Concrete’s Little Black Dress

We all know the little black dress is a timeless classic and default piece of many women’s wardrobe. It goes with anything, for any event, and looks good on just about everyone!

Well, it may be a surprise to you, but concrete has a “little black dress” of its own. It also goes with anything, for any event, and looks good on just about every project! The LBD (little black dress) of the concrete world is Sandscape. It never ceases to amaze me at how perfect this finish is and how it really can have a place on just about every project!

I was at the AIA Colorado Design Conference this weekend when someone asked for what finish would work well with an older building, to not take away from its historical charm. And you know what our answer was? Sandscape.

About weekly we have someone come into our design center asking about the perfect finish for a pool deck is – again, the answer is Sandscape.

When working with landscape architects on water feature splash pad designs, the question comes up again…and again the answer is Sandscape.

When working with developers on their master plans for outdoor lifestyle centers (exterior shopping malls), they wonder which finish will hold up best to all of the traffic… once again Sandscape is the answer.

Why is Sandscape so wonderful?! I may be biased, but it is the most universal upgraded concrete finish available. Sandscape takes off the surface cream of the concrete. Because of that we see many benefits:

  1. The surface wears more evenly – say goodbye to traffic patterns! By revealing the sand in the mix and taking the surface cream off, we take off the wearing surface, and now the dense sand in the surface becomes the wearing surface. What happens when the sand layer wears down? More sand is exposed. Hello timeless beauty.
  2. The surface is more consistent – in color and texture. Our method of revealing the sand in Sandscape takes out the finish marks of broom finish and exposes the sand uniformly across the surface.
  3. Sandscape has great traction – but not too much. Sandscape’s brother, exposed aggregate, is beautiful, but may be a bit too coarse. It’s not too comfortable on bare feet, and certainly not fun to skin your knee on. Broom finished concrete usually has a directional slip when new, and then wears down to a dangerously slippery level. But Sandscape? That’s the perfect medium – not too coarse so it’s gentle on bare feet, but also offers great traction control.
  4. It’s historic – On an older project, we like to introduce Sandscape because it’s “pre-aged” concrete. Similar to point #1 above, we are taking off the “new” and revealing the heart of the concrete.
  5. It’s true to itself – what’s concrete made of? Cement, water and aggregate. What do you see in Sandscape? Cement, water and aggregate (well, the result of all three at least). One complaint I hear about stamped concrete is that it’s trying to be something it’s not (usually stone), but Sandscape is true to itself – it’s concrete and it’s not trying to be anything else.
  6. It’s cost effective – adding the Sandscape finish is a minor upgrade in cost. While several other high end concrete finishes can easily double a concrete budget, Sandscape usually only adds a couple bucks per square foot (plus the cost of color or decorative sand if desired – which is still minor in the grand scheme of things).
Sandscape concrete pool deck
Sandscape concrete pool deck

So I officially nominate Sandscape as the LBD of the concrete world. It’s a timeless classic and beautiful in so many applications.

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