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Metallic Resin

The very latest and most flexible of our products yet, for floors, worktops and panels, the 3D effects and depths of this product is outstanding. This product must be seen in real life to appreciate the finishes.

Real Metal Coatings

This amazing new product is made from real metals such as Aluminium, Brass, Copper and Bronze. We are the innovators of trowel and spray applied metal worktops, floors and walls in the UK. Unlike sheet metal, we can create seamless surfaces. various finshes are available, please call us to look at our sample ranges. Look our for our new worktop images to follow!

Ultra Thin Concrete

Trowel applied Micro-Top Concrete can be applied almost anywhere, lightwight and cost effective, it can replace almost all conventional concrete products.

   

 

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Help and Advise

Our Friendly team is happy to help you, please contact us via email at info@surfacedetail.co.uk or by phone on 0333 577 9450 or 07712 004866.

   

 

Glossary

 
 

Technical Terms

Acid-stained concrete

Reactive stains, also called acid stains or chemical stains, are used to penetrate the top layer of cured concrete to create translucent colours. The metallic salts in the stain materials react with calcium hydroxide in concrete, commonly called "free lime," producing earth-toned colours that are characteristically variegated and somewhat unpredictable. The acid-stained concrete colours are typically permanent when correctly applied and neutralized. Very old concrete may be deficient in free lime and therefore more difficult to chemically stain without applying an accelerant. (If a variegated appearance is not desired, dyes or water-based stains offer an alternative that produces predictable translucent colours on concrete with a more uniform appearance. Dyes and water-based stains come in a wider range of colours and are nonacidic, so they do not require neutralizing and washing.)

Colour hardeners

Also called dry-shake colour hardeners, the powdered colouring materials are broadcast on freshly placed concrete to create a coloured horizontal surface with improved density. This colouring method can produce more intense, opaque hues than integral colouring. Typically, colour hardeners are a mixture of pigments, mineral aggregates, graded silica sands and Portland cement. Use of colour hardeners is most popular for exterior hardscapes in areas subjected to freeze-thaw cycles and deicing salts.

Decorative concrete

A specialty area within concrete construction wherein skilled contractors employ creative methods of finishing existing or new concrete with stains, colours, designs, textures and patterns that make it more aesthetically appealing when it is visible. Decorative concrete contractors makes concrete an attractive choice beyond its functional and structural role in construction. There is growing demand for the use of decorative concrete for interior floors, counters, sinks and tubs, fireplace surrounds and even attractive interior walls. Knowledge of best practices for basic concreting contributes to successful decorative concrete projects. In the past decade, decorative concrete has been used more and more often in the building industry because concrete is considered an environmentally sound building material that is produced from abundant local materials that can be mined with minimal disruption. It can also be recycled after use. Concrete has historically proven to be a durable, strong and versatile material, especially when combined with reinforcement.

Densifiers

Colourless materials applied to concrete to harden the surface and reduce dusting. The products offered for densification are typically proprietary materials containing silicate, siliconate or blends of the two. Densifier application is sometimes used when finishing concrete by coarse grinding, but is essential for polishing the concrete to a highly honed sheen called polished concrete. Integrally coloured concrete may be densified. When stains and dyes will be used on densified concrete, Some densifiers are not intended for use with coloured concrete and may cause lightening or discoloration.

Efflorescence

A discoloration on the surface of concrete that can be caused by evaporation during curing. Calcium hydroxide reacts with carbon dioxide in the air to form calcium carbonate, a white crystalline deposit. The residue can be left to wear away from the effects of weather or can be removed. Contractors can use various methods to reduce the incidence of efflorescence. Although efflorescence is typically superficial and harmless, it detracts from the beauty of coloured concrete.

Grinding

Coarse grinding and medium grinding are done mechanically to clean up a concrete surface or expose aggregates. The concrete surface can be coarse ground when wet or dry to renovate an interior floor or exterior hardscape. Grinding is done to remove unwanted residues such as glue, coatings or paint, as a preparation step prior to staining. Grinding can also be done in order to improve adhesion before applying a coating or overlay.

