice comes down to personal preference. Both fires provide warmth and a relaxing glow.  Both can be used to cook food. And with Easter Concrete Contracting, you know that either fireplace will make a beautiful addition to your patio. We have years of experience in outdoor patio designs. Gas- or wood-burning, your outdoor fireplace will be a treasured relaxation spot no matter the season!

 

Extend Your Front Porch with Flagstone Stamped Concrete

Although there are many reasons to enlarge the front porch, there is only one reason to use flagstone stamped concrete—so you can get exactly what you want. This pliable material comes in all colors of the rainbow and easily adapts to any size or shape. Even though special designer concrete is affordable, easy to care for and durable, it creates a one-of-a-kind entrance to homes. Having this unique and highly prized addition makes life more fun while increasing the curb appeal of your home. Not only does the colored, decorative material create a large area of visual interest, but it also beautifully frames comfortable outdoor furniture and quickly becomes a favorite gathering spot of relatives, friends and neighbors.

Reasons to Create these Trendy Porches

Those who insist on real value for their money use rock-lookalikes for front porches, because using concrete means that you have total freedom in color selection, design and location. These homeowners are not restricted to the colors of real rocks. Concrete is colored two ways: by adding the pigmentation to the concrete mixture or by staining the top of the pad. Although dye added to the concrete is thoroughly mixed in the mud, the color results may be muted. Special tints spread on the wet concrete surface produce brighter colors. Accent colors create wonderful variations and keep the various flagstone patterns from sticking to the pliable mud. With a custom-designed porch, the flagstone patterns in attractive earth tone shades or brighter mauves and blues run to the edges or are framed by distinctive borders. This natural-looking stone foundation can expand across the whole area or highlight comfortable outdoor furniture, conversation areas, and play spaces. Malleable concrete products easily conform to any size, shape or slope. By wrapping around planter boxes and support beams, construction is fast and almost painless.

Homeowners can use flagstone stamped concrete to expand the front veranda of a house. This wonderful product can be completely customized; the lucky buyer chooses the right color scheme, design layout and size. After all, what could be more awesome than having a perfectly-tinted, natural rock-lookalike entrance created especially for your house?

When to Pour Cement Patios

Although cement patios can be poured at almost any time, this demanding work is easier in moderate temperatures. Concrete requires a unique drying process for maximum strength; this process can be adapted for cold weather work. However, perfect results for coloring, stamping and overlays are iffy in cold weather.

The Concrete Process

Because cement patios are thick, the bulk of the concrete dries slowly. To keep the top from drying too fast and flaking off, water is sprayed periodically, slowing this top-drying process until the whole slab is dry. This can take days; extreme weather creates special concerns. When the weather is hot, tops dry too quickly and must be kept moist to control the process. Since this mud contains water, cold weather concerns include freezing; if this happens, the slab loses strength.

Cold Weather Fixes

As long as temperatures are 40°F or higher, cement patios will cure. Once temperatures dip below 40°, though, the action stops unless the slab is heated. To keep the slab drying on schedule, accelerators are added to the mix. The cheapest additive is calcium chloride. However, this chemical corrodes the steel used inside the slab for strength and interferes with colors. Non-chloride accelerators are quite a bit more expensive but protect metal supports and deliver uniform color. Concrete cannot be poured on frozen ground because the ground will move when it thaws.  Specially designed heaters are used to warm the dirt. Of course, all snow and ice must be removed first. Concrete professionals warm up forming materials, rebar and any other products the mud touches. Covering wet cement with blankets or canvas keeps it warm until the slab dries.

In a perfect world, cement patios would be poured only during moderate temperature ranges like 60° to 80°F. Fortunately, cement experts have discovered ways to get ideal results during hot summer days and the cold winter time. These include keeping concrete moist during hot weather and speeding up concrete drying times during cold periods.

Patio Cover Ideas for Fall

The best way to celebrate the end of summer is to jazz up your patio with one of these fantastic patio cover ideas. Each homeowner can find the perfect way to deal with the cooler months ahead by extending their outdoor living season through November, December or even March. These decorated toppers come in fabric, wood, fiberglass, plastic, aluminum, vinyl, metal and glass; there is something for everyone. A shimmering red sailcloth covering, sun-loving glass roof or a bright blue insulated aluminum cover stamped in an ultra-modern design can soon be protecting your fresh air haven.

