How Decorative Concrete is a Sustainable Flooring Solution
Decorative concrete has become one of the top choices in flooring. It can be installed in new and existing homes. If you plan to switch to decorative concrete, your home could already have a concrete subfloor, making it the ideal canvas for this type of flooring.
Decorative concrete floors are durable and can last for a long time, so you save valuable money on repairs and maintenance. They are not prone to scratches, unlike vinyl and hardwood. There are also a ton of available choices in textures, patterns, and colours.
While decorative concrete may meet your preferences and requirements, it is also a good option for the environment. Concrete itself is a sustainable material, as well as its variety, decorative concrete.
Many people still do not know much about sustainability, viewing it as merely a buzzword. Over the years, we have seen this word floating around. It may have increased in frequency recently, but it is not a new concept.
When a material, such as concrete is considered sustainable, it can support not only itself but the surroundings as well. Sustainability is defined by various elements, mainly the protection of the environment and development of social and economic factors.
Why Decorative Concrete Makes Sense Today
In a world where green and environmentally-friendly homes are thriving, it is easy to see why homeowners and businesses opt for decorative concrete flooring.
Here at Decorative Concrete WA, we promote sustainability by offering eco-friendly decorative concrete. The following points show that the material is good for the environment and the planet as well:
- Concrete is a green material right from the start.
It is hard to find another material that works just like concrete, especially when it comes to eco-friendliness. Think about it: concrete supports the environment throughout its lifespan. It does not matter at what stage because concrete lives a green life right from the start.
From the raw materials used to the production processes through the course of demolition, concrete remains a friend of the environment.
Let us break it down a little.
To create concrete, the materials used are water, pebbles, and cement. The third material mentioned comes from other raw materials. However, the predominant raw material is limestone. Out of all the minerals found on Earth, limestone is the most abundant.
Here is another reason for concrete being resource-efficient. Manufacturers can use slag cement, silica fumes, and fly ashes to create cement. These materials are waste by-products that come from manufacturing facilities, such as steel mills and power plants.
Instead of these waste by-products getting discarded to uselessness, they are processed to create concrete.
- Decorative concrete is incredibly durable.
Concrete itself is a durable material. It can last for several years without homeowners and establishments worrying about rust and rot. Even when exposed to high temperatures, concrete does not melt. Compared to other building products, concrete easily outlasts them two to three times longer.
Decorative concrete is just as resilient as concrete. When properly installed, it can last for several decades, even without much attention. Concrete is already one of the most long-lasting building materials on Earth. As with anything else, you can always lengthen its lifespan with frequent maintenance.
It displays its durability in many ways. Decorative concrete does not scale even if exposed to different temperatures. The quick cycling of freezing and thawing will not cause the material to erode.
Over the last 20 years or so, the concrete industry has developed better and sturdier mixes. However, it is not always a good thing. Contractors have to find the best combination that will provide all these three characteristics: durability, design, and efficiency.
Decorative Concrete WA has the experience in determining the right blend for any project. A few factors come into play:
- The final look
- The volume of mix water
- The entrained air amount for the material
The procedures are similar but not generally the same. As always, preparation is the key to make sure placing and finishing will be suitable for the property. At the same time, the ambient conditions and curing will help promote a strong result.
- Concrete is energy-efficient.
Homes with concrete floors, walls, and even foundations benefit from the material’s inherent ability to absorb and retain heat. Therefore, it helps lower bills significantly. Instead of using heaters and air conditioners, concrete decreases the need for using HVAC equipment.
Many homes that have decorative concrete floors switch to smaller-capacity heating and air conditioning systems. In doing so, they not only have lower cooling bills in the summer and heating bills in winter, but the residents also feel comfortable throughout the year.
Concrete is a reliable and established building material. It is not too complicated, which is why concrete is commonly utilised all over Australia.
The country does not have a good reputation when it comes to energy efficiency. In fact, it was ranked as the worst among developed countries, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy in 2018.
As we continue to look for ways to improve the energy performance of buildings, one method is to use concrete. The material has high thermal mass, which contributes to sustainability in different ways, such as:
- Optimised solar gain, which reduces the need for heating
- Lower consumption of heat energy by up to 15% regulation of internal temperature fluctuations
- Delayed peak temperatures to stop the usage of air conditioning units
- Reduced overall energy costs of the building
- Better use of ground-source heat pumps and other heat sources that utilise low temperatures
- Lower carbon dioxide emissions due to less use of heating and cooling appliances
- Great for fighting future climate changes
The high thermal mass of concrete, when combined with cooling units, can lower energy requirement by up to 50%.
