Have you ever found yourself in a trendy coffee shop or restaurant and noticed that the floor is concrete? Not concrete like you’d see in the street, but a smooth and almost glossy finish that has in common with tile than anything else?
It may look like it is costly, but you’d be surprised at how simple the process can be if you know the steps involved. Having a smooth concrete floor works great in office spaces, garages, and even some parts of the home if you’re looking for a modern feel but don’t want wooden floors or tile.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to have a smooth concrete floor, from preparation to the finishing touches.
Know-How to Prepare the Surface
Think of your floor just like a wall. If you were going to paint it or put up some new wallpaper, you’d want to get the right prep work done first. And while a scraper or steamer can easily get a wall back to basics for some DIY, concrete can be a tricky old thing indeed.
It helps a lot to have professionals get concrete prepared without any stupid mistakes being made. For example, Cactus Industrial (who know a thing or two about concrete repair on an industrial level) recommend that people know:
- How to correctly repair existing damage
- How to have concrete laid down, so it is uniformly level
- How to create runoffs
- How to protect areas if you’re putting weight on it
- That concrete is porous
It isn’t just a case of a floor being clean and dry; you need to get it in as good a condition as possible to work with. You don’t want any dust, oil, dirt, or any type of substance sitting on concrete as you get ready for prep.
Otherwise, you’ll end up with a blemish on your work that can’t be undone without it being a hassle. Think of it like putting a cold glass on wood without a coaster, and the whole table needing refinished just to fix one little mistake.
Know What You Need to Get to Work
Knowing the baseline cost is important. If you’re working with existing concrete, the job could be done for £45-£60/m². When you’re starting fresh and laying down concrete, it averages about £150/m². It varies on where you are and the location of the floor, but it’s a good benchmark.
Unless you know how to work with contraction joints, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. A contraction joint is an area where the concrete is positioned to crack on purpose. It provides a level of control on concrete work, as you wouldn’t want any surprise cracks as the floor dries and shrinks. When working inside, your contraction crack is usually done in the doorway so it can be worked on to cover up after drying.
It also is important to remember that concrete needs to be poured “on-site,” i.e. if you’re doing this kind of work at home or a busy area, you have to factor in space for a mixer and transportation of the mix.
Know What Finish You Want
When a concrete floor is worked on, dry, and buffed & polished, the last important decision is knowing what finish to go for. The most common is a clear polished finish which retains the shade of the concrete and provides a smooth surface for easier cleaning.
Other Finishes Include:
- acid stains
- acrylic sealers, which provide a matt paint look
- stamped concrete, where you impress a design on the concrete
- rock salt, which makes it look like tiles
- epoxy, which gives you a shiny concrete floor
- terrazzo which uses granite stones to add some color
Know That it Will Need Looking After
While concrete provides a convenient entry for low-maintenance upkeep, it still needs a little TLC from to time. In most cases, this simply means using pH-neutral cleaners, as opposed to bleach or certain ammonia cleaners which can strip away the top level of polish.
And you’d want to dry-mop regularly to avoid dirt build up on the surface. For this, of course, you will definitely need professional cleaners, who are well versed in the care of the new floor. Visit here to find professional cleaners near you.
Are You Thinking of Working on Your Floors?
If you are going to do some work on your floors, we recommend reading our posts with tips for sanding a hardwood floor, or how to choose the best mop for laminate floors.