Would you put a concrete floor in a senior center?


Would you put a concrete floor in a senior center?

Asked by Sheri

The senior center is looking into putting in a new floor over tile flooring. The options are concrete or carpet.

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Ryan Flegal's picture

Concrete floors can be beautiful, easy to maintain and very durable. Carpet and many other materials and adhesives typically used in construction contain volatile organic compounds that may irritate sinuses, have cancer-causing agents and harbor dust.

Butpolished concrete floors are super easy to keep clean and can help you maintain good indoor air quality in your senior center.

Best of all, your building probably already has a concrete floor (under the tiles) so a green solution may be to use what you already have in place.

  • It looks like in your building you may be able to spend your money on beautifying what you have rather than adding more layers.
  • Pay someone to chip off the old tiles and polish the existing concrete floors.

I really like polished concrete (as opposed to adding layers of chemical sealers on top). One company that does this for a variety of industrial applications is RetroPlate.

  • Polishing a concrete floor uses fine diamond-blade wet grinders that leave a smooth, even surface behind. This is much like polishing a gem or stone.
  • There is no need to coat or re-coat the floor in the future. Instead you'll have a clean surface that will last the life of the building and save you lots of money over time.

I'm also pleased to see some new nontoxic concrete stains on the market, so you can add color and even patterns to your concrete floors (SoyCrete is one example).

Concrete floors are getting a new life as a finished floor surface in schools, homes, warehouses, and retail stores. I think you'll find your existing concrete floor, once polished, to be an excellent solution for your senior center.

Many times we think of green building materials as new materials we need to purchase to add to a property to make it "green." Unfortunately, harvesting, manufacturing and transporting new and even many recycled products is very energy and resource intensive and leaves a big footprint on our planet.

For more information:

Read Clayton Garrett's Q&A "Carpet vs wood vs stained concrete vs tile: which is the best choice all around in cost, appearance, and sustainability?"