The Pros and Cons of Cement Floors for your Baja Home
Concrete floors have traditionally been used for work spaces and industrial purposes but the last few years have seen gorgeous and ingenious new options become available for homeowners. As with every design choice, there are both pros and cons to using concrete floors in your Baja home and here is a breakdown of things to consider during the design and building process.
- DURABLE: Properly sealed concrete is difficult to scuff or stain and can be great for homeowners who like to entertain, or have pets or kids. Once built, and with simple, regular maintenance, the flooring will not have to be replaced for decades or more.
- VERSATILE & FLEXIBLE IN TERMS OF DESIGN: This is one of the best perks of choosing a concrete floor! There are so many finishing options for any budget: dyes, surface treatments, rubber stamping and geometric divisions for texture, overlays, polishes, acid stains, stencils and airbrushing! The color and texture options are endless and they stand up against changing interior design trends. You can update your home’s style with new art, area rugs, or furniture as fashions change, while the concrete floor will maintain its timeless integrity and always keep a space feeling spacious and airy.
- MINIMAL MAINTENANCE REQUIRED: Concrete floors are easily cleaned with a broom and damp mop. Yearly sealing treatments maintain the floor’s durability and look.
- RELATIVELY INEXPENSIVE: Basic and mid-range designs include pouring the slab or overlay, polishing, and staining with one or more colors. These are priced anywhere from $2 - $14 USD / square foot. High-end treatments, like texturizing or detailed stenciling, can be reserved for smaller or statement areas of the house.
- ALWAYS FEEL COOL TO THE TOUCH: While this might be a “con” in other parts of the world, here in Baja Sur, this can be a nice bonus on all of our sunny days!
- HARD & UNFORGIVING: Unfortunately for wobbly toddlers and favorite wine glasses, concrete floors can be hard and unforgiving! Slippery when wet, they’re not kind to older people who might be unsteady or could suffer greatly from a bad fall. Most of these problems can be avoided however, with soft and stylish area rugs in high traffic areas.
- THREATENED BY MOISTURE: Moisture can migrate up from the earth and into the concrete slab, as many are poured directly on top of the soil. This moisture can compromise any surface treatments applied to the floor and lead to mold growth. This can be solved by properly sealing the concrete on both the top and bottom surfaces, as well as taking care of any areas where water tends to pool near the house.
- CAN DEVELOP CRACKS: Even perfectly installed concrete can develop cracks eventually, since the large slab has to weather changes in temperature, moisture, and settling. Proper drainage should be implemented into any Baja Sur home to help avoid flooding near the home during summer rains. Luckily, our temperatures don’t change as drastically as in many other parts of the world, so this is less likely to be an issue. In case of cracking, colored cement paste and patching materials help disguise cracks.
- BUILD PROCESS CREATES A LARGE CARBON FOOTPRINT: Unfortunately, the process of building a concrete floor creates a significant carbon footprint due to the energy needed and the carbon dioxide produced. Including plenty of vegetation, energy-saving appliances, solar power, and other earth-friendly additions to your home can help offset this issue.
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