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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.

 

Why Radiant Heated Concrete Flooring is Awesome

Radiant heat concrete floors-  ahhhhhhhhhhhh so comfortable. There is no exaggeration here. Radiant heat is the most comfortable heating system you’ll even encounter.

Radiant heat has been around for many years in other forms. Think back to those old school radiators along the exterior walls of heritage buildings, usually under the windows. These heating systems radiate outwards around themselves but create cold zones as they can only radiate so far.

With radiant pipes in the floor, heat rises from literately everywhere in your structure, creating a warm bubble for you to walk through regularly. Not only does it feel absolutely amazing on your feet but as the heat rises naturally it stays where you need it with no extra energy effort to do so.radiant heat concrete floor

Unlike forced air which blows hot air around that’s already starting to cool down since being created in the combustion process of the furnace, radiant heat doesn’t require blowers, vents, filters or any of the room that typical forced air systems require.

Besides being silent due to the lack of blowers as well as the lack of dust creation and distribution, radiant heat is constant. There’s no waiting for the next time the furnace will “kick in”. This is a huge benefit as you’ll always feel comfortable in what you’re wearing without feeling like you should have a sweater available to you in every room.

Of course with all advantages there are disadvantages. The initial cost for a radiant heat system in your home is higher for example. Also, if you need to change the temperature you can do so, however, due to the thermal staying power of concrete floors, it can take several hours for changes to take effect.

For those of us with many differing personal heat requirements due to a large family in the home, many zones can be installed with a radiant heat system. These zones allow for different temperatures to be set room by room or even within different quadrants of a given room. Keep in mind, these zones need to be created prior to pouring your concrete slab.

When hiring a contractor to install your radiant heat system and floor ask if they have experience with radiant systems or just with concrete slab installation? You don’t want to hire a concrete contractor for your radiant pipe install who says things like “Well, it doesn’t really matter how we do this as long as the pipes are covered!”? – we didn’t think so. 

There is a real technicality to selecting and installing the correct systems and tools in the correct manner.

Contact us today to discuss finishes available for radiant heat floors or if you should have any questions we can continue the conversation with you.

Are Concrete Floors Warm?

It is common to hear that concrete floors in a home are cold under our feet. While this may be true in older homes that are not properly insulated, newer standards in custom home building have led to properly insulated floors.are concrete floors warm

Concrete is also able to absorb some of the air temperature giving an average temperature that is rather comfortable under foot. However, being a hard and dense surface without a heat source, it is reasonable to expect that area rugs or slippers may be necessary for certain people in certain living environments.

Everyone’s preferences are different and everyone finds different temperatures to be too cold or too hot. Another thing to consider is that the feeling of cold sometimes is humidity or dampness in the substrate or protruding through footings, foundation walls or the slab itself.

When a concrete floor is sealed, this will cut down on the feeling and transmission of cold from the substrate. When it comes to using concrete on top of radiant heat systems that are either electric, water based or glycol based, you cannot ask for a better thermal retainer to provide slow, steady and consistent heat delivery.

Architects and engineers for homes that will be green-builds or using LEED compliant construction often choose concrete. Using design principles including use of solar energy from south and southeast facing windows as well as position a home on the property in order to be exposed to the most sunlight possible leads to a warm and more energy efficient home.

As of late, these practices in design have included using concrete slabs to absorb sunlight and release it slowly to heat the home. Not only is this incredibly comfortable feel to the foot but it will also reduce the expense of the heating system.

In fact, in some cases, a home designed in such a way may use the term “secondary heat source” for the furnace rather than the thermal release systems in place such as concrete floors, stonewalls and Low E Argon double pane glass windows.

Concrete floors on their own are not warm but certainly feel warmer than ceramic floors due to their ability to absorb some of the room’s temperature. Once concrete is combined with other technologies to increase heat, as discussed above, it is unparalleled in terms of dollar per BTU of heat expelled.

For more information on concrete floors for the home or commercial location as well as tips on how to use concrete to heat and beautify your home, contact an expert today for a free consultation.

DIY vs. Professional Surface Preparation

In both commercial and residential applications, the successful installation and durability of concrete finishes such as coatings and overlays is nearly completely dependent on the level and type of preparation methods used prior to installing the floor system.

