What Is The Deal With Concrete?
Concrete reigns supreme as a versatile and widely used material and its increasing popularity in the past several years continues to grow strong. Though we most commonly associate it with dull, monotonous industrial buildings and paved sidewalks, this composite material's simplicity is exactly what makes it so great for both interior and exterior design. With a fresh new take on concrete’s uses, this once seemingly lackluster material is now being integrated into various backdrops and dressed up to fit any style.
EcoSmart Fire utilizes Fluid Concrete Technology for their fire pits and fire tables. It combines a specialized slurry and structural meshing mixture that is then cured to produce a seamless, lightweight, impact resistant, and resilient product. [Pictured: Ark 40 Fire Pit Table in Graphite by EcoSmart Fire]
Construction sites have continuously used concrete as a building material throughout history, and for good reason. It's durable, non-combustible, and is wind and water resistant. Compared to other materials, concrete is an inexpensive and more affordable option when it comes to manufacturing. On the downside however, it can be slower to work with and be difficult to transport due to its heaviness. Luckily, newer production methods have developed lightweight concrete with a lower density. We'll discuss that more later on.
Techniques and Formulations
Take design inspiration from this Martini 50 Fire Pit Table by EcoSmart Fire! Pair the smooth, clean, and sleek surfaces of the fire pit with the textured braiding of wicker or rattan patio furniture for a fun mix-and-match gathering spot.
Though simple and basic at initial glance, concrete offers a blank canvas for creativity. It is versatile enough to be manipulated to produce varying textures using different techniques and formulas. From smooth and clean, to porous and sharp, concrete can be shaped, casted, and molded to achieve any finish. Poured concrete produces a more seamless finish while hand packed concrete produces a more organic look.
One notable blend gaining momentum is Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete. Also known as GFRC, this formula takes cement and fortifies it with tiny glass fragments to make a lightweight and durable blend. Its neutral color palette makes it perfect to offset and mix-and-match with various tones and textures.
Textures, Patterns, and Colors Galore
Can you believe a wood grain pattern can be recreated with concrete? Various techniques and formulas can be used to achieve unique textures or color stains. [Left: Tavola 1 Fire Pit Table by Prism Hardscapes, Right: Catalina Wood Grain Fire Pit Table by The Outdoor Plus]
Various techniques and formulas can be used to create a smooth or grainy surface. Buttery smooth surfaces give concrete a cleaner and more polished look, whereas grainy and coarse surfaces give it a more rugged and weathered appeal. Regardless which type of texture you prefer, the possibilities are endless.
Concrete offers flexibility when it comes to style integration and decorative freedom. Mixing the organic tones of concrete with warm colors or even textures can soften the overall appeal and make such colors and patterns stand out for a totally new aesthetic. Concrete can even be stained with pigments to create other colors that's not just the same ole' standard base tone. Due to the nature of concrete, however, color and texture consistency can vary per product. But this just lends to a more unique and one-of-a-kind piece don't you think? But if you're worried about color variation, we always recommend requesting samples!
Maintenance and Aftercare
With the right tools and materials, concrete can be easily repaired and restored back to life. [Image courtesy of The Outdoor Plus]
Though concrete can be manipulated to produce different textures, it is porous by nature. As such, its porosity makes it susceptible to stains. Fissures can appear on the surface due to natural aging and environmental weathering.
Sealing concrete can help protect the material against stains, eliminate dirt and debris buildup, repel moisture to prevent mold growth, and even make it scratch proof. Though concrete is long lasting, it does require proper maintenance and upkeep.
Prolonged contact with acidic substances can lessen its strength and damage concrete by changing its pigmentation and etching the surface. Treating concrete with a sealer can protect it from damage caused by spills, stains, and natural wear and tear. If you're considering a concrete fire pit or furniture note that any spills should be wiped and gently scrubbed with a cotton cloth right away to clean the surface.
Concrete Fire Pits and Furniture
Our in-house Starfire Designs Gravity line of fire pits, for instance, should be cleaned regularly with mild dish soap or baking soda, and then rinsed off with water. Baking soda is an abrasive agent that does an extremely great job at dissolving dirt, tackling odors, and cutting through grime. Acid-based cleaners should be avoided to clean concrete surfaces as this can negatively impact the cement compounds.
Concrete's Here to Stay
It's hard not to acknowledge concrete's noteworthy strides that are keeping strong in recent trends. Its evolution from the industrial space into a household staple is concrete evidence that fads are constantly recycled. If you're unsure which product is right for you or if you would like to request a sample, message us using our Live Chat feature located on the bottom right, fill out a Contact Us form, or give us a ring at (866) 578-8538. Our team is always eager to help you achieve your dream living space.Main header: Ark 40 Fire Pit Table in Bone by EcoSmart Fire
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An avid rock climber, Stephany is one of the Ecommerce team members responsible for the addition and maintenance of product listings on the website.