Many lovers of modern interiors dream of a beautiful industrial concrete floor. Enchanted by their rough beauty, they want to apply it in their homes or offices. However, when it comes to the choice of technology and the contractor, they often feel lost in the sea of specialized terms: micro-cement floor, polished concrete, smoothed concrete or plastered concrete… When to choose a floor polished concrete and when a micro-cement floor? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both solutions? Today we will try to answer these questions.
Polished concrete, plastered concrete, smoothed concrete, micro-cement, micro-concrete…
The plastered concrete, also called smoothed or floated concrete is the concrete used for interior floors, which is topped with special smoothing machines (for example, helicopter-type cement planers).
A smoothed concrete floor is often finished with surface hardeners that are applied to the fresh concrete in the form of a dry powder (the so-called DST – dry shake topping), thanks to which it obtains greater strength and better appearance. Such floor is generally used in production plants or warehouses. This floor requires dilation every 4-5 meters, which, unfortunately, still does not guarantee that no cracks appear in the floor.
Polished concrete is smoothed concrete subjected to chemical impregnation, polishing and, if used as a decorative floor (for example, in houses), sealed. This method is used to regenerate existing concrete floors (if they are made of good quality concrete) or to make new floors, both industrial and decorative, in shopping centres, museums, restaurants and airports, among others. The advantage of polished concrete is that, instead of a grey surface, matt and easily dirty, we have a smooth and shiny floor.
Micro cement / micro concrete is a mixture of common cement and special resins. After mixing, it is applied in thin layers (approximately 1-2 mm each) and then impregnated with a polyurethane sealer with a matt, satin or gloss finish, depending on preference.
Micro cement can be used in new floors or in existing substrates: in tiles, terrazzo, OSB boards, etc. Despite being a very thin layer, the system is extremely durable, resistant to abrasion, waterproof and easy to maintain. It allows to obtain a uniform effect without joints, dilatations and without fear of cracks in the ground.
In general, it can be said that polished concrete looks good on large open surfaces, where minor defects or imperfections at the corners will not be so noticeable. It can be used in houses when we have, say, 100 m2 of space (for example, the whole ground floor in a single-family house: corridor, living room, open kitchen). In the case of smaller areas, a much better solution will be microcement.
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Remember that concrete is a construction material whose use in the decorative floor requires a lot of experience and knowledge. The micro cement, in turn, is a modern system that combines the visual advantages of concrete but is free from its disadvantages. Micro-concrete technology is much friendlier for an individual investor, and much easier for contractors to work with it.