Ultimate Guide to Decorative Concrete Flooring

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Demand for concrete has been  increasing and not without good reason. Concrete is arguably the most durable material in the world; it’s basically made from cement, select aggregates, water and in some cases some admixtures in the right proportion. It has built a reputation for its strength and durability, enjoying popularity for its blend of dexterity and options.

1. History of Concrete

Concrete has the longest history and probably the most natural origin story of any building material. As a matter of fact, concrete is the oldest known material used for building. From today's skyscrapers to huts that dates back thousands of years, it has been involved in the construction of virtually every building throughout history. Talk about long–lasting.

Over time, a lot of these civilisations became extinct, and so the secret of creating concrete was lost until 1756 when John Smeaton, a British engineer successfully built a lighthouse that stands till this day using a combination of powdered brick, hydraulic lime, and pebbles.

1950 Brad Bowman developed the Bomanite process, cookie cutter approach to stamped decorative concrete.

1999 a Swedish company introduced polished concrete to the United States.

2. What is Decorative Concrete Flooring?

Decorative Concrete Flooring is the process of adding a desired coating on top of raw or finished concrete to achieve a custom colour calling it decorative concrete.

Today concrete flooring industry experts have taken advantage of this process by making sure there are now a variety of design options to choose from. Concrete floors can now be polished,  stained or textured to look like other natural materials to accomplish a unique look.

3. How is Decorative Concrete Flooring Started

Essentially, to start the project there are two major ways:

New slab involves primarily mixing cement. This is usually time-consuming as machines may spend a lot of time mixing chemicals and waiting for it to dry.

Foundation slab is much easier and less time-consuming. Products are subsequently installed over this to create a genuine concrete floor.

4. Different Types of Decorative Concrete Flooring

When you have decided to go with concrete flooring for your building project, the next thing to do is decide what you want it to look like because there are as many concrete flooring options as there are materials. Concrete floors differ in surfaces, aggregates (fine or coarse) and colours with each maintaining its own pros, cons and cost over the other, whether in beauty or usability.

5. Polished Decorative Concrete Flooring

Polished concrete floors are polished to a glistening shine. This floors are very reflective, making them incredibly luxurious. These can help increase the light exposure of your space and significantly enhance the ambience.

How: Heavy duty grinding and polishing machines used to achieve this smooth and shiny look.

Pros: Very Eco friendly since harsh chemicals are not used, durable to withstand high traffic, attractive glossy surfaces, low maintenance, reflective to increase the light exposure of your space and significantly enhance the ambience.

6. Stamped Decorative Concrete Flooring

Stamped flooring starts with fresh concrete then stamped with select patterns to create the resemblance of natural materials. This process is preferred when you want to go with the look of materials like wood, or brick but without the hassle of managing them or compromising on appearance.

How: on fresh concrete slab a design is imprinted with a cookie cutter tool to resemble desired stone look.

Pros: low maintenance over single pavers, less labour intensive thus cheaper than using pavers, increase home value.

7. What is Stained Decorative Concrete Flooring?

Stained floors are concrete floors finished with a colour. Whether reactive or non-reactive, the staining process is sure to give your floor a unique and translucent look.

How: If the concrete floor is not fresh then it must be prepped before staining. Prepping includes removing any dirt and filling in any gaps or holes. Finally a stain colour is added and finished with a sealant.

Pros:  durable to withstand high traffic, low maintenance, cost effective especially for large areas, attractive finishes, increase home value.

8. Whats is Epoxy Decorative Concrete Flooring

Epoxy is type of resin that when cured withstands almost anything. The fastest and most popular ways to use epoxy is on garage floors. You will not only get that showroom look but epoxy flooring helps to keep your garage floor clean by resisting oil, grease and chemicals. Most garage floors have stains or cracks that can be hidden with epoxy flooring.

How: If the concrete floor is not fresh then it must be prepped. Prepping includes removing any dirt and filling in any gaps or holes. Finally you add epoxy coating and additives and finish with a topcoat.

Pros:  durable to withstand high traffic, low maintenance, cost effective especially for large areas, attractive finishes, increase home value.

9. Why is Decorative Concrete the Future of Flooring

There are a number of reasons concrete flooring has the advantage over other forms of flooring. Apart from being incredibly durable and strong, concrete floors are widely preferred because of the ease for customisation. Floors can be vibrant, glossy, matte and muted, or a little bit of both.

Concrete can also be tinted to match just about any colour scheme, and there's no end to the number of flooring patterns and designs available. The following are a few reasons you should consider decorative concrete flooring:

Durability: One of the most notable qualities of concrete is strength, from being able to withstand heavy foot traffic to weighted equipment. It’s almost impossible to chip, scratch or otherwise damage polished concrete floors. It can also be polished and sealed, which makes it resistant to chemicals like acids that could cause corrosion.

Long-Lasting: From the age of the Assyrians, the long-lasting ability of concrete has been no secret, concrete can and will last a lot longer than its competition, so what you want is flooring that can truly retain its quality over time, concrete floors are the go-to.

Low-maintenance: Concrete floors are incredibly easy to manage. Resistant to most stains and easy to clean. They only require periodical cleaning.

Safe: Hardwood and carpeting mostly contain harmful volatile organic compounds, unlike concrete which is non-porous and smooth, so allergens, dirt and bacteria have a hard time collecting in any crevices.

Customisable: With concrete floors. There are no true limits to what you can do; the options are virtually endless. From customising the different levels of shine to choosing multiple aggregates and patterns to personalise the floor with decorative engravings. You can literally turn your imaginations into reality with concrete flooring.

It’s not so hard to see, with these advantages, why the world is warming up to the idea of decorative concrete floors. Whether you want a floor for its ability to handle heavy equipment or for a smoother blend of affordability and aesthetics, there’s always something for everybody with this versatile flooring option.

10. Areas Where to use Decorative Concrete Flooring

Historically, concrete flooring has been preferred in places that place more emphasis on utility, durability, and easy management over design and overall aesthetics.

Locations may range from those that typically require routine use of heavy machinery to places that are regularly exposed to staining agents and commercial traffic areas. Some of these places may range from Warehouses, Factories, commercial and residential Garages, Porches, Basements and Public Institutions.

Due to new advancements in decorative concrete manufacturing, the line between aesthetics and utility have gotten blurrier; allowing for opportunities to explore a new wide variety of applications.

Kitchens: Concrete flooring have been preferred in kitchens due to its durability and more importantly, ease in cleaning. It can be sealed against moisture damage specially made resistant to staining agents.

Lofts, Studios and rustic cabins: Lofts and studios are usually cosy creative, safe spaces that require unique and trendy looks. A lot of the time, people may also want to go all natural in designs for rustic cabins without necessarily compromising on aesthetics and durability, stained and polished concrete alternatively has provided the much-needed solution to slate and marble tiles in interior locations.

Decorative concrete flooring is the future of flooring and growing in popularity with home builders across the country.

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We are located in Adelaide, South Australia.

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