Over the past few decades, poured concrete has become a material of choice for many owners of luxury custom built homes, for both flooring and countertops. It has vied for attention among granite, marble and hardwood options, initially more popular for modern architectural styles. Yet it has been seamlessly incorporated into the design of a vast array of architectural designs, its versatility and durability lauded by architects, builders and homeowners.
When it comes to countertops, some of the advantages poured concrete holds over popular alternatives (such as granite, marble, tile, and engineered quartz) are: no visible seams (using seam fillers); unlimited color options; it can be cast in any shape; has endless edge details; accepts inserts and inlays; and its appearance can actually improve with age. One caveat is that poured concrete is stain resistant when treated with a sealant, as its natural state is porous and susceptible to stains; yet it is not as resistant to high heat if treated with some sealers or wax, as heat can discolor or damage some sealers. However, with its versatility in terms of color and design, it is also appealing because of its cost per square foot, which is generally much lower than its granite, marble and engineered quartz counterparts.
Focusing on the design potential, particularly when it concerns a new custom built home, the customizing options are endless when it comes to matching cabinetry and architectural design. The concrete can be poured in any shape or size, the builder can shape the edges to replicate any design element or theme such as custom molding, and the countertops can be further personalized with added embedded elements such as stones, glass or shells. Additionally, virtually any color palette can be replicated with integral paint or stains or a combination of both.
As with countertops, concrete is a fantastic option to consider with flooring. It is durable and easy to clean, and can be customized to accommodate virtually any color through various techniques, such as integral color, dyes, hardeners and stains. The aggregates can also be manipulated to yield a variety of textures and finishes; it can be stamped, patterned and buffed to a high gloss. Concrete flooring works very well with radiant heating and can help reduce energy bills as the material absorbs heat, and similarly retains the cool air in summer months.
Another appealing feature for custom home builders and homeowners alike is concrete is considered Green, or eco-friendly, as it does not diminish earth resources and its production requires much less energy than other flooring options; the materials used can be recycled and significantly reduces the need to discard waste. It naturally inhibits mold, mildew and odors and as a result can significantly improve indoor air quality. While modern and contemporary in concept, poured concrete flooring and counters may be a great option to consider in a new home or renovation project.