Concrete is a mixture of cement, gravel and sand, uses of concrete can be dated as far back as 5600 B.C. when the people from around regions we know now as Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia used concrete with red lime to pave roads. It wasn’t until 2500 B.C. when the Ancient Egyptians were using some of the earliest forms of concrete to create the amazing pyramids we know and love today. Then 2,200 years later the Ancient Romans were using materials extremely close to what we know as polished concrete today to build breath taking marvels such as the Colosseum.
Fast forward to the 18th century when British engineer John Smeaton developed a new form of concrete which incorporated powdered brick and pebbles to become more durable and water-resistant. Only twenty years after that, James Parker developed concrete even further by creating hydraulic cement made from natural limestone and clay. In 1824, British bricklayer Joseph Aspdin combined clay with ground chalk and then burned this mixture in a limekiln to create an even stronger form of concrete which is generally used today. It was after Thomas Edison perfected rotary kilns at Edison Portland Cement Works, concrete production was adopted throughout the modern world.
Throughout the years, coloured pigments have been added to give concrete flooring a variety of colours and shading. Later on in the 1950s, Brad Bowman experimented around with stamping patterns into concrete to create a more decorative concrete floor designs. Polished Concrete was only discovered when workers in Tunisia were polishing a palace and forgot to use water. This new dry polishing technique gave the concrete a beautiful sheen. Popularity for the new found technique soared quickly across the world.
I hope you have enjoyed a brief history lesson in how polished concrete was stumbled upon. So next time you walked outside and have a look at your polished concrete garden or sit inside and look at your polished concrete floors have a little think about how we got here.