When you think of concrete, you already have a clear picture in mind of a harsh, utilitarian material that is suitable for sturdy buildings and roads that see heavy traffic. While concrete is used in these cases as well, there’s actually a little more to it than that. This solid material is incredibly versatile and can be used in many ways within your household. If you’ve been thinking about redesigning your home and want to pick something that’s long-lasting and resilient but will also lend itself well to different aesthetics and designs, concrete might be the best thing for you.
Here are some of the ways you can use it in your home.
To have floors made out of concrete doesn’t sound very good at first. After all, there’s no way that concrete can be half as elegant as polished hardwood, marble or even stone. Well, it turns out that you shouldn’t base your opinions on stereotypes. Concrete floors are an ideal option for those that prefer minimalism and clean lines in their home design and are looking for something simple that will maintain its lustre regardless of how much time passes.
Concrete flooring requires minimal maintenance and can be enhanced with several textures and finishes to make it more put together. One of the best things about concrete is that it is thermally efficient and can absorb and store heat. This means your concrete flooring becomes a fundamental part of home temperature regulation. To maximise its benefits, insulate it from underneath and pull the curtains aside. The concrete floor will absorb sunlight even in the winter and then slowly release the heat at night, a process known as “solar gain”.
The kitchen is one of the best areas in your home to have concrete flooring since it sees a lot of foot traffic. It is also highly resistant to dents or stains, which are more likely to occur in the kitchen than anywhere else in your home. Add to that the fact that concrete slabs are relatively inexpensive compared to other materials, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for floors made in heaven.
Since concrete is a heavy-duty, resistant material, it only makes sense that it has several outdoor uses. The most important one is the creation of patios since not only does it offer a clean and smooth appearance but also a wide array of different geometric shapes so that you can create the courtyard of your dreams. Moreover, while the classic light grey works well with any environment, there’s also the option of adding tints to the concrete to make it black, orange, green or blue. Earth tones are also popular, as they mimic natural materials, meaning the concrete will blend perfectly with the rest of your garden.
Using concrete blocks that interlock is also a more affordable option than the alternatives, including stone, slate, granite, sandstone or tile. If you want to elevate the design a little bit, you must add the right type of furniture. Stained wood is one of the best options, as it creates an elegant atmosphere and is incredibly adaptable. You can even design a raised patio surrounded by concrete stairs to provide easy access to other areas. If you’ve got enough space at your disposal, use concrete to create a pool or a hot tub. It can also be given a customised rugged appearance for a more rustic look, especially if you add a lot of plants and perhaps a cobblestone wall.
Although it might sound surprising, concrete is also a great choice for planter boxes, so if you’ve been thinking about expanding your garden, now’s the time to do so. The porous quality of the material makes it a fantastic option for greenery since it means that moisture will get through, and plants can thrive. This means it’s unlikely that you’ll hurt the plants by overwatering them, which can occur when the pots are made out of plastic.
To be extra safe, neutralise the concrete in water for around three days. Doing so releases the lime, clearing alkalinity and enduring plants aren’t harmed due to the high pH. This step isn’t necessary if you want to plant succulents, as they usually thrive in a more alkaline environment.
While in the case of flooring, concrete is the more cost-effective option, the same cannot be said for countertops. Here, it is actually the pricier alternative, being more expensive than granite, one of the most popular materials used in this area. However, the elevated upfront price has several advantages that are difficult to ignore. For starters, concrete is incredibly hardy and stable. This means that it is more likely to last a long while, and you won’t have to worry about constant repair costs.
Concrete is heat resistant, making it a natural choice for the kitchen. The most common issue is hairline cracks, which can develop if you drop something heavy on the countertop, or after several years of wear and tear. However, fixing this problem isn’t a major issue and, in most cases, can be rapidly fixed. Since concrete is more porous than other materials, it requires more sealing and coating to maintain its shape. This additional finish protects it from stains and smudges and is also useful in hindering bacterial growth.
Done well, a staircase can truly elevate the overall look of a room. Floating stairs, very popular in open concept areas, maximise the living space and remove visual obstructions. Generally speaking, they are minimalistic and can be integrated successfully into any interior environment. Concrete is the ideal material for these stairs. If you want to get some extra safety, choose cable railing or transparent glass panels to maintain the openness of the design.
Although it may not seem like it, concrete adapts itself well to many designs and stylistic choices. It is also very durable, so you don’t have to worry about incurring additional costs by constantly remodelling your home. Choosing concrete for your home truly is a win-win situation.