Article Four Myths about Concrete in Commercial Spaces

We’ve seen the interest in concrete surfaces – whether countertops, furniture or flooring – pick up in the last few years. What’s driving the trend and is the logic behind this design choice valid? Let’s take a closer at four myths and misconceptions about concrete flooring.

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Myth 1: Concrete is cheap & no additional surface prep is needed

uneven surface appearance with concrete floor

While it may be tempting to specify concrete due to initial costs, this assumption usually falls flat. The concrete formula used for subflooring is not the same as used for finished interior surfaces, and the process of smoothing and polishing with successively finer diamond-headed grinders has proven to be a considerable expense. It can also be tough to get the right look during the install – there are uncontrollable variables in local materials, on-site stain application and tradesperson skill level that may result in inconsistent results. Bottom line – the industrial look synonymous with concrete flooring may not be as easy to bring to life as originally planned – and it usually won’t result in the desired cost savings.

Myth 2: Concrete is durable & long-lasting

Concrete flooring cracks and deterioration

Concrete is tough – maybe too tough. As a raw material, it has the strength to withstand heavy traffic. But this doesn’t mean concrete isn’t prone to cracking, chipping, flaking and trenching. Cracking is nearly inevitable due the rigidity and hardness of concrete. Cracking opens up many unfavorable developments: poor appearance, moisture control issues, cleaning challenges, odor control, infestation, costly repair efforts, and more.

When issues like this arise, it’s challenging to cut out, patch or replace damaged sections. This is important to consider for the longevity of the floor – and making sure it looks beautiful for years to come. Our modular products, like Natural Creations and Unbound with Diamond 10 Technology, install quickly and easily for fast move-ins, renovations and repairs. Unbound can even be installed with a loose lay or modified looselay method for a quick return to operational space. 

Myth 3: Concrete is no maintenance

Stains are difficult to remove from concrete floors

Like any type of hard surface flooring, concrete requires maintenance to maximize the life of the floor – which can include disruptive and expensive resealing every three to five years. Despite regular maintenance, it can easily stain from acidic foods, paints, solvents, cosmetics, tracked in-asphalt and cleaning chemicals, and depending on the coating that was used to seal the floor, it can still be quite porous. This means it will absorb and retain pungent liquids like pet urine and pickle juice, among others. It’s also important to note that it’s tough to predict how concrete will age due to imperfections in the aggregate and varying slab quality; this could impact maintenance plans and ultimately the life of the floor.

Maintenance is not a one-size-fits-all recommendation. What works for one customer may not be right for another. But one thing all customers have in common is a desire for beautiful, durable floors that keep their good looks and superior performance with the least amount of maintenance. The total life cycle cost to maintain our resilient products is on par or better than sealed and polished concrete. And Diamond 10 Technology provides industry leading stain resistance so floors look newer, longer.

Myth 4: Concrete is a natural, “green” product

Surface Discoloration

Concrete is often thought of as a natural product because it’s made from stone, sand, water and other raw materials, but don’t overlook a key ingredient: cement. Cement consumes large quantities of raw materials, energy and heat during production. This contributes to the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. Also, when concrete needs replaced or removed, it has to be smashed up and removed in chunks. The waste is not degradable. When sustainable strategies are critical factors in the overall design vision, consider bio-flooring solutions like BBT. It has a low carbon footprint, is made with renewable material and 40% pre-consumer recycled content – and has a long-life value and a true through-pattern wear layer.

Download the infographic: 4 Myths about Concrete Flooring