When you think concrete, you probably think gray, scratchy surfaces and skinned knees. The words "elegant" and "concrete" never cross your mind in the same thought, do they? Yet, there are ways to make your concrete floors elegant and beautiful.
Polished Concrete Floors
A polisher for concrete floors takes a high-speed sanding and buffing machine to plain, boring concrete surfaces and gives them the "rock tumbler" effect. As a kid, you may have had a rock tumbler toy, into which you inserted several rough, dirty, boring rocks and got polished stones out the other end. That is exactly what happens with polished concrete floors: the machine smooths, buffs, and polishes concrete into this amazing floor that you would never guess is concrete.
Acid-Washed Concrete Floors
No, your floors do not come out looking like acid-washed jeans from the '80's. Instead, the type of acid used turns a concrete floor into a colored, almost marbled, surface. It gives the illusion that you have real marble floors without the major expense of cut marble slabs and marble installation. As far as the acid stain goes, do not worry; it is all washed off before the polishing and sealant are added.
Perhaps one of the least expensive options for making concrete look elegant is an epoxy coating. While this paint-on plastic coating is meant to cover bare concrete, it does have a few drawbacks. You still have to make the concrete super-smooth and very clean. The epoxy will not adhere to a rough or dirty concrete floor. This is different from polished concrete, which is easily washable and requires no prep work.
On the flip side, you can choose from dozens of colors, patterns, and styles of epoxy. All are easily applied with a long-handled roller brush. The finished floor does not look a thing like the underlying concrete, and no one can guess that it is concrete at all. It is heavy enough to withstand the weight of most vehicles without scratching, something that acid-washed concrete and polished concrete cannot fully claim. You can also create your own designs by combining different epoxy colors and patterns, giving you unlimited options for a unique floor.
Talk to Your Concrete Flooring Expert
A concrete flooring expert can help you decide just what type of image and presentation you want for your concrete floors. A consultation is usually free, although some flooring experts may charge a small fee for a work estimate. Ask to see a computer image mock-up of each type of floor treatment, if the flooring expert utilizes this technology.