Concrete is versatile in its texture, colour, size and shape. Due to its fluid properties, concrete can be poured and set in a range of shapes without joints. This differentiates concrete from other natural materials such as stone that need to be cut from slabs and joined to create complex forms.
Concrete's versatility as a material is complemented by its more practical features such as the ability to resist erosion, heat, rotting, rusting, and weather unlike other building materials. Choosing concrete allows you to own a carefully crafted feature piece that requires minimal maintenance and repair.
What is terrazzo?
Terrazzo is the process of adding decorative aggregates such as stone offcuts, glass, rock, and other materials. These smaller offcuts are often the by-product of larger designs, repurposed to incorporate texture and colour into your concrete piece. Using the by-product of other stone processes, makes terrazzo a more sustainable option as it repurposes material that would otherwise go to waste.
At the design phase of consultation, clients can specify the size, shape and colour of aggregates desired to create custom terrazzo pieces.
What is GRC vs ‘normal’ concrete and how are they used?
At Blend, we use both GRC and high strength SRC.
GRC – GRC is an acronym standing for glass fibre reinforced concrete. Through the use of alkaline resistant glass and fibre in the mix, the requirement for traditional steel within the product is mitigated. This allows for our concrete to be poured thinner- making it lighter and easier to transport. The mix matrix of fibres and additives in the mix also greatly increases the flexural strength of the product, making it more resistant to cracking than traditional concrete.
SRC – SRC is an acronym standing for steel reinforced concrete. This is the method used to pour most slabs in general construction. This style of concrete is more commonly poured on site or ‘in-situ’ and has a range of applications depending on the client’s requirements.
We offer both styles of concrete. Consideration of each design and its use will determine whether it is created in GRC or SRC. We love working with our clients to design the perfect feature or custom design to create functional, aesthetic,
Caring for Your Concrete Piece
Concrete, if untreated, is a porous material much like marble and limestone. This means it is susceptible to staining. Concrete sealers have been developed for bench top and furniture applications.
Each of our products has a protective layer of sealant. It is of the highest food grade standard, heat resistant and protects against unwanted bacteria or food particles entering the pores of the concrete.
But our sealer is not a superhero! Our protective layer of sealer will do its best to protect your surface against stains, but we recommend wiping up any spills, foods, oils or liquids off the surface of the bench to avoid contaminate exposure for a long period of time.
To protect your concrete surface and preserve the longevity of your custom piece we recommend using chopping boards, heat board and protective barriers as you would on a normal bench top surface. Knives and hot products have the potential to damage the sealant surface and leave marks.
We only use high-end sealers which are extremely resistant to staining, heat, outdoor weather conditions and abrasions. Blend Concrete Design recommends different sealers depending on the context it is used in and the look desired.
Sealers can be divided into two categories - penetrating sealers and topical sealers.
Penetrating sealers penetrate the concrete and close the pores.
They offer stain protection as well as protection from scratches and abrasions.
These sealers are preferred by people who want to retain the natural beauty and feel of concrete and aren’t afraid of small amounts of staining or acid etching over years of use.
The patina of concrete is similar to the way a wooden chopping board changes over time. This type of sealer allows for the surface to be quickly rejuvenated and sealer reapplied after a period of time to maintain its beauty.
Topical sealers are a protective layer that sits on top of a concrete surface Topical sealers such as acrylics, epoxies and polyurethanes offer varying degrees of stain protection depending on sealer quality.
Blend Concrete Design offers the highest quality topical sealers available. However, if not cared for and applied properly this type of sealer can be susceptible to scratching and chipping.
To rejuvenate these sealers the existing sealer must be polished off and new layers reapplied and cured. This is a process that takes 1-2 days.
Sealers do a great job of protecting concrete from stains if spills are regularly cleaned and the recommended cleaning products (for your sealer) are used.
Natural ageing and patina are part of the lifecycle of a concrete piece. It will only make your piece more personal and unique as opposed to a mass produced item common to most kitchens.
Cleaning Your Concrete
Keeping your concrete surface clean is integral to maintaining the life of the product.
Concrete’s hardy exterior can last a lifetime. Our products require minimal upkeep. All that’s needed to clean your concrete surfaces is a light solvent, non-abrasive and water-based solution.
Our products have a protective surface layer of sealant which can be damaged by harsh chemical-based cleaning products, particularly those that are citrus based.
To further protect the quality of your surface avoid using the same cloth you would use for food surfaces as the transfer of oils and contaminates may affect the surface finish.