Hi! I’m talking all about our cement floors today, because we’ve been living with them for two years and I have all the thoughts to share!
We moved houses in fall 2020 after searching for the perfect home for our growing fam. I kid you not: we landed on the best street in the best neighborhood. I am forever thankful for the people we have surrounding us in this little slice of Austin. Most evenings on our street the parents gather on someone’s driveway and hang out while the kiddos ride scooters and drag toys out of each other’s garages and run around laughing and screaming. It’s this blissful little spot to raise a family.
But…our home was definitely NOT perfect right when we moved in! There were a lot of changes we wanted to make (kitchen, stairs, baseboards, fireplace), and the floors were a project we wanted to knock out before we moved all the furniture in.
Our old home was a lot smaller, but it was much more modern. It had cement floors downstairs and wood floors upstairs.
Here’s a picture of our Bouldin Creek home:
…and another where you can see the cement floor next to the wooden stairs:
(And our sweet, sweet little cat. We miss you, Storm.)
And our new house, while it had good bones and the layout we wanted, had a hodge podge of floors.
It had all the floors.
Not even kidding.
Floors. Two different tiles, a few shades of really old carpet, a cork/linoleum situation, a wood (which was nice! but it only covered a small part of the living space.) I think 7 types of floor in all?
How Did We Decide On Cement Floors?
Our old house had cement floors when we bought it, and we loved them! They’re really functional, easy to clean, have a modern style, and go with a lot of different colors and design elements. They’re really cool during these long, hot summers we get here in Texas.
Also, when we bought this current house, we were planning to put a pool in the back yard. (We still might some day! We just decided to hold off on that project because it’s really nice NOT having a pool while we have babies/toddlers, just for safety reasons.) Cement functions kind of like tile: it’s fairly waterproof when there are kids running inside from the pool to use the indoor bathroom, since we don’t have a bathroom connected to the outside of the house.
I did think about doing some sort of laminate wood flooring, because I think those also look really nice! But cement is fun because it’s really unique…not many houses have it, so it’s a fun element to have. It’s also very sturdy (duh…it’s just the foundation of the house) and just so very easy. I never really have to think about it.
The process of polishing our cement floors
We hired Austin Dustless (here) to take out all of the existing floors in the downstairs. It took them one full day to take out all the wood, tile, and carpet from ever room and closet downstairs.
^ I love how you find all sorts of treasures underneath flooring..
And then we hired Gable Concrete Polishing to polish the slab. (Btw, I found them through a google search, and there was a lead services website that lead me to their company…so here’s the GCP Facebook page if you want to contact them. They did a great job!)
They brought this HUGE machine into the house that ground down the cement and sucked it all up in that giant vacuum. It moved really slowly, was super loud, and they had to go over the floor multiple times do get it to the correct grit.
We were still living in our other house at the time, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend trying to live in the house while you’re having the cement polished. Every time I stopped by to look at the floor progress, the machine was just sooo loud. It took them about 4 or 5 days to complete the downstairs of our house.
They were really clear from the beginning that we’d be able to see the outline of the tile, which you can see in the picture above: the right side of the photo is where the tile used to be, and the left side of the photo is where the carpet used to be.
So anyway, here’s the before:
…and after a few days, the floors looked like this:
I love them. Nate loves them. These floors are exactly the vibe we were going for!
They’re very industrial, and we knew that by polishing the original cement slab, we’d have to embrace all the little flaws. There are some funny ones!
There’s a number 13 in the floor at the bottom of the stairs. One of the builders must have spray painted it into the slab during the building process.
And there are little holes where the carpet tacks were inserted into the cement, and we had to fill those. (Note: I do wish they were light gray instead of dark gray! I didn’t think about it, and the entire job was finished before I realized I should have requested a certain color… But also, I’m not even sure if it comes in a different color. Just something to take note of in case you’re going to do a similar project.)
And there are some cracks in the floor, which is expected. I love them. 🙂
We didn’t put a glaze or coating on top. This is just the cement that’s ground down over and over until it shines. You can see the light reflected from the window in the background, and we requested this exact sheen. They could have kept polishing it further and made it even more reflective (some homes are like that!) but I didn’t want the floor to look like one giant mirror.
And the places that had tile will always show the grout lines. Again…by signing up for cement floors, we knew we were signing up for all of the little blemishes.
Your questions about cement floors:
Do they make the house cold? Yes! And it Texas, that’s really nice for about 8 months of the year. From Nov-Dec I wear cozy clothes and thick socks inside the house and turn the fireplace on when I want to feel cozy.
Do your feet hurt all the time? No, but I wear house shoes inside the house. I don’t really ever go barefoot. I think if I was walking around in socks without slippers my feet might hurt…but I pretty much wear house shoes 100% of the time.
Also, I’m in my 30s now. Ask me when I’m in my 60s/70s and I might tell you that cement floors make my back hurt.
Do you worry about your kids getting hurt? No. When we’re doing lots of running/crazy play, the boys and I play upstairs where we really thick/plush carpet. But then again, Dayton manages to get hurt upstairs somehow. He’s my crazy child!
How much did it cost? A bit less than if we had installed wood downstairs, but not a lot less. Not cheap, but it’s also incredibly long-lasting. But getting cement polished definitely isn’t something to do to try to find a budget flooring option…you should do it because you like the look of it!
Are they waterproof? More or less. They’re a little bit porous, so water can seep into them, but nothing bad happens if a bit of water isn’t cleaned up right away. If something acidic gets on the floors (most food/drinks) I’ll wipe it up right away. But they’re pretty forgiving floors. Also, since they’re an industrial look and already have some quirks in them, I’m not stressed about any small discolorations on them. It just adds to the look!
Ok, that’s about it for my cement floors! I’m happy to answer any other specific questions if you have them.