Unusual Applications of Concrete

1st March 2022

Super close up of a traditional garden statue or wall adornment.

Concrete is one of the most commonly utilised man-made materials on earth, used for everything from structures like bridges, buildings and dams, to smaller structural applications such as kerbs and drains. It’s used because it is a relatively cheap material with a long life, that is quite pliable before it hardens and then is very secure when it sets.

But there have been some more unusual applications for concrete over the decades, some of which you’d never expect. So read on for some uncommon applications for concrete.

Concrete Canoe

While it may seem impossible, it is possible to make a canoe out of concrete. In America, The American Society of Civil Engineers hosts the National Concrete Canoe Competition yearly. It invites students to use the knowledge they have gained during their education to showcase the versatility of concrete as a building material.

Concrete canoes are usually created with porous aggregates such as microspheres and Macrolite, enabling them to float due to having concrete mix designs that are less dense than water.


One material you might never expect to see a mandolin out of is concrete, but it’s happened! Made by Steve VandeWater, who hand-carved the concrete mandolin, the instrument is fully playable and has won awards for its creativity. Just don’t expect to be able to hold it up and play for too long!

Translucent Panels

A little known fact about concrete is that it doesn’t have to be thick and opaque. Concrete panels can be used to let natural light shine through during the day and then transmit artificial light after dark. They are commonly used as an energy saving measure for buildings looking to be more eco friendly.

Faux Bois

Micheal Fogg uses concrete to sculpt amazing furnishings designed to look like false wood (faux bois in French). This includes benches, tables and sconces. The result is one of a kind creations that are visually stunning to look at and fascinating to discover the process behind them.


An eye-catching way to display plants is to use concrete planters. They can be made in a variety of unusual and unique shapes, offering a trendy way to show off the results of your green thumb.


Most concrete bridges are designed to be functional and don’t prioritise design. But the Demonbreun Street Viaduct decided to pay homage to Nashville’s railroad heritage with locomotive engine motifs worked into the design.

Concrete Solutions

If you’re looking for concrete solutions for both domestic and commercial clients, get in touch with the team at Hazell & Jefferies Ltd. We can cater for orders of any size, using volumetric concrete mixers designed to eliminate waste and only mix exactly what you need for your project.

So call today on 0018 984 2684 to talk through your requirements with one of our team. We have a range of other services available, so visit our website now to find out more.

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