Types of Designer Floors

Terrazzo Flooring

Terrazzo flooring Invented by the Venetians in the 1500s, cement-based terrazzo is one of the oldest types of decorative flooring systems. This mosaic-like floor topping made by embedding small pieces of marble or granite in mortar, followed by polishing is still highly prized for its timeless beauty. This modern-day terrazzo is excellent for multicolored patterns and designs because the epoxy resin matrix can be pigmented, like paint, to achieve an unlimited spectrum of colors. And it can accommodate a wider variety of richly colored aggregates, including chips of marble or granite, recycled glass, mother of pearl, and various synthetic materials. With the creative use of divider strips to separate areas of contrasting colors, it’s possible to produce borders, logos, geometrical designs, and other artistic compositions. They also offer outstanding durability and wear, making them tough enough for use in high-traffic commercial and industrial environments. Because the binder is 100% epoxy, the finished floor surface provides greater resiliency, chemical resistance, compressive strengths, and flexibility than cement-based systems

Epoxy flooring

There are many other kinds of floor coverings that look just as fabulous as marble, granite, designed art concrete and some others. These floors are greatly favoured by architects and interior designers. That’s why they are so popular with people for whom entrance floors and living room floors have a special significance. There are many reasons why to choose an Epoxy Floor than another floor covering. Epoxy Floors can be applied over many different materials, including steel, concrete, and wood. However, concrete is the best surface for laying Epoxy Floors is simple: It has many advantages over Quarry Tile, Ceramic Tile and Sheet Vinyl Composition Tile. Fewer seams in a floor, the less maintenance is required. The average tile floor has hundreds of dirt-trapping grout seams, which are impossible to keep completely clean.

Polished concreting floors

Polished concrete floors are low-maintenance, as they are more durable and easier to clean than many flooring options stains and dyes are often applied to enhance polished concrete as well as other options such as scoring, creating radial lines, grids, bands, borders, and other designs. Polished concrete is considered a good sustainable design flooring option. Its relatively high coefficient of friction can make it non-slippery, highly reflective polished concrete reduces lighting needs and improves natural lighting. Polished concrete flooring is hard wearing and will not chip or dent. Mopping with warm soapy water once a week is the only maintenance required. A concrete floor that has been hardened and polished will have an extremely long-life expectancy compared to other flooring a polished concrete floor that has been properly maintained may give 100+ years of service.

Stamp Concreting

Stamped concrete is where one can create concrete that is patterned or textured or embossed to resemble brick, slate, flagstone, tile, wood or any pattern or texture as per request. Stamped concrete is commonly used for patios, sidewalks, driveways, pool decks, and interior flooring. The ability of stamped concrete to resemble other building materials makes stamped concrete a less expensive alternative to using those other authentic materials such as stone, slate or brick.

Decorative stamped concrete is appealing for many reasons. First, it’s an economical alternative to pavers and natural stone, especially for applications such as patios, driveways, walkways, and pool decks. It also requires less maintenance than those materials because it has no joints where weed growth can occur. Adding to the value of stamped concrete is the material’s longevity. When properly installed and maintained, stamped concrete will last for decades.

From an aesthetic standpoint, stamped concrete is hard to beat when it comes to pattern and color options, which are virtually unlimited.

Natural stone patterns, such as slate and fieldstone, are the most prevalent, with brick and cobblestone running a close second. Seamless textures that resemble natural stone, but without joint lines, are also growing in popularity. The most popular colors tend to be grays and earth tones. However, brick patterns are often colored in red or russet hues.

Stamped concrete looks very realistic because most stamping mats are molded from the actual materials they are designed to replicate. To achieve natural-looking color variations, such as you would see in real stone, stamped concrete contractors often use integral or dry-shake color in conjunction with surface-applied coloring mediums. Will it crack, and can it be repaired?

Stamped concrete is one of the most durable and long-lasting paving materials available and is highly resistant to cracking when installed correctly. There are some basic steps you can take to minimize cracking and ensure good performance

Even if stamped concrete experiences minor cracking, the cracks are often hard to detect because they will often blend in with the pattern and joint lines. If the cracks become an eyesore, there are methods you can use to disguise them

Efflorescence, weathering, dirt and traffic can take their toll on the color of stamped concrete. You can minimize any color change by periodically cleaning and resealing the concrete. Even if the color has faded due to years of neglect or lack of maintenance, it can often be restored to its original state by cleaning and resealing.

Existing concrete that’s in good condition can be covered with a stamped overlay, which will give you the same look as conventional stamped concrete. Stamped overlays can be used to upgrade the appearance of plain concrete driveways, patios, walkways, pool decks and even

Because stamped concrete is a textured surface, it is often more slip resistant than conventional concrete. However, just like natural stone, it can become slippery when wet or if a film-forming sealer has been applied. If stamped concrete will be installed in a high-traffic area, such as an entryway or pool deck, there are a number of things you can do to increase its slip resistance.

