Decorative cement-based flooring is a synergy between beauty, sustainability and economy, with extra longevity and durability thrown in for good measure. It also allows you to create a seamless floor finish with a flow from indoors to out, allowing you to extend your indoor living spaces.
EXPERT OPINION: NADINE PRINSLOO, CEMCRETE
What are the top 3 things to consider when screeding your floor?
Cement finishes are a natural product
A cement finish will mature over time and take on a life of its own – mottling and growing into a natural-looking work of art. The nature of this product lies in its application and physical properties, as the finish is applied, so its moisture is absorbed at different rates into the substrate. The final outcome is a finish with natural mottling and subtle movement. This adds to the adaptable earthy aesthetic of cement.
Screed finishes are hand applied
Screed products must hand applied by trained independent contractors. What adds to the unique aspect of this product is that each hand has its own technique and character, so you will seldom get an ‘identical’ finish even from the exact same hand.
Choose the correct finish for your project
There is a range of decorative cement floor coatings available, mainly due to the need to have products for varying applications. To select the correct coating, go through a checklist and select those features required for your project. – Some criteria that can be used to narrow the product (or combination of products) choice down are:
1. Exterior / Interior / both 2. Height of the space left on the floor that the coating must fit into 3. Desired final finish (eg: smooth or rough, gloss or matt, etc)
How to prepare your walls and floors before screeding them?
There’s different preparation depending on the surface that you apply your Cemcrete wall finish onto, but on the whole:
1. All surfaces should be clean, free of contaminants, or laitance of any sort which may impair bond.
2. For newly plastered walls it is important that they are cured for at least 28 days before applying a cement wall finish, then prime the plaster with a mix of Cemcrete’s bonding liquid, CemBond, and water.
3. For previously painted walls and fibre cement board, the entire surface should be sanded ensuring that all loose, defective paint and friable material is removed, then prime with mix of Cemcrete’s bonding liquid, CemBond, and water.
4. For substrates such as dry walling apply a layer of Cemcrete’s BaseCoat and texture it, thus providing a good mechanical key and leave to dry for at least 24 hours before applying your cement-based finish.
5. When plastering substrates such as dry walling where this may be butt joined to substrates made up of different materials such as brick and mortar etc. slip joints should be incorporated into the design.
The advantages of screeding?
1. Cement is naturally an extremely durable product. It offers sheer strength which makes it the most crucial element on any construction site. Why, then, should you accept anything less for your floor?
2. Many flooring options might be initially inexpensive in comparison to decorative cement-based flooring products, but cement will last much longer and eventually give you a better return on investment. Cement-based floors rarely need replacement especially if properly installed and maintained.
3. Once installed and finished off with the correct sealer, your new cement-based floor is very easy to clean and maintain; only requiring damp mopping. A good quality sealer is applied to help resist water, stains, dirt and abrasives.
4. The number of colours, designs, and combinations in each product range makes Cemcretes cement-based floors a definite choice for any space; office, home, hotel, retail, warehousing and more. Cemcrete offers a range of various colours for each floor product, and with the addition of CreteStain for even more colour options, as well as various sealers to add further effects (gloss, matt, slip-resistance, colour enhancement, and so on) you can never be let down on variety.
5. Another common question asked is ‘are cement floors cold’? Surprisingly they can be slightly warmer than tiles or natural stone flooring. Also it is possible to heat up cement floors – cement has the ability to store and radiate heat. This can be done with under floor heating, or allowing as much sunlight onto the floors as possible during the day, leading to heat radiating through the night. (If under floor heating is utilised there are some precautions to take during the curing process of the floor.
6. Decorative cement floors won’t hold any odours such as pets’ urine, nor harbour dust, fleas and mites which can lead to allergies.
7. Decorative cement floor coatings are also non-toxic in that they do not emit any VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
The most common question asked when it comes to decorative cement flooring products – will it crack?
By nature, cement is not flexible. So movement and temperatures causing expansion and contraction may cause fine hairline cracks, this is normal and adds to the natural element and adds to the look and feel. Larger, more linear cracks are mostly caused by lack of expansion joints which is routed in the substrate. Make sure you have cut these joints into the screed before applying a cement-based finish, this will help eliminate these larger unsightly cracks.
Want to find out more about flooring options
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