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SOFT CONCRETE 

Questions and Answers

Below you will find a number of common questions and answers regarding products made of Soft Concrete. The questions are structured in the following areas:

The material Soft Concrete

Tabletops of Soft Concrete

Receptions and bars of Soft Concrete

Tables of Soft Concrete

Floor tiles of Soft Concrete

Wall tiles of Soft Concrete

Cleaning and maintenance

Production

Sales

The material Soft Concrete

How soft is the concrete?

The concrete has an elasticity that about 3 times as high as ordinary concrete and about 10 times as high as stone and ceramic tiles.

How do you notice that?

Floor tiles of Soft Concrete give a much nicer feeling when you stand or walk on them – they are simply more kind to your back and knees. And if you put a glass or china on a tabletop of Soft Concrete, it is not so hard – more like the feeling of wood.

Are there other differences?

Yes, the Soft Concrete also gives a warmer feeling than stone and ceramics. This is because the heat conductivity is lower. Also the sound quality in a room with floor tiles of Soft Concrete is better compared to harder floor materials, it is not so noisy. But the step sound insulation to the floor below is not influenced to any degree to speak of.

How does the concrete become soft?

It is a small addition of polymer (plastics) that creates the increased elasticity.

Are there any environmental issues?

Soft Concrete does not contain any substances that are harmful to the environment. The most important aspect is the good ergonomics for the users.

Tabletops of Soft Concrete

How resistant are the tabletops against staining and heat?

The tabletops are treated with a water based coating that is very resistant against normal household spillage such as coffee, tea, lemon, tonic, red wine etc. You can also put a kettle with boiling water directly on the tabletops.

Is it possible to have another surface treatment?

Yes, the surface can be treated with a special kind of wax that gives a more matt and patinous appearance, but it is not as resistant against staining.

What does the surface look like?

The Soft Concrete is cast from a relatively fluid mix and this gives a surface that is not as even as a ground stone surface. And the fact that you also get irregular colour variations adds to the vivid expression.

Can you get different colours?

Yes, there are 250 colours to choose from, but most people choose grey tabletops. There we have many different nuances, from off-white to anthracite grey. The handicraft production does that the colour changes somewhat from time to time.

What do the edges look like?

The moulds for the tabletops consist of cellular plastic strips that are covered with a tape that gives a very fine pattern on the surfaces of the edges. The edge itself is finely ground so that it will not be sharp.

Which dimensions can be made?

The tabletops are made according to the measurements that the customer decides with a tolerance of ±2 mm. But there are limitations. The maximum depth is about 1 m. And with a normal depth of 0,6 m, the maximum length is about 2 m, because we do not want the tabletops to weigh more than 70 kg. The thickness is normally 30 mm, but both thinner and thicker ones can be made, as long as the weight does not exceed 70 kg. At 30 mm the weight is 55 kg/m2 .

Why shall the weight not exceed 70 kg?

It is because all too heavy tabletops are difficult to handle at delivery and installation. Further there would be a risk of damages to the edges because of the dead weight, when you put a tabletop down on a hard substrate.

Can the tabletops be jointed?

Yes, with silicone in a matching colour. The tabletops are put close to each other, and the joint is formed by the roundness of the edges. A tape is put on either side of the joint before the application of the silicone.

Can you make holes for sinks and cooktops?

Yes you can. Then we make a reinforcement around the hole. You have to have at least 60 mm left from the hole to the edge. And if the water connection is outside the sink, 110 mm is necessary. Adjacent to holes, there can be thin cracks due to the shrinkage of the concrete, a phenomenon that goes for all concrete slabs. But the tabletop will still hold together because of the reinforcement. Sinks can be put flush with the tabletop or on top of it, but not underneath.

How resistant are the tabletops against wear – is maintenance needed?

The tabletops are very resistant against wear and normally there is no need for maintenance. But you should not scratch hard with a sharp object so that you cut through the coating. If this happens, you have to apply a new coating, which is very simple.

