Heating Polished Concrete

Is Polished Concrete Flooring Cold?

What flooring option isn’t cold in winter. Timber of tiles that are elevated off the ground on stumps are much colder floors than polished concrete on a solid slab. Even floorboards or tiles installed on top of a concrete slab do little to insulate the cold from your feet. Even the myth that concrete flooring is harder on your feet than anything other than carpet is no true. Floorboards and tiles do not compress under foot traffic so how can they therefore be softer to walk on. Don’t take notice of the myths out there, do your own research and have a look for yourself. Our showroom is Ascot Vale is under construction and until then we can have you walk on a polished concrete floor for yourself at one of our current jobs for you to see and feel the polished concrete experience.

Back to heating and , there is simply no better flooring option available today than polished concrete coupled with a hydronic heating system. If you haven’t felt it for yourself you should really get excited. Slab heating is not a new phenomena, its had been around for decades in the form of electrical coils tied to the steel reinforcing of the concrete slab. It takes weeks to warm up your slab and used to be affordable to run. Anyone still using this system must have money to burn and burning money may still be cheaper than running the electrical coils all winter. Today hydronic heating is the affordable and environmentally friendly answer.

As you probably guessed, hydronic means to use hot water to provide the heat to the home. The water is heated in a boiler, and then pumped through piping installed into the concrete slab. Panel radiators can also be placed around the home for additional heating, often upstairs. The heat conducts into the concrete slab and subsequently into the room without the need for fans. The response time for hydronic heating is good with warmth arriving within an hour of turning the system on. Most users opt for running the system on low temperature all winter long rather than switching it on and off regularly. This proven system of heating has been used in Europe for almost a century and modern advances in technology and materials has made in now affordable for the general public.

There are 2 methods of installing hydronic heating pipes into your concrete slab, unfortunately there is no feasible method of installing the system into an existing slab. The first method is the quickest and cheapest method of installing the pipes from the start and pouring the whole slab in one hit. The saving comes in the cost of having the concrete pump on the job for one day instead of two days and also having the concreting contractors on the job once and not twice. Most house slabs can be poured and finished in one days work. The downside is that there is more to work around for the concreter’s, they will need to walk on the pipes all day while pouring the concrete and your pipes will not site on exactly the correct depth under the slab top.

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Hydronic heating pipes tied to mesh Decorative concrete mix poured over top

If you are pouring a decorative concrete mix like the one above make sure of a few things. Ensure the regular concrete beneath is not too wet or you will get the grey concrete rise and bleed through the top mix. Also ask the concrete pump handler to wash out the hopper and lines well between both mixes as you will get a lot of bluestone aggregate come through into the top mix, it doesn’t look terrible but you will be able to notice where the pump started and ended as the area where it starts with the topping mix will have more bluestone than the finishing area. Bluestone is the most common aggregate found in regular concrete mixtures. All in all is should be a hassle free task.

The second method is to pour a regular slab and then pour a decorative mix on another day usually at lock up stage. The main advantages are that the concrete is poured at lock up stage where conditions are more controlled thanks to the roof and walls in place. A foam underlay is used to grind up the height of the mesh and works as an insulator for the heat to transfer up instead of down.

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Mesh and pipes are placed on to of a foam underlay A normal concrete slab sits beneath the foam

This method works well, it is more expensive than the first option but does provide some advantages and reduces the risk of damage to the floor during construction. The one area it is led down by is the hollow feeling the concrete has after completion. Bouncing a tennis ball on the slab creates a hollow sound and feel considering there will be nearly a foot of concrete beneath your feet. We shouldn’t be condoning bouncing balls inside anyway so it is a minor issue and still feels solid under your feet regardless.