Industrial flooring is not just for warehouses and manufacturing spaces. More and more we are seeing the rise of industrial aesthetics in commercial spaces, from high-end fashion brands to cafes and restaurants around the world. When deciding on an industrial flooring solution, it can be difficult to decide whether to choose something decorative and stylised, such as an epoxy resin system, or more industrial such as polished concrete.
A benefit of polished concrete is that it is fairly inexpensive to implement and can look extremely effective. To prepare the concrete, it has to be ground down using machinery in order to generate a smooth surface. This surface is then cleaned, to remove any dust or dirt and polished and sealed to a satin shiny or matte finish.
Having concrete flooring can also lend itself to design flexibility, as polished concrete has the potential to be covered by other flooring materials, depending on the quality of the concrete and after correct preparation of the concrete surface.
If a surface is left as polished concrete, this will need to be re-polished over time, and the frequency of this can change depending on the amount of traffic that the floor is subject to, and whether there is damage from dropped items or spillages. A fresh seal or wax is to be expected as often as every 3-9 months depending on the traffic and wear of the floor’s surface. This is not ideal in public spaces as closing a venue regularly to tend to the flooring may have damaging effects on business.
A good quality polished concrete surface should not be detrimentally affected by dropped food or drink, however these types of floorings do have increased vulnerability to harsh chemicals and impacts compared to epoxy systems. Therefore, polished concrete could work well in restaurants, but less well in areas of food processing, such as kitchens, where impacts from heavy dropped items and exposure to potentially corrosive substances and stronger chemical cleaning products is more likely.
Epoxy Flooring Systems
On the other hand, epoxy flooring systems, being a mix of resin and hardeners, can be combined into different ratios to create different flooring properties. Epoxy systems are ideal to use in areas of high traffic, and so are extremely popular in public spaces, such as busy restaurants, office reception areas or retail environments.
Epoxy systems are also slightly more forgiving than concrete, for example concrete’s hardness can also be its weakness, as dropped items are very unlikely to survive after impact. This hardness can also be extremely uncomfortable to staff or customers standing for extended periods of time, as it cannot yield.
A great feature of epoxy systems is the freedom to have the material as decorative, or plain as you like. Different colours and aggregate blends can be used to generate different effects, such as to match branded colour schemes or to separate certain sections of a space.
Due to the range of decorative effects that can be created with epoxy, this flooring system lends itself well to being mixed with alternative flooring materials. An example of this can be seen below, where the resin is used to differentiate the bar from the restaurant area in this swanky London location. With the increased likelihood of spilled drinks and the resulting potential for harsher cleaning products being used around the bar area, the epoxy system Mondéco Rapide from Flowcrete UK is a great choice.
The striking white hue and sparkling aggregates is well juxtaposed to the matte wood here, combining glamour with rusticity. Decorative effects like this can be achieved with polished concrete, however epoxy systems allow much more scope with variety of colour and aggregate blends.
Best of Both Worlds
If you are torn between these two types of flooring materials, do not worry; there might be the perfect solution for you. Flowcrete Australia’s Metallic Expressions range is a decorative, hard wearing and chemical resistant polymer system that provides a versatile and unique metallic floor finish. Due to its seamlessness, this flooring solution is hygienic and easy to clean, as well as being incredibly durable, ideal for commercial or retail environments.
As shown above, this system looks similar to the swirly aesthetic created by polished concrete. It is the metallic visual that creates this, leaving a striking, stylised yet industrial feel. Here, the client has teamed the metallic aesthetic with ultra-modern office furniture to create an overall stylised-industrial feel – completely custom to them.
Which would you choose?