As a woodworker and DIY enthusiast, I always explore new and innovative ways to approach home improvement projects. Lately, I’ve been looking into using concrete for bathroom shower floors. Concrete might seem unusual, but it offers unique advantages for your next bathroom remodel.
In this blog post, I’ll give you the complete lowdown on concrete shower floors – the pros and cons and everything you need to know to decide whether they suit your home improvement project. Let’s get started!
- 1 An Introduction to Concrete Shower Floors
- 2 The Visual Versatility of Concrete in Bathroom Design
- 3 The Practical Pros of Concrete Shower Floors
- 4 The Potential Drawbacks of Concrete Floors
- 5 Design Elements to Personalize Your Concrete Floor
- 6 Professional Installation – Start to Finish
- 7 Maintaining and Protecting Your Investment
- 8 An FAQ for Curious DIYers
- 8.1 Can I install a concrete shower floor myself as a DIY project?
- 8.2 How comfortable are concrete floors to stand on?
- 8.3 Do concrete floors need any kind of coating or treatment?
- 8.4 Can I change the color or finish of my concrete floor down the road?
- 8.5 What’s the maintenance like for outdoor concrete shower floors?
- 9 Concluding Thoughts
An Introduction to Concrete Shower Floors
Before we dive in, let’s briefly go over the key things to know about concrete shower floors:
- Concrete is becoming a viable alternative to typical shower floor materials like tile or vinyl.
- Concrete can be durable, water-resistant, and low maintenance when properly installed and sealed.
- Concrete allows for immense design flexibility regarding colors, textures, and patterns.
- However, concrete requires professional installation and can be challenging and cold underfoot.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s consider concrete a unique option for your bathroom remodel.
The Visual Versatility of Concrete in Bathroom Design
As a woodworker who loves form and function, one of my favorite things about concrete is its incredible aesthetic versatility. With the proper technique, concrete can complement various design styles.
Complementing Industrial Style
Concrete is at home in industrial bathrooms, matching the raw, utilitarian vibe. A rough finish and exposed aggregate emphasize the factory floor feel.
Enhancing Minimalist Style
On the other end, polished concrete can create a sleek, modern look in a minimalist bathroom. There are no grout lines or tile edges – just seamless, understated elegance.
Adding a Modern Twist
You can also stain or dye concrete to create unique, contemporary designs. Vivid colors and bold patterns laid in concrete can give your bathroom an artistic, high-tech look.
Cozying Up Rustic Style
For fans of farmhouse chic, concrete’s earthy vibe beautifully complements rustic style. Pair a textured concrete floor with reclaimed wood vanities and natural stone for a cozy, organic bathroom theme.
As you can see, concrete gives you options to customize your bathroom to match your industrial, modern, or rustic style. That aesthetic flexibility is a big plus in my book.
The Practical Pros of Concrete Shower Floors
Beyond just looks, concrete as a shower floor material also offers some significant practical advantages:
Durability That Goes the Distance
Quality concrete is incredibly durable. Properly installed and sealed, a concrete shower floor can easily last several decades with minimal maintenance. There is no need to worry about loose or cracking tiles. This material can stand the test of time.
The Low-Maintenance Advantage
Speaking of maintenance, concrete is a low-fuss flooring option. It resists stains, doesn’t require specialized cleaning products, and doesn’t need constant re-sealing. An occasional re-application of sealant is all it takes to keep a concrete shower floor looking fresh.
Water-Resistance is Key
One of the most critical factors for a shower floor is water resistance. Guess what? Concrete excels here, too. After proper sealing treatment, the surface essentially becomes impervious to water. There is no need to stress about leaks or damage from all that shower spray.
A Budget-Conscious Choice
Concrete is relatively inexpensive compared to stone tile or certain woods. The materials cost less, and you can often save on labor since it can be poured. Concrete deserves a serious look if cost is a factor in your remodel.
The Potential Drawbacks of Concrete Floors
Now, in the interest of providing a balanced perspective, let’s talk about some of the downsides of concrete floors:
Hardness Can Be Challenging
The durable, hard surface of concrete has a downside – it can be unforgiving underfoot. This hardness makes falls more dangerous and offers little cushioning comfort, which could be an issue for some users.
The hard surface also readily conducts heat, creating a floor that can feel cold, especially in winter. Unless you install in-floor radiant heating, concrete may be uncomfortably cool for bare feet.
