What Is Concrete Flooring?
Concrete has been a long-serving element in the construction industry for over a decade now. Concrete floorings are mainly flat slabs made of concrete, which are either pre-cast or poured in situ. Rebars are added to concrete since concrete itself is weaker in tension, but stronger in compression. With the additional rebars, it can carry tensile loads, leading to its overall increase in strength. Concrete floorings are usually considered a great alternative to linoleum, wood, carpet, stone, tiles, or marble flooring. It can either be accompanied by a finishing material of choice or can itself be polished.
This flooring type is widely used in commercial spaces, residential spaces, entrances/ foyers, bathrooms, and basements. Some may find concrete floorings to be grey, muggy, and unfinished whereas some find it to be a great addition to their accent walls and décor flooring.
Concrete Flooring In India:
Concrete flooring has successfully made its comeback in the Indian market. Dating back to the 1950s, terrazzo flooring was a popular choice of flooring in the country. As time passed by these terrazzo tiles slowly got replaced by marbles, granite tiles, and concrete floorings.
Due to current advanced technology, it is now possible to convert a dull grey concrete floor into a sensory experience. The design possibilities have expanded to a point where concrete flooring not only gives colored dyes in flooring but also can provide intricate patterns and logos within them. Evolve India, a Mumbai-based interior product manufacturing brand has recently launched a new product – Alpha Crete Concrete Flooring – that enables one to craft seamless textured concrete floors for a refined aesthetic. The cost of polished concrete in India generally ranges between 60/- to 200 per square foot.
Finishes And Textures Of Concrete Flooring
Since concrete is a very versatile material, its shape, size, textures, and finishes can not only provide a sturdy surface but also provide an aesthetic value to the space. Having said that, here are some types of finishes for your concrete flooring:
1. Trowel finish
Trowel finish is the most common finish amongst concrete flooring. After laying over a batch of concrete, a trowel is used to make a fine level, giving it a clean look.
2. Stamped concrete finish
To achieve a patterned effect in regular concrete, stamping takes place to give it a tiled, brick, or flagstone effect to regular concrete flooring. They are widely used in public areas such as parking lots, gardens, commercial break areas, etc.
3. Broom finishes
An extended version of the trowel finish, a broom is attached to a trowel on the surface of the concrete giving it a rough textured finish. They are usually used in roadway construction where accidents are prone to happen.
4. Salt finish
In this process, rock salt crystals are added to the concrete and are freshly pressed using rollers. The process is further washed off with water steam after the concrete is set.
5. Aggregate finish
To provide a rough exterior flooring, aggregate is evenly distributed in concrete which keeps the air voids as minimum as possible. They are widely used on pathways and lawns.
6. Swirl finishes
To create circular patterns in concrete and to make it anti-slippery, swirl finishing in concrete is provided. These finishes are more helpful during the monsoon season when vehicular movement is unpredictable and are more prone to accidents.
7. Colored finish
A colored finish in concrete is achieved by adding pigments or stains to provide finishing that matches the surroundings. The application is finished by sealing the concrete to protect its surface.
8. Concrete flooring polishing
Concrete flooring polishing is the most popular option of floorings out there which brings dull old concrete brings it back to life. As its name suggests, the polishing process is not just about the coating. It is similar to polished marble or granite. The surface is grown down using special equipment resulting in the glossiness of the surface. This mechanical process is achieved by grinding and polishing with a penetrated chemical to provide a different texture in concrete with the help of a specialized tool.
The one big advantage is that the durability increases due to polishing, making it reach 7 on a Mohs scale. Since untreated concrete tends to collect dust over time, polished concrete provides quality air in a space. Polished concrete is universally used in lobbies, commercial spaces, and grocery stores where it leaves a good impression on visitors.
Indoor V/S Outdoor Concrete:
Outdoor concrete floorings generally tend to undergo drastic changes due to external weather fluctuations. Hence the flooring needs to be much stronger and more durable as compared to indoor concrete flooring. Due to its unconnected-making process, the cost is slightly higher compared to the interior flooring. Outdoor concrete flooring is applicable in areas such as terraces, patios, sidewalks, garages, etc.
