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10 Reasons to Love Polished Concrete Flooring

Polished concrete flooring is dominating design trends for new and renovated homes, and the reasons why are endless.

From concrete’s high durability and low maintenance to its aesthetic appeal, today we look at 10 reasons to love polished concrete flooring.

Concrete is the new home styling trend

1. Hard as Rock, Smooth as Silk

If you have ever had the pleasure of walking on a marble floor, it might come as a surprise to hear of anything that compares. Polished concrete floors have the durability and strength of hardened stone, and feel just as smooth and luxurious as marble underfoot.

2. It can improve the value of your home

Polished concrete floors make a big impression on potential home buyers. The mix of coloured concrete and natural stone adds a unique and timeless appeal to the home. The smooth, sleek finish of concrete creates a sense of luxury and spaciousness that enhances the beauty of any space, and should appeal to many buyers.

3. Warm in Winter, Cool in Summer

Concrete is often thought of as a cold surface, but polished concrete floors use the natural process of thermal mass to keep your home comfortable all year round. Thermal mass allows concrete to absorb and store heat from the sun during the day, and release it when the temperature drops outside, making polished concrete the perfect flooring material for the cooler months. While in warmer weather, paired with good ventilation, concrete floors can help to keep your home cool by drawing away heat from the air.

4. Colours to suit your home and lifestyle

Concrete doesn’t just come in grey anymore. Geostone polished concrete is available in a wide variety of colours and natural stone unique to your local area.

This allows you to effectively combine your flooring options with the aesthetic of your home, creating beautiful contrasts with furniture, and increasing the appeal, and resale value of your home.

5. It’s more affordable than you think

The luxe finish of concrete has the appeal of a high-end material. But the popular flooring option is more affordable than you might think. When considering flooring options for your home, it is important to think of long-term maintenance, cleaning and replacement costs. Concrete is naturally more resistant to spills, stains, and general wear and tear. With some basic TLC, a polished concrete floor will look as good as new for many years to come.

6. Polished concrete is great for wet areas

Polished concrete is ideal for wet areas, whether that be for a bathroom, laundry or kitchen. Contrary to popular belief, polished concrete is a slip-resistant surface which makes it a functional flooring option for the entire home. Polished concrete allows for seamless transitions between walls, floors, showers, indoors and out, with subtle sealing and honing processes creating a surface sheen that’s smooth, smart and slip-resistant.

7. Ideal for Open-Plan Living

Modern and contemporary homes embrace open-plan living, creating a greater sense of spaciousness and flow compared to the compartmentalised houses of days gone by. You can choose to use the same concrete flooring for the entire home, or focus on a designated area.

As well as the many indoor uses, polished and honed concrete floors offer a seamless indoor-outdoor solution.

8. Family Friendly

Polished concrete floors are ideal for families and entertainers, being durable, low-maintenance and resistant to staining. Polished concrete is easy to clean, meaning it doesn’t harbor dust mites or allergens that cause hay-fever and other reactions. While the slip-resistant, even and sturdy surface makes polished concrete an ideal solution for all ages and abilities.

9. Perfect for Pets

Every pet owner knows the struggle of cleaning up after a furry friend. Polished concrete floors are perfect for pets, making cleaning up a breeze. Additionally, polished concrete is scratch resistant, so you can rest easy knowing your floor can sustain the pitter patter of paws and claws.

10. Creative, Contemporary, Concrete

Polished concrete offers a great foundation for contemporary design. With the ability to customise and layer with other natural materials, polished concrete provides a flexible and highly sought-after flooring solution for modern homes. Polished concrete also gives you the creative freedom to think outside the box, suitable to combine with a range of colours and materials to suit the aesthetic of your home and lifestyle. Most importantly, polished concrete is a long-lasting and functional flooring solution that is not only on trend, but timeless.

Pouring Concrete over an Existing Surface

Pouring new concrete over an existing surface can save time and money on home renovations and outdoor restorations.

But it could compromise the lifespan of your new concrete surface.

One of the most commonly asked questions Geostone receives is: ‘can a polished concrete floor be laid over an existing slab or floor tiles?’

