Industrial spaces have been using concrete flooring since time immemorial. But the recent influx of homes and offices with the same material is quite noticeable. It is versatile and can last for several years. Maintenance is also easy and incredibly cheap.
Concrete floors come in a variety of finishes. You can choose one that fits your existing interiors, or you can go to a completely different path. How you improve your home or commercial building is all up to you. And concrete gives you the chance to achieve your design goals without costing too much.
The Shift to Honed and Polished Concrete
Over the last decade or so, it is noticeable how many residential and commercial properties are moving in the direction of concrete, especially polished concrete. It has quietly yet surely displaced traditional flooring options.
Retail stores, offices, and other commercial spaces choose honed and polished concrete more than the others. Years ago, this concrete variety was only available for installation at the back of houses and sometimes, home centres. However, as time passed, many individuals and businesses have seen their aesthetics and sustainability. It has then become one of the most sought-after flooring options today because of its affordable price, quick installation, and is virtually maintenance-free.
More than 30 years ago, honed concrete was the process involving several wax coats to create a highly-polished floor. Beeswax was generally used at that point and often mixed with turpentine, along with mineral pigment. It was a difficult task with a result that could be improved and obtained much quicker.
Today, this concrete concept now has several techniques, which allow the attainment of distinctive colours and finishes.
But why are there many people choosing to switch from their current flooring to polished or honed concrete? The answer lies within the benefits it offers, including:
- As light reflects on the surface, the room looks more spacious than it truly is. This characteristic is beneficial for both homes and commercial buildings. For instance, a small living room will appear wider because of the lighting. Retail stores can take advantage of it as well since customers will not feel cramped.
- Keeping concrete floors clean is easy, and there is no need to use strong chemicals to get rid of dirt. It is why this type of flooring is viewed as environmentally friendly. All you need to do is to mop the floor, and it will remove the dust and grime.
- Polished concrete is suitable for those who have asthma and allergies. It is why stores that accept many customers daily pick this flooring option over the more expensive ones.
- If you are running a commercial establishment, you know that people will go in and out of the vicinity each for several hours. You need a durable floor to withstand such abuse. Polished concrete is quite durable, and it has fewer vibrations and noise because it is a flat surface.
Polished concrete is achieved mainly in three different methods, namely:
- Steel Trowelled – When you are aiming for a flat, smooth surface that you see in most other spaces, this technique may be performed. You can recognise trowel marks though.
- Burnished – For a durable finish, the burnished method may be what will suit your taste. It has a surface lustre that is done by steel trowelling. When the surface has a glossy appearance, it is when products, such as waxes and coatings, are applied.
- Honed – Honed concrete is perhaps one of the most popular ways to achieve polished concrete. This method creates a durable finish that does not require a lot of maintenance. The process involves grinding the surface using abrasives. The goal is to make it smooth and matte at the end of the procedure. While grinding, aggregates will be exposed, which is what this concrete flooring option is about. These aggregates can be anything from pebbles to smaller stones to glass pieces.
Polished concrete adds sophistication while enhancing the design of a home or retail space. There are several finishes and colours to choose from, which can be anything from a bright, whimsical appearance to an old-fashioned look.
These styles are attained in different ways. For instance, if you want the quirky surface, using plastic moulds is often an essential part of the process. They will be filled with paint to come up with stained patterns. On the other hand, polyurethane lace stencil is used to create a classic look.
One thing that you have to know when working with honed and polished concrete is that the final result does not have to be smooth. It is also possible for you to add warmth and texture, which can be achieved through stamping. This method allows you to mimic how other materials appear, such as brick, stone, and tile. Colouring can also be performed.
With polished concrete, you get a high level of customisation that is difficult to find in other materials.
Is This Type of Flooring The Best for Your Home?
Believe it or not, your home’s floors have a massive impact on the overall personality and design of your property. They set the tone for the whole house and can transform the space looks. Unfortunately, there are several options available, including tiles, laminate wood, cork, hardwood, and even carpets.
However, if you want a cost-effective choice that will make a room or the whole house stand out, polished concrete is the answer. Concrete is no longer the material dedicated to driveways, basements, and warehouses. You can install it anywhere you want, including your living room and bedrooms. If you have a store, you should certainly consider this flooring option.
You may be daunted with this material, especially if you have not tried concrete for your interiors. It is time for you to take a chance. Polished concrete allows you to personalise your space effectively. You can select from different polished concrete floor finishes available.
Many people think that they can only have high-gloss finish with polished concrete. In reality, other options exist, including matte and low-gloss.
