We all want our homes to be delightful, beautiful and functional. Our home needs to fit with us, and our habits and lifestyle.
That can be easier said than done as what can happen, is that we end up fitting our habits and lifestyles items within our home… and flooring, to a certain extent, is the main culprit.
If you want a light floor, but not carpet, you have to opt for lino or laminate and yet… it just isn’t quite what you want. It feels too costly for the effect you get, and for the length of time that you have it.
But a polished concrete floor, no longer the Cinderella character of interior design, is beginning to garner favour with homeowners all over the globe. And here in the UK, it is a material that is becoming popular.
How can a polished concrete floor be described?
Hardworking. Suitable. Beautiful. Clean. Hygienic. Glossy. Colourful. Fun. Perfect. Cost-effective.
What is ‘polished concrete’?
We all know concrete as grey, rather dull, plain and industrial. You only have to look at a 1970s, spider-ridden concrete garage to have this image in your mind of a material that lacks beauty. But, contained therein, lies a strength unlike anything you have known.
Concrete is a mixture of materials, such as aggregate – ricks, stones, granite chips for example – and binding agent – such as limestone – along with water. Cement is a component of concrete, and are two slightly different materials, although the uninitiated interchange these two words.
In its raw state, concrete is slightly lumpy, rough to the touch and base in its looks. However, add something called a concrete densifier and the transformation begins. This chemical fills the pore on the surface of the concrete. Using a variety of grinding and buffing tools, this surface is then polished to give the desired effects.
There are grades to the sheen of the gloss finish; the higher the grade, the more the aggregates are exposed. The higher the finish, the higher the shine too.
Why, all of a sudden, are polished concrete floors the must-have interior design ‘feature’?
Actually, we think that a polished concrete floor is more than just a trendy feature; it is an essential element in any home and one that can last the test of time, as well as use.
For those that are attached emotionally to the decisions they make within their home, concrete is an honest material. It has integrity, as well as strength; mix it right, pour it right, allow it to dry and in any application, it will offer all these qualities, without deviation; in other words, it won’t let you down.
But its versatility is something that both designers and homeowners love in equal measure. We all know how bringing the outside in – no longer do gardens have to be separate entities from the home – is a design feature that has really lodged in the imagination.
Polished concrete floors work inside and out; they can connect the inside with the outside, seamlessly and without the beautiful finish having to be changed or modified. People like this seamless flow and you can get this throughout the home too; from kitchen to dining room, to lounge and beyond.
Underfloor heating is a great way to heat the home, with more and more people realising its potential you want a floor covering that maximises this heat. Some floor coverings could ‘block’ the spreading and sharing of this heat, insulating it under itself but concrete spreads this warmth throughout the space.
Simple, yet with more than a hint of complexity
It sounds easy, doesn’t it? A bit like baking a cake, you throw the dry mix together and then add a slosh of water. Then you pour it. Then it is allowed to dry and then polished…
However simply this process sounds, there are idiosyncrasies that need to be borne in mind. Getting the right dry mix, with quality aggregates is essential when pouring concrete in the home to act as a floor and, although it is not rocket science, being deft at handling wet concrete is also essential. This skills comes with training and experience thus, if you are serious about laying a concrete floor, always best to find a reputable contractor to do the work for you.
But what about the finish?
Perfection. A beautiful high glossy sheen available in a variety of colours. Colour – know you weren’t expecting that were you?