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The history of concrete flooring

While concrete flooring has seen a surge in popularity in recent times, it has existed for thousands of years. Over time, concrete has developed to become more durable, decorative and adaptable as a construction material, and is used for both ornamental and structural purposes.

The dawn of concrete

The earliest evidence of concrete was found in Syria, and dates back to around 6500 B.C. However it was not until the Egyptians started using crude forms of concrete in 3000 B.C. that it became widely popularised. Concrete construction reached its peak 2,200 years later during the Roman Empire. The Romans created a more durable material by adding volcanic ash into the mix (an early predecessor of pozzolanic cement). While this technique was lost with the fall of the Roman Empire, it was rediscovered in the 1400s, when it was used in early Parisian buildings.

Concrete of modernity

During the industrial revolution of the 18th century, British engineer John Smeaton developed a concrete material that incorporated pebbles and powdered brick to become more durable and water-resistant. This enabled the technology of modern concrete construction to evolve rapidly. Twenty years later, James Parker further developed this idea by creating hydraulic cement made from natural limestone and clay. In 1824, British bricklayer Joseph Aspdin combined ground chalk with clay and then burned this mixture in a limekiln to produce an even stronger form of concrete (the form generally used today). After Thomas Edison perfected rotary kilns at Edison Portland Cement Works, concrete production became standardised throughout the modern world.

Decorative concrete

Over the years, coloured pigments have been added to give concrete flooring a variety of hues. In the 1950s, concrete contractor Brad Bowman experimented by stamping patterns into concrete to create decorative concrete flooring designs. Polished concrete was stumbled upon in the 1990s, when workers in Tunisia were polishing a palace and forgot to use water. The dry polishing technique gave the concrete a beautiful sheen, and the popularity of polished concrete quickly spread. Polished concrete is now one of the world’s most popular flooring options due to its practicality, hardiness and pleasing aesthetic qualities.
Icon Concrete are a Melbourne based company specialising in concrete construction. We offer a range of concrete services and will find the perfect concreting solution to meet your needs.