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July 20th 2020

All you need to know about concrete floor finishes

The look of perfectly finished concrete is nothing short of beautiful. Whatever the finish, it is important to have a few things in place before starting.

Most notably, the following are necessary:

  1. Tools: There is no point attempting to finish concrete with inappropriate tools. Whatever finish a person is looking for, there is an appropriate tool to use – and an appropriate way to use it. Common tools include a trowel and a broom.
  2. Technique: What is of utmost importance to the outcome of the finish is the proper technique. Concrete is versatile and durable, but people have to know how to interact with the material effectively for the best result.

Here we will show the most common finishes for finishing concrete and how to do them. Whether it’s a wall, a ceiling or a floor these are some of the most common types of finish that people attempt.

Types of concrete finishes

Before people start out on their project it is essential the type of finish is going to be aesthetically suitable to what they are aiming to achieve. There is a range of finishes so the possibilities are many.

A few of the more common concrete finishes include:

The coloured finish

There are many ways that a person can create a coloured finish to their concrete.

The first and most obvious is to add colour to the concrete mix. The benefits of this technique is that the colour is completely even, no matter what shape the surface ends up. This may be useful for people who are unsure of their ability.

Another method of achieving a coloured finish is to make use of what people call a colour hardener, sometimes people also call it a dry shake. The method here is to dust the surface of the concrete before the hardening process finishes. The result can provide a great sense of texture to the finish.

One further way of achieving a coloured finish is by staining. There are two principle ways to stain concrete:

  • Reactive stain: The first method is a stain that uses chemicals, which makes the surface react. The concrete needs a higher water content for this technique. It gives a blotchy appearance with a diverse range of colours.
  • Water-based stain: These also penetrate the concrete but the colour is slightly different. The look is more of a solid colour and they tend to be lighter than chemical-based staining.

It is also possible to revive colours on older surfaces by using special products, or adding them during the polishing process.

The brushed finish

A brushed finish adds a sense of texture to the concrete surface. People can then cover this in paint, or alternatively add dye to the initial mixture, for a hint of colour.

The texture looks very uniform but with just enough imperfections to give it a tactile feel and appearance. There are also a few practical benefits to a brushed finish. These include:

  • Less slipping: The texture of the brushed finish provides an anti-slip feature, which makes it safer for areas such as floors.
  • Good for industrial settings: A functional feature of the brushed finish is that it is easier for wheels on vehicles such as forklifts to move on, as it provides some grip.
  • Cheap and simple: The simplicity of literally brushing concrete after the pour makes it very appealing as it does not require large amounts of skill. The price benefit from avoiding expensive tools is also a benefit.

The brushed concrete finish provides a simple and functional result. It also requires simple and inexpensive equipment, as all that is necessary is a broom. Another benefit is that there are higher levels of run-off from any rain or other liquid, making it ideal for outdoor settings.

The stained finish

While touching on the process of staining in the section discussing colouring concrete, the process of staining here refers to concrete that is old or has already set.

The process of staining old concrete is similar to chemical staining on new concrete. The main difference is that extensive cleaning and stripping of sealants or waxes is necessary before staining. Benefits of this include

  • Long-lasting: Painting concrete can result in cracks or fades over time, and any impacts can result in chipping. With a chemical staining, it is also possible to avoid stains from other sources, such as from spilling oil or paint.
  • Aesthetics: Concrete is largely functional, but staining can add an element of style that is very clean and simple to apply to a large surface area.
  • Multiple applications: From a driveway to a warehouse, even a school or hospital, the durability and long-lasting aesthetics of chemically staining concrete makes it functional in a range of settings.

The ability to stain concrete, even older concrete, is a way to reinvigorate its appearance. It is easily achievable on small and large surface areas.

One tip people should remember is to try a small area first, as this will provide an idea of how the overall finish will look.

Other concrete finishes and designs

The above finishes are what many people will be able to achieve themselves, with the appropriate technique, equipment and supplies. Some other different concrete finishes include:

  • stamped finish
  • engraved finish
  • exposed aggregate finish
  • polished finish
  • troweled finish
  • salt finish
  • swirl finish

The above finishes can be more difficult to achieve correctly, and there are sometimes expensive pieces of equipment or tools necessary. Different finishes may be even more challenging depending on whether they are on a floor, wall or ceiling.

Our professional finishing services are capable of delivering many designs effectively using the best tools. With over 40 years experience and 100% accreditation we can help deliver any finish necessary.

People should feel free to contact us if they have any questions or to get a quote. Visit our blog again soon for more news and expert advice.

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