How are the tabletops delivered and installed?

In the Stockholm area, we can deliver and also install the tabletops at an hourly rate. The tabletops should be handled vertically. They are put on the frames of the cupboards and adhered with silicone or acrylic joint material. For deliveries outside Stockholm the tabletops are put vertically on pallets with a wooden construction.

Tabletops for receptions and bars made of Soft Concrete

What are the advantages with Soft Concrete?

Soft Concrete in a reception gives a pleasant feeling for those who work there. It is e.g. possible to write on a normal paper without an underlay because of the softness of the material. And the warm feeling is of course also an advantage for bars.

How long tabletops can be made?

There is really no limit, but if the length is more than 2,5 m, tabletops are jointed with silicone in a matching colour.

Can you make the fronts in Soft Concrete also?

Yes. It makes a nice impression. Depending on the size, they are often made thinner, i.e. 20 mm.

How about the resistance to staining?

It is very good.

Can you make the whole construction, not just the concrete?

Yes, in cooperation with other companies Johans Golv can take on the production and installation of a whole construction.

Tables of Soft Concrete

What type of tables can be made of Soft Concrete?

Tabletops of Soft Concrete are suitable for different kinds of tables, such as coffee tables, sideboards and dining tables.

How thick are the tabletops?

The normal thickness is 30 mm, but they can be made thinner or thicker.

Do you make the under frame?

Yes, we can make under frames in steel, e.g. untreated, stainless or coated.

Floor tiles of Soft Concrete

What is the difference between floor tiles of Soft Concrete and ceramic tiles?

Floor tiles of Soft Concrete are much more pleasant to walk and stand on, compared to stone and ceramic tiles – in other words, they are kind to your back and knees. They are treated with a water based coating for the wear and protection against staining.

Why does the Soft Concrete give av warm feeling?

It is because the thermal conductivity is less, so the heat in your foot is not transported away so quickly. And that means that you do not need under floor heating for the sake of comfort, which is more or less necessary for stone and ceramic tiles. But of course you can use under floor heating for the general heating of the room.

Are there any other advantages with Soft Concrete in floor tiles?

Yes, the sound properties in a room with floor tiles of Soft Concrete are much better compared to harder floor materials.

Are there any disadvantages with Soft Concrete in floor tiles?

The relatively high price (depending on the manual production in Sweden) can of course be seen as a disadvantage, but according to our meaning, it is counteracted by the joy of having an ergonomically pleasant floor. And it is a joy that lasts during the entire usage. Yet no one knows how old floor tiles made of Soft Concrete can become. The oldest floor is from 1993, and is still very beautiful.

Where can you use floor tiles of Soft Concrete?

They can be used in most places indoors, but not in locations where there is more or less constant humidity, as in a shower. Surfaces with heavy wear need renewing of the coating at intervals that are dependent on how heavy the wear is.

Which sizes are available?

The floor tiles are done from 100x100 mm up to 330x330 mm. The standard size is 250x250 mm with the thickness of 8 mm.

How do you choose colours?

There are 250 colours to choose from. Normally you choose 4 -6 similar colours, which are laid at random so that two tiles with the same colour do not appear adjacent to each other. This gives a very vivid impression. Of course one can also use only one colour. Because of the manual production, even tiles with the same colour code vary slightly, which gives a vivid expression even to a floor with a single colour.

How do you lay the floor?

The floor is laid in the same way as a ceramic floor with adhesive and joint filler. We enclose colour pigment for the joint so that the colour matches the tiles. When the floor is laid and jointed, the whole floor is treated with a water based coating twice, in order to seal the joints. This makes cleaning easy and prevents water to enter the joints and go in under the coating when wet cleaning.

Is it difficult to lay floor tiles of Soft Concrete?

No, but since the tiles vary somewhat in thickness, due to the manual production, it is important that the tile setter compensates for this with the tile adhesive.

Anything special to think of when using the floor?