Professional Install is a Must
Unlike some DIY-friendly materials, quality concrete installation is NOT a simple weekend project. Correct pouring and finishing require real skill, experience, and tools. Be prepared to hire pros to ensure your concrete floor meets standards.
Appearance Takes Some Upkeep
While durable, concrete’s appearance still requires some regular upkeep. Resealing and cleaning maintain that “like new” look over decades of use. Other materials may be more accessible if you want a completely hands-off floor.
Design Elements to Personalize Your Concrete Floor
One of my favorite things about concrete is the many possibilities for customization and personalization. Get creative with these design techniques:
Color and Stain for Endless Options
Concrete can be integrally colored when mixed or stained later to produce virtually any hue. Choose a bold crimson floor or relaxing ocean blue – yours!
Textures Add Visual Interest
There’s an incredibly diverse range of textures possible for concrete floors. A smooth, polished finish offers sleek modernity, while a heavily textured surface brings earthy rusticity. Find the texture that fits your vision.
Patterns Help Show Your Style
Concrete can be transformed into stunning patterned floors using stencils, stamps, inlays, and scoring techniques. Geometric motifs or nature-inspired shapes – pattern your concrete floor to showcase your flair.
Incorporate Inlays for Texture
Speaking of inlays, mixed media is another excellent way to customize concrete. Press tiles, pebbles, sea glass, or other objects into the surface while wet for an eclectic, one-of-a-kind floor. Get creative and make it your own!
Professional Installation – Start to Finish
Concrete brings a lot of exciting possibilities to the table. But as I mentioned before, proper installation is critical to realizing concrete’s full potential. Let’s walk through the professional process:
Preparing the Shower Base
The substrate underneath the concrete must be in good shape – level, securely supported, and cracks-free. Any issues here will eventually transfer to the concrete surface.
Establishing Proper Slope
The key to drainage is a gradual slope from the walls to a central drain. This can be created with a sloped mortar bed or by adjusting the concrete pour depth.
Pouring and Finishing the Concrete
It’s time for the pros, with their specialized tools and techniques, to work their magic, pouring and finishing the concrete to an impeccable standard. Patience is required for this step.
Curing under Controlled Conditions
Concrete needs time to cure wholly and evenly. Temperature, humidity, and moisture levels must be controlled during this critical window to avoid flaws.
When an experienced crew properly executes each step, the result is an incredibly durable, seamless floor that will serve you well for decades.
Maintaining and Protecting Your Investment
Once your beautiful new concrete floor has fully cured, keeping it looking fresh involves just a bit of simple, regular care:
- Sweep or mop frequently to prevent dirt buildup
- Re-apply sealant every 1-2 years to maintain water protection
- Clean any stains quickly using baking soda or hydrogen peroxide
- Avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the surface
- Watch for cracks and repair them ASAP to prevent more significant issues
If you take the time to care for your concrete floor correctly, it will retain its sleek, water-resistant functionality and flawless appearance with minimal hassle.
An FAQ for Curious DIYers
If you’re still unsure about whether a concrete shower floor is suitable for your home improvement project, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Can I install a concrete shower floor myself as a DIY project?
I don’t recommend installing a concrete floor yourself. Getting the mix, pour, finishing, and curing right requires the skills and tools that are best left to the concrete professionals.
How comfortable are concrete floors to stand on?
Concrete is quite hard and can feel cold underfoot. Although radiant floor heating can help, consider adding a soft mat for comfort.
Do concrete floors need any kind of coating or treatment?
Yes, concrete requires sealing treatment to prevent water damage and staining. Reapplication every 1-2 years will maintain protection.
Can I change the color or finish of my concrete floor down the road?
It is possible to apply new finishes, such as stains, epoxy, or polishing compounds, to alter the appearance of cured concrete. Just know that it takes some work.
What’s the maintenance like for outdoor concrete shower floors?
Outdoor concrete requires extra sealing and monitoring to withstand freezing weather and other elements. A covered area helps minimize wear.
As you can see, there’s much to consider when choosing concrete shower floors for your next bathroom remodel or new home build. But for the proper homeowner – one who values design flexibility, durability, and low maintenance – concrete can be an ideal option. With professional installation, routine care, and your creative touch, this innovative material can help you craft a bathroom that perfectly suits your needs and style.
If you found this deep dive on concrete shower floors helpful, check out my other blogs and videos on unique home improvement topics!