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Feature: Cement & Concrete

ket entertainment centres using these floors as an alternative to marble, granite, tile, linoleum, or coated concrete. Concrete staining is becoming increasingly popular because it provides a luxurious richness that cannot be achieved by any other colouring medium while leaving behind permanent, flake-proof colour. Although staining is not a new technique, these qualities have stirred up recent interest in the use of stained concrete for an ever-expanding array of exterior and interior applications, from walkways and patios to family room floors and many more, and it looks as though it could become a regular visitor to the architects’ or interior designers’ ‘must-have’ lists. Dyes are another popular treatment in the decorative concrete community. Their ease of use, extensive palette, and vibrancy of colour (which can be more intense than chemical stains) are capturing the interest of a broad spectrum of designers, contractors and property owners. Unlike stains which react chemically with the calcium hydroxide in concrete, dyes are non-reactive and impart colour by penetrating concrete or other porous cementitious surfaces. They are also much smaller in particle size than chemical stains or acrylic stains, which allows for easier penetration and colour saturation, while leaving less residue on the surface. Dyes are available in water- or solvent-based formulations and produce looks ranging from monotone to translucent, depending on how they are applied. Water-based dyes typically produce

more marbling and variegation (similar to the look of a chemical stain), while solvent-based dyes tend to be more monotone and uniform in colour. The downside of dyes? They penetrate very fast, leaving little room for error during application, so make sure the installer you use knows what he is doing! Also, they are not all UV-stable, so most manufacturers recommend them for indoor use only. Go green with concrete flooring Building homes that are green and environmentally friendly has become the mantra for more and more builders and homeowners, as they discover how easy it can be to attain all the benefits of sustainable construction without sacrificing aesthetics or breaking the budget. In fact, going green often saves money, especially over time, while being kinder to planet Earth. Decorative concrete flooring is a perfect example of this synergy of beauty, sustainability and economy, providing a durable, lowmaintenance floor that will last the life of the building or home. Concrete floors, when left exposed, conserve resources by functioning both as a foundation slab and finished floor. This eliminates the need for carpeting and other floor coverings that would eventually require replacement. In addition to conserving materials, concrete flooring offers many other environmental benefits, such as contributing to better energy efficiency and improving indoor air quality – truly compelling reasons to go green with decorative concrete floors. Acknowledgement and thanks are given to the website www.concretenetworks.com for information contained in this article.

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Lafarge Concrete

F LO O R S S e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 0

FLOORS in Africa Journal 6'2010  

Africa's leading flooring magazine

FLOORS in Africa Journal 6'2010  

Africa's leading flooring magazine

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