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concrete flooring – questions to consider

Room with Concrete Flooring

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 stream.

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 wise in 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.


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