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Polished Concrete the new build trend

The commercial world and public spaces has seen polished concrete as a popular floor choice for many years. More recently it's reached the inside of homes under going refurbishment, not only floors but also hi-end projects such as furniture, stairs and wall finishes with exciting colours and textures available.

The rise in using polished concrete within the home may well have been prompted and explored by the 'Urban' design trend using exposed pipework, structure and brick as features. Considering also the increase in homeowners wanting under floor heating has meant polished concrete has become a rival to a wooden floor.

Process

If you're opting for a polished concrete floor, there are some things to consider. The process of laying involves:

1) Protecting all the perimeters where the concrete will be poured

2) All insulation and under floor heating to be laid prior to concrete poured

3) The site must be in an moisture controlled environment i.e. doors and windows in and any first fix drainage

4) Steel mesh is laid on top and the concrete is poured to 100mm thick (preferred), this acts as a screed. Double check head heights required and levels which can be achieved

5) Depending on the area the floor will take a minimum of 28 days to cure

6) The specialists will return and polish the floor, make sure it's clean and dry before applying the number of sealant coats required (mat, satin, gloss)

For the reasons above, there's only one chance to do this so good preparation and research prior is essential. Consideration therefore as to when it falls into the programme is key; moisture controlled environment, first fix drainage done but no finished walls i.e. plaster boarded/skimmed/decorated and stud work to be placed on top of the floor once finished.

We have worked with the market leaders Lazenby on many of our projects and will continue to advise future clients in the same direction. They are professional, clearly know what they are doing, very pleasant to work with and their product is fantastic.

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Concrete being polished by Lazenby with ever-finer grits of polishing disk (a process called lapping) until the desired sheen is achieved.


Alternatives

There are other options on the market which offer a polished concrete coating, this is a cement and resin make up 2/3mm thick. It can be applied to almost any surface material as long as it has suitable stability - stairs, walls existing tiles etc.

We have worked with a company called TopCret (Microcemento), completely professional, easy to work with and a great product.

They offer a product which has infinite colours, colour matching and incorporating other materials into the mix - ceramic tile or metal for endless alternatives. You can have any kind of logo, images, mouldings stamped into it, Swarovski added or metallic colours. It offers a continuous and impermeable surface and strength. Different specifications are available i.e. anti-slip, strength/traffic resistant, frequent areas (kitchens/worktops).

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Kitchen & Dining. Designed by Ade Architecture. Built by BTL Property. Polished Concrete by Lazenby.

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Rear Extension & Garden. Designed by Ade Architecture. Built by BTL Property. Polished Concrete by Lazenby.

Pricing

To install polished concrete can be anything from £110-230 per sqm depending on the surface area and location of the project. For example, London projects can see a minimum order and so the larger the surface area the better value per sqm cost. Certain colours and textures will vary the cost also.

5 Benefits to Concrete Floors

Longevity

It looks good in any room of the house not just kitchens and bathrooms, it's extremely strong and therefore quite hard if fallen on and unforgiving if anything is dropped but the up side is it's a hardwearing, durable surface with virtually no up keep.

Easy Care

Once sealed properly you don't have to worry about stains, burning or scratches. Polished concrete boasts a low maintenance perk. The correct cleaner needs to be used which could be weekly or a daily floor scrubber. Concrete floors should improve with time but a re-polish or re-seal can be done at a later date.

Heating

Concrete is cold under foot which is why most people opt for under floor heating. Concrete has a very good thermal index and holds heat well so under floor heating is highly recommended.

Versatile

Pre cast concrete in situ or off site provides endless options of shape, colour, texture, floors, walls and furniture - internally and externally.

Sustainable

The primary material in concrete is limestone, a natural mineral. Look for a company uses recycled materials and sources from local suppliers. Concrete is strong, highly durable and as above, has a fantastic thermal index that lasts the life of the floor. Energy lost in homes comes from electric utilities and the heat retention qualities of the concrete will use less energy long term. At the end of the project the concrete can be broken up into aggregate and recycled.

If you get bored with your concrete floor, you have a perfect subfloor for carpet or wood without having to rip it out first!

Not only will putting polished concrete in your home give it that wow factor, it's durable, low maintenance, works great with under floor heating, colour/texture choice is unlimited and can be applied to almost any surface. At BTL we've worked with specialists in the field on numerous projects and highly recommend:

http://www.lazenby.co.uk/

http://www.topcret.co.uk/

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Basement Hallway. Designed by Ade Architecture. Built by BTL Property. Polished Concrete by Lazenby.

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Gym. Designed by Ade Architecture. Built by BTL Property. Polished Concrete by Lazenby.



If you have any questions relating to this article, why not ask our Build team?




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