Most of the world’s ubiquitous and recognizable man-made structures — highways, skyscrapers, bridges, houses — are testaments to the versatility of the most commonly used construction material on Earth: concrete.
People have discovered and developed numerous applications for concrete. One of its more notable uses is as the material for concrete flatwork. As the name implies, this type of construction job entails pouring concrete on a horizontal plane, creating a perfectly flat and smooth surface.
Concrete flatwork installations are popular with property owners due to the material’s strength and decorative options. Much like any concrete application, however, there’s more to flatwork than just pouring and finishing: with structural integrity as one of its selling points, using premium quality concrete should always be standard. The precise mixture of aggregates, proper curing, and careful application techniques ensures that the concrete isn’t damaged even after going through different finishing methods.
Various finishing methods produce different effects, depending on the purpose of the flatwork job. For example, smoother finishes work best for indoor flatwork, while brush-textured concrete is ideal for exterior flatwork (smooth finishes make concrete slippery when wet).
Concrete flatwork’s durability and finishing options provide an excellent base for its decorative possibilities, unlike other paving alternatives like asphalt. Decorative flatwork techniques give much-needed cosmetic enhancements to what is otherwise just bland, gray concrete. Home builders use a variety of methods to apply texture, color, stamping, etc. on flatwork to mimic the look of other, more often expensive, surface materials.
Thanks to concrete’s workability, designers can make ordinary flatwork look like brick, flagstone, hardwood, marble, cobblestone and more. These aesthetic options help complement both interior designs (e.g., stained concrete styles) and liven up facades (forming patterns with stamped concrete).
Builders have found plenty of uses for a material as versatile as concrete in flatwork projects for residential and commercial purposes. Driveways, courtyards, patios, pool decks, walkways, and garage floors are just some of the residential applications of concrete flatwork, mostly due to its inventive visual appeal.
Commercial and industrial property owners, meanwhile, recognize the material’s durability by installing concrete flatwork on their parking lots, warehouse floors, loading docks, access ramps, curbs, and sidewalks.
Despite its versatility and durability, concrete isn’t without its faults. Some of the more common concrete issues are:
Concrete flatwork is installed in slabs, which is partly responsible for its trademark strength — it also makes concrete much harder to repair if it is damaged. Unless the problem is surface-level, concrete repairs can prove costlier. With proper care and maintenance, however, property owners can avoid bogging down their budget with undue repair jobs.
In terms of paving materials, concrete isn’t the only choice. Asphalt is a popular construction material alternative especially for applications like driveways, sidewalks, parking spaces, etc. When compared, the two materials both have strengths and weaknesses. It’s up to the builder to decide which suits the project best. Some important considerations when selecting between these materials are appearance, cost, and maintenance factors.
K&E Flatwork specializes in installation and repair of concrete flatwork and other concrete-based jobs for residential and commercial construction projects. Contact us today for the reliable services and professional touch that your paving project deserves.