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Our Thoughts, News & Updates about Concrete Flooring in Ottawa

Self-Levelling Epoxy Flooring Vs Concrete Levellers

Concrete floors and wood sub-floors are never perfectly flat or exactly level. All pre-manufactured flooring has a specific allowance for levelness and flatness. When it comes to getting a floor level and flat to the specification required, a concrete self levelling overlay or underlay is often the solution.

self leveling concrete before

BEFORE Self Leveling Concrete Process

There is a difference between and underlay and an overlay, in fact, in our opinion they should be called pre-layments and final-layments.

Underlayment: This is a leveller that is not designed to be used as a finished surface. It is to be used as a base for a flooring system such as carpet, tile or hard wood.

Overlayment: This is a levelling agent or system that can be a wear course or final floor topping. It is still recommended that it be sealed with epoxy or similar.

self leveling concrete during

DURING Self Leveling Concrete Process

Now, focusing on overlayment, let’s discuss the reasons one should choose epoxy over a concrete or gypsum bases overlayments.

Firstly: adhesion. You might think concrete would have the best adhesion to a concrete but in fact epoxies have been shown to have a much stronger bond. This is because when applied, epoxies are much more liquid like than concrete and therefore are able to penetrate the slab and expand in is pores. This requires proper surface preparation via grinding or shot blasting.

With concrete overlays, the bond is achieved on the surface only using a proprietary binder or primer. While this does work in effect, it’s not nearly as strong or as well bonded as 100% solids 2 part epoxy.

Another huge benefit to using epoxy for a self-leveling overlay is the fact that epoxy itself is a sealer. In theory, assuming your floor doesn’t require more than one coat of epoxy self-levelling overlay, you could do one coat and your floor would be level, sealed and the colour you want.

self leveling concrete after

AFTER Self Leveling Concrete Process

With a concrete self-levelling overlay you would have to wait for the concrete to cure, sand it, then clean and vacuum and then apply an approved sealer.

Unlike concrete overlays, epoxy overlays have many options concerning non slip and final sheen. Epoxies also bond well with other coatings where as concrete overlays often fail in the department.

To ensure the best outcome when levelling a floor you will not be covering with other flooring, you best bet is to choose a leveller that can withstand years of wear and tear on it’s own without requiring a sealer. That solutions, is self levelling epoxy. If you have any questions about Self-Levelling Epoxy Flooring Vs Concrete Levellers, ask our team today!

Ripping Out a Concrete Slab Vs Resurfacing It

When the time comes to finally admit that your concrete slab is completely shot, think again, it may not be!

It’s very common for us to be called out to see a floor and quote on replacing it only to find that replacing that slab would not only be unnecessary, but more costly than being repaired or resurfacing.

Another detail to consider when going down this path is the fact that even if you do replace a slab that appears to be beyond its years, you end up with a new, unprotected slab, that could see the same fate again.

concrete slab resurfacingConsider this: If the reason you wish to replace your concrete slab is because of surface imperfections like pitting, cracking, mottling or other unsightly issues, a resurfacing product like a self levelling epoxy or one of many other options may do a even better job than new concrete would.

Here is what we mean. By resurfacing a badly pitted or cracked slab with, for example, self-levelling epoxy, you not only get the new, pretty, smooth and easy to clean surface but this new surface is also impervious to the chemical and mechanical attacks that caused it to erode in the first place.

Another benefit is that with epoxy treatments you can choose colours, patterns, graphics, non-slip additives, logos, gloss sheens and more and build these features into the repair cost and process for your floor.

Rather than pay the cost financially of ripping out the old and bringing in the new, not to mention the environmental cost, why not use less material, time and often less money to get a new surface that will outperform the old and provide the custom usability you need?

If your slab is presenting other issues like damp spots appearing with no moisture causing scenarios above grade or if the slab is heaving, meaning the slab is higher on one side of the crack than the other, you may still need to remove the slab.

Usually, with heaving or moisture issues there is a problem below or adjacent to the slab that needs to be addressed. Resurfacing a slab showing these symptoms is a bad idea. The work done to “cover up” the problem will not only come undone in short time but it could make the underlying issues worse.

In closing, consider keeping your old beat up slab a little while longer, it could save you a lot of money and give you a beautiful new and stronger than ever surface.

Contact us today for a free slab evaluation. You may be glad you did.