Many people get inspiration from their surrounding landscape and home’s architectural style when choosing a color and pattern. For example, if your house has a brick exterior, consider echoing that theme in the stamped concrete, whether in a simple brick-patterned border or the entire driveway.

Stamped concrete can be expensive, depending on the costs for materials and labor in your local market and the complexity of the job..) But the old adage, “you get what you pay for,” really holds true for stamped concrete. For your initial outlay, you’ll get a pavement that lasts longer and requires less maintenance than most other paving materials, which can add up to big savings over the pavement’s lifetime. You’ll also add curb appeal and aesthetic value to your home, allowing you to maximize the return on your investment.

Like conventional concrete, stamped concrete will last for decades when properly installed and maintained, even when exposed to harsh winter weather conditions. In some cases, stamped concrete can be even more durable than standard concrete, especially if a color hardener has been applied to the surface. Most contractors also apply a sealer to stamped concrete to protect it from wear and abrasion and make it easier to maintain. How do I hire the right contractor to install my stamped concrete?

Wooden Laminate flooring

Is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product fused together with a lamination process. Laminate flooring simulates wood with a photographic appliqué layer under a clear protective layer. The inner core layer is usually composed of melamine resin and fiber board materials. Laminate flooring has grown significantly in popularity, perhaps because it may be easier to install and maintain than more traditional surfaces such as hardwood flooring. It also have the advantages of costing less and requiring less skill to install than alternative flooring materials. It is reasonably durable, hygienic (several brands contain an antimicrobial resin), and relatively easy to maintain.

Industrial Flooring

The function of an industrial floor is to provide trouble-free movement of men, machine, materials and material-handling equipment. Other than the stated obvious functions, floors are often called upon to provide:

Hygienic/anti-bacterial (Seamless, joint-less)
Highly cleanable (cold water, hot-water, steam, disinfectants etc)
Wear (abrasion) resistant.
Chemical Resistant. (acids, alkalies, solvents)
Resistance from Impact and Static Loading.
Ease of Maintenance.
Anti-slip/anti-stain properties
Flammability and Fire Safety.
Scratch/scuff resistance

The specifier of an industrial flooring either the production manager or the maintenance manager or the project manager have a plethora of options and are often not sure as to the right kind of product that would meet all or many of their requirements. Some of their requirements are often conflicting with each other such as “an anti-skid flooring is often times not easily cleanable” or as “Highly chemical resistant flooring is not always highly abrasion-resistant” etc.

Concrete floors, though most durable performer may not meet many of the desired requirements enumerated as above. The aim of this article is to analyse various available flooring options so as to help the specifier/user narrow down their choices.

Some of the floorings analysed here are as follows:
1. Vacuum-dewatered high-strength concrete flooring (M20 to M35)
2. Ironite Flooring
3. Floors broadcast with floor hardeners (metallic or non-metallic)
4. Floors armoured with floor resurfacers combined with Liquid Floor-hardeners
5. Epoxy/PU polymer floorings

Option I: Vacuum de-watered Concrete floor

Vacuum-de-watered floor, invariable known as VDF or Tremix floor continues to be the most preferred and cost available floors for various industries for many years. It can be simplified as consisting of the following steps:
Concrete of the required grade such as M20, M25 etc (basically means having a compressive strength of 200Kg/cm2, 250Kg/cm2 etc) are poured over the PCC and reinforcement bars as per design.
Vacuum de-watering (VDF) is a process by which excess water is removed in a controlled fashion by applying vacuum
The concrete is then power-troweled to obtain a smooth and dense concrete
VDF floors are known to provide a good concrete floor and is known to achieve strength earlier than a control concrete
However, contrary to the popular belief, for a specified design mix, the compressive strength cannot be more than the targeted strength.
Due to controlled water-removal as well as power-troweling, the surface is quite dense and levelled and hence is expected to provide a better abrasion resistance than a non-VDF concrete floor.

