Concrete foundations are a popular choice for Australians who are building a new home. This is no surprise; concrete is versatile, strong, durable, and easy to use. It's also widely recognised as a key element in sustainable building design due to its longevity, recyclability, and because it acts as a thermal mass by insulating your home and retaining heat.
Until recent years, concrete foundations were generally used as a base on which to install more traditional flooring types, such as tiles, carpets, and timber boards. However, many modern homeowners now opt to retain the concrete as the flooring and it is often seen as a contemporary and stylish feature in a home.
If you're envisaging a concrete floor as dull, grey, and uninspiring, then you may not have seen the colourful and stunning array of mixes that you can add to your premix concrete delivery. These mixes transform concrete from a boring and functional building material to a thing of beauty. Here are two of the most popular concrete mixes for modern home design.
1. Exposed aggregate
Aggregate is the word used to describe the small pieces of stone which are added to the concrete mix to encourage adhesion and bulk out the mix. Traditionally, stones such as bluestone, gravel, and even recycled, crushed concrete have been used. By using brightly coloured natural or man-made stones as aggregate, you can achieve a brilliant and interesting surface on your concrete floor.
For the best results, make sure that the aggregate you choose is polished before being added to the concrete mix by your concrete contractors. This will ensure that they are shiny and vibrant when exposed. Once the concrete has dried, the contractor will grind off the top layer of concrete, leaving you will a smooth surface that is radiant with splashes of colour from the exposed aggregate.
2. Coloured concrete
Adding a colour to your concrete is an excellent way to achieve a smooth and flawless look in your home. Special colourants are added to the concrete as it's being mixed, which gives the floor a uniform appearance throughout your home. This is the perfect option if you want a concrete floor but don't want the colourful look of exposed aggregate.
There is no virtually no limit to what colour you can choose to have added to your concrete mix. However, picking a light, neutral tone is generally a good option to ensure that the rest of your home doesn't feel over-powered by a vivid block of wall-to-wall colour on the floor. Many premix concrete hues are designed to mimic the look of natural stone, such as sandstone, slate, terracotta, and marble, which are all neutral, timeless, options.
Choosing a concrete floor that doesn't require an additional floor to be installed over the top of it is a smart move if you're building a new home. It will not only look stunning, it will also save you time and money, which are important considerations in any new build.