The “Cool” Factor of Decorative Concrete and How to Not to Over-Do It

There is absolutely no doubt that decorative concrete is finally picking up steam in the finished flooring space. It fits in well with just about any environment: inside or outside, commercial, residential or industrial.

Some of the more popular features that lead to this innovative selection of concrete flooring systems making their way into the mainstream are that they are:

-Hypoallergenic
-Seamlessdecorative concrete custom work overlay pattern
-Totally customizable
-Easy to clean
-Modern

It’s pretty common to see seamless epoxy, brilliant polished concrete and randomly troweled and coloured overlays in places of business, commerce and manufacturing.

When decorative concrete first started to become more noticeable in Canada there were a lot of mistakes happening with it sadly. We’ve all seen that tacky floor somewhere and wondered: “What were they THINKING?” That’s so hilariously ugly.

The trend of decorative concrete has moved to become more of a staple in modern design. With that move came a lot of change. Change not only in process and options but mostly in concept. No longer are decorative concrete floors installed to be a major attraction in design, they are now meant to be almost a mute feature in the overlay design concept.

Keep in mind there are always exceptions to the rule. Take for example floors with branding, themes or directional marks. However, overall the interior design concepts of today and the future are going to be expansive, sleek, minimalist finishes that lend well to the idea and feeling of “modern”.

When choosing flooring, especially for a commercial application, it’s exceedingly important to keep this in mind. Even though you may like to have bright colours or graphics in your floors, your customers or the eventual occupant for your current space may not be a fan.

The good news is that when you select a finish and design concept for your floors, your design consultant should be able to steer you in the right way in terms of choosing floor that will be appreciated by most, or, a method that creates a floor that can be easily reversed.

A good way to do this would be a solid colour floor or polished concrete with a logo or graphic from your brand embedded into a separate top layer of coating. When the time comes to move on, a concrete artisan can remove these graphics revealing the sleek floor below.

Always feel free to contact a concrete flooring expert for more ideas. We are a friendly bunch.

Top 3 Benefits of Seamless Concrete Floor Coatings

In this post we will go over the top 3 benefits of seamless coatings vs traditional seamed flooring types and cover some potential hazards of seamless flooring that you can avoid with proper planning.

1) Easy to Clean

Seamless flooring is easy to clean due to the lack of grout and smooth texture allowing for easy sweeping squeezing mopping and vacuuming without struggling to pick up debris that might get stuck in the grout of the floor.garage floor ottawa colour flakes

Potential downside: If slipperiness is a concern special additives are available for seamless floors that will retain their ease of use while providing traction. There are also top coats that can be added at any time in the future if you find that years down the road, your floor is more slippery than you’d like.

2) No Contamination Intrusion

If your floor environment is ever exposed to contamination, it is much less likely that this will have a long term adverse affect because they’re are no intrusion causeways to the underside of your flooring due to the lack of grout creating an entry point for moisture or contamination intrusion.

Potential downside: In order to create a floor with these benefits, proper surface preparation and moisture and contamination testing must be employed prior to installation of a seamless floor. Just as a seamless floor is impermeable from the top it should also be permeable from underneath, therefore if contamination and moisture go unaddressed they cannot escape a seamless floor and this could lead to bubbles air pockets or de-lamination of your flooring investment.

3) Unlimited Styling and Branding Options

Both floor coatings and polished concrete allow for unlimited design elements due to their being no delineating lines distracting the eye from an overall impactful design. Floor designs can include safety zoning or directional retail pathways. With today’s coat-able high definition and 3D graphics, floors can create an environment that is literally out of this world.

Potential downside: Embedded floor graphics design and branding are a very permanent decision and would need to be mechanically removed or covered up by another coating or traditional flooring should branding change or a tenant owner move from the facility.

With all of these great ideas, your sure to be excited about your new seamless floor, don’t be shy to call today and share one of your unique ideas for your upcoming seamless flooring project.

Top Retail Concrete Flooring Options

Choosing a floor for your retail environment goes beyond the economics of choosing the lowest price. Often omitted from the fact gathering process of shopping for a floor, are details like longevity, cost of ownership, maintenance, repair downtime and return to service interval. If all of the above are not considered prior to making a decision of the flooring style and material for your space it’s a certainty that you will encounter exorbitant costs down the road while trying to reserve a fresh clean looking environment for your retail space.

thefloorcompany polished concrete retail flooring The primary use of your retail space will determine flooring type that’s most ideal. If your retail space deals with the sale of harsh chemicals such as paints and dyes, a monolithic coating (seamless) will most likely be your best option. These coatings are usually epoxies or polyaspartics, however, there are several other coating options a professional will recommend to you based on your use of space and exposure to potential contamination issues.