- The reflectance of the material helps the environment in many ways.
If you have seen light-coloured pavements made of concrete in your area, they reduce the absorption of heat. Therefore, they reflect more solar radiation compared to their dark-coloured counterparts. It is why many homes now have concrete roofs and pathways. Light-coloured pathways made of concrete are a much better solution than asphalt, which increases the demand for air conditioning units in the summer.
It should not be surprising to learn that there is such a thing as glow-in-the-dark concrete. Check out this article for more information.
Concrete is one of the few materials used in building homes that help lower the effects of urban heat islands. Reflectance may not be incredibly appreciated, unlike the other benefits of concrete. However, it is a substantial gain, mainly because it allows the maximisation of light from the surface. In this case, the high reflectance of concrete helps reduce the need for artificial lighting.
The percentage of concrete reflectance varies from one surface to another. Typically, a smooth grey surface can have a reflectance of up to 40%. Decorative concrete’s reflectance will depend on its design and style. For instance, a textured one will usually have a lower reflectance of about 25% than those with a smooth surface.
- Decorative concrete lends a hand in creating balance in the natural ecosystem.
Urban stormwater runoff is higher in volume all over Australia than flows in natural settings. The reason behind it is that there are many impervious surfaces in urban areas. Therefore, there is less water absorption in these areas.
One of the benefits of choosing paved surfaces is that they are impervious to damage and can resist water as well. Unfortunately, they also block water that should naturally infiltrate into the soil. It cancels the benefit, especially to nature, since it results in ecosystem imbalance. If it continues, problems can arise, such as flash floods, erosion, and pollution.
There are many types of concrete, including pervious concrete. It is a unique type that has voids that act like a sponge. Therefore, water can easily penetrate, helping retain water runoffs, for instance, after a storm. It allows the replenishment of the water supply in your area.
The problem with porous concrete is that it does not have the strength required to take on continuous bouts of heavy traffic. It is why the material is not the primary choice for busy roadways. However, it has become a suitable option for parking lots and pathways. If you live in a place that receives a lot of precipitation all year round, you can help make the environment much healthier. One way to achieve this feat is to use concrete for your walkways.
- There is minimal waste with this flooring system.
A great advantage of concrete over other materials is that it can be produced in significant quantities. To avoid waste, however, concrete can be limited to the exact amount needed for a particular project.
Additionally, after the structure made of concrete has served its purpose, it can be crushed and prepared for recycling. This step produces aggregates that can also be used to build new concrete pavements or even as the base material for a pathway.
When you demolish other flooring materials, you typically have no choice but to throw the waste away. Concrete, on the other hand, is recyclable. You do not have to send it to landfill even after it is destroyed. The material is reusable in different ways, particularly with a process that includes grinding.
The concrete materials will be broken down, which later enables their use for commercial-grade construction. The smaller pieces can even be utilised for minor to major building projects for residential properties.
They can also serve as the sub-base, which is often the case with gravel roadways. Sub-base gravel is the lowest layer installed for roads. After it, concrete (or in other instances, asphalt) will be poured over it.
The uses do not stop here. If there are larger pieces left from the demolished concrete material, they have further use as well, such as being riprap revetments, such as the one in Ohio, USA. The pieces are gathered to prevent shore or stream bank erosion.
Some homeowners use concrete as a substitute for stone or mulch in gardens. However, it is essential that the recycled concrete is well-graded and crushed in a high-quality facility. If used as landscaping stone, concrete should at least be aesthetically pleasing.
Wire cages can also have crushed concrete to create walls that are both economical and sturdy.
In reality, living a sustainable life is not just something we should all do for the sake of the environment. It is also for us and the coming generations. Sustainability is about maintaining what we have today, including the qualities of our lives.
With our collective efforts, we can help preserve the quality of all lives on the planet. And one positive change that we can make is by choosing environmentally-friendly products, including concrete.
Start a better future for yourself, your family, and the next generation. Contact Decorative Concrete WA to upgrade your floors to decorative concrete today.