Salt Finish Concrete Systems

Architectural Decorative Concrete by SUNDEK National Accounts

A salt finish is a method for achieving a subtle speckled texture and skid resistance on a concrete surface. It can be applied to either plain or colored concrete.

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Customers appreciate these benefits of a salt finish on a concrete surface:

  • Texture. Creating a slightly speckled surface, a salt finish provides a bit more texture than a broom finish.
  • Affordable. Applying this type of finish requires fewer tools and materials than other concrete finishes, which keeps the cost lower than other applications. Especially if you have a large area being poured, it’s an affordable upgrade to plain concrete.
  • Appearance. A salt finish creates a unique speckled look that is sometimes compared to the appearance of weathered rock.

Where can a salt finish be applied?

Salt finishes are popular in areas of the country that don’t experience frequent freezing/thawing weather. Since the salt finish creates indentations in the concrete, water can accumulate. If the water freezes, it can potentially cause spalling.

Because a salt finish is an affordable for large concrete surfaces, it’s a great solution for commercial properties looking for a low-cost decorative option:

  • Courtyards
  • Parks
  • Shopping centers
  • Stadiums
  • …and more!

How to salt finish concrete

A salt finish is applied after a concrete slab is poured and once the concrete begins to set. A contractor will apply the salt by broadcasting it by hand, then press it onto the surface using either a roller or float. After the concrete sets (which usually takes a full day), a contractor will use a power washer to remove the salt material, leaving indentations in a speckled pattern on the concrete surface.

Materials & tools required

Creating a salt finish requires minimal tools and materials:

  • Coarse rock salt (the same type of salt that’s used for deicing in winter) to be broadcast evenly on the concrete surface before it sets
  • Roller or float to press salt into the concrete to create depressions on the surface.
  • Pressure washer to remove the salt after the concrete sets (typically about one full day).
  • Sealer to protect the surface from everyday wear and tear.

Does a salt finish need to be sealed?

Yes, just like any other type of decorative concrete application, a salt finish does need to be sealed to protect it from wear and tear and contaminants. Learn more about sealers.

Salt finish compared to other decorative concrete applications

What the difference between a salt finish and other decorative applications? One is not necessarily better than the others—it just depends on what look you’re going for. In some cases, you can combine applications.

  • Stamped concrete: To achieve stamped concrete, a stamp is used to imprint a specific texture or pattern on the surface of the concrete before it sets. A salt finish is created by broadcasting salt on the concrete before it sets and then gently embedding it into the surface.
  • Broom finish: A broom finish is a popular concrete application that looks great and also makes the surface slip resistant. It’s created by running a broom along freshly poured concrete, creating a subtle texture. Similarly, a salt finish creates a slip-resistant surface with a unique texture.
  • Sand finish (sometimes called sand-washed concrete): A sand finish creates a natural look on the concrete surface. While a salt finish requires broadcasting salt onto the surface, a sand finish involves etching away some of the concrete paste to reveal a sandy texture beneath.

Design ideas

The look that a salt finish creates makes it a great application for various designs.

  • Combine with custom scoreline and the right colors to create the look of faux stone
  • Use as a border next to concrete with a smooth or broom finish to create a juxtaposition of textures
  • Add interest to large patios or driveways

Who installs salt finished concrete in my area?

SUNDEK currently offers salt finishing in Houston, Austin and other areas of Texas.

For more than 50 years, SUNDEK has helped leading design, architectural, and development companies meet their project objectives. We’d love to help with your project!

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14121 Parke Long Ct. #109
Chantilly, VA 20151
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