Great Fall Patio Cover Ideas
Because sailcloth, canvas and other fabric type covers are easy to install and remove, they can be used anytime of the year. Wood is a beautiful, versatile product and can be just a flat surface over beams or designed with ray-catching or -blocking louvers, or wooden slats that open or close with a flick of the wrist. Fiberglass, plastic and aluminum are inexpensive, lightweight and come in attractive colors and designer styles. Modern vinyl is made from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which lasts a lifetime. Available in white and a wide variety of colors, this product can even be painted to match the home. Metal roofs are no longer shiny and boring; they come in attractive designer shades and can be formed to resemble asphalt shakes, Spanish tile roofs or wooden beams. Sun worshipers enjoy an atrium effect from temperature glass or plastic panels capturing nature's radiant warmth. These glass or glass-like panels have plain, frosted or textured surfaces.

These people extend their summer by exploring fall patio cover ideas and selecting the best roof for their needs and budgets. With the innovative materials available today to keep your cement patio warm and accessible, this treasured outdoor living room can be used in comfort most of the year.

Cement Patios vs. Decks: A Backyard Showdown!

Although cement patios and decks both provide space to gather, there are substantial differences in cost and maintenance between the two. The right choice depends on the homeowner's preference, the yard and the purpose. If you’re still in doubt after reading this article, contact one of our experienced contractors for ideas and suggestions.

Cost and Maintenance

Comparing cement patios and decks includes installation cost, maintenance and life expectancy. Cement patios cost about one third of what a comparably sized deck costs. Of course, these expenses vary according to finishing and materials used. Stamped concrete is more expensive than colored or gray concrete. Decking material includes pressure-treated wood, hardwood, composites and vinyl. Although concrete only needs to be hosed off periodically and resealed every couple of years, wood products require annual maintenance. Concrete should last as long as the house, while decking may need to be replaced in 15 years  or less.

Homes and Yards

Cement patios are perfect accommodations for level backyards while decks provide step-free outdoor space for sloping yards. One, two or three steps are not a huge inconvenience for people moving freely from indoors to outdoors. However, seven or ten steps become quite a workout with frequent trips. An easy way to deal with unleveled terrain is to incorporate retaining walls and offset levels.

Purpose

The strength of concrete allows it to support more weight. If you’re thinking about installing a hot tub, a deck must be specially engineered to safely carry the required weight. For example, a six-person hot tub weighs 750 to 800 pounds empty. Water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon. When six people are added, the total weight is between 2 ½ and 3 tons. A 4-inch concrete pad supports this tub easily. Hot tubs aren’t the only consideration, either; although a small BBQ does not weigh much, a full outdoor patio kitchen (comprised of a grill, countertops, storage area and a refrigerator) is much heavier.

Cement patios are cheaper, require less maintenance and carry more weight. Decks are convenient creations built at floor level. Choose a backyard enhancement that fits both your style and your yard.

Applying a Salt Finish to Concrete Patios

Using salt to finish concrete patios is an almost forgotten craftsman’s secret. There are three reasons modern homeowners should consider these finishes. This process delivers a unique, weathered look. Small divots in the concrete surface increase safety.  You save money with this application because it is quick and easy to do. Best of all, guests only notice the appealing looks when using these durable outdoor living areas.

The Look

When done properly, rock salt gives a subtle texture to the cement. The speckled pattern of small divots makes the patio look like a slab of weathered rock. This distinctive look is even more impressive when the concrete is colored. Although the process sounds easy, it takes time to master the technique of sprinkling grainy material across a large slab in a fairly uniform pattern.

Skid Resistance

Because the surfaces are not smooth, salt-finished concrete patios have more traction. The small indentions capture the bare skin from feet and soles of sandals and shoes and hold them in place, reducing painful slips and falls. Many homeowners use this procedure around hot tubs, pools, and even outdoor kitchens to avoid accidents.

Affordable Cost

The process is quick and easy for experienced technicians. Rock salt is sprinkled across the top of partially dried mud. This salt material is carefully selected by the size of the particles, since these particles make the indentions. Salt is gently pressed into the soft concrete. Once the concrete is dried, the salt is rinsed away. Although this process takes an extra 24 hours in drying time, the additional work is minor. For little more than the cost of pouring a slab, the homeowner gets a safe, distinctive, custom finish.

Using rock salt to finish concrete patios results in beautiful terraces. This process is an affordable option for custom designs and makes the area safer.

6 Benefits of Cement Patios

With cement patios, homeowners get fantastic outdoor living spaces at affordable prices. Spills and messes clean up quickly; they are simply hosed away. Built to last for decades, these concrete floors can be customized to look like wooden planks, old country stone, or expensive tile. The space can be adapted to any use from cooking to lounging to partying, and these outdoor rooms fit any budget.