The advantages and disadvantages of a VDF can be tabulated as below:

Advantages:
• It is the most cost-effective solution as the cost of laying M35 concrete is cheaper than other options.
• It can be laid by any quality flooring contractors
• Durable
• Fairly maintenance-free

Disadvantages:
• The inherent porosity of the concrete allows water, oil and grease to seep through, consequently weakening the concrete.
• Joints are a necessity for concrete floors (to accommodate shrinkage, thermal movements etc) which can lead to joint-breakage as well as seepage of the above contaminants.
• Concrete floors generate dust due to abrasive movement of vehicles commonly found in industrial plants which can cause tangible and intangible damage to plant and machinery, sub-assemblies etc.
• Cleanability becomes a problem due to the presence of imperfections, surface roughness and porosity.
• The best-laid floor (Tremix) can have undulations of above 5mm (not normally visible to naked eye). While it is typically accepted in various engineering industries, it must be kept in mind that heavy movement of vehicles can wear out the surface faster

Option II: Ironite Flooring

Another flooring system that has been in practice for a long time, especially for heavy traffic industrial flooring is known as Ironite flooring. Once, the base concrete floor is laid, an additional 50 to 75 mm concrete topping (out of which the top 12mm inter-mixed with iron particles of specific particle-size) is poured over the base-concrete and leveled manually. Water-curing is done for another 28 days before allowing traffic.

The schematics of the Ironite flooring is depicted below:

industrial floor1

Typically, the advantages of this system is to provide high abrasion resistance for the intended heavy traffic. Due to the presence of iron particles in the top layer, the surface is expected to be tough and thus provide very high abrasion resistance. But ironite flooring, generally have a tendency to ‘curl’ at the panel joints due to the following reasons:

• Normally the water-cement ratio is high to achieve flowability of the mix
• Higher water content results in excessive evaporation of water from the top surface leading to displacement of iron particles ( due to its weight ) to the bottom surface

• Consequently this results in fine cement particles being carried to the top causing excessive shrinkage at the top compared to the bottom.

• This leads to stresses causing the floor slab to curl at the joints

• The resultant forces lead to de-bonding of ‘wearing course’ from the sub-grade

The above phenomenon can be pictorially depicted as follows:

industrial floor2

Option III: Floors broadcast with floor hardeners (metallic or non-metallic)

This type of floor is extremely prevalent in our country and is in vogue for the past 25 years or so. Contrary to the ironite flooring (in which iron particles are mixed in the concrete matrix itself), dry-shake floor hardeners are spread over the green concrete immediately after the concrete is poured and spread. The floor-hardeners, themselves are a mixture of cement, aggregates (quartz, carborundum or iron particles) and other additives, consumes the rising water from the green concrete, hydrates and gives a hard-wearing and dense surface. The floors, thus cast have proved to be an extremely durable and abrasion-resistant surface over a period of times. Unlike an ironite floor, this does not have problem of curling and provides a fairly tough and wear-resistant surface.

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Typical concrete floor without floor-hardeners

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Industrial floor with quartz-based floor hardener

Option IV: Floors aromoured with floor resurfacers (wet-on-wet)

Floor-resurface is a floor topping, combining graded hard aggregates, cement and chemical agents. The unique formulation allows the topping to be laid over new concrete (wet-on-wet method) to a thickness ranging from 5mm minimum to about 15mm. Floor-resurface offers good resistance to high impact and abrasion. It provides good surface durability for critical areas of a floor which cannot be closed to traffic easily or economically. Besides, integrally colored floor-resurface gives an excellent uniformity of the color thus improving aesthetics. Since the floor resurfaces are used over green concrete, it becomes monolithic with the base concrete obviating any possibility of de-bonding.

In addition, liquid floor hardeners can be used in conjunction with Floor-resurfaces enhancing not only heavy-duty characteristics, but also gloss, smoothness and appearance.

Liquid hardener that chemically reacts with calcium hydroxide (also referred to as “portlandite”) to produce calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H), the same material that results from the reaction between portland cement and water, giving concrete much of its strength.

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Floor re-surfacer without liquid floor-hardener

Option V: Epoxy / PU floor toppings

All the above floors that were discussed so far are of cementitious in nature and hence cannot give the following properties:

• Joint-less seamless floors
• Impermeable that do not allow oil, grease etc to permeate
• Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial characteristics
• Chemical resistance
Typically epoxy / Pu floorings are laid from 1mm to 5mm thickness. Special floorings can be laid from 6mm to 9mm as well (such as cold storage). These floorings are executed by specialized applicators who are trained in handling these materials. The base floor being concrete, it is necessary to take care in surface preparation, joint treatment, application procedure etc.
• Advantages:
• Excellent aesthetic dust-proof flooring solution.
• Long-life, if properly maintained
• Gloss that increases work ambience
• Resistance to penetration of oil, grease etc
• High abrasion and impact resistance
• Seamless, jointless flooring that can resist variety of chemicals
• Ant-bacterial, anti-fungal hygiene protection
• ESD floor solutions are available for specific areas

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Pharmaceutical Epoxy Flooring

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Epoxy Flooring for engineering industry

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Epoxy Flooring for warehouse

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Epoxy Flooring for electrical industry