Concrete floors are designed primarily for basement or garage areas, but they can also be used in sporting facilities, car parks and many other types of buildings. Not all concrete floors are created equal. The type and quality of the floor depends not only on the quality of the concrete but also on how it is installed. Preparation and additional materials differ from floor to floor, adding qualities that make the concrete fast drying or especially strong.
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RH stands for relative humidity, one of the most important concrete floor specifications. Moisture moves through a concrete floor through diffusion. Relative humidity is the measurement of how easily these moisture levels reach equilibrium, which is vital when the concrete floor is used as the basis for another type of flooring. The RH has to be low enough so that the adhesive and lower part of the flooring will not be damaged by it.
Concrete in its normal condition offers enough structural integrity for mild uses. For industrial or common use, manufacturers need to add in extra materials before they start laying the floor. Some projects use a wire mesh which the concrete is poured on for greater stability while others use steel rods for more strength. Some varieties of concrete use glass, carbon and plastics to achieve greater strength.
Workers cannot lay a concrete floor over dirt. Instead, they dig out the area that has been set aside for the concrete slab and cover it with a vapour barrier. This barrier is important to keep moisture from entering the concrete floor after it has dried. After the vapour barrier, workers carefully fill the base in with gravel, which is levelled before the concrete is poured.
Once the concrete is poured, workers will often add a top layer to the concrete. Sometimes this is a curing agent that helps the floor become smooth and dry quickly. At other times workers add an aggregate layer that exposes the stones used in the concrete for a textured surface. Most concrete floors are sealed to prevent moisture entering from above.
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