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Being Environmentally Friendly with Decorative Concrete

decorative concrete is environmentally friendlyDid you know decorative concrete is the environmentally friendly flooring solution for your home or office?  If that surprises you, you’re not alone.  Concrete isn’t the first thing people think of when they hear “environmentally friendly flooring,” but it really should be.  After all, when you envision environmentally friendly flooring, you’re probably thinking of something earthen, green, and growing and that just wouldn’t work in a house – or even worse, at a hospital!  Here are the top three reasons why more and more people in San Luis Obispo County are turning to decorative concrete flooring to be more environmentally friendly:

3.  Concrete floors are more energy efficient because they keep a consistent temperature. Concrete is slower to heat up and slower to cool down.  So in the summer, your home or office will take longer to heat up which will save you money on air conditioning in addition to saving the environment from the burden of that extra electricity, fuel, and/or water you’re using to keep cool.  And the reverse is true in the winter.  If you’re worried about cold feet when you step out of bed, don’t be!  You can always add a few decorative area rugs, but concrete doesn’t get as cold as tile (or poorly installed faux wood or laminate for that matter) and holds its temperature rather than being frigid each morning and fluctuating throughout the rest of the day.

2.  Concrete floors also have lower maintenance needs than carpet, wood, tile, or laminate. This keeps harmful chemicals out of your daily environment and, being a local company, we know how important this is to the people of San Luis Obispo County. Have you ever read the ingredient list on the back of a bottle of carpet shampoo or specialty wooden-floor cleanser?  Yikes!  And of course, being based out of Paso Robles, we understand how much our friends and neighbors love wine, especially our regional red blends.  If your glass slips or your dog catches the bottle on the table with his tail, you don’t have to worry about it with properly sealed or polished decorative concrete.  Are you willing to test that against grouted tile, wood, or carpet?  Even laminates aren’t all waterproof and can stain, which requires completely removing those pieces and replacing them.  If you spill a bit of Paso Robles Red Blend on your concrete floor, it wipes right up with a damp cloth or paper towel.  No problem.

1.  And if you really care about keeping our planet green, concrete floors are the best option to avoid overburdening our landfills. Wood, carpet, tile, and laminate all need to be replaced, creating a cycle of waste which all goes to the landfill again and again. With our decorative concrete options, you can actually just stain, polish, and/or seal the slab that’s already under your house – no new concrete required (unless you have a raised foundation, then contact us and we’ll look at your options with you) – so break the cycle of waste once and for all!  How’s that for going green and saving some green at the same time?!

Clients across San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and Santa Barbara Counties love our decorative concrete.  We’ve done projects that look like faux leather, marble, stone, sea life, tribal art, logos, badges, and more.  View our gallery here for some of our favorite past projects or join us on Facebook to see the newest projects as they happen.

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Earthing in Your Home – Grounding Indoors with Concrete

grounding on concreteGrounding, aka ‘Earthing,’ is an ancient practice going through a modern revival in the world.  If you’ve never heard of it, the easiest way to think of grounding is simply connecting with the energy of the Earth, much like an electrical current.  And just like electricity, scientists have been studying the properties of Earthing and how it can benefit your health.  All you have to do is take off your shoes.

Sort of.

See, you have to make a connection with the Earth in order to have a transmission of energy.  The Earth has a lot of energy to give and we rarely take advantage of that.  If your lawn has survived the drought in San Luis Obispo County, you can go outside and stand on the grass, or you can walk around on the dirt, but these methods don’t work for everyone.   Especially when it’s 107⁰F in Paso Robles.  Dry grass and rocks are sharp and dirt is, well, dirty.  To top that off, any concrete or stone is going to be extra hot.  What if you want to ground yourself indoors?

It is possible.  There are companies out there selling mats and blankets that connect to the ground of an electrical socket in your home, but their coverage is limited.  Instead, you can make your entire home a place to connect with the energy of the Earth with concrete.  The home can’t be on an elevated foundation or use a vapor barrier to do it, but it is possible.  For homes in either of these situations, a patio can be built or replaced in concrete without a vapor barrier or a sealer for grounding on concrete.  Concrete is made up of water, sand, crushed stone, and cement (usually with a little bit of air trapped inside, too).  All of these come from the earth, even the cement, which is typically comprised of lime, iron, silica, and alumina.  By connecting the concrete directly to the soil without any vapor barrier between the two, then leaving off the sealer on top so that your feet can make a direct connection, you are Earthing in and around your own home any time you kick off your shoes.

