Cement-based flooring allows you to create a seamless floor finish with a flow from indoors to out and enables you to extend indoor living spaces. However, a few things need to be considered before you can embark on a floor screeding project. Cemcrete advises:

1.    The application
Decorative cement flooring is applied by hand and therefore needs to be applied by a trained contractor. Each hand has its own technique and character, so you will seldom obtain an ‘identical’ finish even from the exact same hand, which adds to the unique aspect of decorative cement-based flooring.

2.    The features and performance attributes of the product
There are many different types of decorative floor coatings available to suit a variety of applications. To select the correct coating, go through a checklist and select those features required for your project. Criteria that can be used to narrow the product (or combination of products) choice are interior vs exterior, the height of the space on the floor that the coating must fit and the desired finish (such as smooth or rough, gloss or matte, etc.).

3.    The required end result
A cement finish will mature over time and take on a life of its own – mottling and growing into a natural-looking work of art. The nature of this product lies in its application and physical properties. As the finish is applied, moisture is absorbed at different rates into the substrate. The final outcome is a finish with natural mottling and subtle movement. This adds to the adaptable earthy aesthetic of cement.

Frequently asked questions about cement finishes
Cemcrete says that one of the most common question asked regarding decorative cement flooring products is, “Will it crack?” By nature, cement is not flexible so movement and temperatures causing expansion and contraction may cause fine hairline cracks. These cracks are considered normal and add to the natural element and the look and feel. Larger, more linear cracks are mostly caused by lack of expansion joints which are routed in the substrate. Make sure you have cut these joints into the screed before applying a cement-based finish as this will help eliminate these larger unsightly cracks.

Another common question is, “Are cement floors cold?” Surprisingly, they can be slightly warmer than tiles or natural stone flooring. It is also possible to heat up cement floors because cement has the ability to store and radiate heat. This can be done with underfloor heating, for example.

The advantages of specifying decorative cement finishes for your project:
•    Durability: Cement offers sheer strength which makes it the most crucial element on any construction site.
•    Cost effectiveness and longevity: Many flooring options might initially be inexpensive in comparison to decorative cement-based flooring products, but cement lasts very long and will give you a great return on investment. Cement-based floors rarely need replacement, especially if properly installed and maintained.
•    Ease of maintenance: A good quality sealer is applied to help resist water, stains, dirt and abrasives so once the floor is installed, it is very easy to clean and maintain.
•    Options and flexibility: Cemcrete offers a range of colours for each floor product, as well as various sealers to add further effects (gloss, matt, slip-resistance, colour enhancement, and so on). You will never be let down by lack of variety.
•    Doesn’t hold odours: Decorative cement floors won’t hold any odours such as pets’ urine, nor harbour dust, fleas and mites, which can lead to allergies.
•    Non-toxic: These floors do not emit any VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

For more information, contact Cemcrete on 0860 CEMCRETE or via www.cemcrete.co.za.