Concrete applications with exposed aggregates like recycled beach glass or seashells are extremely trendy right now. One way that you can take this concept to the next level is by using glow stones in place of traditional aggregates. If you aren’t familiar with these stones, you are in for a real treat.
As you might guess from their name, they are designed to glow in the dark. Made by industry-leading companies like Ambient Glow Technology, these stones are infused with unique photoluminescent materials that make them glow in shades of blue or green after the sun goes down.
Unlike other types of outdoor lighting, they don’t require any electricity. Instead, they just need to be exposed to the sun during the day. You can use them in a wide range of applications. For instance, some people install them on their pool decks while others use them in their sidewalks or driveways.
Using glow stones as exposed aggregate in concrete applications is easier than you might think. Even though they look magical after they are installed, you don’t need to be a magician to complete the project. Instead, you just need a few simple tools.
The process begins by pouring concrete using traditional methods. After initially smoothing out the concrete, you can then apply the stones. The easiest way to place them is by tossing them out over the surface so that they scatter in a random pattern. Once they are in place, lightly use a trowel to work them down into the surface until they are even with the top of the concrete.
At this point, you need to decide whether you want to use a chemical or mechanical method for exposing the stones. If you decide to go the chemical route, you should apply an approved chemical retarder to the surface of the concrete. This slows down the curing time for the topmost layer of the concrete. As a result, the bottom of the concrete cures more quickly.
After a specific amount of time elapses, you can simply take a hose and rinse off the concrete. The topmost portion of the concrete will easily rinse away, exposing the tops of the stones that lie beneath.
Alternatively, you can also expose the stones manually. This process is a lot more labor-intensive than using a chemical retarder. With this method, you allow the concrete to cure fully with the stones still embedded in the surface.
After it has cured, you then can take concrete polishing tools to grind away the topmost layer of concrete and polish the surface until it is smooth. This type of manual polishing technique is typically used for indoor applications, although it can be used outdoors, as well.
Using glow stones as exposed aggregate is a wonderful way to create a unique look for an indoor or outdoor space. Just make sure to buy high-quality stones from a trusted company. That way, you can be sure that they meet or exceed your expectations in terms of their quality and their performance.