Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

July 17, 2014

Concrete Floors

This might seem kind of nutty: we just finished our temporary kitchen makeover and I'm already dreaming of the next one.  I know time will fly by and sooner than we think we'll be faced with big decisions, like choosing flooring.  The kitchen, entryway, laundry room, and powder room all have the same linoleum, while the rest of the house (excluding the main bathroom, which also has linoleum) has walnut-stained maple hardwood.  The hardwood is in okay condition, but it's scratched, dented and gappy in the winter.  Szuka has really gouged it, no matter how well we trim her nails.  I think that five years from now it might just be wise to replace the flooring in the entire house and make it uniform for a cohesive look.  We've been pouring over flooring buying guides and tossing around flooring options:
  • Hardwood = scratched and dented easily
  • Laminate = just not our jam
  • Tile = I hate grout and despised cleaning the ceramic tile in the townhouse entry and kitchen
  • Vinyl and linoleum = scratched and stained easily
  • Cork = just not our jam either
Recently, it dawned on me: concrete!!

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We live in a lakehouse, so I think we get a pass concerning any rules about "appropriate" materials and finishes.  Concrete floors bring to mind cool loft spaces, but I think we can pull it off.  It would be super easy to clean and would stand up to Szuka's wear and tear.  We can add in-floor heating to make it cozier in the winter.  There are some cons, of course: it can crack (but can be repaired), it can be rough on joints to stand on it (we'll tough it out), and it can be cold (that's where in-floor heating comes in).  But I love that it can be stained or even painted as our style evolves, plus it's pretty affordable.

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Of course we have quite a few years to noodle on this, but if I had to decide today I would definitely be looking very seriously at concrete.  Thoughts?
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27 comments

  1. Me again! Really think about concrete... look up articles on Houzz. From what I have read it is VERY hard on your joints! I could imagine it being frightfully cold as well. It can look super cool but i can crack as well.

    We put in a vinyl plank at our showroom and it's AMAZING! I know they're more expensive but a vinyl plank has a lot of durability and has a wood look.

    That's all for now! Just read up on it :) Especially as this is your forever home (meaning grow old home).

    Do you have an email address? I'd LOVE to send you a photo of what this guy I know did.. he made a concrete table where the middle section was a log!

    jstrydom@two30nine.com if you want :)

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    1. We definitely need to think on it some more. Can vinyl plank withstand doggies?? It's why I'm ready to give up hardwood. I'd love photos!! Dans.Le.townhouse @Gmail.com

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    2. I will try to send photos yet! A lady I work with is builing and she's looked at some that look quite rustic with 'knots'.. it's beautiful!!! It's amazing the look you can get!!

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  2. We love, love our concrete floors! Would definitely choose those again if given the choice. Cracks aren't really a problem -- ours were patched and add character. Very easy to clean and holds up well with our two dogs. We live in the south, so it doesn't get as cold and standing on it (joints, etc) hasn't been a problem. Ours is stained and then etched in certain areas. Definitely think that's a good option for you.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I really wanted to hear from folks who had lived with it.

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  3. Go for it, with in floor heating! Years ago I was a docent at a Frank Lloyd Wright house museum in Virginia. The house had concrete floors, dyed Cherokee red, with in floor heating (pipes with hot water as was orginal to the 1940's plan). It was so so cosy in winter.

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    1. Cozy sounds enticing!! Thanks for sharing. Hmmmm, could I dye it aqua, lol? ;)

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  4. I love concrete! We're about to start a renovation / expansion of a very very small apartment, and since we can't have slab floors, we're doing the bare concrete walls. :) Anyway, I had a post back in 2012 about concrete floors and you might find some of the comments helpful. http://www.switcheroom.com/2012/07/love-it-or-hate-it-concrete-floors.html

    Love your blog, btw.

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    1. Thanks!! I'm going to check out your post right away.

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  5. Concrete is so sexy but it can be quite slippery with high heel shoes on I have found. I like real wooden floors, they are warm and easy to keep clean :)

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    1. I hadn't thought about traction, thanks for pointing it out. I LOVE hardwood floors but our dog has really done a number on our wood floors :(

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  6. We are getting ready to do a DIY on our concrete floors - love hearing people weigh in!

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  7. Its neck & neck between vinyl planking and concrete floors for us. We have two big dogs and these are the contenders. A relative recommended the vinyl to us after she lived with it for three years with dogs and kids. She said it was "everything resistant" and would lay it again in a heart beat. What ever you end up picking will look amazing!

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    1. It's so great to hear other people pick flooring with pups in mind! I'll have to look into vinyl plank because it's been suggested more than once. Thanks!

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  8. I looked at polishing my concrete downstairs and then nixed it (mostly for the kids who run and trip). However I would not consider it it for a main floor mostly because I am in barefeet all day long. I believe a lot of your readers in the US may wear their shoes in the house. I used Marmoleum in my last house - it's very MCM, durable and environmentally friendly. Love your new house and your blog. Keep up the good work.

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    1. I don't wear shoes but I do have indoor slippers. So it's something to think about. We rented a vacation condo with concrete once and we never had complaints. But I'm older now ;) I think this means a vacation to test those floors again! Thanks for your kind words.

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  9. My sister-in-law has stained concrete floors now and complains that the stain stains anything that falls on the floor (like the fabric she is sewing).

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    1. How frustrating!! Definitely not something I'd want. Hmm. Good to know, thanks!

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  10. The school that I work in was recently rebuilt and the majority of floors (hallways, classrooms, etc...) are concrete. It does have in floor heating, but it is so bad for my body. We've been in the building three years and this year I've had so much knee and back pain I've had to start going to the chiropractor weekly. Personally I would never put it in my home. Oh and if you drop anything glass, even from a short distance like 3 inches, it shatters into microscopic shards. (Personal experience led me to banning most glass things from my classroom.) I would worry about all that beautiful Pyrex of yours.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing. It's great to hear first hand experiences. I'm so sorry to hear about your pain and discomfort. That's terrible!!!

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  11. For a bit of insight into concrete floors you may want to check out this blog also from Ontario - http://buildingwalnutfarm.blogspot.ca. I think they are a great choice, just remember to have it properly installed and sealed well. Good luck with your research. Patty/NS

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    1. Thanks so much for the link!! So helpful! I am worried about installation because I don't think any homes have had it installed here - only commercial spaces. Hopefully by the time we get there, if we choose concrete, it will have caught on.

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  12. I do like the idea of concrete floors! I wouldn't mind the floor being cold because you can heat it or just wear socks but the solid ground that you would constantly walk on would be extremely hard on your joints.

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    1. That's been a common concern and definitely one to think about. I'd hate to wreck our joints!

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  13. what about soft wood? like, reclaimed barn or something? it would be MEANT to be dinged, and would look beautiful with your more modern finishes. just a thought.

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  14. This looks great. You should go concrete! I found my information here... http://www.mypolishedconcrete.com.au

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