Concrete is the most popular construction material in the world, and for good reason. It’s especially common in commercial buildings, not only for basements and foundations but also for exterior walls. And of course, it’s used frequently for sidewalks, ramps, and parking garages.
The concrete used in commercial buildings is often subjected to greater demands than concrete for residential use. The larger size of commercial structures, whether an office building or a parking garage, requires more in terms of structural performance, which may change the type of concrete used.
Strength and durability
All concrete is a mix of water, cement, and aggregate. Stronger concrete mixes contain a higher level of cement and lower level of moisture and aggregate. The resulting high-density material gets stronger as it dries. For commercial uses, whether buildings or walkways, the right concrete mix is critical for strength and durability.
For concrete slabs in commercial buildings, a post-tension slab is commonly used to add extra strength to the structure. In this type of slab, steel cables are run through the concrete and then put under tension, which puts the concrete under compression and increases its overall strength.
Once a concrete has been appropriately mixed and used in a commercial application, there are a variety of protective coatings that can be applied to the surface. Some coatings can help the concrete withstand the wear and tear of heavy foot traffic and make the surface slip resistant to avoid injuries to customers. In restaurant applications, protective coatings make concrete floors easier to clean and better able to repel spills and food stains.
While concrete is a durable material that can be used in a lot of different applications, not everyone wants the look of plain grey concrete. That’s where decorative finishes come in, which can include staining, high-gloss polishes, and even metallic epoxy finishes.
While the concrete used in commercial buildings may vary in how it’s mixed or poured, it’s still the same basic concrete as any other use. Protective and decorative finishes can add to its durability and increase the visual appeal of this versatile building material.