We encourage all of our customers to discuss their individual circumstances with their concrete installer, but the short answer is, it can be done – sometimes.

Digging up old concrete is a difficult and usually costly exercise, which is why so many people seek to simply cover it up.

But it’s important to remember the new layer of concrete will only be as stable and durable as the original slab underneath.

Geostone is a decorative concrete product, not a concrete overlay, but in some cases it can be used on top of an existing surface.

A well-laid concrete slab has an expected lifespan of up to 40 years, but pouring new concrete over a cracked, sunken or damaged slab means it might not last as long.

While pouring concrete on top of an existing surface could save money in the short term, you need to weigh up the risks with your installer to determine if it will pay off in the long run.

Reinforcement is also recommended when pouring concrete on top of an existing concrete surface.

This instructional video suggests using a layer of sand between the two slabs and installing steel reinforcement bars before pouring the concrete.

Using sand between the two layers allows both slabs to expand and move independently, helping to prevent cracks and damage to the top layer.

As the popularity of polished concrete floors rises, a growing number of homeowners are also seeking to cover up old floor tiles.

According to Concrete Network, this can be done, but again precautions should be taken to ensure the existing surface is up to the task.

They only recommend pouring concrete over existing tiles if they are in sound condition and firmly affixed. Glazed or textured tile surfaces should first be sanded back to ensure a good bond with the concrete, wide grout joints should be sealed to avoid obvious outlines and sinking, and several coats of primer should be used to prepare the site. Again, this will depend on the recommendations of your concrete installer for best practice placement.

Another consideration is the height and depth of your concrete surface. Pouring concrete onto an existing slab or pathway will result in a concrete surface several inches higher than before. This could prevent doors from opening and closing, cause misalignment with stairs or even create a trip hazard, so consider these issues when planning your project.

Concrete poured on top of existing surfaces should be monitored and maintained. Any damage should be patched promptly to prevent spreading, and sealed to avoid water damage.

Signs that concrete may be becoming unstable include small cracks or water pooling on the surface. Patching cracked, sunken or damaged concrete usually only requires a thin coat of concrete, while more significant restoration will require a thicker coat.

Whether you decide to pour concrete over an existing surface, or start from scratch, Geostone provides durable and long lasting decorative concrete solutions with warm and welcoming appeal.

The Geostone range of exposed aggregate, coloured concrete  and polished and honed concrete is available in an assortment of colours, featuring natural Australian stone unique to your local area. This gives you the creative control to choose decorative concrete customised to suit your home, colour scheme and personal style.

For more information about Geostone and concrete you can browse our blog or contact us today.

Demystifying Concrete: 5 Common Concrete Myths Busted

Your home is not only your shelter, but also a major investment.

For many of us, it is the largest purchase we will ever make, and we’ll probably spend many years, sometimes decades, working hard to pay for it.

We also spend a lot of time enjoying our homes, whether it’s cooking up a storm in the kitchen, entertaining friends, gardening or sleeping in on Sunday.

And sometimes, we’re hard at work making home improvements – updating, renovating and landscaping to nurture our investment and make our house a home.

So when we invest in home improvements, we want to be sure they are going to last. Concrete is a durable and versatile building material with wide-ranging applications, making it the perfect option for home improvement projects including driveways, pathways, entertaining areas, pool surrounds, landscaping, polished concrete flooring and even benchtops. Considered once merely a structural material hidden under other finishes, concrete is now rightly appreciated for not only its inherent strength but natural beauty. With the advances in finishes and the decorative range, concrete adds design gravitas to any area of the home.

To make sure there’s nothing stopping you from choosing decorative concrete for your home, we’ve busted some of the most common concrete myths.

 

Myth #1 – It cracks

One of the most common concerns we hear about concrete is that it might crack. It’s important to remember that all solid surfaces have the potential to crack, including tiles and paving, but measures can be taken to prevent concrete cracking.

Holcim Australia has revealed the major causes of cracking are poor site preparation and construction supervision issues – both avoidable factors. Design defects and unfavourable weather conditions can also contribute to concrete instability.

