The possibilities for concrete floors are endless and more architects are designing imaginative concrete floors with smooth polished or textured appearances that may be painted, stained, dyed or stamped with interesting colours and patterns. If a property needs to stay up-to-date with trends, a concrete floor can pivot and be reinvented with the times, perhaps starting out exposed and later, when there’s another trend, layered with rugs, sanded or stained.
Flooring material of choice for decades
Concrete has long been the flooring material of choice for industrial facilities, commercial and public spaces such as malls, universities, hotels and has now made its way into chic business establishments and modern homes. Concrete floors are low cost to install, can withstand heavy loads and high traffic, are easy to maintain and keep clea, and can last a long time even centuries, making it sustainable.
Concrete is highly versatile, strong, durable, resistant to fire, stains, water and bacteria and is an ideal material for indoor and outdoor floors. The smooth surface creates a sense of openness for a minimalist design or can blend with natural materials like stone, timber and brick to create a trendy industrial design which can be softened with a muted, neutral palette and area rugs.
Raw or polished creates a different feeling
Raw concrete can create a rough, unrefined floor by removing the outer skin of concrete paste to uncover coarse aggregate ideal for sidewalks, driveways, patios, pool decks and plazas. A polished concrete floor appears sleek, elegant and seamless and is achieved by grinding concrete with polishing machines until it becomes finer and smooth or by using chemical finishes such as powders mixed into the fresh concrete.
Polished floors can be designed using a variety of colours to give them a different look such as mimicking marble, tiles or a wood floor. Grey isn’t your only choice of colour for concrete floors. You can add any colour to concrete by adding pigments to the concrete mixture before it is poured or by dyeing, painting, staining or stamping the surface of these floors.
Dynamic effect using stain or dye
A polished floor can be acid-stained or dyed, discolouring the surface to create a unique colour, marbled or an almost three-dimensional effect. Maybe you want to stain your floors with high gloss for extra sleekness or stamp leaf patterns into your entryway to lean into the nature vibe. Perhaps you want to add a visually interesting accent. Patterns can be trowel-cut into the concrete floor and elements such as brass and zinc strips can be used to create patterns.
There are high performance surface protection systems of varying chemical composition designed to protect, transform and restore concrete surfaces, adding beauty, function and value to your floor.
Sealing and curing pivotal to longevity
Epoxy treatments are often used to seal and repair a damaged concrete subfloor, as epoxy is a strong material that can be poured into cracks to help level out the surface. Epoxy floor coverings make it possible to achieve all the same affects you find with ordinary paint and are available in many colours, allowing you to create unique designs and patterns.
The process of curing is essential to achieving maximum strength and durability of the finished concrete structure. You can maintain an adequate moisture content by continuous or frequent application of water, saturated cover materials or by application of a membrane, adding a curing compound to the freshly placed concrete.
It is essential to seal a concrete surface so that the concrete is durable, maintains its surface appearance, is protected against water, sulphates, chlorides, chemicals, oil, grease and deterioration, is non-slip and is easy to maintain. Sealing agents also provide an aesthetic finish such as gloss, semi-gloss, matt or transparent to intensify the original concrete colour. Once cured and sealed, the floor is easily cleaned with standard detergents or by wiping and vacuuming.
Acknowledgement and thanks go to Ha-Be for some of the information contained in this article.
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