Some tips on concrete floors in your home
Dreaming of a concrete floor in your home but have no idea where to start? Here at Kalka we have collated some basic tips to get you started on your concrete journey because let's face it - the options are quite endless!
What is polished concrete?
Polished Concrete is fast becoming a popular choice in the home due to its reputation for being an environmentally viable option. It provides a contemporary base for the home and is durable and easy to maintain.
Did you know that there are two different types of concrete?
There is Mechanically Polished Concrete (MPC) or Grind and Seal (G&S). MPC is a higher end finish and is for indoor purposes only. With MPC there is no topical coating, rather it is the process of finishing the actual concrete that gives it its shine. A MPC Concrete will therefore last you a lifetime if cared for and maintained properly. For a more cost effective solution there is the G&S option. With G&S a clear coating is applied to the concrete which over time will wear away. The advantage of G&S is it can have a non-slip grip added and can therefore be used both indoors and outdoors. Regardless of whether MPC or G&S is right for you, you can still have the option to choose a stone exposure level and gloss level to suit your home and style!
What is stone exposure?
Stone exposure is simply the amount of stone visible. There are three options to choose from; Nil, Minimal or Full Exposure.
Nil Exposure concrete is fast becoming the concrete of choice but can be a tricky finish to achieve so it is generally more expensive than a Minimal Exposure Floor. With a Nil Exposure Concrete Floor it is paramount there are no undulations in the floor where aggregate could become visible when grinded. The grinding of the floor in this case is minimal, to avoid exposing aggregate. Once the grinding is complete, tiny pin holes and cracks are grouted to create a smooth surface. The floor is then polished to the desired level of shine.
With a Minimal Exposure Floor you will achieve more of a salt & pepper look. Some of the areas will have no stone exposure and others will have a little or a lot. The final appearance of the concrete is dependent on how the slab was poured. A Minimal Exposure Floor is a great option if you are wanting a more industrial look or the most cost effective solution.
Last but not least is the Full Stone Exposure. As the name suggests, this is the option that exposes the most aggregate and if poured evenly and to the right specifications the aggregate should be fairly consistently visible across the entire floor. A Full Stone Exposure floor is the most expensive of the three exposure options as the floor needs to be grinded numerous times to expose the aggregate.
What about the gloss level?
The gloss level is how shiny you want your floor to be; matte, semi-gloss or high gloss. Although this is personal taste there are a few things to consider when deciding in terms of maintenance and cost. A matte finish is easy to maintain and tends to hide the dust easily. The semi-gloss will give you a bit of shine without the hassle of keeping it looking clean like the high gloss. If the high gloss is more your style, just keep in mind it will require a bit more cleaning on your part, as it will show up the dust! With a G&S concrete, the finishing price will not vary as it is just a coating. If however you chosen a MPC concrete there is a small price increase from matte to semi-gloss and then high gloss. The higher the gloss level you desire, the more buffing and polishing is involved!
Now you've selected your interior concrete and you’re wondering - what do we do outside?
On the market there are two finishes available for the outdoors - Honed or Grind and Seal. Here at Kalka we prefer the honed finish, due to its stunning and timeless appearance. On top of that it is easy to maintain the matte finish product. With the honed concrete a penetrating sealer is used, meaning the sealant soaks into the concrete rather than just sitting on top of the concrete surface. The G&S has many risks as it uses a topical coating. It is prone to scratching, gouging and damage and over time the finish will wear away with foot traffic, meaning there will be a lot more maintenance involved. The G&S can also have issues when abutting grass or vegetation with potential for moisture becoming trapped between the slab and coating. This in turn can cause visible discolouration and inevitably cause the coat to fail and delaminate from the slab.