DECORATIVE CONCRETE Scoring

 This acid-stained finished basement concrete floor had 3.5' diagonal Spanish tiles cut in the interior and an 18" border along the walls done in a contrasting color.  Notice the distinct color separation on both sides of the border.

This acid-stained finished basement concrete floor had 3.5' diagonal Spanish tiles cut in the interior and an 18" border along the walls done in a contrasting color.  Notice the distinct color separation on both sides of the border.

For a large open floor not obscured by a lot of furniture or rugs, saw-cutting or "scoring" decorative lines and simple geometric patterns into acid-stained concrete and cement overlays is a great way to break up the monotony of a single color and draw more attention to the floor.  Decorative concrete scoring lines are generally made with a guided angle grinder or concrete saw fitted with a diamond blade and a dust-free vacuum attachment.  The most common cuts are about 1/8" wide and 1/4" deep, although exact dimensions may easily be adjusted by the contractor, if the customers wishes.  These decorative cuts are usually done prior to acid-staining the concrete and may be filled with a colored grout, polyurea joint filler, or elastomeric urethane joint sealant to accent the colors in the floor, or left alone, for a more subtle appeal.

 Decorative scoring was done to this hallway section of an acid-stained concrete floor in a mall, with color separation, to create a "leading effect" for shoppers.

Decorative scoring was done to this hallway section of an acid-stained concrete floor in a mall, with color separation, to create a "leading effect" for shoppers.

Straight wall borders and large square or rectangular tiles are the most popular patterns, while arcs, curves, circles, and diamonds are selected for a more contemporary or artistic look.  For additional accenting, concrete scoring lines may be used to separate acid stain colors.   Separating colors usually involves a few extra days' labor for a concrete staining contractor, so the customer should expect to pay more per square foot.  Decorative concrete scoring patterns usually add about $.75-$1.50 per square foot to the cost of a project, depending on their complexity.  Decorative saw-cutting is generally not a problem with concrete slabs that contain radiant or "hydronic" heating, as long as the tubing was properly installed and is at least 1-2" below the surface of the concrete.

 An example of a control joint in a basement concrete floor that looks out of place once the walls went up.  We made additional saw-cuts before staining the floor to make a symmetrical design.

An example of a control joint in a basement concrete floor that looks out of place once the walls went up.  We made additional saw-cuts before staining the floor to make a symmetrical design.

Decorative saw-cuts are also a great way to incorporate unsightly, existing control joints into a larger overall pattern on a stained concrete floor, and camouflage them.  Often, excessive numbers of joints are placed in concrete outdoors as a way of minimizing or eliminating cracking.  Indoors, a different problem occurs:  isolated, single joints appear randomly in important living spaces or throughout a series of rooms, detracting from the overall ambience of these areas.  These joints are seemingly misplaced because the concrete floor in a house or building is placed before the walls go up.  By strategically placing additional, decorative saw-cuts in a floor, however, these "misplaced" joints can become part of a larger pattern that gives overall symmetry and consistency to the space.
 

popular Acid-stained concrete scoring PATTERNS

The most popular acid-stained concrete scoring patterns are linear in nature.  Below are some of the most common patterns. 

 Spanish Tile

Spanish Tile

 Diagonal Spanish Tile

Diagonal Spanish Tile

 Offset Rectangular Tile

Offset Rectangular Tile

 Rectangular Grid

Rectangular Grid

 Square Grid

Square Grid

 Tall Slate

Tall Slate

 Bordered Diagonal Tile

Bordered Diagonal Tile

 Bordered Basketweave Slate

Bordered Basketweave Slate

 Contemporary Scored

Contemporary Scored

 Bordered Square Tile

Bordered Square Tile

 
 Framed Diagonal Grid

Framed Diagonal Grid