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concrete floor types

Concrete flooring is one of the simpler varieties of flooring. Once you've chosen low–maintenance concrete, you only need to decide how you want it to look. Types of concrete differ in surfaces, colors, and aggregates. There are a wide variety of concrete flooring options for you to pick from, so don't delay! Start learning about the different concrete types with help from this section.

Concrete Surfaces

Covering polishes, seals, and stains, this section will help you choose the surface look and feel of your concrete floors. These different types of concrete flooring all have varying characteristics that you should consider before shopping.

  • Polished: Concrete floors can be polished to a gleaming shine, creating the look of waxed floors without the effort of waxing. Heavy–duty polishing machines will gradually grind down the surface of your concrete floors until they're as smooth and shiny as you want. Most concrete floors can be polished, although older, flawed, or very porous floors may not be suitable for polishing.
  • Sealed: If you want to protect your concrete floors from water, weather, abrasives, and stains, apply a concrete sealer over them. You can choose from clear concrete sealers or colored seals to make colored concrete floors appear more vibrant. In addition to adding benefits like slip resistance, a good concrete sealer will also make it easier to clean your concrete floor.
  • Scored: Circular saws make shallow cuts in existing concrete, imitating tile grouts or creating geometric designs and patterns.
  • Stamped: Fresh concrete is stamped with a pattern, giving the concrete floor the textured appearance of materials like brick, stone, wood planks, slate, tile, or other types of flooring.

Concrete Surfaces: Polished, Sealed, Scored and

Concrete Coloring

Debating on how to achieve the perfect color for your concrete floors? Check out your options.

  • Stain: Stained concrete floors are all about variation. The staining process for concrete can result in floors that resemble materials like stone, marble, and even stained wood. Since every concrete floor is different, stained concrete floors are always unique, with a flecked look and deep, translucent coloring. There are two types of concrete stains:
    • Reactive: These stains are water–based and acidic. They contain metallic salts which react with the lime in the concrete, permanently bonding the stain with the concrete and ensuring it will never peel or chip off.
    • Nonreactive: Water–based acrylic stains penetrate the surface of the concrete and leave particles of pigment in the concrete's open pores. While they're easier to apply and available in more colors than reactive stains, they lack the same translucent, variegated color. Nonreactive stains will leave a more opaque and uniform color on your concrete floors.
  • Dye: Concrete dyes are often used together with stains to create rich, vibrant shades that can't be achieved by staining alone. Dyes can be mixed at the installation site, creating bright colors as varied as earthy neutrals, jewel tones, and pastels.
  • Integral Color: Liquid or powder colorant is added to the concrete mixture while it's being processed, producing consistent tinting throughout.
  • Paint: Concrete floors can easily be painted, creating looks as simple as an opaque colored surface or as complex as patterned marble.
  • Colored hardeners: Powdered hardening aggregates are sprinkled onto fresh concrete, where they react with the concrete's moisture and bond to create a hard, dense surface. The color is concentrated only on the top layer, creating more intense hues than those found in integrally colored concrete.
  • Colored release agents: Pigmented liquids or powders are used with pattern stamps over colored hardeners to give concrete floors a mottled or antiqued look. Since these pigments rest on the surface rather than penetrating the concrete, the color must be sealed or waxed over.
  • Colored surface overlay material: A thin layer of colored surface overlay material can be applied over existing concrete floors. This layer can be colored or stamped to give your old concrete floors a new look, provided they are still structurally sound.

Concrete Aggregates

The aggregates in different types of concrete mixtures will determine the texture of your concrete floors.

  • Fine: Concrete flooring most often comes from a fine aggregate mix, with sand mixed in to create a smoother textured concrete.
  • Coarse: Crushed stone or gravel is mixed with concrete for a rough, bumpy surface, often used for driveways or walkways.

Concrete Aggregates: Fine and Course