From hospitals and schools to auto shops and factories, different industries demand different qualities and performance from the floors in their respective facilities. When it’s time for new flooring, epoxy systems as well as stained and polished concrete are frequently part of the discussion. What are the differences?
Staining and polishing are two methods for treating the surface of a concrete floor slab. Stained concrete refers specifically to the process of applying a colored acid- or water-based stain to alter the look of the floor. The stains can vary in appearance and durability, but the resulting floor must be regularly treated with waxes or other sealers to maintain the aesthetic appearance. A failure to regularly care for stained concrete can quickly result in a wearing away of the colored surface in high-traffic areas, leaving patches of bare concrete that begin “dusting” as well as absorbing contaminants. Repair of such areas can be difficult.
Polished concrete involves a progressive grinding down of the concrete floor surface with ever-finer grinding tools until it develops the desired sheen. The surface becomes a bit less porous and more durable than untreated or stained concrete. The polishing process can vary significantly depending on the specific concrete used and the end goal. However, regular professional buffing or other surface treatments are needed in order to maintain the polished look over time.
While stained and polished concrete can be useful options for specific applications, the use of epoxy polymers in flooring continues to grow significantly, and with good reason. Because an epoxy floor coating is actually a liquid, it can be applied directly to the existing concrete after initial preparation, leaving a virtually seamless, impervious surface. Epoxy flooring and other resinous finishes, when correctly selected and properly installed, routinely outperform stained and polished concrete in terms of chemical, acid and solvent resistance, abrasion and stain resistance, cleanability and the low level of required maintenance, slip resistance, ability to withstand thermal shock and extreme temperature cycling and many other important characteristics. Additionally, epoxy and other resinous flooring can be used to repair and refurbish existing slabs, adding as much as a quarter inch or more to the surface if needed. While stained or polished flooring require that the slab surface be in very good to excellent condition before treatment, epoxy flooring is attractive and highly effectively even on concrete that is uneven, cracked or otherwise damaged.
The final stage of epoxy flooring creation actually takes place at the installation site, performed by the skilled installers themselves, making the system highly customizable right up until the minute it is applied. Florock Polymer Flooring offers a wide variety of unique visual effects, including different textures, colors and blends. Some of our flooring systems can provide looks similar to other types of floor coverings and treatments at a comparable price, while providing far greater durability and ease of maintenance. For example, by incorporating a special blend of fine, colored, reflective powders in a high performance coating, Florock Florotallic furnishes the look of stained concrete even on slab surfaces for which traditional staining may not be a viable option. That’s true flexibility of design — and value.
To learn more about the advantages of epoxy flooring for a particular industry or facility, get in touch with us to schedule a site visit or a phone conversation today.