DECORATIVE CONCRETE Scoring
With a large, open, stained concrete floor that is not obscured by a lot of furniture and rugs, the saw-cutting, or "scoring", of customized lines and joints, so as to create basic geometric patterns, is a great way to break up the monotony of a single color and draw more attention to the floor. Decorative concrete scoring lines, joints and patterns are generally made with either an angle grinder, or concrete saw on a guided cart, fitted with a diamond blade and dust-free vacuum attachment. The most common size for these decorative saw-cuts made in stained concrete flooring is 1/8" wide and 1/4" deep, although alternate dimensions may easily be set on the concrete saw by the contractor, if desired by the customer. These decorative saw-cuts and joints are best made prior to applying acid stain, dyes or acrylic stains, and sealing the concrete. Afterward, they may be filled with a colored tile grout, polyurea joint filler or urethane joint sealant, as an accent to the main colors in the floor, or they may be left empty, for a more subtle appeal.
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.
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.
The most popular acid-stained concrete scoring patterns are linear in nature. Below are some of the most common patterns.