Nothing improves a facility's appearance and environment quite like a clean floor.
Unfortunately, common flooring systems need to be maintained constantly to stay this way. This is the reasoning behind one of the latest flooring trends being adopted by manufacturers, retailers, and everything in-between.
While concrete has been used primarily for flooring warehouses, it’s becoming better recognized as a flooring solution thanks to an innovation that makes concrete resemble polished marble. Polished concrete is simple to clean, environmentally friendly, and looks very bright when pulled off properly.
Polished concrete has become so popular because the maintenance costs are less than half as much of that of vinyl composition tile (VCT). This is because cleaning VCT involves stripping off the old wax before putting down – and buffering – the new wax.
VCT has proven to be a financial burden for facility managers without big budgets. The coat on VCT must be burnished, buffered, and then burnished once again to stay shiny. These costs build up and the process never ends as old layers must be replaced.
Polished concrete proves easy to clean by comparison. This is because polishing concrete reduces the amount of pores dirt can dig into. Polished concrete is smooth and flat so the dirt can’t get in. It even takes less soap to clean concrete.
Retailers understand that customers want to see a clean floor and are jumping on the flooring trend for themselves. Restaurant owners prefer the sanitary nature of polished concrete. VCT is known to hold bacteria and dirt between the tiles, but polished concrete doesn’t have any space for them to hide in.
Polished concrete is also completely safe even though it shines. Some people might be worried that it’s almost too shiny and must be slippery when wet, but it isn’t. It actually has more friction when wet.
Installing and maintaining polished concrete floors has been shown to have positive benefits on the environment. It has been shown to contribute to potential LEED points in three categories at the least. It contributes to LEED points in Energy and Atmosphere because of the fact it doesn’t release any VOC vapors while also improving ambient light. It scores in Materials and Resources because polished concrete expands the lifespan of existing concrete flooring. It could also score in the Innovation and Design department.
Polished concrete is better able to withstand wear and tear because of the shiny surface. The floor is resilient as the concrete will be treated with chemical densifiers to make it better able to resist absorbing fluids. As a result, the surface has more mass and compression strength, as well as higher pH levels that prevent acid from penetrating and acting on the floor.
Another option outside of polished concrete would be epoxy. The problem is that epoxy isn’t as
durable as polished concrete. It also takes time to cure, meaning that manufacturing cannot begin
again as soon as the epoxy is laid. Installing polished concrete overnight means the facility is good to go in the morning. Even a large polished concrete floor can be installed in a few days with minimal interruption to work.
The savings really shine through with reduced maintenance costs. Polished concrete doesn’t need as much work to look its best. Polished concrete floors can be mopped and swept every few days,
depending on the environment. The average cost of keeping polished concrete clean is between .09 and 25 cents per square foot, depending on how shiny you want your floor to be. This is much lower than the $0.60 - $1.05 for VCT. The low maintenance cost means the cost of installation is offset faster.
Polished concrete also handles water much better. Tiles tend to get warped and need to be replaced in the event of flooding. Polished concrete creates a safe and clean floor that is easy to maintain and doesn’t disrupt the manufacturing process. Some companies even consider it the new industry standard.