Many people would raise an eyebrow upon first hearing that concrete is a great option for elegant residential flooring and counter tops. But it is fast becoming one of the most requested products for consumers who want a durable surface that offers longevity and low maintenance.
Flooring - art underfoot
Concrete can be colored to match any decor, with highly artistic inlays of stone, metal or glass. The patterns available are endless, and can be created on a flat plane with the rest of the floor, or include options such as embossed crests, and other raised or carved designs. Grinding to expose aggregates creates a look of polished stone, another highly sought after finish.
When polished concrete was first introduced several decades ago, the term was used to describe the process where gray or colored concrete was covered with a wax product then literally polished to a high gloss. Today, the end result can be attained by using a variety of products – chemical sealers, liquid polishes, or grinding, to name a few.
One of the primary benefits of installing polished concrete floors is the minimal maintenance required, which also means minimal costs for upkeep. Concrete floors are relatively dust-free (and mite-free) which will ultimately create a healthier environment.
Countertops - style at three feet high
For consumers who love the look of granite counter tops, but would like to save on the cost, polished concrete is the answer. Over 100 colors and endless insert designs will ensure that no two kitchens are alike.
The process to create concrete counter tops involves filling a cast form with concrete, and after 4-5 days of curing, the counter form is polished to achieve the finished look. The intensity of polishing will determine whether the counter has a smooth and uniform appearance, or an imported stone or marble finish created by exposing the aggregates and patina in concrete.
Stamp your path to luxury
Another unique option available for creative consumers and designers is stamped concrete. This technique allows for designs of any shape, color or style to be imprinted into concrete to give a high-end look. A patterned mat is placed on the setting concrete to create the stamped look, then carefully pulled away to maintain the design.
Some of the most popular looks achieved include cobblestone pavers, brick and slate pavers, and ceramic tiles. The addition of other patterns and colors can result in realistic-looking images such as natural stone walkways or even a wooden boardwalk.
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