The strong appetite for unadorned natural materials in contemporary interior design, such as wood, stone and concrete, is driving the development of innovative products which enable on-trend designs to be achieved without the headaches often associated with these natural materials.
Concrete, in particular, is extremely popular today as designers and clients seek to achieve that Le Corbusier inspired Brutalist look.
However, as stylish as it looks, it is a finish that is not without its drawbacks, not least the sheer weight of concrete when used in wall surfaces and flooring applications.
Innovation in material design and composition by one UK product manufacturer ensures concrete can have its place in contemporary design in an authentic yet easy to specify and install way.
Concreate® pre-finished floor and wall panels give designers the defining material aesthetic, whilst being simple and economical to apply with the added benefit of having a much smaller carbon footprint.
Crucially, the authenticity is achieved because Concreate panels are manufactured using Portland type cement, which is poured and pressed in a mix reinforced with natural fibres.
They are air cured to give each panel its own unique patina, rich with blemishes and mineral deposits, and further distinctive marks can be added before the surface is sealed using high solid Danish oil.
Take the floor – The appetite for concrete floors is not always the easiest to satisfy using traditional floor application methods or pre-cast panels, so the ability to achieve authenticity in a 300mm x 1200mm panel form is appealing in all kinds of new build and refurb projects.
Concreate floor panels feature a top decorative layer made using micro-fibre Portland type cement, which is applied to a magnesium oxide cement base layer reinforced with recycled textile sheets.
This achieves a honeycomb structure in the base layer to minimise thickness of the overall panel to just 14mm.
Available in natural grey, dark grey and mineral white colours, Concreate floor panels are installed in the same was as a parquet floor using a simple tongue and groove design.
What’s remarkable here is that the floor panels are tongue and grooved on all four sides so no grouting is needed.
A seamless wood and concrete floor combination is also possible so different surfaces can be used to demarcate areas, such as in open plan spaces.
This is achieved through a panel design which features a European oak top layer bonded to a mineral cement tongue and groove base.
With a perfect fit to the concreate panels, this eliminates the need for ugly transition strips between floor surface types.
With a manufacture process delivering excellent authenticity in the concrete, Concreate wall panels give architects the scope to achieve an industrial look and feel regardless of the building structure or wall materials.
Weighing just 7kg per square metre, they are a practical alternative to large format concrete wall tiles which are cumbersome, excessively thick and require fixing to load bearing walls or reinforced structures.
Concreate wall panels are 600mm x 1200mm x 4mm and are easy to work with, shape and install.
They are bonded using an adhesive and can be drilled and screwed without cracking – this makes them suitable for many other applications, including ceilings, furniture and counter tops.
Rich Osbourn, Marketing Manager at Concreate says: “Concreate floor and wall panels are rapidly gaining popularity in both the residential and commercial markets because they allow designers to achieve their aesthetic goals in a simple way, with a very authentic end-result. It’s a modern way to combine the benefits of a unique finish with a consistently high manufactured standard – all done sustainably in a factory controlled environment.”