A Comprehensive Guide to Concrete Floors and Coatings
As experts offering concrete coatings we know that there are numerous options when it comes to flooring choices. An option that is both practical and stylish is concrete flooring and coating.
Concrete flooring can not only be personalized to meet the exact needs of the space, but it can also be used in both homes and businesses.
No matter if you want a durable garage floor or driveway for parking trucks and bikes after a ride on Bull Mountain Road, or you want a factory floor that is durable and structurally supportive, concrete flooring can be exactly what you’re looking for.
Before you jump into concrete flooring and coating, here is everything you need to know to make the right decision for your floors.
What is Concrete Flooring?
Like the name implies, concrete flooring is a type of flooring made of concrete.
In many cases concrete serves as a base floor layer that is covered by wood or carpet, but with concrete flooring, an extra layer of concrete and coating is added and polished for a sleek, finished look.
Concrete coating is the process of applying an extra layer of polymer or concrete to an existing concrete floor. Concrete coating strengthens the floor and creates a smooth final product.
On its own, concrete flooring is durable, but it is still susceptible to moisture and can wear down over time from chemicals, tire tread wear, and other factors.
Concrete coating is often added on top of unsealed concrete flooring to protect it from the elements and seal the floors so they not only look great but are also safer and more durable. This is also known as concrete resurfacing.
“As polished concrete becomes more mainstream for floors, it continues to gain momentum across the board. In fact, industry statistics show that polished concrete is now 15-20% of the total flooring installed each year.”
Pros and Cons of Concrete Flooring
Concrete flooring and coating is growing in popularity because of its many benefits.
Other types of flooring require extensive maintenance to keep their quality and durability.
By contrast, concrete flooring is incredibly easy to care for and only requires regular sweeping and mopping with soapy water. Because the floor and coating is so durable, it can withstand hard impacts, stains, and most dirt.
Concrete flooring can continue to look new without much effort or upkeep, which saves both time and money.
Concrete flooring is incredibly durable, which means it lasts longer than many other types of floors. Investing in concrete coatings and flooring means the floor will likely stand strong for years to come.
“With polished concrete, many installers will guarantee their floors for a set period of time, such as 20 years. However, with proper care and maintenance, these floors can easily last a lifetime. With stained concrete, the concrete itself will last for many years, potentially over 100 years.”
The coating can also be done in a variety of styles and patterns, meaning concrete flooring can provide a customized option to meet the exact needs of the space. Concrete can be mixed with colors and custom finishes for a truly unique look.
However, concrete flooring and coating isn’t without a few negatives. Here are the cons to consider. In most cases, these issues aren’t deal-breakers, but they are still things to consider when choosing concrete coatings.
It’s no secret that concrete is hard. In many cases, having a hard floor can actually be a big advantage because it provides a smooth, durable surface.
But that durable surface can also be too hard for some situations, including areas that will involve lots of movement from people and children and places that have fragile objects that could fall on the floor and shatter.
Potential for Cracking
Concrete flooring comes with the risk of cracking, no matter how well it is installed. As the ground beneath the floor changes and moves, there is a potential that the floor could crack.
Concrete flooring and coating can be repaired when it cracks, but that means an additional cost and time.
Residential versus Commercial
Concrete flooring and coating can be used in both residential and commercial settings. In either type of location, the application process is similar. Concrete coating can transform both residential and commercial spaces.
In a residential setting, concrete provides a sleek and modern look. It is durable and easy to clean, which makes it ideal for many homes and living spaces. Concrete is one of the best garage floor coatings because it is easy to maintain and can cover up any spills or chips.
In commercial spaces, concrete is often used for its smooth appearance and low maintenance. Instead of spending time polishing the floor or worrying about scuffs and dents, businesses can simply enjoy a nice finish without the upkeep.
Concrete coating can cover inconsistencies and stains in the floor and offer a fresh look to a warehouse, showroom, or office.
Commercial concrete flooring also tends to be very cost-effective, which means it won’t take a large chunk of the company’s budget and also allows businesses to return to normal operations soon after the coating has been installed.
Con-tek offers concrete coatings in Greeley and the surrounding area for commercial businesses of all kinds as well as for residential concrete flooring.
Concrete Coating Materials
Concrete coating is placed over porous concrete floor to seal the surface and create a polished and even surface. The different types of concrete coatings are based on the type of material.
Each has pros and cons is used in a slightly different situation. The two most common types of coating are epoxy and polyurethane, but you may often see the other two variations as well.
Epoxy Coating for Conrete
Epoxy coating is very durable. It can withstand harsh chemicals, so it is frequently used in industrial settings or garages.
Epoxy can be a thinner coating, which makes it ideal for filling in holes and creating an even surface on concrete floors.
Different variations of epoxy can be much thicker and provide more protection. However, it also tends to be brittle, so it isn’t often used where there will be heavy machinery that moves around.
Epoxy coating can also take a longer time to dry and fully harden than other types of concrete coatings. When comparing garage floor paint versus epoxy, epoxy is one of the best garage floor covering options and provides longer-term durability than paint.
Polyurethane coating is flexible and elastic, which helps it be more resistant to scratches and dings and withstand higher impacts. Because polyurethane is flexible and can expand and contract, it is often used in spaces with temperature changes to reduce the risk of cracking.
Although it is thin, polyurethane can be applied to concrete floors in multiple layers for a thicker seal. It dries quickly, which can make the installation process more difficult because the installer must work quickly and precisely.
Polyurethane doesn’t bond well to concrete, which means it isn’t the best option for filling cracks and holes.
Urethane coatings tend to be some of the most durable, but that quality comes with a price because they often cost the most compared to other concrete coating options.
Urethane is very resistant to scratches and abrasions and is a good choice for high-traffic areas.
