Guide to concrete flooring

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Concrete flooring: some love it, others loathe it. Whichever position you take on this interesting and relatively edgy designer floor, there is no denying its flexibility and countless stylistic benefits. It has become the flooring of choice for many newly built properties, as it offers abundant colour choices, textures, finishes and aesthetic possibilities. This adaptable floor gives a stylishly contemporary feel to any abode. Along with the many advantages of concrete flooring, there are some things you ought to keep in mind before considering this material for your new dwelling, or as part of a home renovation—before you do anything else, be sure to check out homify’s guide to concrete flooring below for some fabulous examples, handy suggestions and up-to-speed advice.

Why choose concrete flooring?

Concrete flooring has been a popular choice for interior designers for a while now, it has many benefits and drawbacks, but offers and extremely versatile floor, which can suit many different décor or interior designs. As with most flooring options, there are varying levels of difficulty depending on the architecture and situation. If you are installing a new floor for instance, it can be quite easy and inexpensive, but should you add a diamond polished finish (high gloss finish), then suddenly it can be costly and difficult. You may want to retrofit your floor too, this will be far harder than a new floor, and can be more expensive. However, concrete flooring offers numerous design options, and for this reason is a popular and exciting option for many home interiors.

Advantages and disadvantages

Concrete flooring, like all other flooring, comes with advantages and disadvantages. Firstly the advantages—it is resilient, low-maintenance, easy to install, long lasting, and easy to change. The durability of concrete is well known, it is hard to crack, difficult to damage, and excellent for areas with high foot traffic. Furthermore, over time it can develop small scratches or stains, which add character to the overall design, and can be seen as an advantage (or perhaps a disadvantage!). Furthermore, concrete flooring is easy to maintain, it requires re-sealing every 3-9 months, but this can be an easy process to do yourself, or alternatively employ a professional. If you maintain the sealant or wax coating of your concrete flooring, it will essentially last forever, reducing the need to re-floor, as you do with many other materials. Along with the low-maintenance and robust nature of concrete, this versatile material also gives the option for re-covering at a later date. You may be fed up with the style, and decide to lay tiles, this is an easy process if you floor is concrete. Finally, concrete comes in many different styles, colours and finishes, leaving the design up to the creativity of the occupant or designer.

With all of these advantages comes some not so great disadvantages—concrete is hard, it can be uncomfortable, cold during winter, and requires regular sealing. If you walk around the house a lot, you may find that your feet become sore, or ache. This is an unfortunate drawback of concrete, and other than with the use of rugs, can pose a problem in living areas. As indicated earlier, concrete also requires sealing every 3-9 months, which can be seen as a disadvantage, although, most floors require some form of upkeep, and concrete is relatively easy. Probably one of the biggest problems with concrete is it is cold—during the winter months, standing atop a cold hard surface is extremely undesirable, and concrete, unless installed with underfoot heating, can be a problematic surface.

Design considerations

Rear elevation of the Islington House:  Terrace house by Neil Dusheiko Architects
Neil Dusheiko Architects

Rear elevation of the Islington House

Neil Dusheiko Architects

When considering a polished concrete floor, think about how it will integrate with the rest of your dwelling. This example shows a polished floor that enhances the contemporary renovation, while providing a seamless transition between the interior and exterior of the home. Many individuals assume that a concrete floor will not suit a heritage property, but the juxtaposition of the two elements can create style and interest.

Thinking outside the box

Concrete Stairs:  Corridor & hallway by D-Max Photography
D-Max Photography

Concrete Stairs

D-Max Photography

Concrete is so versatile it needn’t be reserved purely for flooring—this exciting staircase is constructed purely from concrete, and polished to reflect the tiled floor.

Finishes

Open-plan kitchen and dining area:   by ArchitectureLIVE
ArchitectureLIVE

Open-plan kitchen and dining area

ArchitectureLIVE

Many different finishes exist for concrete flooring—from rough and raw to high gloss shine, each finish and colour evokes a different aesthetic and style. If you are going to install a concrete floor, think about how you want your home to look. Perhaps you are hoping for a little industrial flair? Concrete is a floor that shows its marks, scratches and blemishes. Or maybe instead you want something sleek and sophisticated? You may consider choosing the more time-consuming diamond polish that provides a shiny surface, which never needs polishing. Either way, if you are going to install a concrete floor, consult a designer or professional to ensure you get the right tone, finish and style for your trendy domestic space.

Want to know more? Check out the following ideabooks below:

Hard wearing flooring for a busy kitchen

A new take on concrete flooring

What do you think of concrete flooring? Passing trend, or here to stay? Put your opinion in the comments below.
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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