Interior Concrete Flooring
Concrete has been used as a flooring material for hundreds of years in the form of terrazzo. It is often chosen by architects for use in large high traffic public spaces such as airports, museums and hospitals. The floors in these venues have to be durable and maintained easily while the public is present, as they see little down time. The price for these floors seem expensive on the front end, but when factoring in the labor and products needed to maintain alternative flooring choices it is clear to see they can be very cost effective.
Modern day concrete choices are gaining popularity due to the longevity of the material and the creative possibilities. Where concrete is used in the home’s construction, it should not be thought of as a sub-floor, but as a finished floor. With a little care during construction and some pre-planning with design and color choices, it could save the homeowner money and out perform any other flooring material considered.
Concrete overlays are a way of creating decorative concrete finishes and designs on concrete that previously had another material installed. Once the material is removed, the means of attachment (tack strips, glue, etc.) need to be removed and repaired. The overlays are applied by hand creating interesting textures as minimal or aggressive as desired. Tuscan tile and travertine finishes are also possible. Scoring can recreate the look of large tile and offer custom designs when 3 feet square and larger sizes are chosen.
Acid stained coloring is one of the oldest forms of concrete coloring. This is usually the most popular option requested, but many more options are available that many are not aware of. Water based stains and chemical dyes are other colorants used to create endless designs. Epoxy coatings mixed with metallic pigments can offer a new look showing movement of color and depth often being mistaken for acid stained finishes. Two or more colors can be used and blended for awesome custom appearances.
Decorative quartz sand and vinyl chips can be applied to an epoxy coating creating a system with depth of the material (usually 20 mils) adding some resilience to the floor. Many different color choices are possible with either material in color blends or solid colors. These systems are good candidates for harsh environments like garage floors and commercial kitchens.
Concrete floors will be sealed to protect against staining and for wear resistance. Acrylics, urethanes, epoxies, and polyaspartics are all topical sealers. Depending on the environment and expectations will influence which sealer would be appropriate for a particular application. Some concrete floors would be best suited to be polished and densified to enhance stain protection and wear resistance. Not all concrete is suitable for polishing though.
All concrete floors are easily maintained with neutral cleaners and water, because of the sealer selected for a particular application. Some interior floors can have a wax applied for the ease of a homeowner maintaining the sheen level by periodically reapplying. Concrete floors are excellent choices for areas which may become flooded. The floors only need to be allowed to dry thoroughly and cleaned instead of removing and discarded like most other flooring materials.