Although there are many different methods used to prepare concrete on the market, for do-it-yourself projects, these products are nowhere near as effective or able to guarantee longevity at changing the surface profile via abrasives or mechanical grinding.

Improper floor preparation leads to floor failure      

improper floor preparation

Vehicle tires can easily damage an epoxy floor placed on a badly or never prepared floor

Vehicle tires easily damage an epoxy floor place on a badly or never prepared floor

Any floor can be made beautiful with proper preparation of the surface

If a floor needs to be prepared for a product that is intended to be impact resistant, the best method of surface preparation is shot blasting. Shot blasting not only removes the surface of the concrete on a micro-level, revealing clean sound concrete, it also leaves a rough and more angular texture which is ideal for a base for high impact environments.Any floor can be made beautiful with prior preparation of the surface

For floors that need to be smoothed out, such as concrete pads (that were incorrectly placed and have trowel marks or a rough finish) grinding is the best method.

Contrary to shot blasting, grinding will smooth the surface by using a circular or multi-circular motion resulting in cutting and planing the surface. This is an ideal form of preparation for flooring systems that will be placed in thinner successive layers.

Keep in mind, when choosing a preparation method, material costs will be higher in most cases on a floor that has been shot blasted as the rough surface profile will consume more material than that of a grinded surface.

In the DIY marketplace, without the experience and necessary tools and training, the ‘do-it-yourselfer’ or homeowner is stuck with using small, nearly ineffective sanding machines vs. heavy grinding machines with a higher downforce. The downforce of a surface preparation machine is just as important as the grit of abrasive used. Lightweight machines available for rent are only for changing the surface profile of softer materials like sealers or paints. They are not designed for removing thin layers of concrete.

garage floor ottawa colour flake floor

Aside from using mechanical means for surface preparation, chemicals such as muriatic acid, can be used to prepare a concrete surface, however they require caution and the use of these acids comes with the risk of damaging surrounding areas and a failed end product if the surface is not properly neutralized after the preparation process.

If you need help with your surface preparation, contact us today and avoid a DIY disaster!

Please reference the chart below to see the differences of DIY vs professional surface preparation:

professional installation diy floor coating chart

What to Consider When Choosing a Residential Garage Floor Coating

When shopping for a residential garage floor coating, you will be presented with numerous options that tend to offer the same end result. For the majority of homeowners, the desired outcome of a residential garage floor coating is a dust free, easy to clean, slip resistant and attractive looking garage floor.

If you’re looking for a modern clean look, polished concrete is often recommended by designers and interior décor magazines. If this it the look you are going for, there are ways to make polished concrete impervious to the road salts used in our Canadian climate and work well in a garage setting.

residential garage floors ottawaFor a garage floor solution that requires little to no upkeep and maintenance, a coating is the best choice. The reason for this is that coatings are impervious to penetration of almost all chemicals that can damage concrete.

Garage floor coatings are available to suit the varying needs of homeowners based on return to service time, abrasion resistance, hiding rough textures ,slip resistance, UV stability and decorative appeal.

Of late, there have been a lot of companies pushing one type of coating over another claiming superiority in all respects over other products. In our experience, there are multiple products for all jobs. It is important to note that while one product might cure more quickly, another product, while taking a longer time to cure, will provide a more impact resistant floor for example.

There are a few tests that a qualified residential garage floor coating expert should be doing to ensure the correct product is chosen for your job.

For a modern look, a clear coating such as a polyaspartic polyurea finish would be a great option. Another option for a natural and modern look would be an epoxy finish over grinded concrete, this type of finish will show off the beautiful stones that exist in your slab. If your slab is in disrepair and requires a lot of patching, choosing an opaque finish might be the better choice in order to hide all of the imperfections that might be evident after repair.

A top of the line option for slip resistance, impact resistant, abrasion resistance, easy to clean, dirt hiding floor is our is our polyaspartic one-day colour flake floor. These floors are unique and provide the best of all features that a residential garage floor needs.

Depending on your projects time constraints and the desired end result, we can always find a solution that will meet your key requirements while providing the budget and features that work for your particular project.

Contact us today to get your free no obligation estimate 

 

The Differences Between Polyaspartics and Epoxy Coatings

polyaspartic flooringThere are many differences and similarities between polyaspartics and epoxy coatings.  In many cases, once the product is installed you cannot tell the difference. We’ve outlined below why you might choose polyaspartic polyurea over epoxy and vice versa.

