Troy Lemon and his team used a concrete mix called Pro Wall to build a hand-carved stone wall for Carved Concrete Contractor is specially formulated to give the appearance of natural stone and concrete.
Moore organized his catalogs by material – listing works made of stone, terracotta, and concrete, as well as those of wood and stringed figures. He was interested in how different materials might affect the shapes of his work.
Carving concrete on vertical surfaces is a growing niche for the concrete industry. For those with the right mix of skills and tools, this work offers a chance to make good money and satisfy a creative urge. Those who specialize in this type of concrete say it takes some trial and error to get the formula right, but they also suggest that a willingness to learn and experiment will pay off both in cash and satisfaction.
Carved concrete involves using a special concrete mixture that can be shaped, colored and textured to resemble stones, rocks or chiseled wood for a one-of-a-kind decorative accent. Overlays and stamped concrete can also be carved to give a unique appearance to walls, patios and walkways. Many specialty concrete and overlay mixes contain finer grades of sand, polymers and other ingredients that make the material easier to stamp, color and carve. These concrete materials are designed and manufactured to hold their custom-carved shapes and adhere to a wall or other surface without moving, sluffing, sliding or drooping.
The sculptor begins by blocking out the larger containing forms and planes that define the overall shape, then carving progressively until all surface details are reached. This approach allows the sculptor to work more freely and to adapt the original concept as the piece evolves. A sculptor may use either a masonry saw or hand tools, but even the most skilled concrete artists admit that it takes some practice before they feel comfortable with the process. The sculptors recommend starting with something simple such as a stepping stone to build confidence and skills before tackling more difficult projects. It is always recommended that a sculptor wear gloves and a dust mask while working with concrete, as the material can irritate lungs and skin when inhaled.
Some sculptors say that foam core construction is fueling the growth of this market segment, because it makes it much easier to create and reinforce structural integrity for concrete structures. Ness agrees that foam core construction is the wave of the future, but says that it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. He suggests using a new admix called Car-VZ, which was co-developed by his company and \to help solve some of the problems that come with using conventional rebar or lath reinforcement for vertical concrete.
Concrete sculptors use various types of materials to create their art, including specialty concrete mixes and tools, texturing and coloring products and of course the concrete itself. Those who specialize in vertical carving and stamping say that the key to their success lies in using special concrete that’s specially formulated and designed to hold its shape after being carved without sluffing, sliding, drooping or running. They also need a concrete mix that’s designed to be worked with hand tools and that allows them to create the unique textures of rock, wood and other natural materials that they mimic.
Many of the special concrete mixes used in carved concrete projects include finer grades of sand, polymers, reinforced fibers and other additives that allow them to be shaped and carved with ease. They also have much longer setting times than standard concrete, which allows them to be carved or stamped before they’re too hard to work with. The concrete also needs to be made with a low water content, which helps it retain its strength as it dries.
One of the most important ingredients in any carved concrete project is a concrete carving form, which allows contractors to easily create the shapes and contours of the project. There are a variety of different forms available to meet the needs of any project, from free-standing rock walls and seat walls to detailed decorative panels. These forms come in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit any space. Some of these forms are even designed to be used in pools, as they can withstand the high water pressure that’s found in most pool water systems.
Another essential product for carved concrete is a special carveable concrete overlay that’s specially formulated to work with hand tools and to be applied to walls. One such product is Buddy Rhodes’ Tru-Pac X, which can be applied up to 4 inches thick on a properly prepared surface. This lightweight concrete can be carved, sculpted and stamped, and it is compatible with all Buddy Rhodes color pigments and glazes.
The popularity of carved concrete is growing, and experts say that it’s an area where more and more concrete contractors are willing to take a risk on new, creative applications. Emil Gera, for example, says that while his company’s earliest projects were outdoor stone-look features, more of his current clients want to have them in their homes. This past winter, for instance, his crew built a fireplace/entertainment center that looks like it’s made of huge timbers and has sliding barn doors that open and close.
Decorative concrete is no longer limited to flat surfaces. With new material technology and specialty tools, contractors are able to create vertical rock, stone or wood formations that are unique and extremely realistic. Known as stone facing, wall cladding or vertical concrete, this new market niche requires specialized concrete mixes, carving tools and artistic ability.
Those who specialize in the craft can take advantage of a growing demand for unique outdoor features. Emil Gera of says many of his clients are interested in outdoor elements that simulate rock. But he also notes that indoor applications are growing in popularity as well. He recently completed a fireplace/entertainment center for a living room that looks like a massive timber frame.
Joshua Russell of works mostly with commercial clients. His carved concrete projects have included water features for zoos and theme parks, but he also says homeowners are increasingly interested in adding custom sculptural elements to their properties.
The first step in a carved concrete project is to secure a cast, which can be a homemade mold made from plastic or styrofoam or purchased at a hardware store. Then, pour the cured concrete into the cast and allow it to set for several days. Once the concrete has set, it’s time to start sculpting.
Carving concrete is a labor-intensive process. Those who perform the work must be strong and limber. They must also be able to withstand the heat of concrete curing and the physical demands of working on ladders or scaffolding. It’s important to pour the concrete in small, workable sections to prevent it from drying out too quickly and making it difficult to sculpt.
Specialty tools are required for carved concrete, and Giffin recommends looking for a carving tool that comes in multiple sizes and variations. He points out that similar sized, straight-edged tools can result in a look that’s too artificial. Giffin also stresses the importance of using a wide range of textures to make the finished product look authentic. The use of varying textures adds depth and complexity that makes the final product hard to distinguish from real rock, stone or wood.
The cost of carved concrete depends on the design you want and the materials used. For example, a plain concrete slab costs $8 to $15 per square foot to pour and finish, while a large patio with curved edges would cost more. Other factors that affect cost include the condition of the existing surface and any prep work that needs to be done, such as removing old materials or leveling the ground. It’s also important to consider other aspects of the project, like if you’ll need a concrete base, which typically costs $65 per cubic yard.
Carving concrete is an expensive, time-consuming process that requires a lot of skill and training. It’s best left to professionals who have the equipment and experience to get the job done right. A professional concrete contractor can provide you with an estimate for the project based on its size, complexity, and location.
Decorative concrete contractors can use a wide range of materials to create the carved concrete you desire. Typically, they start with modern concrete, which is the standard type used for most residential projects, such as driveways and patios. But they can also use stamped concrete, which is a type of concrete that’s “stamped” to create patterns resembling stone or brick. Stamped concrete is more expensive than traditional concrete because it’s a more labor-intensive process.
A specialized form of concrete known as glass concrete uses recycled glass as aggregate. This visually interesting concrete is popular in pool decks and landscaping projects. Other specialized forms of concrete include asphalt concrete, which is fast-curing and used mainly for roads, and self-consolidating concrete, which doesn’t require a cement mixer and is useful in restricted and hard-to-reach areas.
Concrete finishes add color, texture, and durability to a concrete slab. These finishes can enhance the beauty of a slab and complement your home’s architecture. The cost of concrete finishes varies by brand, tint, UV-protection level, and matte or shiny finishes.
The cost of vertical carving concrete varies depending on the design, materials, and construction technique. For example, a basic stamped design with one color and a simple pattern will be cheaper than a more complex design that mimics stone, wood, or brick. Other factors that impact cost are the number of colors and patterns you add, finishing and sealant costs, and installation supplies.