When I stop to think about all the uses for concrete in a home now, there are many. Not only can you build a home with it, but utilize it for counters, sinks, showers, and floors. It makes a stronger home, more efficient home, and is part of the green/sustainable movement. Not all contractors endorse this type of home, but we sure do. When participating in the Green Home show in Austin a while back, there were numerous displays with all the methods for building your home out of ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) to sample counters and sink combinations, and continuing with concrete floor sample from stains to stamping the concrete floor with designs. So let me try to break each area down more.
What is ICF? According to Wikipedia, Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) is a system of formwork for concrete that stays in place as permanent building insulation for energy-efficient, cast-in-place, reinforced concrete walls, floors, and roofs. The forms are interlocking modular units that are dry-stacked (without mortar) and filled with concrete. The forms lock together somewhat like Lego bricks and serve to create a form for the structural walls or floors of a building, with space to run electrical conduit and plumbing. The form material on either side of the walls can easily accommodate electrical and plumbing installations. ICF structures are much more comfortable, quiet, and energy-efficient than those built with traditional construction methods and more insect-resistant than wood frame construction. Concrete doesn’t put out noxious fumes to ignite allergies and reduces HVAC operating costs from 50%-70%.
Using concrete for counters is becoming more popular. For those who desire a countertop that stands apart from common surfaces, look at using concrete. The first question: In a pre-existing home or a new home, can your cabinets support the weight of concrete countertops, which can weigh (at 2-inch thick) between 12 and 22 pounds per square foot? Always measure and build molds out of the kitchen or bathroom. There are many ways to construct these. It is advisable to contact someone who is familiar with the concept. Also, you can always look on the internet for all the do-it-yourself ideas. Concrete is one of the greenest, most environmentally friendly materials on earth. Talk to your builder about the heat resistance, stain resistance, scratching, cracks, and maintenance before making your final decision.
Concrete sinks and showers? Absolutely. If you know you want to use concrete counter tops, talk to your builder about incorporating a concrete sink. It can be designed as one piece. And, as always, yes, you can still use a traditional sink. Showers are also done outside the bath area. Measurements are taken and panels created. The panels are then brought in and attached, creating a nice smooth look. Colors are not a problem either.
Floors are probably the most popular. It has become the new material of choice for designers and homeowners across the United States. Concrete floors can be stained, colored, painted, stamped, and personalized. They have been useful in retail environments, because of their longevity, for many years. Concrete is not limited to dull gray. Thanks to advancements in acid staining, overlays, floor paints, and aggregate mixtures, a concrete floor can be a colorful, radiating image. Concrete floors are desirable for many people building their own homes or remodeling their current one. Not only are they low maintenance, a concrete floor can be easily covered over by later owners depending on their tastes. There are many eco friendly stains for coloring of the concrete.
As you can see, you can really think outside the box and go concrete in many aspects. Call us for any questions on utilizing concrete. You will be amazed.
For all your real estate and building needs or questions, call Debbie at 830-833-4249 or 713-818-6658, or send an email to .