Retail has a wide variety of different needs and flooring systems must be able to adapt to them. For one retailer, the most important floor quality may be ‘curb appeal,’ while another might be concerned about corporate branding. Retailers are also always looking for the most affordable and timely way to renovate.
Polishable toppings, sometimes called polishable overlays, provide an efficient and made-to-order flooring solution for all kinds of retail environments. Depending on the topping used, the flooring can be made resistant to stains or include logos and other design features to create a one of a kind look. Not every topping will provide all qualities but that’s good news, as retailers only need to purchase the appropriate toppings for their needs.
Like anything in business, installing a flooring system is mainly about dollars and cents — how much it’s going to cost, how durable the system is and how much money can be saved over time. Polished toppings can be placed over existing concrete flooring so there’s no need to install a whole new system, which makes it relatively economical. The customizability of the topping means that floors will last longer, too. Polished surfaces also reflect more light. As a result, fewer or dimmer lights are required to achieve the right level of illumination. This saves on overhead costs and can help a retailer meet certain environmental standards like LEED.
Polished toppings are an excellent way to change the aesthetic of a business at a fraction of the price. Instead of opting for terrazzo, which can be quite expensive, retailers can get the same look by choosing a topping that emulates the composite material. Polished toppings are fully customizable — there are endless colours, patterns and designs, and a variety of aggregates can be disseminated through a topping to create a textured look.
Retailers can save a lot of time by using polishable toppings and as the saying goes, time is money. While the length of time needed to install a polished topping can vary, generally taking anywhere from a few days to about a week, it is much less than that required to install an entirely new flooring system and therefore limits business interruption.
Despite all their advantages, polished toppings aren’t commonly used.
Quite simply, the technologies and techniques enabling polished toppings are relatively new, and it takes highly skilled contractors to install a polished topping without any errors. Poorly installed polished toppings can create a number of problems, from inconsistent surfaces to weaknesses in the flooring, so it’s important to ask for referrals and installer certifications when selecting a contractor.
Pat Gray is the content creator at TCF West, a premier concrete flooring contractor specializing in resinous flooring, self-levelling underlayments, concrete repair and polished concrete/toppings. TCF West is one of the few surface preparation companies in Canada that is a Level Master Elite installer of Ardex products and, as such, offers a 10-year extended warranty. This certification has been earned by achieving some significant benchmarks in the industry.