Sam contacted Mad About The House to ask about concrete flooring.
Q: What do you think about polished concrete flooring? I am struggling with a funky idea for my (small) kitchen floor and was interested to know if concrete is something you had come across – it sounds like it could be an inexpensive option (we are totally refurbing this money pit and there was only a certain amount I could put on that xmas list) and would appreciate any advice as always.
A: Firstly, whether you use the material or the colour, it’s suddenly screamingly fashionable. According to the trend forecaster Scarlet Opus, it’s an on-trend material as well as a key shade for 2013.
Victoria Redshaw, forecaster and MD of the company, says: “Concrete shakes off its ugly reputation thanks to brilliant innovations and brave applications by Product Designers. Stick to light-to-mid shades (with a matt finish) and simply think of it as you would any other neutral colour when pairing it with other colours.”
It also works in any room of the house, not just kitchens but also bathrooms. And if you’re worried about it looking too industrial, you can soften it with rugs and textiles.
So, to the practicalities. Where do we get some, what does it cost, when can we have it? First things first, a polished concrete floor costs anywhere between £60 to £400 a sq metre. The difference depends largely on whether it can be levelled by machine or, if the space is too tight, if it must be done by hand.
John Reid, of White + Reid says you should expect to pay between £120 and £140 per sq metre. If you want colour added that will push the price up further.
“The polishing comes during the levelling which brings out the natural sheen of the concrete.”
How long will it take? Well, Reid says a concrete floor of 100mm thick, which is their standard depth, will take about a week from start to finish but if you are then installing a kitchen, he suggests perhaps waiting another week.
“It needs to be fully dry but that can be affected by the weather, humidity and size of the floor, so that is only a guideline.”
What are the drawbacks? It might sound obvious but it’s very, very hard. If you fall, it will hurt. It will need regular resealing – probably once a year. It’s cold underfoot too, so you might want to consider underfloor heating, which will, of course add to the cost. It is also messy to install and really must be done by a professional.
On the upside, it’s hardwearing, easy to clean (water will do it) and if you get bored then you have a ready-made surface for laying floorboards or carpet. And, let’s not forget, it’s a great look. It also holds the heat well so is perfect for underfloor heating.
If concreting a floor seems a bit much, then how about using poured concrete as a worktop? It’s supremely practical since, as long as it’s properly sealed, you don’t have to worry about stains (marble), burning (wood) or scratching (stainless steel). And, since it’s poured in liquid form, you can have any shape you want – rounded corners for example.
Here’s a close up look
Finally, what about Litracon? This is a brand new translucent form of concrete, which is 96 per cent concrete and four per cent optic fibres. It ends up looking rather like polished marble but transmits light at the same time. It costs from£745 per sq metre for the thinnest application of 25mm. If you want to know more then contact THJ Solutions . Here’s a picture of it
So Sam, are you going to concrete or not? Does anyone else have experience of concrete flooring that they would like to share?
For more posts about flooring: