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Concrete flooring?

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Joined: May 20 2004

I'm researching redoing the floors in a Greenmeadow (PA) Eichler. Has anyone seen or done the interior concrete? My slab is in good shape, working radiant, and I'm wndering if it fits the asthetic and how it looks.

Anyone with contractor/company recommendations for this welcome to email me at sallyhaATpacbellDOTnet.
thanks

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Joined: Jun 3 2004

Sally,

We looked into putting in concrete floors three years ago, but although it looks marvellous, it proved to be too costly. The startup costs of bringing in the machinery is quite large.
We were initially inspired by an open house on Sage Ct in Sunnyvale who had such floors. They had blueish dual-color toning in the polished concrete. Wonderfully "modern" - works perfectly in an Eichler. The only thing to look out for is cracks.

/Ben

Joined: Mar 2 2004

Look at Service Team, flooring on the Eichler Network Home Page. There are some very nice photos showing the possibilities of stained concrete floors. I have not priced it, but we are seriously considering it for our office floors. My son Jarom has raved about concrete floors since coming out of grad school in Construction Engineering at Stanford two years ago. I did not take him seriously, since I had no idea that it could look so good. I believe they float an inch of new concrete over the existing. I don't know what surface preparation is required.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

Hi Sally:

Resurfacing your concrete flooring can be a gorgeous option, but it is not cheap.

One supporter of this site, and an all-around neat guy, is Dave Pettigrew, the owner of Diamond D Company--a firm that specializes in concrete work/flooring of all kinds. They have done several Eichlers, as well as many other types of homes. You can see samples of his work on their website: http://www.diamonddcompany.com

Here is more info on Diamond D:
http://www.eichlernetwork.com/Flooring.html

Good luck!

Cathye

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Joined: Aug 28 2003

I am being the devil's advocate when I say this but concrete floors are hard on your feet and legs. I lived in a house with concrete floors and had shooting pains up and down my legs from walking barefoot all the time--but wearing tennis shoes didn't help much.
I couldn't wait to get another flooring surface on that concrete.
I agree that they look beautiful and if you put area rugs on them they look even better.
Good luck.

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Joined: May 20 2004

Is it harder than ceramic tile? I have three large dogs, 2 children, cats, and a husband....so I need something virtually indestructible and easy to maintain....Concrete and tile both have that advantage, and I think either would fit the asthetic. I'm afraid anything softer will need replacing in five years.
Sally

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Joined: Aug 28 2003

I don't know if concrete is harder than ceramic tile but it is indestructible.
Since it has a propensity to crack, you should ask your installer how they plan to prevent multiple hairline cracks.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

No, it is not any harder than ceramic tile, but Leslie is right. We tiled our entire home (even the bedrooms) with 12x12 ceramic tile 4 years ago and we love it and would do it again in a heartbeat. But when they say it is hard on the feet, and possibly backs and joints, they aren't kidding.

We had to completely stop going barefoot. We had to get rid of the old house slippers with the thin leather soles. We had to start wearing clogs with the thickest rubber soles we could find. I cannot even cheat by walking down the hall without the clogs, or I pay for it in the middle of the night with shooting pains, mostly in the bottom of the feet.

Standing on tile or concrete while cooking is similar. You will need a cushioned mat of some sort, not only for the cusioning, but for the non-slippage safety, since the floor will be very slippery when wet, like if you drip or spill something on it. We tried a sisal runner, but got tired of replaceing it every other month, since they cannot be cleaned. We now have a long black, think industrial-style rubber mat that we got from a restaurant supply. When it gets dirty, I just take it outside and hose it off.

We love our tile and for us it was the best flooring choice, given our allergies to dust. When it is clean, it is really clean. But like everthing else, there are tradeoffs. Of all the many projects we have done on our house, the flooring decision was the most difficult and took the most time. PS: We do have a Willow Glen neighbor that has concrete flooring throughout the public spaces in her Eichler (entry, LR, DR, kitchen). She is very nice and I could put you in touch with her if you would like to see her floors.

Cathye

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Joined: Jan 7 2004

Linoleum is the original Eichler flooring and it is great. I will be re-flooring
my Eichler soon and will choose linoleum. I think it has got a bad rap due
to crappy vinyl flooring.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

Never knew that linoleum had a "bad rap." It is a great flooring choice and is coming back into favor, since it is a natual product. There seem to be more choices than ever before.

Most folks are well aware of the differences between vinyl and linoleum.

C

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Joined: Jul 31 2004

We were convinced we wanted concrete so we had the carpeting (installed by previous owner) and original linoleum removed. We lived with it for several months while trying to find a concrete overlay, tile or stone floor we loved. And, although there are some really great options out there, we found we could not live with such a hard surface. It just was not comfortable enough, despite area rugs and a myriad of other tactics we tried. The other really surprising thing we noticed was that the concrete made the house REALLY noisy. Hard floor + large glass windows + open floor plan = sound waves bouncing around forever.
The bottom line is that , as with everything, there is a trade-off. We ended up with cork floors because they are eco-friendly, really nice underfoot, acoustically fantastic, and beautiful. But, the downside is significant. They have faded dramatically and are very, very fragile.
If we could do it again, we would probably choose hardwood, linoleum or marmoleum.
Hope this helps.

