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Is That Concrete? Decorative Finishes That Wow!

By Surface FX in Decorative Concrete, Decorative Finishes, Featured Articles

(Updated 1/8/2020)

Is That Concrete? Decorative Finishes That Wow!

We're revisiting this article we published a few years back and still appreciate how simply it lays out the argument for considering decorative concrete when you need flooring on a project. The author, Steve A. Parker, an industry expert (of Raider Painting), also published a nice article on The Difference Between Decorative and Polished Concrete which we've added to the bottom of this article -- if you're wondering about using concrete flooring, read on and enjoy!

Concrete has Undergone a Reinvention

Thanks to decorative concrete coatings and techniques, a variety of colors, patterns and designs can be made from it. It is out to replace the traditional and yet expensive flooring materials.

Some reasons why Decorative Concrete Flooring is a great alternative:

It looks as beautiful as pricier materials

Hardwood, for instance, is beautiful, but it tops the list of the most expensive flooring materials. It is prone to water damage and requires regular maintenance. The next costly materials are natural stones like slate, marble, granite or limestone. Natural stones are difficult to source, hence cost more.
With the creative use of decorative concrete coatings and techniques, this cementitious slab can be used as decorative floorings for any areas in the facility. It is a more cost-effective option for driveways, patios, walkways and indoor rooms. It can be fashioned to mimic the appearance of more expensive materials using the innovative use of colors in decorative concrete coatings.

Colored Concrete Flooring comes in many colors

Floor finishes provide aesthetic appeal to facility floors, thanks to the use of decorative concrete coatings that come in many shades. With the use of colorants, floors can even look like true marble, stone or wood flooring materials, at the price of concrete.

Some of the techniques used to achieve the colored effects:

  1. Chemical stains. The surface is etched with color when lime reacts with chemicals. The surface is mottled with translucent textures that make interesting patterns in the surface.
  2. Colored concrete. Pre-measured or bagged colorants are added to the mix to create slabs of uniform color.
  3. Sealers. Colored decorative concrete coatings seal the surface for waterproofing. The coatings are clear-colored to add gloss and highlight the surface color or pattern.
  4. Release agent colors. Stamp surfaces are applied with release agents to lessen the rough profile and reduce friction. The release agents come with color pigments to create an antique look in the surface.
  5. Colored hardeners. Colored aggregates are broadcasted onto the freshly-poured cement mix to create vivid hues on the topmost surface layer.

Stamped and Patterned Concrete Flooring can be designed with interesting textures and patterns

Cement flooring is versatile enough to be transformed into patterned finishes. The textures and designs are limited only by the imagination, using the following methods:

  1. Stamping. Patterns are imprinted into freshly-poured surface using hard objects like stones, tiles, wood, or brick.
  2. Scoring. Old cement surfaces can be scored by making shallow cuts using masonry-bladed abrasive saws. Geometric patterns or simple grout lines are created using a combination of decorative concrete coatings, colorants and sealers.
  3. Aggregate finish. Stone or gravel aggregates are spread at the top of fresh cement for a natural-looking surface effect. Clear sealers bond the aggregates tightly to the surface.

Concrete finishes offer the double benefit of beauty and durability in one package. The floorings last longer than other materials. They are also very easy to clean and maintain.

The cost of installing decorative concrete coatings vary with the method and materials used. Off-the-shelf packaged decorative concrete coatings and materials cost little for small projects. To achieve artistic patterns and specialized designs, the cost is higher. Generally, however, concrete finishing projects are cheaper than jobs involving other flooring materials.

The Difference Between Decorative and Polished Concrete

Experts in the world of flooring see slabs of concrete as a blank canvas, and this is because of the wide range of intricate designs and effects that can be achieved through staining, stamping and polishing concrete. When you're looking to make a lasting impression on prospective clients and visitors to your premises, investing in smooth and well-presented floors is a great place to start. What's the point in buying beautiful and modern premises if the interiors aren't going to be equally as aesthetically pleasing? In this article, we're going to explore the difference between decorative and polished concrete, empowering you with the chance to make an informed decision you won't regret for years to come.

What are your options?

Both decorative and polished concrete have their own benefits that make them desirable to have both inside the office and out.

Decorative Concrete

With decorative concrete, you can create the illusion of stone floors, charismatic cobbles and even natural surfaces such as wood. This technique is widely known as stamped concrete, and a good flooring company will be able to help you explore the different colors, designs, patterns and textures that can be achieved through advanced equipment that achieves an authentic result.

Now, you may be wondering: if you wanted to have wooden flooring or slates, why don't you just go for the real thing? When compared to the premium costs of oak and mahogany hardwood floors, it's a well-known fact that decorative flooring is a high-quality, substitutable alternative that will look the part - remaining durable and reliable for years to come, with significantly less maintenance. The floors won't become worn down quickly or easily, allowing a business environment to keep that brand-new, fresh appearance.

Let's not forget Polished Concrete Flooring...

If you thought decorative concrete could deliver a compelling case, wait until you hear about what polished concrete has to offer - a green way to get fantastic-looking flooring. There won't have to be any elaborate chemicals or synthetic products created to bring your old-fashioned and tired floors into the 21st century, and you'll be able to save the environment while also saving the expense associated with cleaning other types of flooring available in the market.

For businesses that cringed at the sight of their last electricity bill, reflective polished concrete products available for you to buy will reduce the amount of lighting required in the office. There won't be any unsightly dust gatherings or unattractive chips that will accumulate over the years either, as this modernistic and great-value flooring is built to last.

Whether you're commissioning a brand-new polished concrete floor or investing in a retrofit, there will be some things to think about for the best quality. As the quality of this flooring is in relation to its grit level, you should be considering a finish of at least 1,500 grit to guarantee a bright and vibrant floor with a faultless shine.

But what to choose?

And so to the most difficult part: what should you go for - the decorative or the polished concrete? Whatever you choose, you'll be delighted with the outcome, so why not contact a company that's well-versed in offering both of these products to the highest industry standards? From your professional painting contractor, you'll get advice, backed by experience, that's tailored to your premise's requirements and budget.