While concrete floors are not made with sustainable materials, they can be a moderately green flooring choice for many
homes – you just need to know what to look for. This section contains questions that can help you determine the
eco–friendliness of concrete flooring, as well as other important aspects such as concrete installation and floor
maintenance. For additional concrete flooring questions that aren't answered here, you can talk to a FindAnyFloor.com®
concrete floor professional on our Live Chat feature located at the top of the page.
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Concrete Floor Questions to Ask Your Local Floor Store
Does the concrete include any recycled materials?
Many suppliers use old concrete, recycled glass, and even recycled polystyrene as aggregate
in concrete. Aggregates are generally comprised of sand, slag, stone or gravel particles and used to reinforce concrete.
Portland cement can also be ground into a coarser material after its useful life and used to make new concrete flooring.
Where is the facility that produces the Portland cement for your concrete?
Since the materials used to make cement are so readily available, they can often be sourced and prepared locally. This
means that cement can be used within a 50–mile radius of its production. The closer the cement kiln is to
the ready–mix facility, the less energy is consumed to transport it.
What powers the kiln that produced the Portland cement?
Tremendous amounts of energy are required to fire the kilns that produce Portland cement. Manufacturers have begun to
convert their kilns to operate on energy recovered from waste – even household trash. Fly ash, a by–product of
coal–fired electric power, is often used as an alternative to Portland cement in concrete. Concrete that's made with
fly ash tends to be the greener choice.
Does the cement include fly ash? If so, what percentage?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fly ash – a by–product of coal–fired power
plants – can replace 15 percent to 35 percent of the cement in concrete. Replacing some of the Portland cement with fly
ash reduces the total amount of energy required to produce the concrete. Using less energy is one of the calculations used to
determine how green concrete flooring can be.
What kind of colorants will be used?
Colorants can be added to the concrete before it's poured, or the flooring can be finished with stains that etch color
into the surface. Look for a supplier that uses organic pigments and environmentally responsible stains. A number of stains
are made with few to no VOCs and can be a health and eco–conscious choice for your home.
What kind of floor finishes will be applied?
When it comes to concrete flooring there are a lot of finishes to choose from. Keep in mind that not all finish treatments
are green choices. Look for finishes that are water–based, VOC–free and environmentally safe.
What maintenance will the flooring require?
In addition to normal sweeping and damp mopping, concrete floors need to be protected by a good sealer and a coat of floor
finish or wax. From time to time, the floor may need to be buffed, as well as refinished once a year or so. Adding protective
layers on the surface of concrete flooring can help increase its lifespan, which may delay the floor from entering the waste
Will additional structural support be required for the concrete floor?
Concrete flooring is quite heavy. In many situations the structure must be reinforced in order to support its weight. It's
this kind of situation to get professional advice. You can start by using our Live Chat option above to speak to one of our
experts, free of charge.