As always, prevention is better than cure. The Geostone Best Practice Placement Guide provides helpful advice for our customers and their concrete installers on the best methods to prevent cracks in concrete.

 

Myth #2 – It’s too slippery

Decorative concrete is a popular material for pool decks and pool surrounds and also high in demand is concrete floors for bathrooms and wet areas.

Exposed aggregate is ideal for outdoor use, while indoors, polished concrete offers a sleek flooring option, and honed concrete can be used both indoors and out.

The exposed aggregate and polished and honed concrete finishes from Geostone offer slip-resistant qualities, which make them a safe flooring and underfoot option for the family home.

In fact, new research shows polished concrete is one of the safest architectural hard surfaces available today. Concrete also provides a flat and stable floor surface, reducing tripping hazards or the risk of tipping furniture. In high traffic areas such as hallways, living rooms, kitchens and indoor/outdoor interfaces, concrete is the one material which can help link and define these zones and withstand the wear and tear.

 

Myth #3 – It’s old fashioned

A quick search for ‘concrete’ on Pinterest will reveal this building material is considered anything but old.

Concrete has experienced a modern-day resurgence as a highly sought-after building material, capable of creating award-winning and awe-inspiring homes and architecture. A look at the most recent Australian Architectural awards will show you how concrete is very much the go-to building material when it comes to cutting edge home design. It suits all Australian environments as its thermal properties keep interiors stable without excess heating or cooling costs.

The versatility of concrete means it can be used creatively to suit any style of home. According to leading designers, it’s also a material which complements all other  finishes. So whether you are looking for modern and contemporary building materials, or something a little more classic, you will soon discover why decorative concrete is the new cool.

Myth #4 – Concrete looks too industrial

In case you still need more convincing after busting Myth #3, let us say one thing.

Concrete doesn’t just come in grey anymore.

Geostone’s coloured concrete is available in a range of natural and earthy colours giving customers the power of choice when it comes to designing their dream entertaining area and home exteriors.

The exposed aggregate and polished and honed concrete ranges also feature natural Australian stone, creating a warm and welcoming finish to driveways, pathways, pool surrounds and more.

 

Myth #5 – It requires too much maintenance

Concrete is a naturally durable and long lasting hard surface, meaning it requires less maintenance than some other flooring and landscaping options.

Low maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance however, and decorative concrete will look better for longer by following a few simple steps for cleaning and care.

Regular sweeping is recommended for exterior concrete surfaces to avoid build-up and potential staining, while indoors a damp mop is sometimes all you need for cleaning decorative concrete.

Taking steps to preserve the concrete surface such as waxing polished concrete floors or sealing outdoor concrete can also help to protect your solid long term investment.

Still have questions about concrete? You might like to check out our Frequently Asked Questions, Contact Us directly for more information, or to see Geostone’s wide range of decorative concrete in person, find your nearest Geostone display centre.

 

Why Concrete Is the New Cool

Using contemporary concrete styling in your home

The industrial vintage look of concrete has made a return to dominate contemporary architecture on a global scale.

And you can now replicate this style in your very own home.

Once confined to house slabs and the base of the Hills Hoist, concrete is now being used extensively throughout residential construction.

Home renovation programs like The Block have escalated this age-old building material to new heights, using concrete to add modern and unrefined functional features to the home – even in the kitchen and bathroom.

Programs such as these have proven to be highly influential, with viewers being drawn to replicate the same trends and styles they’re exposed to on television in their own homes.

But it doesn’t end there.

The growing concrete trend is everywhere you look.

Social media is another popular and highly influential platform to source design and style inspiration. And #concrete is certainly trending. 

A quick keyword search on Instagram reveals more than 2-million results for concrete, paired with images of stylish concrete forms – everything from sky rise buildings and art galleries to swimming pools and flower pots.

Pinterest is another hotspot for lovers of all things concrete, with imagery collections ranging from concrete garden inspiration to vintage industrial concrete interiors.

Of course, these trends all have a beginning somewhere far removed from social media.

