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Abstract Concrete LLC provides value-added construction services to our customers by creating a successful partnership with them throughout the construction process. Our pledge is to establish lasting relationships with our customers by exceeding their expectations. By using the best materials available, coupled with concrete advice and the latest techniques, we add durability, beauty, and value to our clients’ investments.
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"Please feel free to look around. There's lots of info and pictures to check out. If you have any questions, we'd love to answer them as well as get some feedback from you regarding concrete flooring, staining concrete, and your preferred concrete stains, so make sure you sign our guestbook! While your at it, like us on Facebook..." - Dillon
Also, if you're on the fence regarding whether or not to invest in concrete flooring and would like a crash course, simply scroll down and invest a few minutes reading The Seven Benefits of Stained Concrete Flooring. It will convince you!
The Seven Benefits of Stained Concrete Flooring
One of the best qualities of concrete flooring is its resistance to wear and tear. Stained concrete floors simply do not wear out. They have compressive strengths in excess of 4,500 pounds per square inch. In addition to this, they are unlike other floor coverings, which may warp, buckle, flake, or grow mold and mildew. Even more so, they are inflammable, and their finishes are ultraviolet light-resistant. Finally, when they are installed properly, stained concrete floors do not chip, peel, discolor, or fade. What all of this means is that children, pets, guests and customers will have an extremely difficult time damaging any concrete flooring. Concrete flooring simply never has to be removed or replaced, and it hardly ever has to be refinished.
Elegance & Beauty
With the proper design and installation, concrete flooring exudes a beauty and elegance that is unsurpassed by any other floor covering known to man. The reason for this is that concrete's receptivity to staining makes it possible to produce exact replicas of the most expensive building materials on earth. These include granite, marble, travertine, sandstone, flagstone, and slate, as well as more common materials, such as brick and cobblestone. All of this can be done without the cutting, lifting, and other heavy labor that is associated with these materials. Even a single-color stained concrete flooring application brings a unique style and confluence of touch to a residential finished basement or commercial environment which will make the floor stand out from the ordinary and generate admiration on the part of guests or customers. Incorporating a scoring pattern only adds to this elegance and beauty.
Another great benefit of using stained concrete flooring in a home or place of business is the result in energy savings. This is due to the “thermal mass” property of concrete, which means its high capacity to absorb, store, and slowly release heat and coolness. Concrete's thermal mass moderate’s indoor temperature swings and reduces the load on heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment. The benefits of thermal mass are greatest in northern climates, like Michigan and Illinois, where the outdoor temperature fluctuations are among the greatest in the United States. This is important because concrete flooring is the second highest source of thermal mass in a building; they account for approximately 35-50% of thermal mass. Energy savings from thermal mass, however, go unrealized if the concrete is unexposed. Carpeting and hardwood, for example, have very low degrees of thermal mass. But stained concrete uses the full potential of thermal mass. Annual savings are estimated at between 15% and 26% annually, depending on the amount of concrete flooring used in the building. With natural gas prices rising at approximately 10% annually since 2003, this is a very real source of savings for a business or household. Two ways of enhancing this savings even more are to use radiant heating in concrete flooring or to use decorative concrete overlays on the wood sub-floors in your home. This is because radiant heating systems heat objects in a room, such as furniture and persons, by emitting heat rather than elevating air temperature; therefore air temperatures may be set 7 or 8 degrees lower. Dual radiant systems are also available that provide cooling in addition to heating.
No floor is maintenance free, but some floors require less care than others. Carpeting requires frequent vacuuming and occasional shampooing; tile breaks and requires careful attention to the accumulation of dirt and grime in the grout lines; hardwood and wood laminate require close control of humidity and moisture levels. But stained concrete flooring requires only light maintenance to maintain its initial appearance indefinitely. Light maintenance means sweeping, vacuuming, or dust mopping as necessary, and cleaning, repolishing, or buffing only periodically, depending on the amount of foot traffic and the floor's proximity to exterior entrances. Repolishing may sound labor intensive, but an average-sized stained concrete floor of between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet may be re-polished in approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Optimal Indoor Air Quality
Four of the primary sources of poor indoor air quality are:
1) allergens, such as dust mites, mold, and mildew;
2) retained moisture and dampness;
3) odors, from smoke, personal care items, and cleaning agents; and
4) volatile organic compounds (VOC's) emitted by inexpensive artificial building materials.
