From Slab to Fab: Decorative Concrete for Hawaii Homes

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Decorative concrete provides affordable options over traditional masonry. An old concrete patio, driveway, entryway or deck can be transformed from dull gray slabs into unique, stylish additions. Whether replicating the look of cobblestone, tile, granite, slate, flagstone, brick, wood or pahoehoe lava, decorative concrete treatments and processes allow you to achieve a variety of natural looks for a fraction of the cost of the real material. And you don’t even need to tear out your old concrete to do it. What’s more, new products and applications can actually be stronger than the original concrete and will hold up for years to come, even in high-traffic areas.

The entry steps to this Kona home are made of stamped concrete that resembles pahoehoe lava.

Three basic techniques can be involved: Stamping, staining and overlay. Stamping involves making an impression into newly poured concrete or into an overlay on top of existing concrete. Rubber mats with protruding designs are pressed onto the surface to duplicate the look and texture of the natural material in deep relief patterns. Some of the many patterns available include flagstone, brick and cobblestone. You can then stain the pattern to add contrast, color and textured looks. The rubber stamps, or mats, come in all sizes and shapes. Homeowners in Kona enjoy creating the look of pahoehoe lava into pavers or stepping stones, for example.

Overlay systems can range from a quarter of an inch thick all the way up to two inches and more. To create an overlay, the mason or contractor will lay a think layer of product made of silicon sand, concrete and latex glue. Color and texture can be added to the initial layer for different effects.

To add pizzazz to a dreary driveway, carport, garage floor or patio, a simple, acid-based stain can change the color of the concrete slab while at the same time obscure oil and dirt stains, as well as add lasting protection to the surface. Antique, glazed and marble effects are among the accents that can be created for entryways, pool decks and interiors. Rustic aged-leather looks can be achieved with brown stains. Colorful hues and polished concrete can bring stylish accents into the kitchen, bathroom or entire home. Two coats of sealer will maintain the shine and protect the floor for up to 10 years.

Epoxy adds a distinctive luster to this home in Kailua-Kona.

Concrete pavers stamped to look like lava rock are embedded into the lawn of this resort home on the Kohala Coast.

Something relatively new in the Kona home sector, high-gloss epoxy floors can add a sheen and luster to a home’s interior. The process begins with grinding the concrete slab utilizing a diamond grinder. A vapor seal follows, then the application of a base color coat and epoxy. Combinations of colors and patterns can be swirled into the mix, creating an upscale, distinctive look for your floor.