Many San Luis Obispo concrete sidewalks are the same way; just concrete on the Earth with no concrete sealer, but that doesn’t mean your home needs to be the same foggy shade of tombstone gray in order to try grounding on concrete in your own home.  We specialize in decorative concrete applications in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Monterey Counties, and can use additives and grinding techniques to still give your home or patio a beautiful finish.  Contact us today!

Here are just a few of the benefits of Earthing*:

  • Electron Transfer
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Better Sleep
  • Less Pain
  • Reduced Anxiety
  • Neutralizing Free Radicals (could slow aging)
  • Fewer Headaches and Migraines
  • Faster Healing (especially from exercise-induced fatigue)
  • Reduce Loss of Calcium and Phosphorous

*Please keep in mind, we’re a concrete contractor, not a medical doctor.  These benefits have been found by multiple researchers, but speak with your doctor before assuming anything is a cure or treatment program.

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Spraying Weeds in Your Driveway Year After Year? Concrete Resurfacing Can Save You Money!

concrete driveway san luis obispoWe enjoy beautiful weather her in San Luis Obispo County, but with this mild climate comes a year-round battle with weeds.  And they find their way into everything, don’t they?  Even into those little tiny cracks in your driveway, causing more damage and opening up more space for even more weeds.  With laborious pulling and the best ground-all-around-clear-up-365 spray, you’ll still only be able to keep the weeds away for so-long before they rear their ugly little heads again, sending you back to the store for more expensive spray.

Little cracks appear in concrete as it ages and the material begins to break down.  This is normal in the life cycle of your concrete.  If it was installed properly with a good foundation, your concrete should be pretty old before this begins to happen, but if you have a home or business with concrete that was old to begin with, you are fighting a battle you can’t win with the weeds.  The cracks in your concrete will only continue to get bigger.

So don’t keep wasting money on a temporary solution.  Concrete resurfacing now will save you money over the years in expensive weed sprays – and it can also keep those little cracks from becoming so big that they require a more costly repair down the road.  Concrete resurfacing is cheaper than replacement (good for your bottom line), maintains the integrity of your existing concrete longer (keeping it out of landfills – good for the environment), can be a great excuse to dress up your business facility or residence by adding some concrete stain at the same time, and will seal up any cracks to keep the weeds out (no more expensive and toxic sprays).

The process for concrete resurfacing is surprisingly simple.  We’ll come out to your home or business in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, or Monterey counties and start by thoroughly cleaning and prepping your existing concrete.  This will remove any oil, sand, or other debris.  We’ll also have to get rid of any weeds still growing through the cracks at this time, too, but the 3500psi pressure washer we’ve got will likely take care of that!  Then, we work our magic by scrubbing and smoothing the new layer of specialty concrete on the clean surface and add any decorative finishes.  Depending on the finishing touches and weather conditions, your fresh, new concrete driveway or patio will be ready for foot-traffic in about 6 hours and will last for years and years, leaving you free to enjoy life on the central coast.

Contact us for a quote here.

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Green Businesses Use Concrete in San Luis Obispo County

polished green concrete samplesSan Luis Obispo County is an area dedicated to being environmentally friendly and the people who live here are starting to expect the same from businesses in the area.  Some businesses have been green from the start because of the personal morals of the owner(s), but others are starting to realize that being green is necessary for growth in San Luis Obispo.  Concrete polishing offers an opportunity to step forward, not only in becoming a green business, but also for the bottom line as it offers a return on the investment.

Concrete usually already exists as the foundational floor of a business, it then gets covered with ‘flooring’ material, such as wood, carpeting, or laminate, which starts off as a burden to the environment in materials, production, and shipping (think about how much oil your floor must have cost!), then wears down over time and ends up in the landfill, further going against any efforts at being green, and the process to cover it begins again.  Polishing the concrete that is already there can be cheaper, more decorative, more energy-efficient, and cleaner than other flooring types (have you ever thought about what is in the carpet in a retail store? Don’t – we’ve seen it!).

And for new business construction here as SLO County is growing, concrete is a sustainable resource, coming from the most abundant mineral on Earth.  Additionally, sticking with a polished concrete floor contributes toward achieving certification for most types of construction projects under the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Local green businesses already use concrete as part of their green strategy, including New Frontiers, noted for their polished concrete floors by The Tribune in A look at 5 green businesses in SLO County,  and iFixit, recent winners of the 2014 Green Awards, by the USGBC California Central Coast Chapter award for their new office within walking distance of the green-friendly Farmer’s Market in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Click here if you would like more information on going green with concrete and the decorative concrete polishing services we offer.