Design, Textures, And Finishes Of Concrete Flooring In Residential Units:
Concrete floorings can be used in any room of residential units whether it’d be kitchens, bathrooms, or entryways. One can opt for Coloured Stained flooring for a translucent look, dyes for a more vibrant shade of concrete, and color hardeners to add a pop to the flooring surface. Paints and acid stains can be also applied to the concrete for a more immersed look. Geometric divisions played in different sections of a floor can also provide a 3-D effect to that particular room. Air-brush/Stencil is another technique to customize your concrete flooring as per your choice. And last, a classic polished concrete flooring can give the illusion of a glass-smooth surface.
Concrete floorings are more suitable for a rugged-industrial-style interior than classic-vintage-style interiors. A dash of an acid-stained concrete floor may not be suitable for a renaissance-styled home, but will seamlessly blend into a contemporary style home.
Factors To Consider When Choosing Concrete Flooring
1. Cost: It is one of the cheapest and most durable options for flooring. If you are on a budget yet need solid flooring then concrete flooring is the right choice for you.
2. Design options and versatility: For architects and interior designers looking out to fulfill their client’s aesthetical requirements along with practicality, concrete floorings can be designed and molded according to the requirements, from their polishing to textures to their colors.
3. Climate influence: Concrete is not the best insulator out there, one will be suffering from a cold underfoot if located in a colder region. It also tends to get hotter during summer days.
4. Moisture: Concrete surface may lead to the growth of molds causing bacteria in the air. Hence proper sealing of the concrete is mandatory.
5. Hard surface: Always remember your feet will feel the hardness of the concrete. It will surely make a user feel uncomfortable after standing for long hours.
6. Environment-friendly: Since concrete naturally does not require any cover on top, there is no carbon footprint or depletion of materials as no other material has been layered over the concrete.
Pros Of Concrete Flooring
- Concrete flooring is pocket-friendly.
- They are low on maintenance and high on durability.
- The life span of concrete floorings can last up to 50+ years.
- They have an aversion to moisture and do avoid stains when properly sealed.
Cons Of Concrete Flooring
- Occasional resealing can be required in areas where it has been damaged.
- For warmth and comfort, one may need carpets and rugs as concrete floors are not a good insulator.
- Cracks and patches may develop over time (if not taken care of properly).
- Is prone to accidents due to water spills.
Maintenance Of Concrete Flooring:
With the many options in concrete flooring, you want to be mindful of its application areas. Stamped and exposed concrete floors are great for exterior use and high traffic areas, whereas decorative concrete floors are best utilized in low traffic and for areas where you want to enhance the aesthetics.
Different concrete floors can have different maintenance requirements. We suggest it’s best you understand the product and its technical properties best from the supplier. Usually, the upkeep for concrete floors comes down to resealing the protective coat after a decade and polishing the final layer for an elegant shine.
When it comes to cleaning concrete floors in residential units, simply use a vacuum to remove excess dirt and wipe it with damp mops. Avoid using bleach, or harsh solvent-based cleaning solutions such as vinegar, citrus, or pine. Always work with water-based cleaning solutions, unless specified otherwise.
FAQ / Things To Know
Concrete flooring can be the right choice if you have an existing slab foundation or a home that fits the style of concrete design. A lot of people appreciate the longevity of the concrete flooring but they need to be mentally prepared as the surface will be hard on the feet.
Keep in mind that fragile objects tend to break if dropped on concrete floors.
Concrete withstands wear and is resistant to fire, stains, bacteria, and odor.
Concrete flooring is Pet-proof as it withstands pet mess and claw marks, and it won’t absorb their odor. To provide comfort to your pets a pet bed can be added to the floor.
Evolve India can help you with one-of-a-kind interior design products to help you achieve an unmatched aesthetic for your spaces. Fill out the form below to receive our e-catalog.