Coatings are the best option for the environment above because they are seamless so you won’t get staining and debris stuck in ugly grout that’s hard to clean. Another benefit is they are generally stain resistant if your retail environment deals in dry goods and or is susceptible to high traffic, but a dry environment that isn’t introduced to excessive water or road de-icing salts, polished concrete is an economical and beautiful natural clean way to have a brilliant shine and welcoming environment for your clientele.

Of course, we can’t forget about branding potential and interior design elements. Both coatings and polished concrete offer unlimited potential for unique and creative expression of your brand and corporate culture. Contact a concrete design and finishing specialist today for all of your retail concrete flooring needs.

Polished Concrete Floors Don’t Have To Be Slippery

A common misconception with shiny concrete floor surfaces is that they are slippery.

Something important to understand right away is that just about any hard and dense surface lacking surface profile, texture or grit, will be slippery when walking in puddled water.

There are many way to achieve a less slippery surface.

– Adding sand to a sealer.
– Trowelling a textured pattern into the concrete or overlay.
– Broadcasting small metal or vinyl grit flakes into a top coat.
are concrete floors slippery
These all work fine but when it comes to polished concrete they are not an option. This is because the resulting shine you see after a floor has been grinded, hardened, polished, sealed and burnished, is the result of the concrete itself having been filled with ever increasingly smaller scratches from the grinding and polished phases. The top coat guard ads a little bit of sheen but mostly serves as a stain resistant layer.

This stain resistant top layer also keeps the floor from releasing concrete dust. Polished concrete floors are porous by nature.

In regards to slipperiness, let’s look at some of the differences between polished concrete and sealed concrete.

As indicated above, polishing is the act of scratching a surface with ever smaller and smaller scratches. The floor shines because light reflects off it at many different angles both horizontally and vertically.

With sealed concrete, the shine you see is 100% derived from the clarity and plastic nature of a sealed floor. There is a build up of material on the surface providing lustre and a reflective nature. While beautiful when new, sealed concrete doesn’t shine for as long as polished concrete because it is softer and therefore scratches more easily. Sealed concrete is also more slippery when wet because it is not porous at all which is why it is often necessary to add non slip materials into the top coat of a sealed floor.

When stepping on a polished surface, water is actually able to be pushed down into the pores of the floor a little bit resulting in more traction. On a microscopic level, the polishing process has cut off the high points of the concrete and the hardness process has raised the low points thereby increasing the amount of surface the foot is reaching.  The end result is more foot on the floor and less foot on the slippery water.

When choosing a concrete finish be sure to discuss how you plan to use the floor. Sometimes you may want a polished floor but a clear sealer over aggregate exposed concrete with a non slip added in may be a better bet.

There is no golden rule for when to choose one finish over another, so speak with a concrete flooring specialist today to determine your best option.

Are Concrete Floors Cold and Damp?

Concrete can be a very cold material, as the material itself is smooth and unforgiving…however, concrete is no colder than ceramic or stone, so why give concrete the cold shoulder?

Unlike other materials, with concrete, you have the ability to install radiant heating cables, which are special cables that give off plenty of heat. By putting these in your concrete floors, you will experience heated flooring with concrete!

are concrete floors warm

Concrete floors end up being warmer with this method, and if you are designing a home as opposed to simply re-flooring a room, see about allowing as many windows as possible, so that the concrete can take in the heat from the sunlight and hold it in, thereby making the floors even warmer (wintertime would be a nightmare without any sort of heating for your concrete floors).

It can become a terrible hassle if a concrete floor is built on a subgrade that does not drain accordingly, as this will cause your concrete floor to become awfully damp. Dampness can also occur from not having insulated the area properly enough, as moisture and water will then seep into the concrete and cause inevitable dampness.

So, for ensuring that your concrete floors are warm and dry, you must make sure that your floors are laid and installed correctly, and a bit of research on your own time would not go astray, as it would be in the greatest of benefits to you to know about concrete flooring installation beforehand, that way you can make sure the contractor is doing things correctly (if it’s a younger contractor, you run the risk of him not knowing any “tricks of the trade” or whatnot).