A downside is that urethane doesn’t bond well to concrete, so a layer of another type of sealant like epoxy may be required as a first layer.
Acrylic coatings bond well to many types of concrete, making it a versatile option that can be used in many situations.
Acrylic coating also frequently comes with added texture for a slip-resistant surface, which makes it ideal for areas with kids or elderly people who are at risk of falling. Most acrylic coatings are also UV-resistant, which can be a benefit for outdoor spaces such as driveways.
A downside is that acrylic coating is very thin and doesn’t provide as durable protection as other types of concrete sealants.
Types of Concrete Surfaces
Concrete coating comes in many varieties. Each type is specially designed for a certain application.
Although each type of concrete coating has the same durable and low-maintenance features of all concrete flooring, choosing the right type of concrete surface for the space can make a difference in the durability and application of the product.
The application of concrete coating may depend on the materials and type of coating used.
Industrial Floor Coating
All concrete coating is durable, but industrial floor coating is designed to withstand nearly everything. The concrete coating evens out rough surfaces for a seamless surface that can be used in a variety of settings.
The durable material can also withstand heavy usage, including large machinery and chemical spills.
Polished concrete can be used in both residential and commercial spaces for a high-gloss finish without the upkeep. Polished concrete involves grinding concrete flooring so that it has a glossy shine that doesn’t need to be waxed or polished.
Polished concrete is a popular option in high-traffic areas like showrooms and busy homes because it wears well and is easy to clean.
For an extra layer of protection against heavy usage, an impact-resistance coating can be added on top of concrete.
These coatings are typically epoxy and provide additional support to make the concrete even more durable.
Impact-resistance coating isn’t meant for every space; ideally, it is used in areas that receive heavy wear and tear, such as factories with repetitive machinery or laboratories that put a lot of impact on the floor.
No-Slip Safety Coating
For areas with heavy foot traffic or that are exposed to the elements, a no-slip safety coating can be added.
This coating typically includes some kind of texture or grit that creates a surface where people are less likely to fall.
No-slip coating can also increase the durability of the floor by adding an extra layer of protection.
No-slip safety coating is used in a variety of commercial and industrial settings, such as a factory with water or slick materials on the floor or a showroom that often gets people tracking snow and rain inside.
What to Consider When Installing Concrete Coating
Like with all types of flooring, there are a number of things to consider when installing concrete flooring and coating.
Thinking through the entire process and considering your options can ensure you get the right flooring for your needs and that the entire process goes smoothly.
Cost of concrete coating
In most cases, concrete flooring tends to be a very affordable option, especially when compared to other types of flooring.
The garage floor coating cost depends on the size of the space and the type of concrete flooring.
Basic concrete flooring, such as one color of stain and a simple coating, averages around $2 to $6 per square foot. The cost increases to $7 to $14 a square foot for a mid-range design, such as multiple colors, polishes, and coatings.
For a high-end customized floor with designer elements, the cost can be as much as $15 to $30 per square foot.
Larger spaces can actually have lower prices because of a bulk discount on supplies.
Areas with obstacles like doorways, built-ins, or stairs can be more expensive because it takes longer and is more complicated to pour the concrete.
Adding multiple colors or textures of concrete coating can also increase the price because it takes longer to install, which raises the labor cost.
For exact costs estimates for concrete coatings in Greeley, CO or the surrounding areas, contact Con-tek today.
Some people are concerned about the safety of concrete floors, especially when they are covered with a slick coating or are heavily polished. While concrete floors are hard and don’t provide any cushion, they have actually been found to be one of the safest flooring options.
The high safety ratings come from having a sturdy surface and slip-resistant coating.
Other types of flooring can create a wobbly or uneven surface, but concrete is sturdy and durable, which increases its safety.
With that in mind, consider where the concrete floor will be installed. It is a safe option for businesses or personal garages and kitchens, but probably not the safest solution for schools and playrooms.
Concrete has a tendency to be slightly colder and damper than other types of floors. This is because there isn’t any other insulation on the floor to absorb the coolness.
In many instances, especially in commercial or industrial settings, the temperature can actually be a benefit.
There is also an option to add a heating system below the concrete to warm up the floors and make them more comfortable. Heating systems increase the cost and installation time of the project but can also increase the value of the space and create a more comfortable environment.
Compared to other types of flooring, concrete tends to take longer to install because it needs to be poured evenly and takes time to cure and harden before it can be polished and finished.
Installation time varies depending on the project and the size of the installation team.
A large space can actually often be finished faster if there are few obstacles to work around. However, dry time tends to be longer for larger spaces. Each layer of concrete, coating, or sealant adds a step to the process and increases the length of the project.
Each layer needs to be carefully applied and have plenty of time to dry before the next layer can be poured or the next step of the project can be completed.
Basement concrete floors can be installed in two to six days, depending on the type of flooring and the complexity of the project.
Areas that require preparation work can take longer to install and have a higher cost due to the extra labor costs. Surface preparation is needed on floors that are cracked or damaged and need to be patched or leveled before the concrete can be poured.
Photo: Diamond D Co pic.twitter.com/0EGQdykbkW
— Concrete Network (@ConcreteNetwork) July 6, 2020
There’s a reason concrete flooring and coating has gained popularity in recent years—the durability and versatility make it a good option for many commercial, industrial, and residential spaces.
Before investing in concrete flooring, do you research to find the right material and coating for your space.
Understanding all that goes in to concrete flooring and learning everything you need to know about concrete flooring and your many options can help you make the best decision that will last the test of time.
For details on the concrete coatings, we offer in Greeley, visit the Con-tek services page.
Concrete Coatings in Greeley
If you live in Greeley or the surrounding northern Colorado area and are interested in resurfacing your concrete floors with one of our concrete coating options, connect with Con-tek today.