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Decorative Concrete Flooring: Changing the Face of Concrete

Feb 10, 2008
Decorative concrete flooring is a fast growing trend for businesses and homeowners alike. There are several factors that make this type of flooring very appealing both visually and economically.

The face of concrete is changing with the introduction of new ideas, products, and techniques used by those in the industry. Concrete is no longer just a foundation for traditional wood, tile, or carpet floors. Concrete is for those who want to deviate from the norm and have something different and unique. Concrete as the finished floor is gaining popularity everywhere. Why is this?

Concrete's versatility offers endless design opportunities. Every concrete floor accepts stain differently which makes each project one of a kind. Creating patterns with the use of different colors and scoring techniques further enhances the distinctiveness of decorative concrete floors.

Concrete is hard-wearing and when installed correctly, no other flooring material can match concrete's strength and durability. With a sealcoat, concrete resists stains, water damage, mold, mildew, and wear & tear from everyday traffic. Concrete is an uninterrupted floor, unlike floors that are installed in sections or have seams at the entry of each room. This continuous floor is an advantage over other floors like wood, tile, vinyl or carpet that can get moisture under them and become damaged. This makes concrete flooring especially ideal for basements that are prone to flooding. Simply squeegee the water away and the floor is like new again.

There are various products and methods used for decorating concrete. Acid staining is the most commonly used application. This is a natural, translucent coloring process facilitated by a chemical reaction. Since poured concrete has variations or inconsistencies in the surface and acid stains highlight these variations, no two stained slabs can ever look exactly the same.

Acrylic staining is a more controlled process for staining concrete that results in a semi-translucent color. Acrylic stains behave like dyes by penetrating the surface and adhering to the concrete. They are commonly used to create more vibrant colors.

Scoring the surface to create patterns further enhances a floor's individuality. It can be scored to resemble small or large tiles or almost any pattern you can imagine. This combined with the use of different colors and your options are only limited by your imagination.

Many concrete slabs by themselves are not good candidates for concrete staining because of too many imperfections on the surface or because they have been beaten up during construction. This is when overlays are used to make a brand new surface to work with. Overlays are not just cement paste spread across the floor, but polymer modified cementitious toppings. The toppings can be stained after application or integrally colored. Different textures can be applied for custom appearances.
When it comes to cost, concrete flooring is comparable to a midrange ceramic tile or wood floor. But it will easily outlast any other flooring material and maintenance is cinch. There's no need to worry about replacing it after several years like you might with carpet or tile.

So if you're searching for the perfect flooring that you can afford, take a good look at decorative concrete flooring.
About the Author
Kirk Muhlhauser is decorative concrete contractor who offers and ideas and instructions for enhancing concrete surfaces. Find more information at All Things Concrete
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