Gone are the days when concrete was considered a warehouse look. A concrete floor can be a stunning finish to a showroom or office with polished aggregate, color impregnated, stained, etched, or plain sealer; the options are broad and tempting. Besides looking great, concrete floors are highly functional, low maintenance options, easy to clean, and convenient for any space where rolling equipment is used.
Common Coating Options
Concrete floor coatings consist of a choice of look and sealant types for the traffic and use. Consider your space before making any decisions. Think, heavy duty, light duty, foot traffic, office or warehouse?
Stained or Etched and Sealed
Stained or acid etching can provide beautiful color to an existing concrete floor before application of the commercial sealer. And, there is a wide range of color coating products available. Importantly, all are relatively easy to install, but it is essential that the concrete floor is first well prepared, as the color will accentuate any defect, and will not adhere to areas without adequate cleaning and degreasing. Staining and etching are the next most cost-effective option to paint. While slightly more expensive than paint, they provide a more decorative and less industrial look.
Industrial paints are an excellent low-cost coating option for heavy traffic areas. Usually used in industrial areas, use of color matching or patterns can provide an attractive look for a painted concrete floor in any setting. Industrial floor paints are designed with polymer properties so do not require a sealer on top of the paint.
Decorative sealers can provide a diverse range of concrete floor coatings, which create an extremely inviting and low maintenance feel for an office or reception area. While more costly than other options, the decorative finish creates ambiance and style, which customers will associate with your product.
Polished and Sealed
A plain polished floor can look stunning with a good finish, or with some variations at the casting stage. One option is for an aggregate mix, which when polished will show up some of the stone with the concrete finish, similar to a terrazzo or granite-like effect. Insets or color additives in the concrete can also accent a polished concrete floor.
Application of Sealer
Regardless of which type of finish you use, unless you use paint alone, a concrete floor needs a coating of a heavy-duty sealer for finishing. Sealer protects and waterproofs the concrete, and provides the smooth finish. When installing a decorative floor, the sealer is usually included in the service or may be part of the decorative effect.
The best sealers for commercial use are polyurethane or epoxy compounds. Acrylic options do not last as long. When it comes to concrete sealers, asides from choosing an epoxy or polyurethane, the type is not as important as the brand and the installer. The chemical compound in some brands is better than others, and the installation technique is vital to avoid early peeling, delamination, or degradation.
Installing a Floor
A commercial floor needs to be installed by concrete professionals. Concrete construction companies who specialize in commercial concrete applications will know how to pour and set concrete for the best strength, durability, surface finish, and wear. An improper concrete mix can result in cracking, chipping or wear with frequent use, only high strength commercial concretes will last in high traffic environments. The right mix and method of application are crucial for a quality, long lasting finish.
When a concrete floor is laid and prepared correctly, coating work is far less effort, and your beautiful looking polished concrete finish will glow.