Polished Concrete Floors: The Latest Trend in Flooring
The use of concrete for residential use is growing in popularity, as designers choose the versatile surface for everything from countertops to benches. However, one trend that is growing in popularity is the use of polished concrete floors as a way to create a unique look in a room. Because concrete is extremely durable, grinding, polishing or treating the surface with chemicals can create a natural beauty that can be made as original and unique as the homeowner wants.
Designs are Limitless
Unlike other types of flooring, polished concrete floors offer endless style options, as contractors are able to create unique surfaces customized to the homeowner’s liking. Using dyes or stains, creating patterns with saws or stencils, or using specialty materials on the surface of the concrete allows for a pattern that cannot be duplicated elsewhere, whereas other types of flooring are sold in a limited number of patterns, styles or colors.
Concrete is environmentally friendly, whether the contractor uses new or existing flooring. Concrete requires fewer materials or adhesives, which means there is less waste involved. Because polish concrete floors reflect light, less lighting is necessary in the space where the concrete is used, further reducing the energy consumption in the home.
There are no surface coatings on polished concrete floors, which reduces the installation costs compared to other flooring. Polished concrete flooring is smoother than other surfaces, has increased density and is more resistant to abrasion than other types of flooring. This reduces cleaning costs, offering another cost savings to those who choose to install concrete over other types of flooring.
New Concrete Surfaces
For those that are constructing a new home, choosing a concrete floor should be done in the early stages of construction, as concrete is normally poured in the early stages of the project. Because some design elements in polished concrete must be performed in the early stages of building, it is important to discuss with the contractor what options are available to create the right polished floor look.
Existing Concrete Surfaces
It is possible to create a unique look even if the concrete flooring has been in place for many years. Contractors can change the color of the flooring using dyes or stains, which provides a mottled look to the flooring. Tile appearances or geometric designs are available through decorative concrete sawing or grinding. To seal the cuts, polyuria, a semi-rigid coating keeps dust and debris out of the design while being flexible enough to move with the concrete. The coating is available in clear form, or colors can be added to increase the unique look of the floor. There are also concrete overlays that are beneficial if the concrete is cracked or damaged to the point it is difficult to repair.
It is possible to add color to concrete as well. The integral color method creates a uniform color throughout the slab as it is added into the wet concrete so the color is all the way through. In the color hardener method, a dry mixture that includes sand, cement, pigment and conditioning agents is applied to the top of plain concrete just after pouring. The mixture absorbs intot he concrete, and can actually strengthen the concrete as it makes it denser.
There are a few helpful tips to keep in mind once the decision has been made to use polished concrete floors. There are some contractors who claim that polished concrete never needs maintenance, but this is far from true. Although this type of flooring requires less maintenance than others, it is important to keep them clean in order to avoid chipping or other damage due to spills. Some concrete floor surfaces need special cleaners in order to avoid damaging the surface, so be sure to discuss any special cleaning needs with the contractor. High gloss finishes may require special products, especially if the floor is located in a high-traffic area.
Choosing a polished concrete floor as part of new construction or during the remodel of an existing construction allows the homeowner to achieve unique, one-of-a-kind flooring that is not available with other types of floors. With color and design options that can be created specifically for the customer, concrete floors are versatile, durable and less expensive than other types of flooring.
Phil Towns is the owner of Perth Concrete Polishing company, Cubic 8.