 

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Why is Stained Concrete a Good Choice

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Stained concrete flooring really offers the best of all worlds:  They are beautiful, durable, environmentally friendly and promote healthy indoor air quality, with little to no maintenance.  They not only bring relief to allergy sufferers and prevent the adverse health reactions that can occur from other flooring options, but they also provide unique design options by combine colors and techniques that simply are not possible with other types of flooring.

  • Protect Your Health- Improve your air quality!  Stained concrete flooring offers relief for allergy sufferers. It’s a proven fact that carpet can house millions of dust mites, pounds of dust and hair, as well as fungus and mold.  Carpet also releases chemical fumes and gases into the air that affect your health. Although a better choice than carpet, even wood floors have a high level of formaldehyde and release VOCs into the air.  Stained concrete, especially water based stained concrete, promotes healthy indoor air.  It provides a completely smooth surface with no hiding places to harbor bacteria, dust, or unwanted pests.  It contains no formaldehyde,repels water and will not encourage the growth of mold.  New water based concrete stains are low or no odor for those who are especially sensitive to any fumes during the application process.
  • The Environment-  Stained concrete is a green choice because it is slow to heat up and slow to cool down.  It typically maintains a persistent temperature, which promotes lower utility bills.  Also, since your foundation is already THERE, you are not cutting down trees or buying products such as carpet or engineered wood, which require a large amount of energy to manufacture.   Also,  concrete is there forever.  You will not be pulling it up and throwing it in the landfill later as you eventually will have to do with a wood, tile and carpet, when it reaches the end of its life.
  • Durability-  Few materials are as durable as concrete.  Carpet has a short life span and is expensive (not to mention a burden) over the years to replace over and over again. Wood can fade, scratch, chip, and the finish must be maintained over the years.  Tile floors can break, crack, or chip as well and be difficult to replace. Carpet, wood and tile can all grow mold underneath the flooring.   Your investment in durable stained concrete flooring will give you the most value for your money since it can last a lifetime.
  • Easy on the Budget-  Since you will not have to replace the concrete again and the stain can last a lifetime,  you save money in the long run.  Even up front, for new construction, the cost of stained concrete flooring is about half the cost of hardwood floors.
  • Easy to Maintain-  Just sweep and use a damp mop.  There is nowhere for the dust and dirt to hide. No need for chemicals or harsh cleaning products.
  • Beautiful and Diverse- You can enjoy the look of marble or stone or a rich, leathery appearance.  Perhaps you have an urban loft and prefer a more ultra modern solid bold color.  The possibilities are limited only by your creativity. Choose any color and any effect.  Get rid of ugly carpet and  outdated flooring.   Upgrade your home with beautiful stained concrete flooring and add to the value of your home!

Stained concrete flooring has many benefits.  But it’s only as good as the company that you hire to create the effect.  The floor must be properly evaluated, prepared and treated even before the work begins.  Depending on the effect you desire, a specific technique must be employed using special tools and specific products.   Our qualified and highly skilled concrete flooring specialists have the product knowledge, the years of experience and training, and the tools and equipment to create your masterpiece.

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Benifits of Polished Concrete

Polished concrete is considered a good sustainable design flooring option because it makes use of the materials already present. Most modern buildings are built on a concrete slab; polishing the exposed concrete eliminates the energy and material consumed by applying a floor covering. It is something to consider when building or modernizing towards a more green solution.

Pristine-Concrete-Templeton-CA-Stained-Concrete-Residential-Floors-1Polished concrete floors are low-maintenance, as they are more durable and easier to clean than many flooring options. Its relatively high coefficient of friction can make it non-slippery. Polished concrete reduces dust mite and allergen problems, and does not support mold growth. Anecdotal evidence suggests highly reflective polished concrete reduces lighting needs and improves natural lighting, but as of yet there has not been a study to confirm this. Polished concrete flooring is hard wearing and will not chip or dent like softer surfaces such as timber. Mopping with warm soapy water once a week is the only maintenance required. A concrete floor that has been hardened and polished will have an extremely long life expectancy compared to other flooring. For example, tile that may only last 10–20 years, but a polished concrete floor that has been properly maintained may give 100+ years of service.[2]

 

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LEED 2009 standards contain guidelines for using polished concrete flooring to qualify for LEED credits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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