Leading the way in the concrete architecture of the real world is celebrated architect, Tadao Ando. Working primarily in concrete, Ando is inspired by the brutalist style but best known for his own unique ‘cashmere-like’ smooth finish.

The Atlantic captured it perfectly in their recent article on Tadao Ando, which made the comparison that most architects consider concrete as a building’s underwear, ‘an essential but hidden layer’, while Ando’s structures display their concrete with pride.

And like Ando, we are seeing more and more architects test the boundaries of concrete, as concrete buildings make headlines around the world.

The once snubbed building material is now embraced everywhere from Japanese homes crafted from raw concrete to the 17 best concrete buildings from across the globe.

This movement is perhaps best described by styling blog, Hunting for George as ‘a concrete renaissance’. And we couldn’t agree more.

Tips on how to capture the contemporary concrete look in your home

  • Go Big: There’s no need to hold back when it comes to contemporary concrete. Whether you’re planning a single large concrete space or combining several separate features, Geostone’s decorative concrete range is versatile and diverse enough to use without restraint.Concrete is the new home styling trend
  • Embrace Colour: Raw and exposed traditional grey concrete is certainly hot right now, but adding colour to the mix is still popular with homeowners wanting a softer style. Geostone’s coloured concrete allows you to customise your concrete to the unique colour scheme of your home and surrounds.
  • Natural Look & Layering: Concrete is ideal for pairing with natural textures and building materials such as stone and timber. Geostone features natural Australian stone sourced from your local region to truly reflect where you live.
  • Polished Concrete: If sophistication is your style, it’s hard to go past the beauty and durability of a polished concrete floor. Speckled with natural Australian stone throughout, Geostone’s polished concrete is a truly beautiful option for flooring and benchtops.
  • Think Outside the Square: Concrete doesn’t have to be restricted to driveways and patios. Take a look at our other concrete projects for the garden and backyard.

 

A Solid Long-Term Investment

Decorative concrete provides a surface with long-term appeal, and we’re not just talking about the way it looks. As an investment, it could pay off handsomely down the track, thanks to its durability and value adding qualities.

A prime example of how decorative concrete can add value is the driveway. A great looking driveway is seen as a major street appeal enhancer, and this can raise home values accordingly. Given that a driveway is such an unmissable feature at the front of the home, it should be obvious that an investment in its visual appeal is a very smart one. Smarter still when you use the same material on an accompanying walkway, another prominent feature that can add lots of street appeal.

Trend towards decorative concrete floorsThe trend towards using decorative concrete in other parts of the house further reflects the demand of potential home buyers who want surfaces that combine practicality with visual appeal; concrete pool surrounds not only provide a seamless exterior flow, they’re skid and UV resistant. Honed internal floors in wet areas such as laundries and bathrooms are a big selling point as they might be considered to be safer surfaces in family homes thanks to their skid resistance.

One of concrete’s greatest strengths is just that – strength. It can be a hard-wearing, long-lasting feature when installed properly and, with an eye to the future, this is another of its benefits. A lower maintenance surface, and one that will stay low-maintenance for a long period of time, is attractive to all parties: home owners and home buyers. At the same time, a strong and durable surface – a driveway for example – that looks as though it won’t need repairing or replacing any time soon is yet another example of value-adding street appeal.

More and more of us, as homebuyers, are looking for something other than labour-intensive and time-consuming homes requiring a regular dose of maintenance. While there is still a market for properties that need doing up, a growing percentage of the population just want to move in and start living. Time spent on working on a home is time not spent doing the things we enjoy. Therefore, investing in home improvements, that fit that low-maintenance, easy lifestyle ethos, are good for you as an owner and, one day, as a potential vendor. Using something as durable and as strong as decorative concrete is a big step in that direction, simply because it can be applied in so many areas: driveways, walkways, patios, pool decks, external floors, and internal floors in both living areas and wet areas. That’s a whole lot of lower maintenance in one home!

Whether you intend to stay in your home for life, or whether you want to improve it with an eye to the market, decorative concrete appeals as a good long-term investment.  It can save time and money, and add value and downtime. As an investment, it’s hard to beat those sorts of dividends.

