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Room Therapy: Concrete Surfaces

Welcome to this week's Room Therapy, the CasaSugar feature where users submit questions and you, the readers, along with myself, help answer them. Casa reader Azduring13 wrote to me saying, "My sister told me about using stained concrete for floor finishing and countertops. Do you have any information on this? Thanks."

I'm going to answer the second half of that question in a post on Wednesday, but for now let's look at the floor finishings portion of the question. I happen to know that Casa reader and TeamSugar member Mosspink actually has gorgeous concrete floors in her surprisingly bright and sunny basement apartment. Let's see what she has to say.

"I inherited this floor from the previous owners, who'd bought this house as a fixer-upper. When they moved into this place, all the concrete was covered in linoleum and vinyl flooring tile. When they pulled it up and did what they could to remove the old adhesive and gunk, there was a residual grid pattern left from the tile."

To see more photos of Mosspink's pretty concrete-floored abode, and to learn about living with those floors, just

Mosspink goes on to say that you can take easy care of a concrete floor if you "simply sweep it on a regular basis. Dust and debris scratches the shine off, of course, as do the rolling wheels of office chairs, which I've discovered much to my chagrin. Mop once every few months, more if there's more traffic or you make a mess, and I recommend Pine-Sol."

"In all honesty, I love the color and finish—it reminds me very much of marble or stone without the care or expense that might entail. Like those two materials, its camouflage-like nature masks a variety of sins, from spilled coffee to dropped brownie crumbs. Aside from that, I love its smooth, cool feel underfoot and the good traction it provides. On the down side, it is a hard surface so doing exercise on it isn't recommended without a proper mat."

Thanks for all of the great information, Mosspink! Anybody else have experience with concrete floors?

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YellowSqueaky YellowSqueaky 9 years
mosspink. I've had the countertops for 2 years or so and I have no stains. I use Method on them right after I cook. The guy that did ours didn't say anything about resealing them. I hope we never have to b/c it really smells when they seal them. I'll try to get a picture for you!
MamaD MamaD 9 years
I actually saw a do- it- yourself home fix it show where the couple couldn't afford new counter tops. They framed out the tops of the cabinets and poured concrete as the counter tops and then sealed it. I have to say it turned out awesome!!!! Depending on the decor of the rest of the room it either looked earthy or very industrial. I thought it was a great alternative!
owlchicka owlchicka 9 years
@ ccsugar: Lady, you are right that concrete floors can be cold, but it depends upon how the rest of the house is insulated as well as what floor you live on. I live in a basement unit in a very warm part of the San Francisco Bay Area, so I'm rather thankful for the chill temperature here. If the apartment you're looking for gets a lot of sun, it might be cold in the daytime (when you're likely out to work), but as the day progresses, the floor will absorb the solar energy if your blinds are open, and warm the house at night when its cooler via radiant heat, just like a stone floor.
owlchicka owlchicka 9 years
Hi Linny, thank you for the explanation of when it needs to be waxed! Looks like it's time for me to wax my floors soon then. :) I am in complete agreement with you about the charms of things looking lived in.
owlchicka owlchicka 9 years
@ummyels: Thanks! It makes a difference for me to be living in a place that makes me happy to be in every day. :)
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
I'm shopping now for a new apartment, and I've noticed a lot of places using concrete floors as a selling point. I know that's trendy now with loft-type spaces, but it just feels so cold to me! I much prefer hardwoods or even carpet. Plus, I do love to exercise in my home, and concrete is so hard :( I guess it would give me a reason to buy a bunch of cute rugs though! :)
Linny Linny 9 years
mosspink: (i know you didn't ask me, but I can answer your question) our concrete guy says that for kitchens you should wax your countertops about every 6 months or so. for bathrooms or lesser used areas, once a year is fine, if you need to do it at all. yes, they do stain sometimes. one of our client's kids left a bottle of honey on the countertop and that wore away the wax after it sat there for a week or so. the concrete guy came out and fixed it for them. personally, i like my surfaces to look used. it's like a nice patina for me. I know other people would go nuts if their countertops didn't always look pristine.
ummyels ummyels 9 years
very cute and mod
owlchicka owlchicka 9 years
@veside: Very true. I used to have a white linoleum kitchen floor that I had to mop every few days or else it would look grungy. I'm all about forgiving surfaces these days. ;)
owlchicka owlchicka 9 years
@alillee: Thank you! I love it very much, too. :)
veside veside 9 years
This looks nice and I love the industrial aspect of using concrete. I don't think you need to seal it too often if the seal has been applied thickly and in the proper manner. I don't see why more people don't use concrete in the kitchen---concrete floors are actually much easier to clean than vinyl tiled ones. We bought our house with horrible brown vinyl tile that I cannot get cleaned unless I scrub each tile indivually! so am flirting with putting ceramic tile or exposing the concrete underneath.
alillee alillee 9 years
i love your apartment mosspink!
owlchicka owlchicka 9 years
@YellowSqueaky: How often do you have to seal the concrete? Does it stain? Would love to see pix of how it weathers over time because I'm a big fan of concrete as a living surface.
YellowSqueaky YellowSqueaky 9 years
We put in concrete countertops. LOVE THEM!!!
owlchicka owlchicka 9 years
Thanks, ashcwebb! :) It definitely gives a rustic air to the space. I'm thinking of buying more (bigger) houseplants (trees!) to add to that feel.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
They actally don't look too bad! Kind fo gives a rustic character about the room! :)
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