Is indoor concrete flooring a smart alternative?

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Many homeowners spend a great deal of time searching for the perfect flooring. But before you can select colors and finishes, you must first decide on the material you want. Compared to wood, tile and carpeting, indoor concrete is still in its infancy as a flooring material, but it offers unique design possibilities because it can be colored and patterned in striking ways, giving you a one-of-a-kind look. When compared with high-end floor coverings, such as ceramic tile, slate and marble, decorative concrete can even be a less expensive alternative. What’s more, a skilled concrete artisan can duplicate the look of those pricier materials.

We asked Robert Hartmann, president of Jason Roberts, Inc., concrete specialists in Milford, CT, to answer important concerns and misconceptions about indoor concrete flooring. “Like any flooring material, concrete does have some inherent drawbacks,” says Robert. “However, many of them are easy to overcome and, in the end, the positives of concrete flooring far outweigh the negatives.”

The Feel Of Concrete

While some concrete floors can be cold or damp (though no more so than tile), if properly installed this needn’t be the case. “Concrete doesn't have to be cold,” says Robert. “Its thermal properties give it the ability to store and radiate heat. By embedding radiant heating cables in concrete floors, for example, you can keep floors toasty warm in the winter and you can control the temperature level. If your home is built to take advantage of solar radiation entering through windows, concrete floors will absorb the heat from the sun to keep rooms warmer in the winter. In the summer and in hot climates, a cooler floor can be an advantage and can actually help lower air-conditioning costs.”

The Health Advantage Of Concrete Floors

Not only can concrete flooring be very aesthetically appealing, but it can also help control allergies because it’s easier to clean and, unlike carpeting, won’t trap pet dander, mold and dirt. Jason Roberts Inc. has seen a growing number of clients request indoor concrete flooring as a beautiful way to minimize allergies.

Maintaining A Concrete Floor

All floors require some maintenance and upkeep. However, concrete flooring is known for relatively low maintenance and care costs—usually lower than most other flooring. Explains Robert, “When protected with a good sealer and a coat of floor finish or wax, concrete floors are highly resistant to staining, chemicals and abrasion. If your concrete floor ever loses its luster or shine, cleaning the floor and reapplying a coat or two of floor finish will normally bring it back to its original state.”

While it may originally be a bit more expensive than some other flooring types, if properly installed, maintained and cared for, concrete flooring will last many years and may never need to be replaced.

Above, the dramatic, stone-like beauty of concrete enhances the dining space. [Photo courtesy of The Concrete Impressionist, Brooklyn, NY]