Sealing the Deal: Ask Your Installer About Outdoor Sealer

Sealing your decorative concrete is an important part of the installation process for several reasons:

  • As concrete is a porous material it can absorb stain-causing contaminants if it is not sealed. By sealing your concrete, a protective layer can help to keep the concrete clean and looking new for longer.
  • Sealing can protect concrete from weather exposure.
  • An outdoor sealer might help to bring out the colour of your decorative concrete and enhance its aesthetic appeal.

 

You should never assume your decorative concrete has been properly sealed after it has been poured

This short list shows why an outdoor sealer should be applied as your decorative concrete is installed. Surprisingly, not every concrete installer offers sealing as a standard part of their service. Therefore, you should never assume your decorative concrete has been properly sealed after it has been poured. Before you choose an installer, it’s important you ask them if sealing is all part of the service. While you’re at it, it might be a good idea to enquire about other key components of the installation, including:

 

  • Will you use plastic between the ground and the concrete?
  • What sort of steel reinforcement and steel mesh do you use?
  • Do you use the recommended membrane method when curing decorative concrete?
  • Where will the control joints be placed?
  • Will you still pour on a hot and windy day? (The answer should be NO, but steps can be taken if a pour is time-critical)
  • May I please see recent customer references, and some of the work you’ve completed?

 

Your decorative concrete should have a big and positive impact on the appearance of your home. For this to happen, it has to be installed correctly in every respect, including the use of an outdoor sealer. You have every right to be picky when choosing an installer who will do a complete job. Reputable suppliers of decorative concrete might be able to help you in this respect by recommending good installers in your area. It’s in the best interests of your concrete supplier to ensure their product looks its best once it is installed, so they will probably be very fussy about who they recommend to carry out the project.

 

Sealing your decorative concrete while it is being installed should not be a one-off. Resealing every two years is recommended, depending on traffic and resulting abrasion. Sealing every step of the way, either during installation or in the years ahead, will help to maximise the impact that decorative concrete can have on a property. When you see the end result, and the wow factor decorative concrete can provide, then sealing with a high quality outdoor sealer, and taking the time to find the right installer, is well worth it.

 

The Art of Colour Matching

When it comes to colour matching around your home, individual preferences probably play a large part in the hues and shades you select. Exterior and interior paint, curtains, bedding, and even the flowers you plant might be chosen with your favourite colours front of mind. So, are there any colour matching guidelines you should follow when using decorative concrete, especially coloured concrete? After all, it is probably going to be used in some of the largest and most eye catching features of your home: driveway, floors, pool surrounds, and outdoor entertainment areas. Are there some very general rules of thumb to follow when deciding on what colours to match in areas such as these?

Rules are made to be broken, but colour matching usually revolves around the following schemes:

Complementary – this refers to the use of two colours directly opposite each other on the colour wheel. Complementing colours generally enhance the vibrancy of each other e.g. yellow and purple are often used together for this very reason.

Analogous – analogous colours are next to each other on the colour wheel and are used when a more harmonious design effect is desired. E.g. red & orange, or yellow & green

Monochromatic – the use of the different tints and shades of one colour. Another popular way to achieve harmony when colour matching.

Primary colour matching – red, yellow and blue are the primary colours, and add energy when used together. With the colour range available these days, there’s no reason why concrete cannot be dyed in one of these primary colours.

Pastel – pastel shades are used for a softer, more subtle effect, Pastel colours are generally used with other pastel colours, and this is a very popular match in exterior settings. Decorative concrete is particularly well suited to colour matching along these lines.

 

You can’t always consult a colour wheel, or be expected to absorb the minute details of colour matching as it applies to exterior design. It can all be a little complicated. However, you can simplify things a little by following broad guidelines based on colour matching theory. Here’s an example: when colour matching, this very general rule can be applied – Conform or Contrast.

 

There are so many colour options now available when choosing decorative concrete that it is very easy to select a shade that conforms to its surroundings. For example, a concrete driveway and pathway can be dyed to match the colour palette of the front garden or the home’s exterior walls. Similarly, a honed concrete patio can mirror an interior polished concrete floor, in a classic example of indoor outdoor flow.

