Polished Concrete VS. Maple Floors, Make up My Mind for Me Please

I spotted this house tour on Sight Unseen and was immediately taken with it’s clean modern design, and functional simplicity.  The neutral palette makes my heart sing.  And I couldn’t love the dining room chairs more- natural leather is one of my most favorite materials and it pairs so well with the concrete floors!  Which brings me to what this post is reallly about.  Concrete floors.   I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect maple floors for our new home and in my research found out that engineered hardwood floors are made with all kinds of nasty chemicals that off-gas and are a health hazard.  WHAT?!  Not all of them are so toxic, but the green products that I’ve found are twice as expensive as a comparable non-green option I had my eyes on.  I had my heart set on hardwood but now that I’m looking at this house I’m revisiting the idea of concrete.  We had concrete floors in our Palm Springs house and it was so nice- cool during the hot summer months and easy to keep clean.  Plus they’re pretty much indestructible- which is a big deal when there’s a toddler hurricane residing in your home.  It’s a completely different look than the light maple I was planning on but it’s verrrry tempting!  What do you think?  Should we splurge for the green engineered hardwood or save our budget for the million other things we could spend on in the house and go with beautiful polished concrete?  Anyone with kids have concrete floors and love or hate them?  I do have a fear about Teo bonking his head on the concrete.  Ughhhh.  Would love to hear your thoughts!  xx- Sarah  {photos by Pippa Drummond}

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Reader Comments

  1. Judy|

    The polished concrete is gorgeous. But hard and unforgiving for small children’s slips and falls. Just add a lot of rugs until Teo is older!

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Thanks Judy!! I agree, it’s so pretty but unforgiving. Yes, rugs would be critical!!!

      Reply
  2. Diane Haynie|

    love the look of that kitchen but concrete floors are just so hard on the arches and feet and tiny heads and so expensive. And I am personally drawn to warm woods. However, tilemode.com does have a beautiful concrete floor tile that might mitigate the cost a bit. am so looking forward to seeing everything you do with the place.

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      It’s soooo true! I remember my feet just ACHING after a long day in the kitchen when we had the concrete floors in Palm Springs. I forgot about that!!!! Thanks for the tip, will check out that company! XX

      Reply
  3. Merry|

    I’ve lived with both , in Southern California, with children. I would go with the wood. Warmer underfoot in winter, but not hot in summer. Easier on feet, joints and heads. Dropped items have a chance of not breaking with wood. Clean up is comparable as long as you do not do anything heavily distressed with the wood (crevices are the enemy in a household with children and pets).

    It boils down to this – the concrete looks contemporary and hip, but it is really for people without children, who do not cook, or even stand up much, in their homes. It is also for people with a lot of spare cash for running the heat non-stop in winter (Ojai gets colder than San Diego). In the cold season, concrete without in-floor heating can get deeply chilled and it takes a lot to warm it back up again. Cold enough that no child wants to play on the floor, even on top of a fur rug.

    I would go with wood.

    Reply
    • SC|

      I second this comment! We had both in our home growing up (actually, we went from 80s brown wall to wall carpeting, to concrete, to now wood) and concrete was always SO cold (inland empire, for reference), and I was in high school when my parents made the switch. I always adored concrete before them and was very supportive of their choice, but I was so relieved a few years ago when they put wood in, especially visiting with a toddler. I now just prefer to enjoy it when we visit fun hotels, etc. =)

      Reply
      • Sarah Yates|

        Ahhhh, thank you!! It’s so helpful to hear real experience feedback! I agree, I would worry less about our toddler tornado hurting himself on wood, but I’d worry more about the toddler tornado hurting the wood. I would rather have hurt floors than hurt baby. 🙂 A lot to think about!!! Thank you thank you!

        Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      hahah for people who don’t stand up much! That made me LOL! Thank you so much for your thoughts, I’ve been really taking to heart the idea of them being chilly, I definitely don’t want that! I don’t remember that being an issue in our Palm Springs house, and we did have some coolld nights, but we also didn’t have a kiddo then and probably weren’t hanging out on the floor much (if ever). We do STAND though. hahahaha! Thank you again! xx

      Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Thank you Lisa!!! I am going to try to find a way. 🙂 . At the end of the day our budget is our budget though, so…. we shall see what I can find and figure out! Stay tuned! 🙂 XX

      Reply
  4. Kate|

    We have concrete floors for the same reason you are considering, bought a fixer upper, needed to allocate funds to a million other places. We said we’d put in wood when we remodeled the kitchen. Well it has been 10 years, and although we’ve remodeled the kitchen, the floors are still concrete. I just fell in love with the ease of maintenance, the organic look and even the feel. I have a 3.5 year old tornado of a little boy and he has for sure had bumps and bruises but honestly they’ve come more from coffee tables and shelves than from our floors. We live in Ventura County (close to Ojai) and with our temperate weather I don’t feel that they’re too cold. Lots of rugs though, especially in the little one’s room. I will agree that long stints in the kitchen take a toll on feet and back but I think that may be the only draw back.

    Reply