This week the big excitement was finally pouring the concrete for the downstairs floor!
After much back and forth, we decided we’d use wet “stamped” grooves for our crack control joints rather than having them cut with a saw afterwards. The saw cuts would be a little less conspicuous, but they wouldn’t go all the way to the wall (the problem with round saw blades…). The choice of wet grooves means the control joints are rather large, but we’ve seen places that have grouted the joints, and gotten beautiful contrasting lines. In about 2-3 weeks after the concrete has had a chance to fully set up, it will be acid stained and sealed, and should be mirror finish.
If you’re going to be on a concrete slab anyway, concrete flooring is about the lowest energy flooring you could use, as you aren’t adding anything but sealer. It is still pretty good if you already have a plywood sub- floor (like on a second story) as, per square meter, it has about the same embodied energy as hardwood… but there may be other considerations I haven’t thought of for second story concrete floors.
If you want to put something else on top of your concrete or plywood sub-floor, the energy adds up:
stone tile 3 kWh/m^2 (+4 kWh/m^s mortar bed)
3/4″ thick solid hardwood flooring 8 kWh/m^2
3/4″ thick concrete floor 9 kWh/m^2
engineered wood flooring 28 kWh/m^2
plywood underlayment 28 kWh/m^2
ceramic tile 30 kWh/m^2 (+4 kWh/m^2 mortar bed)
carpet (synthetic, including pad) 181 kWh/m^2