 

The other side of this colour matching rule is to contrast. On the surface, aColoured decorative concrete can help to highlight a bold and striking feature, rather than detract or distract from that feature.nd using basic definitions, the words “contrast” and “match” might not seem like a perfect fit. However, if you consider the bigger picture, contrasting can be a very effective part of the colour matching equation. For example, subtly coloured decorative concrete can help to highlight a bold and striking feature in near proximity, rather than detract or distract from that feature. In these circumstances, in the larger scheme of things, a contrasting colour is a great match for its environment.

 

 

The art of colour matching, as it applies to decorative concrete, is made easier thanks to the versatility of the product. Contrasts can be as sharp as you desire, and conforming colours can beautifully reflect their surroundings. When coloured concrete can be customised to match your vision, or satisfy your personal preference, or follow widely accepted colour matching guidelines, anything is possible.

 

Four Reasons Why Decorative Concrete Is Family Friendly

Decorative concrete is an increasingly popular surface, and it’s not hard to figure out why. It is extremely versatile, offering a wide variety of looks – exposed aggregate, coloured, multi-coloured, dyed, stained, honed, polished, stamped, trowel finished…you get the idea! But decorative concrete is also gaining popularity beyond its eye-catching qualities. For example, it can be considered a very family friendly surface. Here are four reasons why:

 

Decorative concrete is hypoallergenic – in other words, it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction. This makes a polished concrete floor potentially a better choice if you’re trying to create a healthier, low-allergen home where your family can breathe easily (obviously seek your own independent advice). You’d probably be surprised, and terrified, if you could see what could live in the average carpet – millions of dust mites and other tiny creatures that can trigger cold and hay fever-type reactions, and possibly even symptoms that resemble asthma. Vacuuming the carpet does little to alleviate the problem, so it can be an ongoing, if unseen, headache. This is less of an issue when decorative concrete is used as an easy-to-clean and hypoallergenic floor surface.

 

Decorative concrete is slip resistant – decorative concrete around the pool, on the driveway, or on the floor in internal areas like bathrooms and laundries, is not just there for its good looks. Decorative concrete, such as honed concrete or exposed aggregate, has skid-resistant qualities that can reduce the chance of falls in slippery places. Accidents are likely to happen in every family home, but reducing the risk of spills and tumbles on wet floors and pool decks will help to make that home a safer place.

 

Decorative concrete is stable – furniture situated on unstable or uneven surfaces can present a number of potential dangers. Assuming that it is correctly placed, the stability of concrete, and the ability to create an even surface when using it, can alleviate the risk of people toppling backwards in a chair, or items sliding off a table, or other mishaps. This is probably why concrete patios and floors are now a selling point, particularly in family homes. Not only do they look good, but they also add stability and safety.

 

Decorative concrete is a time saver – “quality time” is probably the most precious resource a family has. Because decorative concrete is a relatively low maintenance surface that is easy to clean, less time might be needed to look after it. Concrete’s renowned durability also means it should last longer, so money is saved on frequent repairs and replacements – and in this day and age, money is definitely another precious resource for any family.

 

Many other materials are nice to look at, and some are comparable to concrete in terms of practicality and safety. However in the decision making process it is wise to consider decorative concrete along with other materials. Throw in decorative concrete’s visual appeal, and you have a material that can be family friendly in a very good looking way.

Cool Pool Surrounds

Before the sun goes down and the barbecue is fired up, it’s your pool that is usually the centre of attention on a hot summer’s afternoon. It’s perfectly understandable that you want the pool to capture that attention in a very eye-catching way, and cool surrounds can help you make that desired impression.

 

One of the keys to creating beautiful pool surrounds is integration with the rest of the backyard. There’s nothing wrong with bold, contrasting touches here and there, such as a brightly coloured feature wall, or clever lighting effects, but the overall impression should be one of a pool area that fits in beautifully and naturally with its surroundings.

