Cement & Concrete SA
Traditionally, concrete flooring has been used in locations where utility, durability, and ease of maintenance are more important than design and beauty but, because of the staggering design options now available, concrete floors are increasingly popular residentially, says Hanlie Turner, business development manager of Cement & Concrete SA.
Turner says, in housing, concrete offers both aesthetic and practical options for flooring of key areas such as foyers, patios, kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, and garages.
“Concrete flooring is popular in kitchens because it is durable and easy to clean. It can be sealed against moisture damage and made virtually impervious to staining agents or food and drink spillage. Durability and water and moisture resistance are also making concrete popular as bathroom floors: textured techniques can be used to ensure that the surface is slip-resistant. The various surface finish and colour options available allow for a concrete floor in a foyer or hallway that will be exceptionally stylish, while remaining functional for such high traffic areas.
“Designers and home-owners are increasingly using decorative concrete floors in residential foyers, for maximum ‘first impressions’ and personalising this area to reflect a home’s overall style. Enhancements for foyer concrete floors include stencilled motifs, multi-colour tile-like patterns, and saw-cut designs,” Turner adds.
“Concrete floors are also being used to create ‘fun garages’ that are now no longer just a storage space for cars, but also a playroom or youngster’s den so much more attention is being paid to making garage floors both attractive and durable.”
She says one of the major benefits of basic concrete floors is affordability compared to other flooring such as vinyl or ceramic tiles or carpet. Even concrete floors with more complex designs can hold their own, pricewise, with marble, granite, or top-end wood. Skilled concrete flooring artisans could replicate the appearance of these more expensive materials. The lifetime cost of concrete floors is also low because they require little maintenance and have a lifespan of many decades.
“Maintenance requirements of concrete floors depends on the volume of traffic. When it comes to upkeep, sweeping and damp mopping is usually all that are required. Applying a sealer or a coat of floor finish or wax designed for concrete floors will make the floors more resistant to stains, chemical spillage and abrasion,” Turner states.
To keep houses warm in winter, radiant heating cables can be embedded in concrete floors, or the residence can be designed for maximum sunlight window access which will allow the floors to radiate the absorbed heat long after sunset.
“Concrete floors are also hygienic as they do not trap pet dander that can trigger asthma attacks and adverse reactions in people sensitive to allergens. Finally, concrete floors offer benefits when a house is for sale: if the new owner wants to change the floors, he or she can simply place carpet or wood on top of the concrete slabs,” Turner concludes.