Concrete floors have a raw and elegant beauty that can be surprisingly warm
by Rebecca Gross, Houzz Contributor
We saw this great article on Houzz about concrete floors and thought we would share it with you.
If you have not had a chance to pick up the new issue of Blush Magazine, then check out local Chattanooga businesses for the March 2016 issue. Concrete Repair Specialist was one of Blush’s local profiles; see page 12. Since the HBAGC’s 50th Annual Tri-State Home Show was this past weekend, this was Blush Magazine’s home issue with tips on how to improve your home’s curb appeal and other remodeling tips and tricks. You will also find Concrete Repair Specialist in the “How to Improve You’re Home’s Curb Appeal” Q&A section on page 20.
If you missed Blush’s March issue, you can check it out online at BlushMag.net.
For more information about Concrete Repair Specialist, visit our website at ConcreteRepairSpecialist.com.
Homeowners, retailers, big-box stores, educational and medical facilities are choosing polished concrete for their floor finish because of the competitive advantage polished flooring offers over other types of floor coverings. Decorative concrete in the form of polished floors has become the logical choice because of the great value it delivers, and because it can compete aesthetically as well.
Residential Polished Floor Benefits:
Commercial and Retail Polished Floor Benefits:
The Versatility of Polished Concrete
Because polishing is a multi-step process, homeowners and business owners can choose the level of sheen from stain to high-gloss that meets their maintenance and aesthetic requirements. This versatility makes polished concrete an ideal flooring material for a variety of applications.
The most common places polished concrete is used include:
Some customers simply want a look that’s unique….polishing can give concrete a higher degree of shine, similar to polished marble or granite, than can be achieved with a high-gloss coating. This makes polished concrete a particularly good alternative for homeowners or businesses that can’t afford marble or granite floors but want the same brilliant, mirror-like finish. To replicate the color of stone we sometimes apply stain to the concrete during the polishing process or polish concrete that has been integrally colored. It’s also possible to produce a terrazzo look by grinding through the top few millimeters of the concrete surface to expose the aggregate.
Whatever design style you gravitate towards, whether it is incredibly modern or rooted far in the past, concrete is an excellent material choice. Concrete’s versatility means that the design options for indoor and outdoor surfaces are endless. Color choices, texture variations and specialty details abound. Use the style palettes below as guides to discovering how concrete can be used to achieve a specific look.
Visit Concrete Network’s “Concrete Style Palettes” for downloadable guides for using concrete for various indoor and outdoor design schemes
Outdoor Concrete Palettes
Large geometrical patterns, industrial materials and sleek lines are the trademarks of modern design. Concrete, with its smooth finishes, subtle shades of gray and utilitarian character can be used to achieve a contemporary look.
Distressed finishes, stone surfaces and warm, masculine colors evoke the Old World style. Concrete gives you the ability to imitate the timeworn appeal of the pathways and patios of Tuscan and Mediterranean-style homes, while conveying a sense of New World permanence.
Concrete in rich earth-tone colors and rough stonelike textures contributes to the rustic charm of ranch, farmhouse and country home styles. Using stains and dyes, it’s also possible to “antique” existing concrete and give it an aged, weathered look.
Formal brick-lined and stone pathways often grace the exteriors of traditional homes. This same classic, unfussy style can be replicated in concrete by incorporating formal details such as scalloped edges, brick-patterned borders and symmetrical lines.
Concrete is a natural fit for the beachy sand-and-sea vibe of an oceanside home. Colored in natural browns and sandy hues, concrete complements the vibrant turquoise blues and palm-tree greens of a tropical setting.
Indoor Concrete Palettes
Modern Indoor Concrete Palettes
Interpretations of modern style vary from utilitarian and industrial to sleek and bold. Concrete can achieve all of these modern design variations by permitting large geometrical patterns and shapes, while conveying an industrial look using subtle shades of gray.
Old World Indoor Concrete Palettes
An Old World style blends natural materials, ornate details, and rich, muted colors and finishes. Concrete can be instantly aged or stained to achieve the timeworn elegance characteristic of this look, while replicating Old World materials such as wood and natural stone.
Traditional Indoor Concrete Palette
Concrete blends beautifully with traditional room designs when given neutral finishes and subtle edge details. Traditional rooms often use concrete floors, fireplaces or countertops as a focal point, along with simple, tailored accent pieces to complete the look.
by Natalie Myers
A Houzz Contributor
When you initially think of concrete floors, you probably think “cold,” “prison like” or “industrial.” But with its ability to take on color and a polished sheen, coupled with its many benefits, concrete may become your new favorite on future projects. Be prepared to have your mind blown by how beautiful, elegant and warm a concrete floor can look.
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We get a call from Walbridge the contractor building the new Plastics Omnium bumper plant in Chattanooga, TN. A flood had filled chest deep in a 260 x 30 pit that would be used as a paint booth for the bumpers for the cars being manufactured at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant.
Water pouring in from all the wall bases and over 500 linear feet of cracking in the floor. At one point the water was chest deep. It took three days for a 3″ line pump to get it out. So we then drilled portholes through the 8″thick floor and along the wall bases on 6″ centers. Then we installed one way ports into which a hydrophobic epoxy was injected at 4,000 psi.
