Bring your facades to life with versatile precast concrete
Concrete facades are versatile, their entire lifecycle is inexpensive and they are long-lasting. They can be colorful or as simple as possible. They are recyclable and have a low environmental impact.
Concrete creates opportunities for the architect
Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world. It is a challenging material for the builder though and requires strong professional skills to work with. It requires a lot, but also gives a lot. Consequently, concrete usage is very diverse and has evolved along with architecture.
Concrete may often fall into the background as a building material for buildings, but the wide range of choices in coatings and the pliable properties of concrete offer countless options for aesthetics and surface alternatives. Thus, concrete is also emerging as a material for building exteriors. Concrete can at the same time be rugged and warm, hard and soft.
Concrete is the clear-cut, straight-lined building material for the 21st century
In today's architecture, clear lines and a simple look are are the thing to go after. Concrete is also a mighty interior architectural feature for example, in staircases and as a source of light and shadows. Companies often highlight their building exteriors with straight lines and technology, such as large glass surfaces combined with open, congruent and straight-lined concrete structures.
Durable and maintenance free concrete facade lasts for a long time
Climate conditions in Finland require a lot of builders and building materials — high maintenance requirements are required for facades: frost resistance and corrosion of steel in carbonated concrete.
However, modern concrete technology is highly advanced. It is easy to minimize possible damage risks. Frost resistance is ensured by protective pores in concrete. Increasing the thickness of the protective layer in steel structures and improving the quality of concrete can slow down the corrosion of steel — the calculated life
of concrete structures in terms of steel corrosion has increased by 4 to 5 times since the 60s.
Easy to maintain, fix and replace
The lifespan of the concrete facades nowadays is estimated to be 50-100 years. Circumstances that affect it are, for example, the quality of the concrete (water-to-cement ratio and air entrainment) and the protective layer surrounding the steel reinforcement.
Concrete facades are very easy to maintain and can also be readily replaced if needed. Still, the most important factor is knowing the right materials to choose for different structures, as it has the biggest impact on the maintenance needs or the life span of the structure.
A range of options instead of plain rough gray surfaces
Concrete does not always need to be the same rough, gray surface it's often thought to be. Concrete surface structures are transformable into many forms. They can be modified with color, concrete ingredients and various surface treatments, and, by combining the above, only your imagination is the limit. The appearance can be influenced in many different ways. The choice of materials creates different colors, the different molds produce different surface shapes, and the processing techniques produce different textures. Concrete can also be coated with various treatments, such as plastering or painting. In addition, the surface can be covered with other materials, such as brick, ceramic tile and natural stone.
The fresh concrete surface is dipped in hydrochloric acid and rinsed with plenty of water. The acid erodes the concrete adhesive from the surface and finer particles and reveals the coarser-concrete ingredients to a predefined depth, usually 0,5 mm.
Chiseling removes the predefined layer from the surface and reveals the concrete ingredients.
The hardened smooth concrete is sanded mechanically to the depth of 3–4 mm. The polishing levels are matte, shiny and reflecting shiny.
Hardened concrete surfaces split with special methods.
Light blasting only removes the shine from the concrete adhesive, medium blasting reveals surface pores and medium-heavy blasting brings out individual, larger stone nodules and small-aggregate material uniformly. Heavy blasting reveals the larger particles completely and removes the concrete adhesive entirely. The concrete ingredients used determine the color of the concrete surface.
Large and strongly-shaped surfaces. For example, fiberglass molds are common when casting round pillars.
Strong pattern with small-emission patterns, for example, when recreating old ornamental patterns by copying.
Surface according to the profile, grain and cut of the wood plank.
The concrete surface is formed according to the surface of the wood board or plywood used. Wood-based boards are treated with oil, varnish, mold-release agents or coatings. With varnished plywood molds, dense and smooth concrete surfaces are obtained.
Large, uniform and smooth concrete surfaces.
Rubberized canvas molds are used for dense, less porous concrete surfaces. The surface retains the pattern of the fabric.
Concrete stained with pigment and/or aggregate. The brightest color shades are obtained using white cement.
Concrete surface painted with special paint that covers surface patterns.
Concrete surfaces painted with translucent or stain-block paints suitable for painting concrete. Glazed surfaces are translucent and the surface quality of concrete comes out.
Glazing is a chemical surface treatment for concrete. It enables translucent, colored surfaces.
Copper powder is added to the concrete sludge. After hardening, the concrete is treated with ammonium-chloride solution. The end result is blue or turqoise concrete.
The chemicals absorbed by the concrete mix react with the cement. The aggregate does not become stained. This treatment is suitable, for exmple, for staining sanded-concrete surfaces and molded surfaces.
Resembles a plastered or rough-canvas-mold surface. Tapped with a stiff brush after steel rubbing.
Heavy rubbing with a board after leveling.
Rubbing with steel trowel after leveling and wood rubbing.
Sponge-rubbing to dim the partially shiny, steel-rubbed surfaces to uniform appearance.
Brushing after leveling and wood rubbing.
Pressure washing to over 2 mm depth. The surface color comes mainly from the stone used.
Pressure washing to a depth of less than 2 mm. The color is achieved with the aggregate or color pigments and aggregate.
With the help of surface-deceleration technology, the desired pattern is etched to the surface of the concrete.
The technique allows the use of individual patterns, as well as different washing depths.
Dimming of shiny, steel-rubbed surfaces with a roller to uniform appearance.
Facades can be treated with anti-graffiti or protective coatings or impregnation agents.
Other Surface Treatments
The aggregate on the surface of the concrete has been replaced by crushed brick. The surface then is sandblasted, washed or sanded. Large, flat and uniform-brick-colored surfaces can be made.
Sprinkled surface is made by sprinkling surface material on the fresh concrete.
A labor-intensive surface that is handcrafted by professionals. The preparation of the surface involves several stages of work. The surface is named after its inventor, Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
Clean masonry surfaces from concrete blocks. The block color can be either normal gray, or a lighter shade if white cement is used in manufacturing the blocks.
Surface is achieved through rubbing or spraying. The plaster-layer thickness is determined on a case-by-case basis. Color is achieved with painting or by using colored-plaster masses.
Fresh-concrete surface can also be textured, in addition to various rubbing techniques, by pressing the desired pattern on the fresh surface. For example, concrete-sprayed surfaces can be made to resemble a surface molded with a sawn wood board.
A steel-brushed surface is created at the age of a few days by brushing the hardening concrete adhesive off. The aggregate needs to be strong enough to avoid scratching when brushed. The surface resembles a sandblasted surface.
The aggregate on the concrete surface has been replaced by crushed glass. Surface treatment by washing or sanding. Can be most confidently used indoors. On exterior surfaces, determine the shelf life of the glass in the concrete.