For a building material that’s been around seemingly forever, concrete is constantly being improved, repurposed and reimagined. We dug up these emerging trends for contractors, interior designers, DIY homeowners and anyone looking to improve their space with an interior or exterior concrete update.
This concrete trend has been around for a while, but new developments in coloring and texturing agents keep decorative concrete constantly evolving. While concrete’s traditional gray hues suit current interior design trends like the farmhouse look, homeowners have endless possibilities when it comes to color, pattern and texture. Decorative concrete also enhances outdoor spaces, such as patios, walkways and decorative curbing made with reusable stencils.
Typically associated with outdoor, utilitarian uses like patios, driveways and foundations, concrete has made its way indoors thanks in part to the popular industrial design trend. From concrete flooring to countertops and furniture to accessories, interior concrete can be customized to suit any décor style.
Everyone knows about stamped concrete at this point, but graphic concrete takes it a step farther. Instead of stamping after pouring, graphic concrete delivers patterns, designs and colors to precast concrete surfaces. Think about the residential applications: fences, walls or even pathways!
Tilt-up construction is soaring to new heights with a recent record lift of 100 feet. Thanks to new developments, products and processes, the tilt-up industry is shaking up conventional labor and production on these large-scale building projects.
The latest trend in concrete formwork, load-bearing walls utilize an innovative tunnel-form method that allows walls and slabs to be poured simultaneously. This means faster setting and removal of wall forms to allow for acceleration of construction projects.
When it comes to efficiency, improved safety, reduced cost and quicker turnaround, the industrial world is looking to off-site construction. This allows contractors to access complex, large components that are created off-site and installed at the final location. Precast or prefabricated concrete is used most often for this new technique.
Drones are everywhere these days and industry experts are using them as part of the construction process. Concrete pros can improve the visibility of their project, check in regularly on progress and provide clients with updates throughout the build. In addition, some drones are being used to apply concrete-like substances onto fabric, creating a durable exterior to buildings while cutting down on the need for expensive construction equipment.
Emerging trends in concrete are changing not only what we can build, but also how we build it. Here are two new concrete trends from cement.org.
Project Management Software
Keeping on track with many different concrete projects is complicated and many contractors are turning to project management software for help. This type of software helps track all the different processes that go into a typical concrete project, making it easier to manage employees and labor while avoiding unnecessary delays.
This highly workable and durable, ultra-high strength concrete eliminates the need for coarse aggregates. With a potential compressive strength of 30,000 psi, reactive powder concrete’s tensile strength is on par with steel fibers.
Adding optical fibers to a concrete mix creates a “see-through” effect that challenges the opaque nature of traditional concrete. Thanks to the optical fibers, light is conducted through the stone from one end to the other.
Everyone knows that concrete is susceptible to cracks, leaks or buckles. It just happens! But new technology surrounding self-healing concrete is making waves, giving longer-lasting durability and strength to concrete. The craziest thing about self-healing concrete? It’s bacteria that does the work! The bacteria produce limestone that repairs cracks when it comes into contact with water and air.
New advancements in concrete and concrete products are completely changing design and construction. Stop by your local Intermountain Concrete Specialties showroom in Utah or Idaho and let us help you decide how to make the latest concrete trends work for you.