Objects of Desire: Beautifully Individual Concrete Floors, Via Houzz.com
Concrete comes in more colors and finishes than ever before. See if these 6 floors open your eyes to the possibilities
Does it sound like concrete might work for you? Learn more with the six beautiful concrete floors below as examples.
How it was made: The color was achieved using a semitransparent concrete stain that comes in several colors.
Why it works here: “We felt that the color we chose went well with the natural wood in the house,” says Nikki Fisher of Gelotte Hommas Architecture. Concrete is also an economical finish in homes with radiant heat, like this one.
Tip: Stained concrete floors will always have natural variations in color, because of the way concrete takes the stain. “You have to embrace its uncontrollability in a sense and go with the organic nature,” says Fisher.
Installed by Clark Boa Construction
Why it works here: This concrete floor enabled Indigo to further blur lines between indoor and outdoor spaces in this home.
Tip: Indigo founder Jeb Thornburg points out that while it’s possible to achieve your desired concrete color, it will never be exact. “Concrete coloring and finishing is a lot like cooking,” he says. “You can make the same dish 10 times, and each time it comes out a little bit different.”
Thornburg points out that many factors can influence the way your floor turns out — everything from the local sand mix to the air temperature during the pouring and curing. “To us this is just part of the nature of the material, but it is something to keep in mind up front,” he says. “You need to make sure you are comfortable with the imprecise nature of the color outcome.”
Installed by Clark Construction
Why it works here: The rich chocolate brown takes the cold commerciality out of the finish, creating a cozy and relaxing space.
Tip: Amy Simmons of Greenbelt Construction advises homeowners to embrace the cracks and color changes that will eventually happen to a concrete floor. “That’s the beauty of concrete floors: Nobody else’s floor is ever going to look just like yours,” she says.
Installation by Gkrete
How it was made: The texture was achieved using a chemical-free Portland mix aggregate with natural gray and blue tones. “Unlike typical construction processes, we did not construct the frame until the foundation had a week to cure, while watering and cleaning the concrete twice a day,” says Stephen Heiman of Steven Allen Designs. The concrete was then diamond polished and sealed with a light gloss.
Why it works here: A light gloss finish like this one requires minimal maintenance for keeping concrete looking new and clean.
Tip: If you’re thinking about installing concrete, Heiman recommends consulting an experienced builder in the early planning and budgeting stages. Designs using concrete can often intersect with structural issues. For example, this particular floor is actually the foundation slab the home is built upon. And don’t forget — concrete is heavy. When using it in upper floors, it’s a good idea to consult a structural engineer to make sure your home can support the extra weight.
How it was made: Environmental Dynamics used an aggregate of LaFarge North America mix with 25 percent fly ash to achieve this floor’s silky texture.
The buttery brown color was achieved using a three-step acid etching process, starting withLitochrome Chemstain Classic stain in a mix of Antique Amber and Padre Brown. The concrete was then sealed twice, once using Kure-N-Seal, then with an acrylic sealer that acts as a wax.
The rumor mill: Some homeowners and installers worry about problems with strength and color broadcasting in aggregates using fly ash, but Stace McGee, principal at Environmental Dynamics, says this worry is unwarranted. She urges anyone considering this material to do research to allay any concerns.
Why it works: McGee points out that using concrete works on more than just an aesthetic level, as it keeps space temperatures stable and helps save energy.
Tip: As already noted, homeowners need to understand that concrete cracks. That said, it’s worth talking to your designer and contractor about finding ways to limit the cracking. “For this project, we poured 5-inch-thick concrete with a mesh of #4 rebar at 16 inches OC [on center] each way. There is also a regular rhythm of control joints that were cut in and then grouted to match the floor,” explains McGee.
Installation by John Rodriguez of Milagro Custom Flooring Solutions
How it was made: Kenneth Brown Design improved upon the existing concrete floor by darkening its color using a tinted wax on the polished concrete slab.
Why it works here: The young man who lives here loves to skateboard and run in and out of the pool. Concrete provides the durability he needs while adding to the design’s modern vibe.
Tip: Kenneth Brown recommends embracing concrete as a casual material that will crack and wear with time. Disguise scuffs and surface scratches by waxing your concrete every six months or so. Ask your installer for a product recommendation; most waxes are quick and easy to apply and require no special equipment.