Furniture, especially chairs, should have soft pads underneath, otherwise a polishing of the surface can cause colour changes. You should also avoid having things standing on the floor for a long time with moisture underneath, since the coating is not tight against water diffusion, and therefore it can cause a moisture staining. It will disappear after drying, but it takes very long time.

How do you maintain floor tiles of Soft Concrete?

The maintenance is very simple. If you see that the coating is beginning to get worn, you simply clean with calcinated soda and recoat it with 2 – 3 layers. No grinding is needed, which is the case for a wooden floor. A recoating every second to every fifth year is normal. If there are local damages on individual tiles, they can be replaced after cutting through the joints around the tile. Therefore it is wise to have some extra spare tiles in the right colour.

Wall tiles of Soft Concrete

Does the Soft Concrete have any special advantages used on walls?

No, not really. But the manual production with its great possibilities for variation of colour and shape is of course also of great interest on walls. And it is a point having the same material in floor tiles, wall tiles and tabletops.

Are there only two-dimensional tiles?

No, because of the manual production, we can also make three-dimensional tiles, like Drop and Relief. With these tiles, many different patterns can be created.

What type of tile is Drop, and how do you make different patterns?

Drop is an exclusive, rhomboid tile with a concave drop. There is a standard pattern where three tiles form propellers. You can make your own patterns in the computer with the software Illustrator, or you can cut and paste the different tiles. There is a plane sister tile that also is rhomboid, but without the drop. It is used together with Drop or as it is alone.

Where can you use Drop?

Everywhere where you want an exciting wall, e.g. in the bathroom (but not in the shower), between tabletops and cupboards in the kitchen, on a front wall in public areas etc. The plane sister tile can also be used on the floor, e.g. as a border around the walls. Then all the possibilities of colours are useful.

How do you set Drop?

The rhomboid shape requires that you have to be very careful when setting Drop, so that the pattern does not go astray. The use of a polymer based tile adhesive (not cement based) gives the best possibilities for adjustments during the setting. There are detailed instructions on how to do.

Cleaning and maintenance

How do you clean products of Soft Concrete?

You use ordinary cleaning agents and a moist cloth or mop. Spillage of different kinds should be removed as soon as possible. Stains that are stuck are scraped off carefully so that the coating is not damaged. There are detailed instructions for care and maintenance.

How often do you have to recoat?

Our experience so far is that tabletops do not need recoating, unless you for some reason have got damages in the coating. For floors, the need for recoating is dependent on the degree of wear. The important thing is to be observant on the wear and recoat in time. If you have worn through the coating and started wearing on the concrete itself, the surface appearance is changed in a way that is not replaceable. The interval for recoating can be between two and five years.

How do you recoat?

It is very simple. You wash with ordinary calcinated soda, let the surface dry and apply 2 – 3 coats with a plane pad or a roller with about one hour interval. Grinding is not necessary.

Production

How is the production done?

The production is done in our workshop in Tyresö outside Stockholm. All the production is done on order. The base material is a dry mortar that contains all ingredients except the pigments. The colour is dependent on the pigments, but also on the cement (white or grey) according to the recipe. The concrete is mixed batch wise with water to form a rather fluid mass, which is filled into moulds. When the concrete has hardened enough, the products are demoulded and the edges are ground so that they are not so sharp. Then the products are allowed to dry and the surface coated with three layers.

Sales

How are the products sold?

All sales are done on order directly to Johans Golv, since the great number of products with different colours and different shapes make it impossible to keep products in stock.

Where can you see the products?

You can see the products at our workshop in Tyresö outside Stockholm. On appointment you can also see products that have been in use a couple of years in two kitchens in Stockholm. There are also samples of the different colours in other places in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Luleå. We also send sample by postal mail.

How long is the lead time?

Normally about 6 weeks, depending on quantity and current production situation.

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JOHANS GOLV AB   +46 (0)8 753 06 14  SOFT CONCRETE FURNISHING