With an unmatched reputation for durability and simple elegance, polished concrete is a growing favorite of top L.A. architects and designers seeking to impart a stylish minimalist or industrial look in California homes. Concrete has been used extensively as modern construction material, but the practice of polishing concrete and leaving it exposed in avant-garde decor is a fairly recent phenomenon. As one of Los Angeles County’s top stone floor installers, we’ve become huge fans of polished concrete flooring, and we have a satisfied customer-base who would agree.
Polished Concrete Floor Styling
Unlike some varieties of natural stone flooring, polished concrete has a great deal of versatility when it comes to look and texture. Here are some of the methods that polished concrete floor installers in L.A. use to give homes a customized look:
- Polishing – Concrete polishing involves a machine that uses abrasive surfaces to grind the concrete to a shine. With each successive pass, a finer abrasive is used. Depending on your preference, the level of polishing can range from dull sheen to a mirror-like shine.
- Scoring – This process uses a circular saw to make cuts in the concrete that emulate grout seams or other patterns. These cuts mimic tiling or other flooring patterns while maintaining the cost and durability benefits of concrete.
- Stamping – Before the concrete dries, a stamp can be rolled across the surface to imprint various patterns. Common stamp designs include wood grain, cobblestone, tiling, and other decorative patterns.
- Stains – You can alter the color of the concrete’s base material with stains. There are two varieties of stains that work well with polished concrete:
- Reactive – These stains are acidic and contain metallic salts that bond with the concrete. They become a part of the concrete and won’t chip away over time.
- Non-reactive – These stains are applied to the surface of the concrete and have a different look than reactive stains. The appearance of non-reactive stains is more opaque. Non-reactive stains coat the surface and penetrate the concrete.
- Dyes – Dyes can be mixed into wet concrete to change the concrete’s hue when it dries. Dyes can be mixed thoroughly to change the overall hue of the concrete, or mixed sparingly to produce a more marbled look.
- Integral Color Powders – Like dyes, colored powders can be mixed in to change the color of the dried concrete. Colored powders will give the concrete more of a speckled appearance.
- Acid-washing – Mild acids are applied to the surface of the concrete to change its color and appearance. The acids create inconsistent swirl patterns in the surface of the concrete.
Polished concrete floors can be customized in all sorts of ways to suit your particular tastes. If you’re unsure about the way a polished concrete modification will look in your home, ask your decorator or concrete installer to look at photos and view samples of similar jobs.
The Benefits Of Polished Concrete
As demonstrated above, polished concrete floors have evolved past their once solidly-gray existence. Thanks to new, innovative processes, homeowners enjoy many more color, texture, and design options than were once available. Concrete are one of the most versatile flooring options out there. With polished concrete, you can customize your floors to your particular aesthetic.
There’s a reason that concrete is such a widely-used construction material: it’s incredibly tough. Unlike wood and many types of tile, you won’t scuff concrete. In fact, it’s unlikely that you’ll damage it at all. On the other hand, don’t expect your coffee mug or wine glass to survive a fall on your new concrete floors.
Once your concrete floor is sealed, very little maintenance will be required going forward. You can vacuum, sweep, or mop polished concrete. Because the sealant makes concrete non-porous, you can easily disinfect your floor with a mop. If, somehow, your concrete gets damaged, it can be filled in and repolished.
Concrete floors are not only inexpensive, they’re cost-effective. Polished concrete is among the cheapest of stone flooring materials, which is why you see the look appearing in so many new businesses in Los Angeles and the rest of California. Because concrete’s lifespan is nearly limitless, you can avoid replacement costs indefinitely. As mentioned above, very little maintenance is required to keep your concrete floors looking great.
Because of the material’s sustainability, many LEED-certified buildings feature polished concrete floors. They are eco-friendly not only because they won’t need to be replaced anytime soon, but concrete can also be excavated and reused in new construction projects.
What Is Concrete And How Is It Polished?
Concrete is a human-made material that’s comprised of naturally-occurring minerals such as sand, crushed stone, or gravel; a chemical binding agent; other chemicals; and water. In other words, the base material used to make concrete comes from quarries, but the concrete itself is produced by human beings. Once mixed and poured, concrete is polished with professional machinery that evens out the surfaces and removes rough or sharp bits. The result is a smooth, even, elegant floor. The polishing machine uses progressively finer abrasives with each step in the process. Once the concrete is polished, a sealer is applied to give the floor that high-gloss shine.
What You Need To Know When Considering Concrete Floors
Here are a few other factors that must weigh into your decision as you consider choosing concrete floors:
- Concrete is durable, but it’s also very hard. It may not be an ideal surface for elderly people or small children.
- Because of the sealant, polished concrete can be slippery when wet. That’s why textured or stamped patterns are recommended in areas that are likely to be exposed to water (i.e. near pools and in bathrooms or kitchens).
- Polished concrete removal can be expensive. However, you can often resurface your floor on top of the concrete if you change your mind down the road and want to give your floors a different look.
L.A. Polished Concrete Floor Company
With its reputation for durability, low cost, and environmental sustainability, there are many reasons to consider polished concrete as a practical and attractive flooring option. If you’re thinking about including polished concrete floors in your new or existing home, contact the floor installer with forty years of experience serving clients in Los Angeles. We can provide you with a list of concrete flooring design options and a written estimate.