FLOORS in Africa magazine has rounded up some of the top concrete trends, the hot colours at the moment and the latest popular styles.

Distressed concrete flooring
Clients and designers seeking alternatives to traditional wood flooring are giving rise to the popularity of distressed concrete floors. Similar to distressed wood, distressed concrete goes through artificial processes to minimise the highly polished look and produce an enhanced worn out patina. This style works best in contemporary and industrial interiors but it can be integrated into most types of decors.

Luminescent concrete
Luminescent aggregate can be added to a regular concrete mix. These particles absorb UV radiation from the sun as well as artificial light during the day and release the energy after dark to give a speckled “glow-in-the-dark” effect to a concrete surface. The intensity of the illumination depends on the amount of particles that have been scattered onto the surface of the concrete. This type of concrete can be used to enhance architectural details or highlight a public pathway, for example. Not only does luminescent concrete help people find their way in the dark, it is aesthetically beautiful. However, don’t expect this type of concrete to replace conventional lighting. It’s not thát bright!

Sanded effect concrete
The sanded-effect look offers a contemporary aesthetic as well as a continuous, rough textured, seamless surface. Different colours can be achieved by using different powders, which are transferred to concrete to create a uniform texture. Sanded-effect concrete can be used to create monolithic horizontal surfaces that are well-suited to both residential architecture as well as urban developments.

Resin finishes
Resin finishes such as epoxy, polyaspartic and polyurethane can simultaneously protect and embellish a floor and give a floor a very high resistance to foot traffic and chemical attack. The ultra-thin polyaspartic resin finishes on the market are able to dry in record time and unique looks can be achieved by combining this coating with quartz, flakes or inks. Special epoxy can be used to achieve a metallic finish to give the concrete a sparkling, industrial appearance.

CT Industries

Colouring existing concrete
To embellish existing concrete or restore faded concrete, designers can opt for processes to achieve ink/stained finishes or a patina finish. A patina finish brings an aged effect to the concrete; ink/stains makes it possible to colour very dense concrete (and in particular, polished concrete).

Bigger patterns and more natural colour combinations
What was popular in stamped concrete two decades ago is still popular today, but with a twist. Today’s trend is towards bigger patterns with more natural colour combinations. Custom-stamped concrete floors are created with hand tooling and by using existing large pattern stamps or seamless texture skins and hand tooling custom joints or patterns. This solution requires more time and craftsmanship but it can produce unique custom looks that aren’t easy to reproduce.

Blending multiple colours
One of the latest concrete floor trends, when it comes to stamping, involves blending multiple colour pigments to achieve affects that are more realistic. The aesthetic goal of a stamped concrete floor is often to resemble another natural material, and blending release-agent powder with a post-applied colour wash or stain can help you achieve a realistic and unique finish.

Customisation
Customisation and liquid art can enable you to transfer a logo or image onto a concrete floor. Everything from stains to overhead projections and digital technology are being used to create one-of-a-kind floors for clients.

Minimalist influences
Concrete works superbly in a minimalist design. Pairing concrete floors with cool textures such as metallic flooring sections or stonewashed shades can achieve a striking result.

Waxed and polished concrete
Waxed and polished concrete may sound if they can be similar, but they are worlds apart. A waxed floor typically refers to a linoleum or wood floor, but in concrete it refers to a type of coating that gives a more waxed look and feel. With a polished concrete installation, a specially mix-designed concrete with much higher than normal quantities of aggregate are used so that the surface can then be grinded and polished to expose the stone. The flatness and levelness of the concrete is therefore crucial.

Many shades of grey
Grey is one of the most popular interior design colours for 2018. If combining grey stone into the interior isn’t in line with the architect’s vision or the client’s aesthetic goals, then concrete can be used as an alternative to bring shades of grey into the space.

Cemcrete

Hot colours
Some of the hot colours include pure black concrete stain, which creates a deep inky colour when applied to smoother surfaces; dappled brown that can deliver red, orange and faint green hues when diluted; robust and deep reds with dark accents; and pewter, which is a delicate grey that gives you the ability to create a contemporary look and feel.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.sebringdesignbuild.com, www.za.chryso.com, www.ctindustries.co.za, www.diamondpc.co.za, www.garagefloorcoatingofmn.com, www.bocadolobo.com, www.worldofconcrete.com, www.concreteconstruction.net, www.concretenetwork.com and www.surecretedesign.com for some of the information contained in this article.

Main image: Chryso SA

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