All of these respiratory irritants are fostered by the use of carpeting, including padding and adhesive, while moisture and VOC problems are also often commonly associated with wood and tile installations. But stained concrete flooring is completely different: it fosters optimal indoor air quality. This is because concrete flooring allows moisture to readily evaporate. It provides no place for dust mites to hide or for mold or mildew to grow. It cleans easily. It does not store odors. And it may be installed by using a concrete sealer that contains absolutely no harmful vapors or residues.
Unsurpassed Water Resistance
Water is the most corrosive element in our world. There isn't anything that can resist its devastating effects. It causes iron to rust, wood and drywall to warp and rot, and enables bacteria to flourish and multiply. Not only that but it causes floor coverings, like carpeting, to grow mold and mildew spores, tile to discolor and delaminate, and wood to buckle and decay. However, stained concrete is another story entirely. When properly designed and installed, stained concrete and decorative concrete overlays are completely unaffected by water. Moisture may and does pass through the concrete, but it will leave no lingering effect. This means that stained concrete flooring is uniquely equipped to withstand the chronic dampness found in basements and the periodic flooding that may comes from a severe storm.
“Sustainability” is a new important term in the construction industry that means a project is:
1) environmentally friendly to build
2) results in operational cost savings over its entire life cycle
3) leaves a minimized “carbon footprint".
Sustainability is determined through several voluntary standards networks and certification systems, notably LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), run by a Washington D.C.-based non-profit organization called The U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED system is used by project owners, architects, engineers, real estate owners, builders, and designers to certify that their projects – whether commercial, residential, or institutional; and new construction or renovation are “Green Buildings”.
Up until recently, the sustainability movement has been almost entirely a marketing ploy used by major U.S. building interests. Nevertheless, this movement has started to have a very noticeable impact on building trends in the United States and Canada. State, county, and municipal governments are starting to adopt these voluntary standards into legalized format and to use them as zoning requirements for large projects and for tax credits and other fiscal incentives. The U.S. federal government has also begun funding LEED-based initiatives, and the USGBC and Portland Cement Association (PCA) have been petitioning for more funding, as part of 2009 Economic Stimulus Plans.There are various ways for a project to qualify as a “Green Building”, but the use of concrete, and specifically, stained concrete flooring, is the best way possible. This is because concrete as a building material is energy efficient to produce, made from local materials that require little to no transportation, and uses recycled or waste products that are readily available. Stained concrete as a flooring system also contributes in ways that other flooring materials do not: it produces little construction waste; emits little to no VOC’s, does not ever need to be replaced, has reduced costs of operation (e.g., lighting, HVAC, and maintenance),promotes optimal indoor air quality, and is ultraviolet light-resistant and inflammable.
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art form focused on improving all aspects of one’s life, including health, happiness, prosperity, social status, and personal relationships through the enhancement of one’s living and working environments. It is similar to acupuncture in that it holds that all buildings, as opposed to “persons” in the art of acupuncture, have a positive energy or “Chi” flowing through them and that obstacles to this Chi energy translate to difficulties in the financial, creative, and personal realms of one’s life and career. On a practical level, Feng Shui maximizes a building's Chi energy by:
1) creating harmony between architectural and interior design;
2) using the five basic elements of nature, which are water, wood, fire, earth, and metallic alloy;
3) arranging and positioning furniture and small objects to let this Chi energy flow better;
Under Feng Shui, each of the earth elements has its own Chi energy and benefits. Concrete is the most important “Earth” element known to man. Its use in a home or place of business brings positive Chi energy in several ways:
1) grounding and stability;
2) peace, safety, and security;
3) family happiness and joy;
4) self-confidence, kindness, and personal generosity in relationships;
5) good health.
The use of concrete may then be enhanced through the use of earth tone colors (yellows, oranges, browns, greens) and earthen shapes (rectangles, squares, horizontal & vertical lines). In Feng Shui thinking, stained concrete flooring incorporates Chi energy in a major way. Not only are these floors based on the earth element of concrete but they incorporate the earth tone ‘coloring’ of stains and the earthen ‘shapes’ of saw-cut squares, rectangular tiles, or linear borders (as seen in these Stained Concrete Scoring Patterns). At the same time, the smoothness of concrete flooring, its ability to be easily cleaned and maintained, and the fluidic, confluent, marbling effect of certain stains work to prevent what is referred to as “stagnated Chi energy" from accumulating in your living or working space and blocking positive Chi energy. Feng Shui has grown greatly in popularity in the Western hemisphere over the last 33 years, and its principles have become mainstream in U.S. architectural and interior design circles and the world of corporate consulting. You can call it Chi energy or great ambience: regardless, stained concrete flooring provides a terrific foundation and sense of security to a room that cannot help but be impressed upon the senses of its occupants, guests, and customer.
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