For decades, concrete has been one of the most widely used construction materials worldwide. An important subset of decorative concrete is "architectural concrete." This specially formulated concrete provides both an aesthetic finish, and sound structural capabilities. In most cases, it is intended to be a prominent and pleasing aspect of the overall design of the greater structure.
Architectural concrete can be used in various ways to create visual appeal, whether creating an expansive vista for a group of buildings, or minute details to simulate carved marble or granite on columns or facades. Achieving a highly architectural appearance typically requires a unique mixture of concrete ingredients, as well as special forms and/or finishing techniques. However, with skilled concrete installers, the variety of effects is almost unlimited.
A key ingredient of most architectural concrete is white cement. This structurally sound, versatile architectural material may be used plain or pigmented. When pigmented, it allows for a broad spectrum of colors, from bright whites and pastels to more saturated colors. When used white, or in pastel tones, it offers energy efficiency as well, by remaining cool in full sun. It can be textured, imprinted, or shaped to almost any form, allowing creative architects more freedom in their designs. Indeed, imagination becomes the only limitation when white cement is used in architectural concrete applications.
Here are just some of the many applications for white cement architectural concrete:
- Cast-in-place concrete
- Precast concrete
- Tilt-up concrete
- Stucco finishes
- Retrofit and repair applications
Versatility in Concrete Applications
Homeowners with a desire to create architectural beauty find white cement concrete to offer a great many options. Decorative concrete driveways, porch columns, and sculpted walkways that lead to carefully crafted concrete pool decks or patios are just a few of the common residential applications for architectural concrete.
White cement concrete also has a great array of practical commercial applications, producing a durable surface that stands up to heavy use.
- Light reflective floors
- Building accents
- City streetscapes, such as curbs, gutters & planters
- Bridge parapets
Note: Mixing of white cement concrete for architectural applications is a critically important quality control issue within the concrete supply industry. It requires careful selection of raw materials such as iron and manganese oxides to determine whiteness, and strict attention to mixing proportions. Maryland Portable Concrete does not recommend that homeowners attempt to mix this type of concrete at home.