Polished concrete floors, long consigned to finished basements and commercial spaces, are making well-deserved inroads into residential homes. Recent advances in the ability to seal and stain concrete have raised its aesthetic appeal, allowing it to compete with other stone flooring such as marble, granite and slate–at a fraction of the cost. Polished concrete flooring offers a slew of benefits to home builders and renovators. Below are several of the pros to building your new home with flooring of polished concrete or exposing the concrete floor of your existing home.
Polished floors are sustainable
Those most interested in building environmentally sustainable homes have been among the first to embrace polished concrete floors, and with good reason. Sealed concrete has an extremely low environmental impact. If your home, like most, is built upon an existing concrete slab, simply sanding and sealing the concrete eliminates the need for additional environmentally costly flooring materials. In addition, the compounds used to sand and finish a concrete floor are extremely low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which pollute the environment and decrease indoor air quality, which can have adverse health effects. The compounds used to seal concrete floors have no lasting odour.
Treated concrete offers great value
In addition to making polished concrete incredibly sustainable, concrete has long been the least expensive flooring option available. The fact is: concrete comes pre-installed in most homes, because most houses are built on concrete slabs. The later additions of timber, vinyl, carpeting or tile are simply laid over it. For this reason, concrete comes second only to bare earth in terms of initial outlay. In addition, polished concrete’s reflective surface can help reduce the cost of interior lighting. It remains cool in the summer, reducing household cooling costs as well.
Polished concrete is easy to maintain
Most traditional flooring have rigorous cleaning requirements. Carpeting must be vacuumed. Floor boards need to be waxed. Marble floors can require special cleaners and are prone to scuffs, which require special attention.
By contrast, a polished concrete floor, which is highly resistant to scuffs and stains, can be simply mopped when necessary. This can end up saving you hours in labour and cleaning costs.
Concrete for floors is extremely durable
Treated concrete floors are some of the world’s most durable. According to houzz.com, a properly treated concrete floor can be expected to last for more than 100 years. This has been long-known by commercial interests, who often utilize this flooring option in showrooms, retail locations and other high traffic areas. Concrete allows the floor to “breathe,” as such, it is not susceptible to moisture and rot issues in the manner of tile or vinyl floors, which can trap moisture between themselves and the slab below, resulting in costly replacements.
Sealed concrete offers health benefits
Since the 1960’s household dust and dust mites have been known to exacerbate (if not cause) allergies, and are particularly problematic for those with existing respiratory issues. Carpeting, with its long fibres, as well as tile and floorboards, with their grout lines and grooves, are known to harbour bacteria, germs and mildew. Polished concrete is seamless, leaving no place for dust mites to gather and expose the bacteria that can be trapped between tiles and floorboards. Polished concrete flooring can be the first step toward creating an allergy-free environment.
Concrete is very versatile
Homeowners have a host of options where treatments and stains are concerned. For homeowners who wish to eschew the “wet” look often associated with polished concrete, there are silicon-based penetrating sealers. For homeowners who were considering salvaged wooden planks, concrete can be stamped to mimic them. It can be made to resemble slate tiles.
Concrete can be stained to achieve a marble-like effect or to nearly any colour imaginable. It can be ground before treatment to the desired level of aggregate exposure. Aggregate is the materials mixed with cement to create concrete, when exposed, they create a textured look. In short, a polished concrete floor can be made to look truly unique.
Concrete comes pre-installed in virtually every home. Properly sealed and polished, it is one of the most environmentally sustainable flooring options available–and one of the most versatile. Additionally, it is one of the most durable and perhaps the least expensive materials. In short, sealed concrete flooring offers a host of advantages over other floors. It is no wonder that the advantages of concrete flooring are being increasingly recognized by savvy home builders and renovators.