Stained or sealed concrete flooring can be a contractor’s worst nightmare. Why? Because the perfect, consistent, un-cracked concrete floor is nearly impossible to achieve, the very nature of concrete means that predicting the look of the final product is difficult. Here’s an honest look at the risks and rewards of choosing a concrete floor for your construction project.
Three Main Challenges of Concrete Flooring
- Wear & Tear Throughout The Construction Process
Concrete floors are poured and finished very early in the construction process. This means that the rest of construction is performed on top of the finished product. There are strategies to prevent damage throughout the building process, but they are costly and never 100 percent effective.
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- Shrinkage & Color Variations
Natural shrinkage of concrete will occur once the floor has been poured and finished. Like wear & tear, this can be controlled but not prevented. If shrinkage does occur, cracks may appear and require patchwork that detracts from the smooth, even appearance an owner might desire. If a contractor is able to prevent cracks and patches, different batches of concrete can have a slightly different color. This variation of color will inevitably be seen in the concrete floor.
- Style is Subjective
What customers are looking for in the finished product is highly variable. Some people like the look of a more industrial style with imperfections or some discoloration, while others want it to look sleek and 100 percent consistent. Ten people can look at a concrete floor, two of whom think it’s perfect, two of whom think it’s unacceptable and the other six of whom are somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. Everyone has a different view in his or her mind of what it should look like, and so it is very difficult to manage expectations.
Why Do People Like Concrete Flooring?
Concrete floors are on trend and can give a building a truly unique look. While concrete floors can be found in many styles of buildings, the very nature of discoloration, cracks and patches make each and every concrete floor different. In addition, concrete floors are easy and efficient to maintain and affordable to install. When considering a concrete floor, these advantages have to be realistically weighed with the risk that the final product will not match initial expectations.