About Polished Concrete
Like the idea of a polished concrete floor for your home but think it might be cold or lifeless? …you’re in for a surprise!
A polished concrete floor uses a principal called thermal mass to moderate the temperature inside your home keeping you warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Couple this with good passive solar design incorporating window placement and eave overhangs and your polished concrete floor is delicious to walk on soaking up warmth from the sun in winter and yet keeping to a nice cool (not cold) 12°C right through summer.
Many people first experiencing life with a HiPERFLOOR™ polished concrete floor usually say something like “its not like we expected, it’s far more sensual to touch, kind of like polished stone”
For those conscious of creating a healthy home
One of the highest sources of off-gassing and on-going release of harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) is plastic finishes such as urethanes and epoxies. While experts differ about the duration and scale of such health issues, a component as large as the entire floor surface coated in this manner would add considerably to the toxic loading of an environment some even off-gassing cyanide! The HiPERFLOOR™ system by contrast uses a non-toxic penetrating sealer to primarily repel chemicals and staining agents, rather than provide a glossed surface to act as the wearing agent as is the case with plastic floor coatings used for both timber and concrete.
Polished concrete floors are a great way to reduce allergies caused by dust mites. They also reduce toxic build up in your home by comparison to wall to wall carpet which has been found to accumulate environmental toxins walked in on the soles of shoes, eventually creating toxic loads many times higher than the surrounding environment outside the house.
For those concerned with reducing their impact on the environment.
Concrete is well known for being the cheapest building material used in construction today. But what about the environmental costs?
One measure of a building product is its embedded energy. That is how much energy (sometimes measured in CO2 emissions) it takes to produce a product. Concrete has a medium to high embedded energy but has a lifespan of 1000’s of years, potentially making it a very environmentally friendly product. Concrete buildings made by the Romans are still standing among us today!
Concrete is also fully recyclable and can be crushed and reused in the making of new concrete slabs. It is also non-toxic, it doesn’t off-gas VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) like other common building materials such as carpets, paint, some insulation materials, MDF and chipboard. Nor does it need toxins to protect it from insect infestation such as CCA (Copper, Chrome and Arsenic) found in many wood products.
The perfect building material? No. There probably is no such thing, but concrete is more environmentally friendly than you may first think.
As for polished concrete in particular, what could be more environmentally friendly than working with the structural materials of your home rather that covering them with some other material and therefore adding to the environmental cost. Many of the most sophisticated architects have for some time now developed an entire aesthetic based on celebrating the inherent beauty of structural materials, and polished concrete in all its forms is probably the most classic example of this aesthetic.