Property owners can choose the best level of aggregate exposure for their concrete floors. The process starts even before the material is poured. You will select how much aggregate you would like exposed – ranging from nil to full exposure. The aggregate refers to the elements, such as stone and others, which would remain visible while they sit under the surface.
When it is at full exposure, the surface is more forgiving than other levels (nil to minimal). The reason behind it is that the finish is much easier to get right. Careful planning and a good selection of concrete mixture are required to obtain quality installation no matter what exposure level you go for.
Top Trends in Polished Concrete Flooring for Inspiration
Polished concrete flooring is getting more and more popular each day. Homes and businesses show how versatile this flooring type can be with the following trends:
Matte Finish for Light-Absorbent Surroundings
Those who already use concrete indoors can see the beauty of the effect of polished concrete in a matte finish. Who would have thought that it is possible to have something “polished” yet matte? Only this type of concrete can achieve such style.
It is trendy because it can highlight the natural tones of other concrete structures in a particular space. Additionally, it allows you to cover up imperfections of the surface. For this reason, commercial properties and warehouses choose this option. It is easy to maintain and can hide dirt even when the area is not cleaned regularly.
Low-Gloss for a Sleek But Not to Shiny Appearance
Some commercial and residential properties still want a little bit of shine. With a low or semi-gloss finish, they can have the best of both worlds – without going overboard. Polished concrete with low-gloss is striking. It allows some light to reflect on the surface while absorbing a little bit of it as well. This option is popular in homes and even retail spaces. It exudes class but hides some imperfections.
Better Light Reflectivity with High Sheen Finish
Out of all the polished concrete finishes, people love high-sheen because it delivers the right amount of light into a space. It enhances the beauty of colours in the area where they bounce off the nearby objects. The effect is quite mesmerising, which is why this type of finish is the most popular, especially in homes.
It does require more effort in cleaning though. As the floor gets shinier, flaws become more visible. It is why you may want to be a bit aggressive in maintenance if you have high-sheen flooring.
High-Gloss for a Glass-Like Surface
If you want your floor to truly shine (literally), you can follow this trend that uses a high-gloss level of flooring. The surface will resemble glass. Many stores choose this option because it is easy to clean and maintain.
Dyed Polished Concrete
Did you know that you can choose a colour for concrete? You do not have to settle for different shades of grey because you have a variety of hues available, including gold, sand, terra cotta, mahogany, chocolate brown, and maroon. The options are virtually limitless; you just have to decide what you want your floors to look like. Make sure though that they still complement the entire space, just like what many homes and offices do.
Colouring polished concrete is an ongoing trend. Because of the increase in demand, different technologies have emerged. One of them is by using concrete dyes, which have a smaller particle size compared to natural colours. They also have better solubility, which means the concrete dyes can penetrate deeper and stronger. The result is a more vivid colour.
The dyes are often suspended in either alcohol or acetone. Unlike water-based stains, the solvent-based products have extremely low surface tension. Therefore, they can penetrate the material, and they also dry up quickly.
Different Levels of Aggregate Exposure
As a form of decorative concrete, polished concrete can have a surface with varying levels of exposure for the aggregate used. Some homes want a uniform degree, but you can have different levels when you plan the design carefully. With the help of the contractor, you can go for nil to minimal to full exposure finishes in your home or office.
Nil is achieved by usually grinding 3 mm off the surface ever so lightly. The result is an exposure of a small number to no stones on the floor. It works best for a perfectly flat surface.
Minimal exposure, on the other hand, is when the contractor grinds 2mm to 5mm off the concrete surface. It is a light grind that exposes a few stones, which gives you a sort of “salt and pepper” look. The uneven nature makes this level of exposure easy to achieve.
Finally, we have full exposure, which involves grinding 5mm or more off the surface. All the stones will go on the surface, creating a unique look. It is popular in homes, as well as restaurants. It is the most laborious, however, because it needs a lot of grinding effort.
More Design Options
Logos and stencils are slowly becoming a part of the polished concrete industry. Since many commercial properties are applying the material in their construction, they can benefit from such an amalgamation. Polished concrete already has a smooth finish, which makes it a good surface for stencils for creating intricate designs.
It is why polished concrete is one of the best options for companies that want to etch a logo or any marketing message on the floor. The real advantage is that stencils combine well with polished concrete since the engravings become a part of the concrete.
The result is a lustrous message on a stunning surface, thanks to polished concrete. If you take a closer look, you will see that the design appears to be in or even under the surface.
If you are interested in taking your flooring to the next level, contact CoastCrete to start planning for your honed and polished concrete floor.