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Set these in concrete before you build | Articles around the web

New home builds take commitment, patience and a clear understanding of what’s coming in terms of costs. Before you sign any dotted line, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

 

The most common building mistakes and how to avoid them by Domain

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Be clear, be realistic and don’t be afraid to get involved. These are only some of the points that the guys at Domain highlight. Thousands of dollars are wasted on builds because future owners don’t know what they’re in for. Nor do they want to step on anyone’s toes.

 

10 mistakes to avoid when building a new home by Fresh Home

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This piece focuses more on home design like room placement and how to utilise lighting as best you can. Once it’s built, you can’t take anything back and it’ll cost more to remedy. The article also makes a point about not letting anyone tell you what YOU want. Unless your builder or the designer is telepathic, it’s their job do satisfy your vision for the house.

 

The hidden costs of building a new home by Home Sales

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There’s a lot more to building a new home than quotes from the trades. Legal fees, stamp duty and inclusions are just some of the extra costs that building clients aren’t aware of (if they don’t do the research).

 

How to customise an off-the-plan home by Real Estate

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Buyer meets display home, falls in love, but wants to have a marble benchtop instead of laminate. This, and other customisations, will cost a lot of money that the future owners can’t spare. Real Estate takes readers through the variations and how much they cost, as well as the impact they’ll have on the home overall.

 

We have more advice about home building here:

3 areas you can spruce up with concrete work

5 finishes that add value, from polished concrete to modern art

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3 areas you can spruce up with concrete work

Home and office improvements need to be done from time to time and concrete work is a practical, cost-effective solution.

 

  • The garage

It’s a place to park the car, and you mightn’t see it as much else. But the neglect builds up over time until all you’re left with is a space dotted with big oil stains and dust everywhere.

Homeowners honestly don’t think too much about their garage floor, but the final effect knocks people off their feet. Resurfacing and resealing the existing concrete floor, or even decorating it with an acid stain or paint chips, gives the room a whole new look. A white garage floor will reflect the natural sunlight and brighten the space considerably.

 

  • Your kitchen

Interested buyers and visitors judge homes by two rooms: the kitchen and the bathroom. The former is the heart of the home and the majority of people spend most time there.

Polished concrete floors will modernise the area without much effort. You can even use a concrete slab as a kitchen bench. Staining it will give it a ‘marble’ effect, or you can go for an exposed aggregate finish.

To put up with general wear and tear like spills, the floor is cured and sealed before anyone’s allowed to walk on it. That way any stains can easily get cleaned.

 

  • Home exterior

Concrete work like paving and pathways gives your home ‘curb appeal’, as the real estate people say.  The work you do will last for decades and boost the resale value when the time comes. Do a stencilled path or driveway in a unique pattern. You can also ‘define’ the exterior garden beds with a concrete boarder, giving the yard a sense of order.

Applying some finishes in these areas will brighten their appearance without too much effort. The options are endless, and luckily for customers, concrete work doesn’t cost the earth. Differents areas will need different treatment, like sealing and such, but your contractor will know what to do. 

 

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concreting

How concreting adds value

Concreting is done before almost everything else  during a building project. It’s a base material that nobody pays much mind to, until something needs to get done. Concreting adds value to properties in various ways, not just monetary.

 

Tough as concrete

The material, when poured as a slab combined with rebar, withstands a lot of pressure. Domestic blends are typically 3500 psi (pounds per square inch) and won’t crack unless you plan on dropping a few bowling balls on it.

Concreting projects aren’t always large; sometimes all that’s needed is some resurfacing. Old slabs with a few cracks are due for a facelift, and your contractor won’t need a lot of time to get it done.

 

Designer concrete

When you renovate your house, having a concrete floor can add that ‘industrial’ feel that’s so popular in magazines and television shows. There’s also concrete countertops, concrete stairs, the list goes on.

Speak with your contractor about your ideas  and how you want the end result to look. Concreting and interior design actually go together quite well. There’s plenty of finishes and colouring options. Acid staining and polishing can give the impression that a slab is made of granite or marble. This is a great look in kitchens, bathrooms,  and outdoor leisure areas.

 

Patch-ups and coverings

Cracks and the like are trip hazards. You see these mostly on old footpaths. One wrong step and next thing you know you’re eating pavement. Commercial patch-ups are disruptive if they’re large scale, like a carpark or long stretch of footpaths. For safety’s sake, though, they’re necessary after a few decades.

Covercrete, or spray concrete, is easily and quickly applied to tired surfaces. When a space needs a facelift but the ground doesn’t need ripping up, covercrete is the way to go. This type of concreting adds value to a home because you can get a design stencilled in it. This is what you see in driveways and some patios. There’s plenty of ways to design covercrete, from ‘pavers’ patterns in red ochre to a fleur-de-lis in royal blue.   

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Concreting at home: finishing touches

A lot of thought goes into concreting – it’s not just pouring liquid cement into a mould and waiting for it to set. After the technical aspects like tensile strength and dimensions are settled, the fun things are next.

 

A little polish

Or not. Domestic concreting projects, like interior flooring, will need a polished surface for comfort. Paths and driveways are more likely to have an exposed aggregate surface. This finish is achieved when the surface cement is blasted away to reveal the larger stones underneath.

Smooth, polished, concrete is a popular choice for interior decorating. Warehouses developed into housing and apartments often come with pre-existing concrete slabs that the new owners can redecorate at their whim. Some choose to leave it plain (or just re-apply some sealant). Others will spray coloured covercrete on their driveway or even do an acid-stain inside to ‘freshen up’ the space.

