Dig down below a laminate, tile, or hardwood floor – really, almost any floor – and you'll probably find concrete. But recently, concrete has begun to come into its own as a flooring material, not just a slab to be hidden below other materials. Concrete is easy to clean and maintain, reduces allergy and mold problems, and is made to last an extremely long time. You probably already have the material below your current flooring. And far from looking like the surface of a sidewalk, polished concrete is an attractive flooring with marble-like shine:
Concrete As A Floor Finish
Many people associate concrete with a hard, rough, slightly porous surface – able to stand up to heavy use but not aesthetically appealing – suitable for the floor of a warehouse, maybe, but not a home or business. But polished concrete is a very different matter.
When concrete is polished, it is also treated with a densifier, filling the pores and making the concrete more durable. This added density also increases the shine of the polished surface. When the pores are sealed, it also protects the concrete from water damage and staining from spilled liquids.
That alone, however, would leave you with a heavy-duty floor, but not a particularly attractive one. Polished concrete is more than polishing that heavy-duty floor to a high shine, though. There are many options for adding color, pattern, visual texture and interest to concrete floors.
Dyes and stains can be added to enhance concrete's natural earthy tones or to change them completely; they can be mixed to create almost any color. Translucent stains add color while allowing the texture of the original concrete to show through. And they can be combined with scoring and grinding to create complex and interesting designs.
If your concrete is in good condition, the surface can be scored with grooves to create interesting and even intricate patterns in the flooring. The simplest scoring involves dividing the floor into squares for a tiled look; it can also be used to mimic cut or natural stone paving.
And this method can also be used to cut complicated designs into the floor. Imagine the logo of a business in a lobby, a sunburst design in an entryway, or a geometric pattern for an Art Deco-looking living room – by combining pattern scoring with dyeing, the possibilities are very wide.
Concrete is made of aggregate – often bits of granite, river stones and other rocks – mixed with cement and water to bind those stones together. The concrete can be ground down to show more or less of the aggregate stones that make it up; the irregular scattering of this aggregate lends a natural look to the flooring.
Whatever look is chosen, that surface can then be polished with increasingly fine diamond grit into an attractive floor – an environmentally-friendly floor, made with existing materials and able to be cleaned with soap and water – that will last any home or business for a long, long time.Share