The Lowdown on Concrete Interior Flooring

From on June 16, 2010 in Flooring

concrete flooring living room

I’m haunted by a photo I saw somewhere in the design world, the source long forgotten, of a couple standing barefoot in the open hallway of their modern home, books lining the walls like insulation, their toddler sitting on the floor playing with wooden blocks. The couple stood barefoot on concrete. Concrete interior flooring!

The idea seemed so slap-my-forehead simple, so natural and earth-friendly and chic in its rawness. Which was exactly my hesitation—its rawness. Is the surge of concrete interior floors a fad that will crack open in a few years, or a brilliant idea here to stay?

concrete flooring

100-Percent Recyclable

Energy efficient and eco-friendly, concrete flooring uses less energy in production compared to any other flooring type, and is also completely recyclable. Though a professional must install the floor, the process leaves behind less waste than other materials (think of all of those carpet scraps).

concrete flooring walls

Healthier than Carpet

Unlike synthetic carpets, concrete doesn’t contain harmful compounds. It keeps your home cooler in the summer, and as architect Lynn Gaffney explains on Dwell, “A concrete floor with radiant heat is a very comfortable and energy-efficient way to heat a home…”

And the cost?

concrete flooring seal

Including a finish, concrete floor installation runs under $20 dollars per square foot.

High Maintenance?

concrete flooring kitchen

But what about the concrete I see everyday? The high-trafficked sidewalks with those sinewy little cracks running conspicuously down the middle? Although it’s low-maintenance in general and good for the allergy-prone, concrete floors may have to be resealed as often as a few times a year.

One might say that it’s a toss-up between an occasional reseal with simple daily upkeep versus, for instance, a hardwood finish that requires prodigious sweeping and mopping and eventual refinishing. Just as with any major design decision, there are definitely pros and cons to weigh if you’re considering concrete.

Photo Credit: Concrete Network, Concrete Treatments, Inc., Room Envy, LoadingDock5 & Steven Ehrlich Architects