In today’s society, methods are being used to help stop moisture and water from getting in and under your concrete floors (besides insulation), and that is through contractors and carpenters placing a vapour barrier within the concrete slab, in order to protect from the invasion of moisture.

You see, at the end of the day, if your concrete floors are put in correctly, and they are heated properly, you would not have much to worry about in the way of walking on a stone-cold floor in the wintertime.

If you have any questions for a concrete professional, contact us today!

Are Concrete Floors Better Than Hardwood Floors?

‘Concrete’ Evidence as to the Myths of Concrete V.S Hardwood Flooring

What is Concrete Used for Nowadays?

Concrete flooring is steadily becoming a far more popular flooring material all over due to its newfound versatility. 30 years ago, you may have walked into a warehouse and seen a dismal, depressing grey concrete floor…but nowadays, you have the ability to stain concrete with acid, paint it, overlay it, or even put ‘radiant’ in-floor heating under the concrete so it’s not as frigid as usual. Concrete is ubiquitously placed all across the world now, and you can find it in business offices, warehouses (as before), and even inside homes, which may be what you are considering along with hardwood flooring.cleaning and maintenance concrete floors

Why Would Concrete be Better Than Hardwood Flooring?

Hardwood flooring, as some are starting to realize, actually has quite a few drawbacks in the long term. Hardwood flooring, if damaged by water, becomes mold-ridden and weak after a short time, whereas concrete is forever.

If you have hardwood floors in your house, over time, the hardwood eventually settles, and you might encounter problems of hardwood cracking if a nail was driven through it too much and you have a lot of hot and cold weather back-to-back.

When it comes to concrete, it is a material that is made to last. If concrete adorned the floors of your home, as opposed to hardwood, you would see, after several years, it’s as durable as ever. The only way you’d crack or break concrete is if you dropped something very durable and very sharp on it from a very high height, which would be very unlikely in your home.

Concrete is also very easy to clean (carpets and such notwithstanding) due to its incredible smoothness (mopping and sweeping wouldn’t ever be a problem). With hardwood flooring, dirt and possibly hair and other materials often get into the veins of the wood, and no sweeping or mopping job (not even vacuuming) can get rid of them.

As a finisher, if you damage any part of a hardwood floor (especially if it’s multiple planks), you’d find it nearly impossible to match a new piece with a broken piece, which may lead to you replacing all damaged planks.

At the end of the day, concrete flooring has an extremely long lifespan, and it’s easy to keep clean. Concrete is also forever, unlike hardwood. If you’re looking to talk to a concrete flooring professional today, contact us here.

 

A Concrete Floor is a Better Solution to Traditional Carpet or Wood Flooring

Durability is Usually the Desired Flooring Choice

If you have not entertained the idea of having a new concrete floor as the replacement for your old flooring, you may want to consider this option. Concrete is reliable for longer periods of time, more resilient to wear-and-tear and serves a more efficient function for everyday life in a busy home.

In basements and garages, concrete is typically the flooring of choice, but some people would rather spare the expense and just throw down some carpet or laminate flooring to cover up the old floor. Carpet or wood/wood-like laminate are materials with very short duration spans and are not as durable as concrete.

Basements and Garages

If you stop to consider just how tough you are on your basement floor and your garage floor, you may get a clearer understanding of why concrete is still the best choice for flooring in these 2 areas of your home.garage floor ottawa colour flakes

Your basement is probably home to your laundry facilities, storage of items and possibly the place your furnace is (along with electrical panels). There is constant traffic going to and from your basement, as well as the typical “dampness” that is accustomed to being present in any basement. Wood, vinyl and carpeting are very susceptible to mould and buckling within damp areas.

Your garage is no different. It is a high traffic area that not only is used for vehicles, but there can be oil leaks, stored tools and machines (lawnmowers) and other miscellaneous storage items. The flooring again would need to be concrete as anything else would be a fire hazard and not durable.

The Long Run Savings

Pouring a new concrete floor is an investment into the future of your home, not an immediate savings. The expense involved may seem like a large chunk of money to put out all at once, but if you consider the cost of repeatedly replacing alternate flooring materials, you will see your savings right there.

Investing into your home’s future is the best step you can take, as well as ensuring that you are also keeping durable flooring such as concrete available for the long run. If you are so inclined, you can have some fun with the concrete floor investment by having it stained or textured to give you a more interesting floor.

If you are interested in getting your concrete floor finished, contact one of our flooring experts today!