So I have done my fair share of research to get that concrete look for my bedroom wall, I wished I could have everything in concrete, from floor to ceiling, i think it looks really cool and has a great color. In Bangkok it was quite common to have epoxy sealed concrete floors, not the posh kind just plain concrete with a protective layer on top. It is cooling and modern and pretty cheap really.
After my ex’s house was flooded all the carpets and tiles magically swam away and revealed a stunning concrete floor underneath, which we than had sealed. It was the best thing that could have happened and it looked super good.
Anyway I have found different types of stuff that people use to get the look, in 2013 apartmenttherapy.com ( click the link to get to the article) explored a product by german manufacturer called Ardex.
Ardex specialises in all sorts of building products and the one they used is feather finish ( in germany it’s called Ardex fix) which is a concrete powder that is used to level out floors. I saw a wonderful concrete wall in a bathroom showroom and it was some kind of deco stucco with high price tag to it, so since i don’t have a car and getting to the DIY store to buy the ardex fix is a bit of a pain for me I put the concrete wall business on hold for a while, until i found an almost empty bucket of stucco di luce by caparol at my parents house during christmas time. It’s the product used in germany to create the rather trendy ( amongst the older folks) stucco veneziano walls, extremely glossy walls with a sort of marble effect. These are very popular in ice-cream parlours etc. and can have a tendency to look very trashy and vulgar.
I didn’t care and it was free. The recommended amount of product per 1 sqm is quite a lot as u need put to 3-4 layers for the super smooth and glossy finish. I had a around 1 liter which apparently is just about enough for 1-2 sqm, I was quite confident that i can make it work, it had to, lol, so i got my japanese spatulas out moved all the furniture away and started slapping that stuff on the wall like a maniac.
You basically have to stir the product a bit and then you can start.
Take a little bit with your spatula ( pictures of what i used come later in this post) and use another spatula to get rid of the excess.I tried to spread it as thin as possible to get the maximum out of what i had. Small amounts at a time. As you can see on the snapshot the white of the wall is still coming though a bit and since i use cheap spatulas from the supermarket the edges can cause a bit of scratching, but it’s fine by me. You can also see how there are darker streaks and stains, this is the special ability of this plaster, it will get darker if you compress it with the blade of the spatula, the more you scrape over it the darker it gets and the more gloss you get.
Against the recommended method of applying it rather randomly and in patches I wanted to create a more distinct movement in the texture so i did it in a vertical fashion with some randomness in the middle, i find that to look much nicer and more like the real thing. I did more or less 1 and half layers and sometimes the white paint underneath shines through. On the picture you can see that the dark parts are freshly applied and wet, whilst the lighter shades are already a bit drier, at this point there is no shine to it as it hasn’t been compressed or polished yet.
After removing the tape around my master piece it looked like this. Apparently a wall like this done by a “professional” with the recommended amount of material can cost thousands of Euros, it’s insane! ( still the stucco di luce by caparol comes at a price of around 80€ per 5 litter bucket which is not very cheap)
the texture is quite interesting with dark spots and nice streaks, i was not too concerned about getting it perfectly smooth since real concrete isn’t either, and the relief of little bumps and ridges adds depth and roughness.
After giving the plaster a good amount of time to fully dry out ( like 24h i think) i started to polish and compress it a bit more with a clean spatula. I did this in particular on all the uneven bits ( i really did not try to make it too neat in the first place) the scraping and polishing will bring the relief out and make the extruding bits darker and gives a nice shine to the whole thing and it feels super smooth now.
A couple of days later i also experimented on it with a floor wax from Ikea ( the one for wooden floors and work surfaces “BEHANDLA”) and applied that to the wall as well. This last step changed the colour to be a bit warmer and it darkened the plaster, it is based on the idea of ” beton ciré” which literally means waxed concrete and my good friends sister has in her bathroom in the south of France. I assume that it will also add a bit of protection since it sort of seals the stucco di luce.
– the whole process was quite easy and didn’t take too long, my wall is around 2,5m x 4m and i was done in around 3 hours. I love the texture and colour, especially after coating it with the ikea wax product, at first i wanted to move my bed to it’s old position in front of the wall but i left it at the opposite side to enjoy the lovely view in the morning :D-