Whenever I post pictures of the inside of my house I get questions or comments about the concrete floor. I’ve never talked about it before, and just like most things there is a story behind it.
So why did we choose concrete floors for our new home? Was it because we love the look? Because they’re indestructible and easy to clean? Budget friendly? No, no, and sorta.
The only reason we have sealed concrete floors in our new house is because we can’t afford to put wood flooring in right now.
Concrete flooring is actually a very popular flooring option in our area. You can find it in homes of all price ranges, it is usually stained a shade of brown and sealed or polished. My brother and his wife chose stained concrete for their newly built home, you can see it in the pictures of the living room makeover we did last year.
Theirs was professionally done, ours was very much not.
We knew from the get-go that we wouldn’t put flooring in our house immediately, the budget just didn’t allow for it. So while they were building the house, right before the mess that is drywall began, we prepped our concrete floors. As you can see, it was one heck of a good time.
Adam and I procrastinated way too long and spent a few long cold nights cleaning (pressure washing) and scraping our foundation. We got it as clean as possible, then we covered it in a product called Ram Board to protect it from all the dirt, drywall mud, texture, and paint overspray that was soon to happen.
Ram Board is basically just big rolls of cardboard that you put down to protect your floor during construction (it’s kinda like cereal box cardboard). We had to buy $400 worth and let me tell you…buying temporary cardboard that was soon going to go in the trash was probably the least excited I’ve even been to spend $400.
I don’t have any pictures of us putting it down, but this is the Ram Board on the floor after the drywall was installed.
And THIS is why we did it….here is a little square where we ran out and just left the concrete exposed…
Scraping that one tiny area took forever, I couldn’t imagine trying to clean the whole house. It didn’t take me long to realize that $4oo spent protecting the concrete might have been the smartest $400 we ever spent.
Anyway, after the walls were finished we removed the RamBoard, gave it one final cleaning, and sealed it.
The sealer we used is nothing special, it was the cheapest stuff we could find at a Home Depot. It’s Eagle brand concrete sealer, and we sealed the whole house for about $200.
That was about a year ago, and here is what it looks like today…
Not bad right? Well, not in that picture…but it’s definitely not something people mistake for our forever flooring when they come over.
First of all, there are still holes and chips from construction, lines from framing, and rust spots from nails.
Second, there are plenty of areas that wouldn’t come clean and we just sealed in the dirt. For example, here is the area right inside the front door. It looks muddy and gross, but it’s actually freshly mopped and clean as can be.
The fact that it always looks dirty is no big deal for now, but it’s definitely not a look I want sticking around for the long haul.
So how is it living on a concrete floor?
Here is what I like about it – I really like that it is easy to clean and indestructible. There is no grout to get dirty and grimy like tile, you don’t have to be careful about getting it wet like wood, and it doesn’t trap in dirt and sippy cup spillage like carpet. In that aspect it’s the perfect flooring for our house full of boys.
What I don’t like about it – While it is a great temporary solution I would never consider a concrete floor as my forever floor, for a few reasons. The first being that I don’t like the way it looks. I’ve seen many houses that concrete looks great in, but in mine it just doesn’t feel right. Our house is a more rustic farmhouse type that needs the warmth and coziness of wood flooring, and the concrete would be better suited for a modern/industrial type space. It just feels unfinished to me, and with the high ceilings and open floor plan also a bit like a gymnasium.
I also don’t like how it feels. It’s SO hard that my feet and ankles are sore by the end of the day, plus its crazy cold in the winter. Also, my kids may not be able to hurt the floor but the floor certainly hurts them. We have had lots of bumps and bruises, plus a prematurely loose front tooth from my boys living life on this floor. Not to mention that the baby has taken to crawling on his hands and feet to try and save his knees. His bear crawl is adorable, but I also kinda feel bad for him.
One day (probably a few years from now) we plan to install wood flooring. I want something that looks old and worn, similar to these droolworthy pictures –
Aren’t those amazing? When we first started building I got a few quotes for putting reclaimed wood throughout our house and the bids came back around $25,000 for materials alone. That number is way over our head, so we will have to find a way to get the look for a lot cheaper. One of the reclaimed wood companies sent me a 12 month calendar that featured homes with awesome old floors, and each and every month in 2016 I drooled over that thing like other women would drool over a calendar filled with chiseled fireman.
That’s all I can think to share about our floor, plus I think there’s a certain poetic beauty to ending a post about concrete flooring with “chiseled fireman”.