In the last several years, concrete has been increasingly chosen for all types of finished flooring. Whether it’s for a high-end supermarket, an upscale boutique shop, or even an artsy residence, designers, architects, and homeowners are realizing the benefits of concrete over other materials. Concrete is long-wearing, infinitely customizable, low maintenance, and relatively inexpensive. Also, because concrete is a green building material, environmentally conscious consumers like using it. Below are a few options for your customers.
Integrally colored concrete: The ultimate in fast-track flooring
In its most basic form, a concrete floor can be as plain as the hard-trowelled gray surface we’ve known for years. The simple addition of integral color, however, provides a surface that is identical in terms of placement, wear, and upkeep, but yields an entirely different appearance. For a tiny fraction of the cost of other flooring options, a trowelled, colored concrete floor offers a unique appeal that is beautiful to behold. When the concrete is placed and finished, the immediately resulting surface is the final floor. This makes integral color the ultimate in fast-track flooring. Best of all, the color will endure despite the floor’s exposure to wear and tear. The downside to integral coloring is that the entire slab is colored, even if some of it will be hidden by carpet or other flooring materials later. Depending on the size of the slab, this could significantly raise the project’s concrete budget.
Stained or dyed concrete: A less costly option
Moving a little higher on the custom concrete ladder, stains and dyes can transform ordinary gray concrete into something spectacular. These options are great when the owner doesn’t want or need a large expanse of the same color. Stains and dyes are economical because they allow for certain areas of a floor to be colored while leaving the rest gray. They also produce extremely vivid colors, such as blues, greens, yellows, and reds that either may not be available or may be too expensive when using integral color. But downsides to stains and dyes are that the floor must be well-protected both before and after the colorant is applied. Protection during the building process can sometimes cause logistical problems. Also, if the floor is not protected by sealer and a sacrificial topcoat, the color could wear away with heavy traffic.