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Joined: Aug 28 2003

Quote:
Most folks are well aware of the differences between vinyl and linoleum.

Cathye,
Surprisingly enough I did not know there was a difference between vinyl and linoleum until a few years ago. Since living in a house that needed new flooring I have become aware of it from my research on the internet. Also, do you know if there is a difference between linoleum and marmoleum?

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

I have concrete floors in my house. I would like to mix it up a bit and say that I haven't noticed that they are terribly hard on my feet, though I do have runners in my kitchen (which is where I suppose I do most of my standing). But I also haven't lived in a carpeted house before so maybe I'm missing out on something!
I'm also surprised that some companies are expensive. When I did my research, adding a thin layer of concrete (not sanding down the slab) and staining was one of the cheapest of flooring possibilities...that's why we chose it.
Lastly, the floor is quite porous and not as easy to clean as one might think. We tried numerous techniques until we found the best solution to be windex wiped away by a cloth mop.
That's all.

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Joined: Jan 4 2004

Another thing regarding the concrete floor treatment/overlay: I understand that under certain conditions (of course they are impossible to quantify without a observation of a hydrometer over an extended period of time, evaluation of the water table, drainage from and to your lot, to name a few), the finish on an added product can discolor, or efflorescence can occur, leaving a very unsatisfactory result to the finish in areas.
I'm sure that this exceedingly frustrating result (to homeowner and contractor alike) is largely caused by the fact that no vapor barrier was installed between the bottom of the slab an the earth fill below it. This is a problem, because concrete acts like a sponge in that it will wick moisture from the surface below (like dirt under the house). If there is poor drainage or soil conditions present in your lot, the result can impact the overlay finish, staining or whatever treatment that is performed on the slab.
My advice: Check to see if there is a lot of moisture in the soils surrounding the house, and if there is also a high concentration of clay (inhibits drainage down to the water table). If so, mention these factors to the contractor, and see if there is a sealant that can be applied prior to the finish work is performed.
Otherwise, hardwood, tile, cork, linoleum, and carpeting are flooring options that all work fine with the heating system. As to preferences I like flaoting hardwood or bamboo (softer underfoot, relatively inexpensive, easy to maintain, contrary to much speculation, does not adversely impact the heating, and most products can be sanded and refinished if damaged or faded over time.
Last of all, be sure and pressure test your hydronic system prior to doing any new flooring installation. It can save a lot of trouble down the line.

renman

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Joined: May 20 2004

Now that I am totally overwhelmed by all the input, I have to ask...what IS the difference between vinyl and linoleum? And its durability compared to tile vs bamboo.
If there is a link, if someone could include it, I'd appreciate it.
S

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Sally,

I wasn't aware of the differences when I made my choice either--so you're not alone. Although I'm happy with my vinyl composite tile (VCT), I probably would have looked at linoleum if I'd known more about it. Essentially, linoleum is promoted as being natural and more environmentally friendly (use in combination with low VOC adhesives to get the best value).

A reasonable method for gathering information (besides asking people) is to use your favorite web search engine. Simply putting in all the floor types won't work because you'll turn up a lot of online shops that simply sell flooring. Instead, try inputting the particular floor types and some connection to the type of info you want. For instance, I used "linoleum benefits" and the list of links included the following which might get you started. Good luck.

http://www.greenresourcecenter.org/MaterialsSheets/NaturalLinoleum.html

Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Aug 30 2003

To Sally, I would like to hear from you directly regarding how much you paid per square foot for your concrete floor overlay. I know you are in Thousand Oaks and I'm near San Francisco so we couldn't share contractors, but would like to learn more details about your concrete floor experience. I would be happy to call you directly if that would be more convenient for you.

Thanks,
Barry Brisco
San Mateo, CA
650 627-8100
San Mateo Highlands Eichler owner since 2000

1959 A. Quincy Jones atrium model in The Highlands, San Mateo http://www.totheweb.com/eichler

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

Hi Leslie:

In a nutshell, the difference between vinyl and linoleum is that while vinyl is a synthetic material made of chlorinated petrochemicals, linoleum is made primarily of "natural" materials, like linseed oil, wood powder, limestone, resins, and color pigments. (Although this does beg the question: aren't petrochemicals "natural" also??)

Marmoleum is a brand label used by Forbo for one of their linoleum products.

Cathye

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Joined: May 20 2004

to all those who offered input.

We decided on ceramic tile throughout.
The concrete would mean we'd have to empty the whole house at once...more than the family can handle right now. And I've concerns about what the eventual cracking will look like, as well as potential porousity.
With tile we can do the house in quadrants....and when we eventually need to jackhammer, it won't require the whole floor to be repoured.

I was able to find a qualified installer (I hope) through a network of contacts who offered a reasonable price.

We'll be using day laborer help to take up the old tiles and then I will be paying for appropriate disposal.

For the new tile, we've decided on a fairly large 16 inch tile in muted browns. E-mail me directly for referrals.

Again, thanks for the input.

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