For many, concrete is a building material best utilized when paving your driveway, creating a patio slab or building a new set of stairs to the front door. If this is your view on the versatile product, you’re missing out. From sturdy bathroom vanities to eye-catching accent walls, there are many alternative indoor uses for concrete.
If you’re looking to incorporate a new design element, or color, into a room, consider concrete as an alternative to simply painting or wallpapering an accent wall. Many homeowners and interior designers paint an accent wall to define or anchor a space. A single concrete wall allows you to create a unique focal point in a room, while providing it with a natural, organic flow. Acid etching, which is the process of using chemicals to alter the concrete coloring, allows you to customize the wall without abandoning the material’s natural, elemental feel.
Concrete countertops allow you to customize your kitchen, while providing you with a durable product that withstands staining and damage. The installation is more labor-intensive than utilizing a number of other products, including marble, granite and laminate, although the extra work is well worth the natural look and feel of this product. Don’t be surprised if guests can’t stop feeling your concrete countertops, and want you to come to their home and help with their installation.
The countertops aren’t only reserved for the kitchen. Another popular use for concrete countertops is outdoors, especially on your patio space or as a surround for a grill. And it is even finding a place in the bathroom. Add your own personal touch by imbedding glass shards or chips into the moist concrete. The chips are spread over the wet concrete and after curing, exposed and shined with heavy-duty polishing tools.
Many furniture designers are manufacturers are discovering the value and durability that concrete offers, resulting in a higher availability of the pieces. Although diligence is still required to locate the right piece for your home, don’t be surprised when you find a concrete coffee or accent table at your local furniture showroom. It’s also relatively easy to construct a simple frame and cast your own concrete furniture, which allows you to customize the pieces according to your space and design aesthetic. Concrete has a reputation for always remaining cold, which is why many people shy away from purchasing concrete furniture. Combat this issue and increase the piece’s comfort level, by covering it with upholstered cushions and throw pillows.
The word “cold” causes many people to discount the use of concrete as a flooring material. Concrete’s traditional appearance is often another issue, which doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re worried about cold concrete on a blustery winter day, correct this issue with radiant flooring. Radiant heating cables are embedded in the concrete floors, allowing you to control the temperature. Once the warmer summer temperatures hit, turn off the radiant heating and enjoy the concrete’s naturally cooler feel.
Acid etching is widely used to alter the look of concrete flooring as well, although it’s only one of several design options. Stamping, which involved creating a pattern or design in the moist concrete, allows you to incorporate a funky, elegant or natural look into the space. One popular alternative to traditional hardwoods is accomplished by stamping and polishing concrete to mimic the wood flooring’s appearance, but at a fraction of the cost.
Benefits of Concrete
Now that you’ve learned the several uses for concrete throughout the home, it’s time to list a few of its many advantages over other building materials. Here are just a few of the ways utilizing concrete in your next remodel is the economical, and sometimes safe, option:
- Durability – Concrete has been used as a building material for centuries, and with good reason. The product naturally resists weathering, deterioration, freezing, thawing and chemical attack. Concrete is also inedible, making it impossible for your concrete floor or accent wall to be destroyed or damaged by insects and rodents.
- Low maintenance – When properly sealed, concrete requires little maintenance beyond the occasional dusting or cleaning.
- Cost – Concrete is a lower-cost alternative to several traditional indoor building materials, including granite, marble, travertine and hardwood.
- Safety – As stated above, concrete is naturally resistant insect and rodent attacks. The material also won’t burn, and doesn’t emit any noxious fumes when exposed to fire or smoke.
- Eco-Friendly – Concrete is constructed from waste by-products, which reduces its dependence on raw materials for construction. The material is also recyclable and a health-conscious alternative for people suffering from allergies.
In the end, concrete’s versatility is simply the best reason to consider using the product to remodel or redecorate any space in your home. The material provides a number of design options that suits even the most discerning homeowner, interior decorator or DIY home improvement guru.
This article was written by Ryan Tupper who has been a plumber and contractor for over 10 years. Ryan also works as a freelance consultant and writer for DecorPlanet.com.