Hopper gun

A spray gun with a hopper attached. The air-driven tool is used to spray polymer cement materials onto concrete surfaces in a splatter pattern. See also Knockdown Finish.

Integral colouring

The process of mixing pigments or colouring agents into concrete or cementacious materials such as toppings and overlays.

Integrally coloured concrete

Coloured concrete created by adding colouring formulations, inorganic iron oxide pigments or dyes into a concrete mix. Either dry powder, granules or liquid suspensions of pigments are introduced when the batch is in the mixer or ready-mix truck. Some integral-colouring materials contain additives that may or may not be compatible with other materials. The mixing distributes the colour throughout the batch. The benefit of integrally coloured concrete is that the slab looks good long-term because any gouges, scrapes or chips reveal concrete that is also coloured the same as the top surface.

Knockdown finish

A lightly troweled finish created when splatter patterns left after the use of a hopper gun are flattened to produce an attractive surface with good traction, but no sharp points of dried cement materials. See also Hopper gun

Mats

Composite rubber, plastic or urethane tools produced from moulds that are used to apply continuous texture to freshly placed concrete. Typically the mats come in a variety of styles and sizes that can be used to produce shallow, low-profile continuous textures that look similar to stone, slate and other surfaces commonly used for flatwork and vertical features.

Patina

Generically, the term means an aged appearance produced by natural weathering and wear over many years, commonly seen in wood, leather and other materials. Stains are sometimes used on concrete with the intent to quickly produce a "patina" that seems aged. Products called patina chemicals are available to apply onto coloured or stained concrete to make the weathered look more dramatic. See also Acid-stained concrete.

Pattern tools

Composite plastic or urethane tools that are used to make impressions in freshly placed concrete. Produced in moulds, the tools come in a variety of weights, sizes and styles, some of which look like individual stones of a specific style. Typically pattern tools, including both rigid platform tools and flexible tools, are sold individually and in sets. Examples of patterns include fans, tiles and bricks.

Platform tools

Stamp tools of composite plastic or urethane that are designed to support the weight of workers who stand on the tools to work their way across the width of a concrete placement while placing additional stamps and tamping the pattern evenly. The tools create pattern impressions in freshly placed concrete. Typically, placement of the patterns requires planning and detailing to skilfully replicate the look of unit pavers or hand-cut stone.

Pounder tool

Also referred to as a tamper, the pounder is used to tamp the tool into concrete during stamping to produce an even impression of the patterns. Contractors sometimes stamp their feet to tamp stamps, but the results produced are not as consistent as results produced using a pounder or tamper tool. See also Stamping concrete.

Polishing concrete

A finishing method that produces high-sheen concrete surfaces. The polishing process involves the use of heavy equipment with discs of different "grits" to grind concrete in order to produce a more durable wear surface. The final finish appearance is quantified based upon the grit of the last head used during a grinding and polishing sequence. It can range from 150 grit to 3,000 grit. See also Densifiers

Release agents

Also called bond-breakers, these materials are used to aid the smooth removal of stamping tools and keep tools from sticking to concrete, which could cause the pattern or texture to be marred. Typically, the liquid or powder release agents are applied both to the moulds and the concrete surface prior to pouring. Release agents are available in both coloured and uncoloured products.

Resists

Products used when designs or patterns are being applied onto cured concrete surfaces. A resist prevents stains or dyes from penetrating selected areas.

Retarders

Materials added to concrete to delay setting. They are particularly popular in warm climates. Consult manufacturers' recommendations for compatibility when planning to use decorative concrete colouring materials such as stains, hardeners or coloured release agents on concrete that will contain retarders.