 

Colour

Concreting isn’t boring; you can have a bit of fun with it. Speak to your contractor about coloured options for your driveway, patio, or path. You rarely go past a house with a plain grey slab out the front. Instead, homeowners and developers will choose a colour scheme that matches the exterior of the home.

 

Design

Some like it plain, others like it patterned. Your contractor will tell you that they can ‘stamp’ concrete to mimic the patterns of wood or marble. They can also use covercrete (a spray adhesive concrete) to make designs on the slabs. You can use concrete as a canvas and get creative with it to make something unique.

Keeping it simple colour-wise is fine, though designers and homeowners might choose to mix it up with a bit of concrete cutting. This type of design is found on patios and driveways, giving the impression that the area is made of large tiles instead of a concrete slab.

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Concrete solutions for the home

Concrete for the home is nothing new. The “industrial” trend has seen warehouse conversions and new home build with entirely concrete interiors. It’s getting a better rap for its design potential, rather than its use for making council footpaths. We’ve listed some of the common uses for concrete in the home below.

 

Patios

You can’t walk into a backyard without walking on a patio first. They’re an essential part of the Australian way of life; where else will you put the barbecue?

Making a patio isn’t that much different from making a driveway. You still need to go over specifics with your contractor. This includes the size of the surface area, the type of finish you want and the required strength of the concrete.  

 

Floors

Warehouses that are converted into homes more often keep the original floor. A bonus of this is the psi strength of the concrete will be around 4000 – 5000 psi. This type of concrete is used in “high traffic” areas. Any lesser type would crack faster.  

Polished concrete floors are popular in new home builds that want to have a “modern” finish. Concrete floors are low maintenance and easy to clean with a broom or steam-mop.

 

Steps

Indoor or outdoor, concrete stairs are reliable and sturdy. They can withstand high amounts of foot traffic, unlike varnished timber. It is also waterproof. When high amounts of rain or flooding occur, the steps will remain standing.

You’re more likely to find concrete steps out the front of a home, but they’re slowly making their way indoors as a design quirk. An example of this is art galleries, museums or display homes.

 

Tips

Concrete is tough but is prone to staining, same as carpets or clothing. This is because concrete is a porous material. Penetrating sealants “plug” the pores and bonds with it at a molecular level. Topical sealant sticks to the concrete’s surface and is fine at resisting minor stains.

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Five Questions About Concrete Driveways

Home upgrades are important for fixing up a “dated” home and adding resale value when the time comes. Old, cracked or generally unpleasant-looking driveways are one improvement people might not give much thought to, but they really should. Driveways can turn into a money pit when not laid correctly.  

Do I need a base layer?

Any building needs a steady foundation and driveways are no different. Loose soil isn’t good for a construction project. This leads to cracking, costing you more than what you were originally quoted thanks to repairs. For base layers, the soil is compacted and crushed stones spread across the surface area to stabilize the concrete when it sets.

What concrete type do I need?

Different types of concrete exist for different jobs. The concrete will need to have a high psi rating, meaning it can withstand a lot of pressure bearing down. For concrete driveways the contractor would recommend a 4000 psi mix. This blend can withstand 281 kilograms per square centimetre.

Should I seal the driveway?

You can’t just have the driveway laid and leave it at that. Nature and lifestyle need consideration. Cars leak grease, things get dropped or splashed, and there are forces of nature to contend with. A penetrative sealant will protect the driveway from these, plus moisture absorption.

What’s the warranty?

Good contractors will have workmanship warranties that last for a year or more. If a contractor lacks a policy, it’s best to look elsewhere. Ask for a copy of the warranty to check what’s covered so that you’ll get the best value for money. Good contractors will take responsibility for their work during and after construction. This way if accidents happen, you won’t be out of pocket.

When can you start?

Of course contractors have slow periods, but if it’s perpetual then there’s a problem. One way workers get found is through word of mouth, and when they have a lot of recommendations they’ll be busy. If you sign with a reputable contractor, they might not be able to start work straight away. However, they’ll do their best to get to you as quick as they can.

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Three Questions to Ask About Concrete

Concrete is a necessary material to lay those first foundations when you’re building a home, resurfacing your driveway or even taking the first steps to building an alfresco dining area. But not all concrete is made equally; there are different types for different purposes. Before you call the contractor, ask yourself these three questions to make sure you’ll choose the correct materials.

 

  1.      What kind of work am I doing?

Concreting a driveway is a very different job from building a patio, and no two products will be the same for this reason. For outdoor work you need concrete that’s resistant to the sulphur found in soil. For common areas there’s a kind of concrete that’s resistant to cracks. There’s no “one type fits all”. Investing a little time in checking will save you money in the long run.

 

  1.      How strong does it need to be?

Next from the point above, it’s important to note that different concretes have different psi, or load bearing, capacities. 2500psi types are good for general construction like interiors and paving, but for strength some builders will prefer 3500psi blends. Rarely will a home need a 4000 – 5000psi concrete which is standard for warehouses, shops and other areas where there’s a high volume of traffic.

 

  1.      Is there a particular style or finish I’m after?

Finishing touches are just as important as the product itself! These last details can add value to your home and gives you a chance to personalise it the way you want. Concrete isn’t just grey anymore. There are various finishing touches to choose from. This includes exposed to polished, coloured to plain and stencilled to acid-stained.

 

Of course discuss the best options with your contractor, but knowing these questions will save time and money. They’ll help you find a product that will change your home, add value to your investment and even inspire a little envy among your friends.