DISCLAIMER for Decorative Concrete
Why is a Disclaimer needed?
The evolution of Decorative Concrete has added aesthetic enhancements to an ancient and previously utilitarian construction material such that simply serving a function is no longer adequate – it must also be more sophisticated and pleasing to the visual and tactile senses.
The transformation of concrete into decorative concrete is achieved through the use of a variety of materials that may be applied during the mixing or placing process or after the concrete is cured. These materials and/or systems include but are not limited to stamped/stencilled concrete, acid staining, exposed aggregate, decorative overlays, polished concrete, honed countertops and more.
Despite comprehensive quality control of materials and practices (such as: industry regulation by Australian Standards on quality of materials, setup and control of mixing plant, design of structures and guidance on workmanship for the expert handling, placing and finishing of the product on site), there continues to exist sufficient uncontrolled variables that can influence the appearance of finished Decorative Concrete. These variables are beyond the control of Vic Mix and it is necessary to explain them in detail.
Variation of Aggregate
Decorative Concrete is made of naturally occurring ingredients. A key component is stone and sand (also called Aggregate). These materials are non-renewable minerals extracted from the Earth’s crust. They have been subjected to geological forces resulting in localised visual changes in the mineral. Quarry operators attempt to classify different areas of the resource based on visual appearance during extraction, but there are no guarantees on colour consistency, particularly, over extended periods of time. For long term projects, it may be possible to stockpile enough aggregate for the duration of the construction. Please discuss with us prior to supply.
The fourth most common mineral in the Earth’s crust (by weight) is Iron. Hence, aggregates can contain soluble iron minerals that when exposed to moisture and air will oxidise and release a staining rust-like leachate. This condition is more commonly referred to as “iron stone”. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon and is outside the control of Vic Mix. Should it occur, this condition can be treated and instructions are available detailing how to rectify the problem and remove any stains. Click here for further information.
Conveyance via a Concrete Pump
Decorative Concrete’s with surface finishes where the stone is exposed (such as: Exposed Aggregate, Polished and Honed) generally contain aggregate which has been sought for its visual appearance in addition to its mechanical properties. In the case of Decorative Concrete, the visual appearance of the finished mixture can override the need to produce a recipe that it is easily conveyed via Concrete Pump. This leads to concrete mixtures that can prove more difficult to handle and convey via pump. Please also consider that other factors (such as: Pump Type, Condition, Size and Pump Line Type, Condition, diameter, length and number of bends), have the greatest significance on the successful conveyance of the concrete. For these reasons, Vic Mix cannot guarantee conveyance of Decorative Concrete via a Concrete Pump. Any concerns should be discussed with us prior to supply.
Weather & Workmanship
In our experience, most issues relating to consistency of appearance in the finished concrete relate to factors experienced on site as a result of weather and workmanship.
The Concrete Placer (Concreter) is responsible for all aspects of the product once it is on site and this ultimately includes the weather – it is just another variable that must be managed.
Be aware that environmental conditions can affect the colour and finish of concrete. Concrete placed in shaded areas can appear different to concrete placed in direct sunlight. Concrete placed in cold conditions can appear different to concrete placed in warm conditions. The same is true of placing concrete on wet and dry days.
Other factors can impact on the final appearance and serviceability of your concrete including natural variation, placement methods, contamination, sub-grade conditions, consistency of surface finishing, excessive addition of water, segregation during handling, installation of jointing systems, type, timing and dosage of surface retardants or release agents, quality & dosage of topically seeded materials/powders, and sealing liquids/compounds.
For these reasons, it is imperative that suitably experienced and professional contractors are engaged to carry out decorative work. Always ask a Concreter for addresses where you can view completed samples of their work prior to engaging them. Their contribution to the build is the most significant in terms of assuring success. For most domestic pavement structures, they perform the role of: Adviser, Designer, and Builder.
Like the Builder of a House, the Concreter is ultimately responsible for the safe and diligent construction of the finished concrete structure so that it has an acceptable appearance and is fit for its intended purpose.
Vic Mix will not be responsible for poor onsite practices, poor placement techniques, or weather conditions affecting the performance of the concrete once it has been delivered to site.
Be aware that cracking (although undesirable) may occur in concrete products and this in turn can affect the appearance of the finished structure. There are many factors which may cause cracking, but this can be minimised by strictly adhering to the following guidelines. If you pour concrete on hot, humid or windy days, the concrete may be subject to plastic shrinkage cracking, which occurs when the concrete is still plastic or wet. Protecting the concrete surface from drying out will assist in preventing this type of cracking and it is recommended that aliphatic alcohol be applied to the concrete surface after initial ‘screeding’ or ‘floating’. The aliphatic alcohol applies a thin film surface membrane to your concrete and will slow the evaporation rate and keep moisture within the concrete at optimal levels. It should be reapplied each and every time the concrete is “worked” and in accordance with the manufacturer’s data sheet. If it’s windy, erect wind barriers around the project.
If possible, it is better to simply avoid pouring concrete on days of high evaporation. However, if it is critical to pour concrete on such days, it is essential to ensure that you take steps to prevent rapid drying of the concrete surface. Adding excess water to the mix should be strictly avoided, as this practice will alter the colour, finish and strength of your concrete and increase the likelihood of cracking.
Cracking due to natural shrinkage is an inherent property of concrete and is predominantly outside the control of Vic Mix.
On-Line Images, Printed Brochures and other documents
Photographs, images, colour cards or displayed product samples (electronic, or otherwise) provide only an initial suggestion of the colour, texture and general appearance of a product. They are only indicative and illustrative of the type of finish to be achieved and no guarantee of the colours or textures is given that the finished product will conform to these samples. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this media, reproductive processes will alter the actual appearance of the products to varying degrees.
In relation to electronic media, settings on your computer monitor, screen or device can significantly affect the appearance of products. Contrast, Brightness, Colour Correction, Colour intensity or Temperature are adjustable options on most, larger screens that may require fine tuning to achieve a better representation of the real product.
For a closer representation of the concrete samples displayed, please call into one of our display centres.
Protecting Public Infrastructure and the Environment
In conjunction with Exposed Aggregate Finishes, pressurised water is commonly used to wash off the top surface paste from the concrete. The surface paste contains cement and other particulate matter. Proper steps to capture this product must be put in place by the Concrete Placer. Never allow wash water to enter any drainage system or waterway and dispose of collected waste responsibly.