Sand-blasting and shot-blasting

Sand blasting like shot-blasting, involves propelling uniform particles against a surface at high velocity. Sand-blasting was originally developed for cleaning the surfaces of buildings. Today, grit, slag, shell, and other materials have replaced the use of silica sand to avoid the risk of silicosis. The process of sand-blasting can be used for decorative purposes to etch a pattern or design into a concrete surface. For example, during template sand-blasting some areas are covered with a mask, and uncovered areas are sand-blasted or shot-blasted to reveal the aggregates below the surface. Sand-blasting and shot-blasting are also commonly used for surface preparation prior to the application of coatings or toppings. Sealers Sealing is a recommended step for enhancing and protecting decorative concrete colours. Sealing decorative concrete reduces maintenance requirements and helps prevent unwanted staining. Both water-based and solvent-based formulations can be purchased. Some sealers are available in finishes such as gloss, semi-gloss and matte.

Skins

Thin, flexible, composite rubber, plastic or urethane texturing tools, also known as embossing skins. Skins can be bent more easily than mats for use on edges, steps and awkward corners. Skins are an efficient way to quickly apply textures to large areas in warm conditions where concrete is setting rapidly. Like mats, skins come in a variety of styles and sizes. They can be used to produce shallow, low-profile continuous textures that look similar to stone and other surfaces when stamping horizontal areas or producing artificial rockwork. When applying a continuous pattern, flexible skins require somewhat less time and planning than using interlocking stamp patterns.

Solvent-based products

Some stains, sealers and coatings are manufactured using solvents as the carrier for the liquid mixtures. During application, solvents evaporate into the air. Therefore, solvents are considered "volatile organic compounds," or VOCs, and it is vital to adhere to the manufacturer's health and safety recommendations during application of any solvent-based product. An MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheet) will document the percentage of VOCs in a specific product. Please note: The specific percentage of VOCs permitted is regulated in most areas of the United States and Canada. The use of solvent-based products is prohibited in some states. Where environmental considerations prohibit use of solvent-based materials, water-based alternatives are readily available.

Stamping concrete

Stamped concrete or imprinted concrete is created by pressing pattern tools or texture skins into freshly placed concrete at the stage in hardening when the concrete is at a "plastic-like" state that will take the pattern impression. Coloured release agents can be used to provide greater realism by accenting the details the pattern leaves in the concrete.

Stencilling concrete

Also called templates, stencils are used as masks in a variety of ways when transferring superficial patterns or designs to the surface of cured concrete. Different colours or materials can be applied alternately in the "positive" and "negative" areas of the stencils using stains, dyes, dry-shake hardeners or spray-applied polymer cement toppings. Also, the stencils can be used for etching or sand-blasting. Both off-the-shelf and custom-designed stencils can be ordered. Some standard stencils resemble the mortar joints between stones, tiles or bricks, and ornamental motifs similar to borders on rugs and wood flooring are also available. Typically, stencils are produced in adhesive and non-adhesive rolls or sheets made of acetate, cardboard, paper or Mylar. Manufacturers who regularly supply in large quantities produce their stencils using a computer program and plotter. Some artisans hand-cut their own custom stencils from metal, plastic wood or any handy materials.

Stencil roller

A spiked tool used to embed stencil material into fresh concrete.

Texture roller

A tool with a raised texture that can be used to roll over freshly placed concrete to leave a shallow impression. The texture roller can be used on the entire surface or combined with a stencil to leave texture in only the "negative" areas of a stencil pattern.

Variegation

A descriptive term that refers to the varied, mottled effects produced by reactive chemical stains on concrete. Typically the variegation of specific surfaces in combination with specific stains produces unique and somewhat unpredictable results. The variegation can be altered by the method of application and the colours selected.

Water-based products

Some stains, sealers and coatings are manufactured using water as the carrier for pigments or other materials in the products. Water-based and water-borne stains and sealers are readily available for use where environmental considerations are a priority.

Working time

When a stain or other colouring material is topically applied to concrete, the time needed to complete the reaction or the bonding is referred to as working time.

Weed

To remove the negative areas from the stencil after it is applied to the cured concrete.  

   

 

 

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