Concrete Treatments: Types and Uses
A durable, affordable flooring material that can withstand heavy use for many years, concrete isn’t always the most visually appealing option. Plain and exposed, untreated concrete is susceptible to moisture, dust, staining, and deterioration, as well as changing texture. Concrete treatments here change the game.
The versatility of concrete treatments ensures long-term durability. A cost-effective way to beautify concrete, these treatments protect and preserve your investment. With so many options available, it can be difficult to decide which concrete treatment is best for your situation.
It is possible to improve the quality and performance of your concrete floor by adding densifiers and hardeners to it. Once applied, your concrete floor is more resistant to dust, abrasion, oil, and moisture damage, and is more durable under heavy foot traffic.
Coatings can be used for aesthetic, durability, and protection purposes. Painting and epoxy are the most common types of top coat for concrete floors.
Painting a clean, prepped floor is standard. Prior to applying a new coat of paint, old paint must be removed. Grind the concrete surface to reduce discoloration and unevenness. A sealer on top of the paint makes the floor more abrasion resistant and makes it easier to apply. Repairing a damaged floor is simple.
This depends on the space’s overall purpose. For example, to paint your concrete garage floor, you’ll need a solvent- and oil-resistant paint. For warehouse floors, companies often use an abrasion-resistant paint formula. There are even non-toxic paints available for use in places where children and families congregate, such as schools. For example, mold and mildew resistance or stain protection may be added to some paints.
Paint may need to be reapplied periodically depending on how the concrete floor is used, such as heavy foot traffic, motorized carts, or moving machinery.
For areas with high traffic, an epoxy-coated floor can mimic the look of paint. As vapor transmission is reduced by epoxy’s complete sealing of a concrete surface, it can cause bubbling and alkalinity issues due to its complete sealing of the concrete surface. Epoxy can reduce slip and fall hazards, chemical hazards, staining, and even noise. It’s possible to customize epoxy treatments. For added durability, some epoxy treatments contain quartz or aluminum oxide. Epoxy-coated floors can be repaired, but it is difficult to replace them. Epoxy can take a long time to dry and can smell.
Acid Staining and Dying
With acid staining, you can achieve a natural color in various shades. Acid treatments containing phosphoric or hydrochloric acid produce chemical reactions that dapple floors. Favored for its UV resistance, this concrete floor treatment Installed properly, it provides years of color protection for both homeowners and business owners.
The age and condition of the existing floor, as well as the concrete mix composition, all play a role in the final appearance of an acid stained concrete surface. With a second acid treatment, a tile or other design can be etched onto the floor after the first treatment. In order to apply a sealant, a concrete floor must first be neutralized and washed thoroughly. Since acid staining permanently changes the top layer of the concrete, color flaking off or wearing away unevenly is not an issue with acid staining. Acid staining can be difficult and has a strong odor.
To dye a concrete floor, a non-reactive water or solvent-based color treatment is applied directly to the concrete surface. There may be more color options. However, the dyed color is usually paler than the acid-stain color after drying. An additional step is usually not required once the dye has dried. UV light can discolor dyes, so they aren’t recommended for exterior use.
Polished concrete floors look newer and more refined. Densifiers are commonly used to harden concrete surfaces prior to polishing them. If desired, additional concrete treatments or sealants can be applied after polishing. A polished concrete floor can give a room a high-end look while remaining cost-effective and durable. Consider polished terrazzo, which combines concrete with larger aggregate pieces and is polished to a high shine for added design appeal.
The durability, chemical resistance, and slip resistance of polished concrete floors make them an excellent choice for commercial applications. Polished concrete floors can last for decades with minimal maintenance if properly maintained.
Decorative Concrete Overlays
For a more personalized look, designs or patterns can be pressed or cut into the concrete before curing. Saw cuts in the concrete mix can create pavers, a company logo, or other designs and patterns. Due to its resemblance to pavers, decorative concrete can be more stable Nothing in the concrete can actually shift or buckle over time. However, decorative concrete, especially when used outdoors, can develop cracks over time. A sealant should be applied to decorative concrete surfaces to ensure protection.
Covering an existing concrete floor with a decorative layer of concrete adds durability and adds another layer of concrete for decorative purposes. Depending on the amount of concrete to be treated, this makes it a good option for concrete restoration projects. It’s critical to prepare the floor properly before applying an overlay because the overlay’s success is dependent on the surface underneath. Sealants must be reapplied periodically to maintain the appearance and functionality of concrete overlays.
This is a common concrete treatment used in conjunction with other decorative or functional treatments. A topical sealer forms a film over the concrete, while others penetrate its pores. Routine re-sealing is required on most concrete surfaces, especially in high traffic areas or areas subject to heavy use.