Decorative concrete treatments are all the rage, and more techniques are becoming available each year. So, if you're planning a concrete driveway, you can choose between stamped, stencilled, or coloured concrete, for example. This paving can be treated to mimic stone pavers, timber planks, and many other things.
But, what about a simple, elegant treatment that has been around for years but doesn't get as much attention—a rock salt finish? Here are several attributes of this concrete that may make you prefer it over some newer alternatives.
Rock-salt finished concrete is textured with pits, indents, and tiny holes, giving it a weathered look. To create these indentations, contractors scatter coarse rock salt evenly across semi-dried concrete. They press the salt in using a steel roller with an extendable handle or another tool. After waiting about 24 hours, they power-wash the salt from the surface, leaving pits and holes where the salt grains sat previously.
A textured driveway provides better traction in the rain, so your family and friends can feel more confident with the non-slippery surface. However, rock salt concrete doesn't feature deep grooves or grout lines, so it's easy to use wheelchairs and push prams along the surface.
This textured look is not only practical but attractive as well. The tiny holes, pits, and indents create a rustic and weathered appearance, like natural stone in the elements. Rock-salt concrete looks flawed and imperfect and blends well with the organic garden environment. Many people like natural stone for its untamed aesthetic, and you can get a similar feeling from this concrete.
Blends with other treatments
Rock salt textured finishes also lend themselves to fusion with other decorative treatments. For example, you could mix earthy pink or tan pigments into cement, creating integrally coloured concrete. Contractors can pour this coloured concrete into your yard and apply the rock salt technique. The result can appear like travertine, which has muted earth tones and a pitted appearance.
You can also score rock-salt concrete. Contractors carve a pattern of squares, diamonds, or other shapes into hardened cement using saws. Or else, you can combine various finishes. For example, install a rock salt finish over the driveway but create a faux-slate border using stamped concrete. You could lay alternating bands of smooth and rock-salted concrete. The contrast between rough and even will create an interesting effect.
A rock salt finish is cost-effective as contractors don't need a wide array of materials and tools. They don't require stamps, stencils, or extra aggregates. Some additional work is necessary to apply the salt and wash it away, and contractors need a steel roller or other tool to press the salt into the cement. Interestingly, recent advancements in decorative concrete haven't ignored the rock salt finish. Textured stamps and mats are available that mimic the look of this concrete.
Contact a concreter to learn more.