Extra Living Space

Cheaper than home additions and faster to construct, cement patios are built quickly. Depending on the size of the slab and type of concrete finishing, construction can be completed in a week or less. Some decorative finishes require extra work and time; however, the results are worth it. Even with the extra time taken, you won’t be inconvenienced with long, drawn-out projects that invade your space and hamper your lifestyle.

Durable and Almost Maintenance-Free

With no maintenance and years of use, concrete is an ideal product. A quick wash with the garden hose takes care of dirt and grime. Every few years, you should have the surface resealed to keep colors bright.

Attractive

Cement patios can be customized to match your home or enhance the yard. Colors can be added to the mix to create a thick slab of pink, blue, green or tan flooring. Stamped concrete overlays insert another dimension of color and pattern to the solid surface. Other special techniques create borders and designs in vibrant colors; there is something to please everyone.

Versatile and Expandable

Outdoor floors can be built anywhere. These level surfaces are perfect for outdoor barbecues, children's birthday parties, roller-skating, jumping rope or hosting a retirement party. Even people in wheelchairs or those with mobility problems can navigate these fresh air spaces safely. Because these can be added onto in the future, there is a patio style for any budget.

Cement patios give homeowners value for their investment. These durable floors are attractive, maintenance-free and can be used for almost anything by anyone. Concrete brings color and style into any backyard.

How to Maintain Your Colored Concrete Patio

A colored concrete patio provides your yard with a beautiful living area. Plus, concrete is desirable for its low maintenance. Concrete resists staining, and stamped concrete is much easier to clean than the materials it mimics. Regular maintenance keeps your colored concrete patio as stunning as the day it was installed.

To maintain your patio, simply sweep it on a regular basis in order to prevent dirt from becoming embedded. Regular cleaning keeps dirt from hiding the beauty of your colored concrete patio. You can even use the same broom that you use indoors.

After hosting an outdoor gathering, clean the area thoroughly to prevent stains from damaging your patio. Sweep the dirt away; most of the time that is all that is needed. However, if something sticky has been spilled, you may need to wash it. The method for washing colored concrete is the same as washing out your garage; a sturdy scrub broom and a little dish soap do the job. If an unfortunate accident occurs, such as spilling chemicals, you may need to power-wash the patio using a special cleanser (choose this based on what was spilled). Even if nothing was spilled, power-washing your patio from time to time helps keep it looking great.

Due to weather changes such as freezing and thawing, it’s a good idea to have your colored concrete patio resealed every 2-3 years. Resealing can be done quickly and costs little. It will extend the life of your patio and can prevent cracks from appearing. Resealing also protects the patio color, and is the best way to keep shiny, glossed patios looking great as the years go by.
Your colored concrete patio is an investment that makes your home unique. Like all surfacing materials, concrete does require basic maintenance to keep it beautiful. Concrete maintenance is easy and affordable; remember to have your patio resealed every few years to keep it looking brand new!

Patio Cover Ideas: How to Create Shade

Your concrete patio is an extension of your home. It’s a great place to unwind after work, and a wonderful setting for summer barbeques and family gatherings. Don’t let the weather prohibit you from enjoying your outdoor haven! The heat of a scorching day necessitates some shade. Patio cover ideas can help you create shade while enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor sanctuary.

First decide whether you want a permanent patio cover or something that can be easily removed; patio cover ideas exist for either option. For a permanent roof over your haven, have a wooden cover installed. Such covers may be styled to match your home’s roof. For a more elaborate look, a gazebo-style wooden structure can be used to create shade. In addition to wood, a shiny metal covering can be used as well. Metal reflects the sunlight and helps keep you and your guests cool. You can choose color options to match your home and make your backyard patio stand out.


If you seek patio cover ideas for temporary shade, sailcloth or canvas is a great way to go. Such materials can be folded and stored indoors or in an outdoor bench that doubles as a storage space. Fabrics are available in several colors to suit your decorating style. Sailcloth keeps the rain off your head as you enjoy the smells and sounds of a fresh summer storm from your outdoor living area.

The backyard patio is a great place to hang out with friends or unwind after work. However, direct sunlight can make your concrete patio uncomfortable on certain days. Inclement weather can also keep you indoors instead of enjoying your patio. Patio covers shade the sunlight and keep the rain away. Whichever material you decide to use, bask in the shade and enjoy!