 

An intelligent selection of plants can help achieve this sense of integration. Plants similar to the ones already in the garden might strongly emphasise the flow from back yard to pool area. Similarly, furniture that reflects the architecture and age of the home can also help to form a seamless impression. Indoor outdoor flow is seen as a major selling point these days, and creating a similar feeling from back yard to pool area might be seen as just as desirable.

 

A pool’s immediate surrounds should have the biggest visual impact, so pay extra attention to the surface you choose. Timber decking might once have been the “go to” surface, a staple of many Australian pools. Today, however, decorative concrete seems to be leading the charge as people look for more innovative ways to combine looks with practicality. Decorative concrete can achieve this in many ways:

  • Exposed and honed concrete have slip-resistant properties that many other surfaces lack.
  • Coloured concrete can be used as a border or pattern amongst exposed or honed concrete. It can be customised to complement other features of the back yard and tie everything together.
  • Mosquitoes are less likely to breed under concrete surfaces.
  • Weeds cannot grow through concrete pool surrounds.
  • The raw texture of Australian stone in exposed concrete can create a striking visual effect around water.
  • Concrete is comfortable on bare feet, while honed concrete is smooth and very easy to walk on.
  • Decorative concrete is versatile with a wide range of design options.

 

For these, and other reasons, decorative concrete is a smart choice as the centrepiece of your cool pool surrounds. In conjunction with the right plants, furniture and accessories, it has the potential to give you a stunning yet easy-care surface.

One final note, the most important thing surrounding your pool should always be the fence. Safety must be a high priority, even as you’re trying to create great looking pool surrounds. By all means, go all out when designing your pool area, but keep in mind the safety of everyone who will use it. A good idea is to go to the Royal Lifesaving Society’s website for their Home Pool Safety Checklist. When you’re creating your cool pool surrounds, refer to this checklist as often as you refer to your wish list.

What Is Thermal Mass?

Basically, thermal mass refers to a material’s ability to absorb and store heat energy. The next question is: what does thermal mass have to do with decorative concrete, and specifically, a polished concrete floor?
Concrete has what is known as high thermal mass. Because it is a dense material, concrete can absorb and store a considerable amount of heat energy. (In comparison, lighter materials like timber can’t absorb and store as much heat. For this reason, timber is known as a material with low thermal mass.) While concrete stores heat energy during the warmer part of the day, it releases this energy when the temperature drops later on. This release can be an efficient way to keep a home warm year round, and polished concrete floors can play a large part in this.

A polished concrete floor, with its high thermal mass, can absorb, store and release heat over a wide area of the home. This should lead to lower heating bills and a more comfortable environment within the home because thermal mass can moderate temperatures, and average out day/night extremes (please ensure you do your research to compare the different products and their performance). But just putting down a polished concrete floor does not guarantee you’ll be able to take maximum advantage of thermal mass. Some key factors should be taken into consideration.

Polished concrete floors must be exposed to capture heat energyGood planning and design will help to make your polished concrete floor an energy efficient feature, as well as an aesthetically pleasing one. For example, when exploiting thermal mass as a source of passive heating during winter, it should have maximum exposure to sunlight. You’ll need the correct ratio of glazing to concrete to help achieve this. Conversely, minimum exposure to sunlight is required during summer to avoid overheating. With this in mind, shading becomes a very important part of the design process.

The orientation and layout of the floor is something else to keep in mind, as is insulation. Adequate insulation is needed to prevent released heat energy from being lost too quickly. Even floor coverings should be looked at. Polished concrete floors must be exposed to capture heat energy; rugs and carpet act as impediments to thermal mass in this regard.

Concrete has what is known as high thermal massThermal mass can also be used to cool a home during summer. It does this by drawing in and storing the heat in the air. As this energy is released later in the day, good ventilation is needed to stop the home from overheating; yet something else to consider. With all these things to think about – and they are worth thinking about for financial and environmental reasons – expert advice should be sought at the planning stages. The Australian government’s Your Home website is a good place to start, and will help to guide you in the right direction should you decide to use the thermal mass of a polished concrete floor as a way to passively heat, and cool, your home.

 

Images from Australian Government, Your Home