Concrete is a highly durable flooring material, and when it is properly installed and maintained, it can last for centuries. It is a part of the structure’s foundation in most buildings, and its surface can be found underneath other floor coverings.
Naturally, concrete has a grayish color, with its shade determined by the chemical composition of the mixture, the speed at which it is set, and the environmental factors present.
Enhance and Protect Concrete Flooring
But today, there are different coloring and texturizing techniques that can be used to make concrete flooring colorful and elegant. Most of these treatments provide added protection to the concrete, sealing off the water and creating an easy-to-clean layer. Depending on the treatment applied and the state of the concrete, you can come up with different and interesting effects.
Here are five techniques for enhancing and protecting your concrete floors.
Concrete polishing is generally categorized into two:
- Mechanical – This is a process that involves placing the scratches in the concrete mechanically. It uses finer grit abrasives to get rid of the scratches and replace them with smaller micro scratches. Its main objective is to refine the flooring surfaces so you can see a reflection on the floor.
- Topical – This process is quite similar to mechanical polishing, but with a shorter course of action. It also leaves the floor below maximum refinement, with the grits leaving peaks over the scratches. A sealer is applied to the gaps left by the scratching process. As the topical sealer dries, it results in a completely polished appearance.
Since topical polishing is more affordable and faster to complete, most contractors prefer using it over the other option.
Here are some of today’s best finishes to achieve a polished concrete floor:
- Neocement – This is a decorative finish meant to create stunning interior and exterior floors and walls in your kitchens, shower boxes, and bathrooms. It can be applied by hand at a reduced thickness. It yields excellent adhesion with high abrasion resistance. It also offers flexural properties unmatched by other concrete overlays or coatings, which makes it highly suitable for high-traffic rooms.
- Liquid Crystal – This is suitable for residential and commercial buildings like restaurants and showrooms, as well as homes where bespoke and hard-wearing floors are required. It comes in unlimited design possibilities and color choices, making it a lot easier to create stunning artistic finishes.
- Urban – This is known for its ability to redefine boundaries of seamless flooring, creating an excellent background for city dwellers who want to showcase their identity in one unified space. It can be applied over new and old concrete.
- Terrazzo – Floors surfaced with Terrazzo can be studded with a combination of quartz, granite, marble, glass, mirror chips, and porcelain. It is often applied in high-traffic commercial areas, including hotels, restaurants, museums, hospitals, and theaters. It is growing in popularity because of its superb aesthetic appeal, hygienic finish, resistance to stains and scratches, and eco-friendly features.
Decorative concrete paints are also among the best options for transforming your dull, gray concrete floors into colorful, stunning surfaces.
Colortek’s line of decorative paints, for instance, can help you achieve how certain rooms in your house should appear and feel. From chic colors to modern textured finishes, you have a wealth of paint solutions to choose from.
New technology also provides you the ability to pick peculiar designs. You can magnify the beauty of your floors with paints combined with pearlescent or metallic particles. Some paint finishes also contain Swarovski crystals should you want dazzling surfaces on your property.
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Overlays are good options for concrete floors that are distressed or damaged. This refers to adding a thin layer of new concrete over the existing slab to restore it.
Typically, overlays contain a cementitious product. However, some can be a mixture of cement and polyurethane. The overlay is then stained, coated, stamped, or polished with any design and color you can imagine.
Acid-staining involves the application of phosphoric or hydrochloric acid mixed with salts to a cured concrete slab. The acid will open the pores in the concrete, while the salts will cause chemical reactions, leading to discoloration on the surface.
The result will depend on the materials used, the porosity of the concrete, and the age of the slab. That is why you can see unique flooring surfaces that may have a three-dimensional look because of the color differences. But since you can’t be sure of how your floor will react to the acid and salts, consider picking a small portion as a test area before treating the entire surface.
If you want a more intricate pattern for your floors, acid-staining can be done with a faux grout line. Grout lines can be created by etching the concrete once the staining process is complete. There are also several stamps and stencils designed for concrete floors to achieve the pattern that fits your space and style.
You can also apply dyes over concrete floors to give these your desired color. As opposed to acid-staining, the dyes won’t cause any chemical reaction with the concrete. Rather, it will penetrate the surface to give a color. With dyes, the results are more predictable.
But since dyes have limited colors to create movement and softness, the result can be a bit harsh. Adding an area rug can be an excellent option to make dyed concrete floors attractive. This will help add a softer texture and create contrast in the space. Moreover, adding eco-friendly carpets and rugs to your concrete floors is beneficial regardless of the type of finish you opt for because concrete tends to be cold and hard.
With today’s wide variety of available techniques for improving the look and feel of the usual gray finish, concrete can become the most colorful and elegant floors you will ever see. Those times when concrete floors translated to just poured slabs are long gone. Modern property owners now have the option to make their concrete floors as stunning as ever. And with proper care and maintenance, your flooring can last indefinitely. Over the long run, you can save time, money, and effort by repairing or replacing your flooring surfaces every few months or years.