Texture options for exterior concrete walls

Written by sidney johns
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Texture options for exterior concrete walls
Concrete exterior walls may be etched or carved. (Adam Jones/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Choosing a texture for a home's exterior concrete walls can transform the house from plain to decorative. Plain concrete walls often look unfinished or boring. Adding texture is an option to fix the situation. No matter what the neighbourhood or region, there are several options. Before selecting an option, take into consideration the cost of product and labour. Some finishes are more affordable than others.

Wet Troweling

For a simplistic solution to plain smooth concrete walls, consider a wet trowelling treatment. Trowels come in various sizes and are used typically to smooth wet concrete. For a non-smooth finish, a professional uses a trowel to create patterns in the drying concrete. Swirls, lines or random patterns are created by pushing the tool along the surface of the wall. If the wall is old or already dry, an additional layer of wet concrete can be added.


In days gone by, towns close to the southern Atlantic Ocean built concrete-like walls using a combination of sand, water and sea shells. This combination, often called coquina, is still used today to cover the exterior of some homes. The product is commercially available as an alternative to siding. Applied wet to the exterior concrete walls, the rough mixture is available in multiple options. Colours created from the natural shells range from very pale to deep shades. The texture is available in a crushed, or smaller pieces or in large, almost whole, shell appearance. This texture for a concrete wall requires professional installation. This application is not as durable as other options. Consider the cost of maintenance prior to selection.


To create a pattern of texture in exterior concrete walls, a stamping method is an available option. Typically done by licensed professionals, stamping involves adding an overlay to the outer concrete wall. The soft, often synthetic, overlay is then moulded into shapes using a special stamp. The stamps are typically small and require repetitive use to texture the entire wall. Options for stamping include a brick, block or rock appearance.

Hand Carving

Another option for adding texture to exterior concrete walls is hand carving. This art form typically requires a professional. The process is completed using special carving tools. The tools etch permanent patterns into the concrete. This time consuming job can create picture-like designs or simple vertical or horizontal lines in the wall. Carefully consider the cost of hand carving before deciding on this texture process.

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