Having a concrete exterior wall can make for a sturdy foundation, but you can't ignore its lack of visual appeal. Concrete walls are essentially a blank canvas through which you can let you can let your creativity flow- all you need are the right ideas to spur you into action.
Covering your concrete exterior wall will make your house more welcoming, and it can turn into a functional makeshift garden space if you choose to incorporate plants into it. If you want something more low-maintenance, simply painting over it can elevate its look for minimal effort.
Leaving your concrete wall bare can make your exterior look drab and lifeless, and it can be susceptible to dirt and marks which will show easily and lower your house's visual appeal. By covering it, the concrete wall can be an asset and make your house feel more "alive" as you inject character into the wall.
Of course, it's also important to consider who you'll be around--if your neighborhood is full of rowdy kids, painting a mural can be counterproductive as some of them can be naughty enough to ruin it.
In that case, lining the wall with plants or covering it with faux stones could be better since they hide imperfections well.
We have gathered 11 ideas that will inspire you to make your concrete wall exterior more unique.
1. Cover with Faux Stones
Make your exterior feel more natural and rustic by covering it with faux stones. These artificial stones are made with cement, natural aggregates, and pigments that add texture and character to your house.
Although they are not real stones, they can still add significant value to your house because of their classic and rustic appeal. Aside from that, artificial stones can also last longer--a testament to their reliability and durability.
They can protect the concrete wall underneath, and strengthen your entire exterior at the same time. Of course, to utilize this benefit, you need to make sure the stones are installed correctly so you won't have to worry about moisture damage, rotting, and inconsistent sealing that can result in structural damage.
2. Paint a Mural Over It
A creative way to cover your concrete wall that can showcase your preferences and personality is by painting a mural over it. It's best to paint a mural that everyone can appreciate and one that sends a positive impression.
You can paint the mural yourself if you have the right materials, but it is best to hire an artist since they are most familiar with the considerations that come with painting an outdoor mural.
They'll know the type of paint that won't fade easily over time and can withstand weather patterns, and they'll know how to make the artwork fit in with the surrounding area.
3. Layer with Tiles
Make your exterior wall look elegant by covering concrete with tiles. Make sure the tiles you choose have a classic look that can elevate your exterior's appeal for a long time. It's best to stick with neutral-colored tiles that have unique patterns to make them more cohesive with the rest of the house.
However, consider your climate first before going for tiled exteriors. If you live in an area where the temperatures can drop below freezing, the tiles can crack from the moisture build-up.
You can install porcelain tiles instead of ceramic, but make sure you hire a professional to install them so they won't blow up when the weather changes.
4. Line With Plants
Convert the empty concrete wall into a makeshift green wall to add both a visual appeal to your exterior and make it more environmentally functional.
Aside from the obvious advantages, having a green wall can act as a buffer between the noise outside and inside your house. The noise will not easily penetrate your walls since especially if the plants are densely packed together.
You can also try putting the plants into pots and hanging them on your concrete wall, or you can stick with hanging plants such as string of peals, spider plant, or Boston fern.
If you don't want to put your plants into pots, you can embed a makeshift "terrace" into the concrete wall that you can cover with soil and put your plants to.
5. Put a Textured Overlay
If you want something simple and straightforward, textured concrete overlays could be for you. They're economical, and they can instantly elevate the appeal of your concrete wall.
There's a variety of finishes, colors, and textures you can choose from, so aesthetic versatility is already guaranteed.
Concrete overlays are also more affordable since you won't have to worry about procuring other materials to achieve the look you want. They also last for a long time, so your investment won't be wasted.
6. Cover with Stucco
Covering your drabby concrete walls with stucco is a great way to upgrade their look and introduce a visually pleasing texture to your exterior. Stucco exteriors are timeless; they have been around for a long time originating from Spanish and Mediterranean architecture.
This material adds value to your house since it is highly durable, rigid, and resistant to fire and pests. Make sure you hire a competent contractor to install stucco on your concrete walls so you won't have to deal with installation issues later on.
However, the stucco wall might require more upkeep if you live in a humid area since they are prone to moisture damage. It is a porous material, so you will need to seal it.
What should you seal stucco with?
To make sure your stucco doesn't absorb too much moisture, seal it with a masonry sealer which should prevent the walls from cracking and forming mold spots.
7. Cover with Vinyl Panels
For a more solid covering that needs little to no improvement, cover the concrete using vinyl panels. They are an affordable and relatively effortless alternative to other concrete coverings.
If you don't have enough time and resources to maintain an exterior, vinyl panels are low-maintenance, needing only occasional spraying.
8. Put up Climbing Plants
Add a natural appeal to your walls by putting up climbing plants on your empty concrete walls. However, some climbing plants can damage your concrete wall and cause structural damage, so it is best to avoid the following:
- Trumpet vines
- Boston ivy
- Virginia creeper
You should choose climbing plants that don't fully cling to the walls to prevent them from weakening the house's foundation. The climbing plants that can enhance and not damage your home are the following:
- Climbing roses
- Morning glories on a trellis
9. Put up Bamboo Panels
You can cover the entirety of the concrete walls with bamboo panels for a rustic look, or you can fuse concrete and bamboo by leaving a part of the concrete exposed to embrace a more contemporary look.
Bamboo has a tranquil look that can make your exterior look relaxing and serene as it is reminiscent of natural architecture.
They also have an artistic appeal that can add character to your house. Bamboo exteriors mimic natural landscapes, so they will blend well with a house surrounded by a garden.
10. Embed with Glass Bottles
Lessen glass bottle waste by embedding them into the concrete. Not only will this add a unique texture to your exterior, but it will also literally make your house sparkle when the glass bottles are hit by sunlight.
However, the concrete's strength can decrease when it is mixed with glass aggregate, so it may not be ideal to be mixed into concrete if it's connected to your foundation. However, it can be applied to your curb or outdoor walls that aren't connected to your house.
11. Carve an Intricate Molding
This won't cover the wall per se, but it will distract the eyes from the possible imperfections that an empty concrete wall can incur over time.
The carving can be anywhere from unique geometrical patterns to natural elements--it depends on your preference. Unlike murals, the mold won't fade and will be able to stay there as long as the concrete is in good condition.
Coming up with ideas to cover a concrete wall can be challenging depending on your location since you have to consider the weather patterns and humidity levels.
As always, the exterior wall covering you choose should both be functional and aesthetically pleasing so it can add value not only to your house but to your daily life as well.