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Getting stuck into concrete – again

Natural stone and terrazzo specialist Diespeker & Co has announced a new addition to its range of flooring options, with six styles of concrete tiles now available.

Far from this being a new material for the company, it is a return to a specialism gained working with concrete for three decades from the 1980s.

Diespeker & concrete

In the 1980s, architects used cast concrete to great effect. Diespeker & Co worked on The New House at Wadhurst Estate, a single storey house designed by architect John Outram that was winner of ‘The Sunday Times Best Country House since the War’ Award in 1989.

Outram used precast concreted extensively within the design and structure of the building, which was built for an industrialist.

Some of the concrete was clad in different materials, and exposed concrete was coloured, from black terrazzo with black marble aggregate lacquered to give the impression of being wet, to a cornice beam of green concrete.

One veranda utilised crushed stone and brick in blue coloured cement for a unique design.

Outram was also the designer behind the On the Isle of Dogs, the then London Docklands Development Authority commissioned three stormwater pumping stations, one of which was built in the style of a temple.

The design incorporated huge pieces of precast concrete to create ‘fins’, four for each of two concrete columns. Each of the concrete fin weighed two tons.

Strikingly multi-coloured, they were pre-painted in the Diespeker workshop prior to erection.

Using concrete in design-led projects went out of favour in the first decade of the new millennium, and Diespeker has concentrated on pushing new boundaries with terrazzo, including working with moulds much as the company once did with concrete.

However, concrete has continued to surface from time to time, popular for a spell as a choice for kitchen worktops, and, poured in situ and highly polished, a high-end alternative for residential and office flooring.

A recent approach found the Diespeker team once more contemplating concrete as a potential flooring material of choice for commercial projects, this time in the form of tiles.

Slimline concrete

One of the hurdles to overcome with concrete tiles has been the thickness and weight of the material.

Diespeker range of tiles are available at a substantially reduced thickness of 10mm making them easier to handle and install, and more practical for sites which have issues with floor height to consider.

This is made possible through Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) Ductal®, a mixture of natural mineral components and organic fibres ensuring an exceptional resistance and flexibility.

The material offers many benefits including lightness, shock resistance, fire proofing, water proofing, sea-water proofing, acid and frost so the product lends itself to a variety of uses in a wide choice of locations.

The compressive strength values, bending, abrasion, porosity, fire and freeze and thaw cycles resistance of UHPC Ductal® has been tested and certified to ensure it meets regulations.

The six options currently available showcase popular shades and textures, and Diespeker expects to add to the range over the coming months to give an even wider choice of designs.

Standard tiles are 150 x 100 x 10mm with other sizes and shapes available to order.

Concrete tiles are suitable for interior or exterior use, and are a feasible alternative where a concrete floor is required but a continuous screed is impractical.

As well as flooring, the tiles can be used for worktops and countertops, walls and facades; their use is only limited by imagination.

To find out more visit www.diespeker.co.uk/concrete

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