Gradually, the pit dried out and… over 2,500 ports later we would finally be done.
If you have not been to Concrete Repair Specialist’s website lately, now is a good time to visit it. CRS launched the redesign of its website, ConcreteRepairSpecialist.com, to provide customers and visitors with even more relevant and easy to find information on concrete repairs and decorative concrete services in the Chattanooga, TN area.
CRS website has always been an integral part of our business and an important tool to share information with visitors and customers. “The redesign website has a new look and improved functionality to ensure an easier and more engaging experience for users,” said Sharon Gordon, Director of Marketing for CRS.
The St. Elmo Fire Hall was once a working fire station that served the St. Elmo community. The beautiful red brick structure has been re-purposed to a host one-of-a-kind events.
It was built in 1934 servicing a 1,000 gallon fire engine and office for the firemen. It was closed in the 1980’s and became neglected over the next 20 years.
This became on of our favorite projects. We had the opportunity to help turn the old concrete surfaces into a distressed stained concrete floor that was easy to maintain. Now the old building takes on new life by hosting both private and community events. Next time you are looking for a unique place to host your next event, be sure and check out St. Elmo Fire Hall.
Many installers of concrete floors, in both private homes and commercial facilities, are the first ones asked when customers want to know how to clean and care for their new concrete floors.
In commercial locations, contractors can expect such questions from cleaning professionals as well. Custodial workers are very familiar with vinyl composition tile (VCT) floors, and most have worked with different types of stone floors or terrazzo, which is in the concrete floor family, but they are less familiar with maintaining polished and unpolished concrete floors. Invariably, the building managers who are their customers will give the cleaning professionals your name—as the installer—for instructions on care and maintenance of their new concrete floors.
It’s necessary for contractors to have a good understanding of how to care for the floor once installed.
If no finish has been applied to the concrete floor, all that is generally needed is that the floor be dust mopped and damp mopped using a neutral-pH cleaner. Because there usually are no grout areas, no grout cleaning is necessary.
However, contractors should encourage their customers to use backpack vacuum cleaners instead of dust mopping the floor. Dust mopping generates a lot of airborne particles that can be harmful to the cleaning worker and building users. Plus it has a tendency to push dust and debris from one floor area to another. A new generation of light and comfortable backpacks has been introduced that pull soil and debris from the floor, instead of pushing it around. This is healthier for the cleaning worker, building users, and more effective as well.
On large concrete floor areas, like those in a grocery store, an effective automatic scrubber should be used. A fully automatic floor scrubber is designed to apply cleaning solution to the floor, agitate or scrub it, wet-vacuum it, and then squeegee it dry, all automatically and all in one pass. Should cost issues arise regarding purchasing one of these machines, mention to your customer that in most cases an automatic scrubber can pay for itself in a few months because it improves worker productivity so significantly. After that, it pays dividends.
Interim cleaning is necessary if a sealant and/or finish has been applied to the floor and installers are encouraged to suggest to their clients that a sealant specially designed for concrete, and possibly a floor finish, be applied to the floor.
Interim cleaning also involves burnishers if a high-speed floor finish has been applied to the floor. A burnisher is a high-speed floor machine used to polish and clean floors. The machine not only removes surface level marks and soils but leaves the floor with a “wet look” shine. While they come in different sizes and with varying features, an effective burnisher for larger commercial locations would have the following attributes:
In many facilities, floors are burnished every evening while in others floors are burnished less often, perhaps weekly or monthly. Contractor’s whose customers want a high-gloss shine on their concrete floors are encouraged to suggest that the floors be burnished frequently.
Restorative cleaning is typically necessary once or twice per year, however restoration cycles can be postponed if the two steps just discussed are performed regularly and properly. Restorative cleaning is labor intensive, which makes it costly. It can also be potentially harmful to the environment. For both reasons, many end-customers prefer to delay the procedure. When a floor is restored, a low-speed floor machine (175 RPMs or 350 RPMs) is used to strip and remove all finish (or sealant) from the floor. It is an involved process with many steps; however, once it is completed, the concrete should look much as it did the day it was installed. The next step is to reapply sealant or finish. In most cases, if a sealant is used, two thin applications are necessary. Once it has thoroughly dried, three to six thin coats of floor finish can be applied to the floor on top of the sealant. The more thin coats applied, the greater the shine.1
Contractors are advised to suggest one more thing to their customers: select trained floor care technicians. Floor care and maintenance is an involved, complicated process. A trained technician will know how to address most challenges and will keep your customer’s concrete floor looking its very best.
Ed. Note: Sean Martschinke is a CIMS ISSA Certification Expert (I.C.E.) and the product manager for Tornado Industries, a manufacturer of professional floor care equipment as well as other cleaning tools and products. He may be reached through Tornado’s website at www.tornadovac.com.
1. Some floor finishes are made for low speed floor machines and others are made for high speed burnishers. It is very important to select the proper finish for the floor machine used. A burnisher used on a low-speed floor finish will likely remove most of the finish.