Polyaspartic Polyurea

Polyaspartics are thinner and more abrasion resistant than traditional epoxy coatings. A major benefit to them is the fact that they are 100% UV stable, meaning they will not turn yellow due to exposure of the sun or artificial UV lighting.

A major benefit to using a polyaspartic coating is that the installer is able to apply multiple coats and sometimes complete a several coat installation in one day. The reason for this is because polyaspartics cure using available moisture in the surface and in the air.

For floors that have a heavy texture that needs to be hidden, polyaspartics can still be a solution but they will require either multiple layers or decorative colour flakes to hide the texture. This is due to their thinner nature and also the fact that polyaspartic polyurea cures too quickly to be an efficient self-levelling coating.

The vast majority of residential garage floors do not exhibit any of the variables that would prevent the use of polyaspartic coatings. In some cases however, epoxy coatings might be a better solution.

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epoxy coatings ottawa

Epoxy Coatings

Epoxies used in the coatings industry, are typically thicker, and have levelling properties not available with polyaspartic polyurea. The benefit here is that less coats are required in order to achieve a smooth floor when one is desired.

An example of an environment when a 100% solids 2-part epoxy might be chosen over a 2-component polyaspartic polyurea is when a large square footage job is comprised of multiple small rooms and hallways. This is because epoxies, while they take longer to cure, allow for more intricate work to be done without fear of the material curing during the installation.

Epoxies also make excellent repair mortars and bases for polyaspartic polyurea floors, this is to say that in some cases both epoxy and polyaspartic polyurea may be used for the perfect coating solution. Unfortunately today, there are many sources across the internet stating that one type of coating is better than another for all circumstances; this simply is not the case. As we have mentioned above, both types of coatings have ample benefits.

Call us today to have an industry recognized coatings expert contact you with more information specific to your exact flooring needs.

 

 

Top Benefits of Concrete Flooring

When it comes to the trendy concrete flooring you are seeing in homes everywhere, you may find yourself wondering why it has become such a popular selection. There are many reasons why a person might consider having a concrete floor, but there are three key benefits to acknowledge. Those top benefits include: it is economical, it is long lasting and it is customizable.

Get Inspired and Check out Our Concrete Flooring Gallery

Budget

Maybe you are looking to remodel, or you are building a new construction. Either way, you probably have set up a budget and have discovered that budgets can quickly go off the rails. Whether that has already happened or you are in the process of finding cheaper options to help stay on budget, concrete flooring is a great way to soften blows in the money department. In new structures that have been built on concrete slabs, the existing concrete can be used. This saves you a lot of money because you no longer have to lay down various other types of flooring on top of the concrete. A simple staining process can have your existing concrete slab shined up and looking as pristine as limestone flooring.Top Benefits of Concrete Flooring, concrete floor ottawa, concrete floors ottawa, screed concrete floor, painting concrete floors, polished concrete floors, concrete floor paint, stain concrete, flooring company ottawa, flooring stores ottawa

Sustainability

Concrete flooring is also great because of its sustainability. Concrete floors can last anywhere up to 100 years. That is quite a bit of longevity for flooring. Also, cracked concrete can be touched up to showcase its age, adding charm to the overall building. With hardwood floors and many other flooring types, they will need to be replaced much sooner than 100 years. Concrete flooring ensures your floors look great for many, many years.

Options

Finally, concrete floors have endless options in terms of customizing a look to fit perfectly within your home or building. Whether you want the wet floor look or a great transition between outdoor and indoor flooring, decorative concrete flooring can accommodate whatever taste profile. There are even techniques that can be used to make the concrete flooring take on the appearance of hardwood flooring. There are many color options to choose from, from lighter tones to darker tones. Whatever style you like, concrete flooring has the flexibility and customization you want.

If you are looking into redoing your existing flooring or you are beginning a new construction, strongly consider these benefits to concrete flooring. You will be able to save loads of money by using this economical flooring type. You will not have to worry about costly repairs or replacing damaged flooring, as concrete floors are likely to outlast your lifespan. Finally, you will have a great looking floor that reflects your style and taste, giving your establishment a uniqueness of its own.

Are you interested in learning more about concrete flooring? Contact us today!