It’s not just for the outdoors anymore
Previously confined to the garage or the back patio, concrete is now compatible with indoor uses as well. In fact, it’s become a major player in home interior remodeling. Long established as a reliable and durable product for the outdoors, it has been refined and developed to apply that same strength to more elegant settings. It has traits that make it ideal; it’s sustainable, fire resistant and affordable. Also, it has the advantage of being able to be molded to any particulars. Also, it may be dyed, embossed, even polished – it literally can be made to cater to your homes design. And concrete holds heat, making it ideal for bathtubs, floors and sinks. Combine these factors with its unique appearance and you’ll understand why concrete has become an in-demand substance.
Recently countertops made of concrete have emerged as a competitor to other materials such as granite and marble. Part of the reason is that it’s easy – one pour and you’ve a seamless countertop that will not allow water in cracks and joints. Contrary to some expectations, it’s not a rigid slab you get, but rather a custom shape of your choosing! You can include a concrete sink as part of one large piece, and have fun adding elements such as a built in drain and soap dish. The sink is low maintenance and blends well in nearly any environment. Since it is solid, it tends to dampen the loudness of the dishwasher.
Achieve the look of brick or stone with a concrete fireplace / hearth. You may prefer to keep it as one solid piece, instead of choosing the favored faux brick pattern mold. The concrete fireplace/hearth/mantle retains heat and releases it slowly, keeping your home warm long after the fire has gone the way of nonexistence.
More than ever before, folks are choosing to go with concrete even for their kitchen floors. They are a practical choice, easy to clean and scratch and scuff resistant. All that’s needed by way of maintenance really is regular dusting and a wet mop-over. Also, they can be personalized with the inclusion of colored dyes or embedded materials for subtle hues, textures and patterns that give any floor a unique customized appearance.
Not even bathroom tubs are immune to the concrete influence. They can be made to fit a very small space, or a very large one. You may even have them installed with heating coils embedded within. Be mindful that the bigger the tub the more weight your home needs to be prepared to accommodate. You should check with a structural engineer to ensure you will face no potential problems with the inclusion of a concrete tub.
Of course a shower is a little easier. Using concrete for the surface material literally means there’s no need to scrub grout. Concrete that has been meticulously troweled-on creates seamless shower walls and basins that are waterproof.
Unless you are one seriously experienced do-it-yourselfer, it is firmly recommended that you hire a contractor with plenty of interior concrete work under his belt. He’ll help you achieve the look you want by recommending the right specific products and finishes.
Although concrete is waterproof, it is actually just porous enough to allow staining. But you can protect your product with a good stone sealer. There are two types of concrete sealers, penetrating and topical. Penetrating sealers will darken the surface slightly leaving it more rich and detailed. They only need to be applied every two to three years, with carnauba wax applications in the interims. Topical sealers form a protective coat over the concrete. There are many types available, including acrylic and epoxy, both providing tough durable surfaces. Be aware that even when sealed, you may still experience some chipping or cracking. It’s just a part of the character of concrete, the nature of the beast.
Additionally, concrete is appreciated for being an environmentally friendly substance. Not only are the sand and rock that comprise it renewable resources, it can last decades before being demolished and used again. It’s a solid choice, and it’s earned its popularity. It looks great, it’s extremely durable and very user-friendly. If you choose it, you’ve made a concrete conclusion.