History and Benefits
Polished concrete is considered a good sustainable design flooring option because it makes use of the materials already present. Most modern buildings are built on a concrete slab; polishing the exposed concrete eliminates the energy and material consumed by applying a floor covering. It is something to consider when building or modernizing towards a more green solution.
Polished concrete floors are low-maintenance, as they are more durable and easier to clean than many flooring options. Its relatively high coefficient of friction can make it non-slippery. Polished concrete reduces dust mites and allergen problems, and does not support mould growth. Anecdotal evidence suggests highly reflective polished concrete reduces lighting needs and improves natural lighting. Polished concrete flooring is hard wearing and will not chip or dent like softer surfaces such as timber.
Marble is a metamorphosed limestone composition. This basically means that it started out as limestone which over many years in the earth’s crust has recrystallized due to heat and pressure. The original carbonate minerals and the fossils become coarse grains of calcite. Marble comes in a wide variety of different colours. The colour of the marble is determined by its mineral composition when it is formed. This in turn is determined by what impurities are present in the limestone during the crystallization process.
Colours vary from the well known pure white calcite varieties to less known varieties containing hematite which are reddish. Marble has a hardness rating of 2.5 – 5 on Moh’s scale. It is distinguished from other polished natural stone by its heavy veins and abundant graininess. The three categories it can be classified into are Dolomite, Magnesium or Calcite depending on the quantities of these minerals that it contains.
Terrazzo is a composite material, poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments. It consists of marble, quartz, granite, glass, or other suitable chips, sprinkled or unsprinkled, and poured with a binder that is cementitious (for chemical binding), polymeric (for physical binding), or a combination of both. Terrazzo is cured and then ground and polished to a smooth surface or otherwise finished to produce a uniformly textured surface.
Terrazzo was originally invented by Venetian construction workers as a low cost flooring material using marble chips from upscale jobs. The workers would usually set them in clay to surface the patios around their living quarters. Consisting originally of marble chips, clay, and goat milk (as the sealer), production of terrazzo became much easier after the 1920s and the introduction of electric industrial grinders and other power equipment. Newly-set terrazzo will not look like marble unless it is wet. The goat’s milk acts as a sealer and preserves the wet and marble-like look. Terrazzo is a natural stone and concrete material that looks like a mosaic. It is polished to a high glaze and polyurethane resin is used to seal it.