What is Salt Concrete Finish?
As one of the older, more conventional decorative concrete finishes, salt finish concrete has become the most popular in unfreezing / thaw regions around the country.
For a little additional cost, you can add texture to just about any hardscape. With the popularity of decorative concrete along with the wide range of decorative finishes available today, the salt finish is not used much currently.
However, Lance Boyer, owner of Trademark Concrete Systems, Oxnard, Calif., says that they occasionally see the finish specified on plans, adding that it is sometimes specified in areas between characteristic panels using more expensive decorative finishes.
The salt finish is more decorative than broom finished concrete, which is often the alternative consideration.
Landscape architects who need concrete to look like concrete tend to specify salt finishes for that reason.
Rock Salt Concrete Finish Installation Procedure
Installing rock salt finish concrete requires little extra material or equipment – rock salt, and a roller to press it on the surface of fresh concrete is it.
Sometimes an installation also involves colored concrete with either integral or dry-shake color hardeners. As with most decorative finishes, the timing for the installation is critical.
There’s little difference about finishing and placing concrete in preparation for a salt finish. During the bull-floating operation, care ought to be taken to remove the lines created by the float.
Finishers often finish a slab either with Fresnos or using hand trowels to get a smooth finish to record the print of the salt better. Make sure to finish just after the water sheen has disappeared from the surface.
For the best results, workers should broadcast salt once the concrete is just beginning its initial setting phase. The stiffness of the concrete needs to be the same as it would be for stamping textures or patterns.
If you push your finger with moderate pressure to the surface, it must penetrate approximately 1/4 inch at most.
Some finishers also gauge timing by lightly pressing the surface to see if concrete paste or colour sticks for their finger–proceeding when there’s no residue in their finger. Rock salt rated as”coarse” or”extra coarse” would be the most popular sizes to use.
Because it’s broadcasted by hand in a similar way to throwing dry-shake colour hardeners, skill is required by the worker to achieve an even distribution.
Having good access around the work area also is important, so broadcasting is limited to 15 or 20 lineal feet.
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How to Create a Salt Finish?
As its name implies, a salt finish is traditionally achieved with the same coarse rock salt sold to be used in water softeners or as a deicer in winter.
Concrete finishers broadcast the salt particles over moist concrete and then press the grains to the surface using a roller or float.
After the concrete sets (Final Setting Time of Concrete), they power wash away the salt, revealing a speckled pattern of shallow indentations left by the dislodged salt particles.
While salt is relatively quick and easy to master, there are newer methods that may speed up the procedure for doing away with the salt altogether.
Salt finishes are more commonplace in the warmer southern and western regions of the country. The reason in areas subject to freezing weather, water will accumulate from the indentations and freeze, potentially causing spalling.
But if you like the look and use of good-quality concrete protected by a waterproofing sealer, a salt finish ought to be durable enough to endure any climate.
Creative Ways of Use a Salt Finish.
Salt finishes are attractive alone but are particularly stunning when used in combination with coloured concrete and other decorative finishes.
Some contractors who specialize in stamped concrete usage salt finish as an interesting contrast to brick and stone patterns.
Landscapers have long relied on salt finishes to create rustic garden pathways with the look of natural stone. And the finish is still quite popular with pool contractors, owing to its inherent nonskid texture.
Other Creative Ways to Use a Salt finish Concrete:
- As a decorative Edge for swirl-troweled or broom-textured concrete
- In large panels bordered by bands of smooth concrete
- To add texture to Coloured concrete overlays
- In square or diamond-shaped panel arrangements separated by scored or saw-cut joints