Use Concrete Slab as Finished Flooring
Instead of covering the concrete with wood carpet or vinyl flooring, builders are making them functional and decorative.
Homeowners can benefit from this funky flooring approach in several ways, including lower construction costs, freedom from allergens that can get trapped in carpets, and a flooring solution that is easily changeable. These are benefits the homeowner can enjoy while living in the home, and can also leverage when they're ready to sell and move out of the home.
Many people spend as much as 90 percent of their time indoors, and indoor levels of many pollutants can be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. The Environmental Protection Agency has identified indoor air pollution as one of the top five urgent environmental risks to the public. Carpets can accumulate dirt, allergens, dust mites and even grow mold. While regular cleaning will help reduce the amount of unwanted material stored on your living room floor, it's estimated that after 10 years, carpet will weigh twice as much as when it was installed.
The best practice when selecting flooring that is safe, durable and won't trap allergens may be the interior concrete slab as the floor surface.
Besides the reduction of allergens in the home, concrete floors last much longer than conventional floor coverings. This means there's no cost of replacement, and less maintenance and repair. Homeowners also have a wide choice of designs, textures, styles, and even colors to choose from with concrete floors.
Here are just a few of the innovative ideas for finishing a concrete floor:
- Scoring uses circular saws with special blades to cut shallow grooves and shapes into the floors.
- Special stains with chemicals that react to the lime in concrete can be painted or applied to the floor to make intricate designs. Staining in combination with scoring can produce elaborate, beautiful patterns.
- Stamping is technique that imprints textures and patterns of stones, bricks, wood planks, or tiles into the surface of the concrete. This method is complex and difficult to apply, so only a trained trade partner should be asked to apply a stamping pattern.
- Concrete can be dyed during the mixing process to offer a uniform color to the entire slab.
- After the staining, scoring, or stamping is complete, concrete can be polished to a high gloss to brighten a room, or left duller to help reduce glare.
When choosing to use concrete as the flooring surface, it's important that the slab be well insulated. In areas of extreme cold during the winter months, a builder might suggest a radiant floor heating system be installed. Most conventional flooring can be easily damaged by water or constant wear, and maintenance or replacement can be a costly burden for homeowners.