When we were doing the renovations to the Box, polished concrete floors weren’t that common (our builders had never done them before, and it took some research to find someone relatively local who could make it work).
Most polished concrete floors are actually a thin layer of concrete poured over the existing floor (often with colour, dye or other effects mixed into it). But ours is quite unique (we’re so special).
Our concrete floors are the actual original slab of the house, complete with faults, chips and oil stains (you can see where the previous owners used to park their cars). New sections were added where it was necessary to reinforce the structure, or to cut into the slab to insert plumbing and pipes and the kitchen island bench.
The guy who did the actual polishing commented on the aggregate (the little tiny stones embedded in the cement to make it stronger), saying that it was rare these days to get aggregate that looked like that (we think it was poured in the 1950′s).
But how does it wear as a floor? Well, we love it. It’s easy to keep clean (just vaccuum, mop with warm soapy water, occasionally it needs a coat of protecting sealant). I never worry about spilling anything on it, since it doesn’t stain and everything just wipes off. It’s especially awesome with kids. We have the concrete floors across the whole bottom storey of the Box – kitchen, dining and living areas.
In summer, it’s cool to walk on, and keeps the temperature of the house just lovely. We rarely have to use the air conditioner in summer (upstairs where we have carpeted it’s a different story). But we truly believe the concrete keeps the overall temperature of the Box down.
In winter, it’s quite cold. We do need to put the heaters on, and it takes a while to heat up the concrete (I would say a few days). Once the concrete has warmed up a bit, and as long as you don’t let it get too cold again, you’re pretty right. But we have needed to buy a few rugs to cover as much of the floor area as possible (we take these rugs up in summer).
It also doesn’t help that one whole wall of the downstairs living area is floor to ceiling glass bi-fold doors. Well, again, it’s great in summer when we can open up the whole house to let the beautiful cool breezes flow through the whole Box. But it sucks in winter (as the warm air escapes straight through the glass). So we have curtains to pull across in winter to add some insulation.
If we had the funds, there are things we could easily do to increase the heat-efficiency of the Box (like double glazed windows). But overall, we love our polished concrete floors, and we would definitely have them in any future house.
(See what we wrote about our concrete flooring during the actual reno process here).1 comment