Concrete might not last forever, but it will outlast virtually every other material used in interior decor, including wood, leather, vinyl, upholstery, and laminate. This long lifespan makes concrete a top choice for tables, countertops, shower walls, and even accessories. If you’re looking for a resilient, low-maintenance material that resists insects, warping, and decay, it’s time to give concrete a closer look.
Once set, concrete forms a structurally sound object that resists breakage. The hardened combination of cement, rock (or sand), and water results in a strong, solid structure that won’t wilt or sag under the weight of books, lamps, or even heavier items. Larger interior concrete pieces, such as countertops or furniture, incorporate steel mesh or bars to add the tensile strength necessary to reduce the risk of cracking while supporting the weight of kitchen appliances, decorative accessories, or even people. The larger the project, typically, the more steel reinforcement is necessary to maximize the material's strength. For exceptional strength, choose a concrete mix product that incorporates fibers, which fortify this already robust material.
In its semi-liquid state, concrete is completely malleable—both in color and in shape—giving you a wide range of project options. Concrete naturally cures to a soft, weathered gray that many find attractive by itself, but you can give the project more oomph by stirring pigment into the wet mix, or sealing and/or painting your cured project. Concrete can be shaped or troweled, or poured into wood or plastic molds to create unique pieces that complement your style! Smooth plastic molds will produce a shinier finish, while wood molds will give your project a more textured look.
Given its strength, ease of use, and aesthetic potential, you might think concrete would be pricey, but think again! Ready-to-mix bags of Quikrete are an affordable building supply. Plus, if you make your own molds and do your own pouring, you can achieve custom creations at a low budget. While Quikrete offers a range of mixes that vary in cure time and additives as well as in aggregate sizes that produce different densities and textures, all are easy on the wallet. For example, an 80-pound bag of Quikrete Countertop Mix, which makes 0.6 cubic feet of wet concrete, will run you about $20. A DIYer with some concrete experience can pour a standard 8-foot-long, 2-inch-thick countertop using just four and a half bags of Countertop Mix. So, for about $100 and the cost of framing materials, steel reinforcement, and optional dye, you can have a chic new concrete countertop. In fact, with all the money you've saved by choosing concrete over, say, stone for your countertop, you could probably spring for professional help with the pouring.
Many concrete projects are suitable for do-it-yourselfers, from decorative items like luminaries and vases to more substantial furnishings. Many of these household projects require little more than picking up premixed bags of concrete and then blending the dry ingredients with water until the mixture reaches the right consistency. Concrete is heavy, though, so if your project is a large table slab or planter, you might need help moving it. Size matters here: Just as it’s not advisable to pour a large concrete driveway without professional help, major projects like new concrete floors should also involve pros.
Because it's not exposed to the shifting soil and extreme temperature fluctuations that challenge exterior installations, interior concrete actually lasts longer, without chipping, flaking, or cracking. In the off chance it does sustain damage, though, rest assured that repairs are manageable and just as DIY-friendly as the material itself. Depending on the type of project and the location of the crack, you may be able to fill it with a Quikrete concrete repair product or a crack sealant. To restore a damaged decorative concrete item to its former unblemished state, simply apply a concrete bonding adhesive and coat the surface with new concrete mix.
Permanent concrete upgrades to the interior of your home boost not only its design appeal but also its dollar value. A remodeled kitchen with upscale concrete countertops, a built-in concrete wet bar, or a walk-in concrete shower will all improve your living experience while increasing your equity in your home. And, if you're looking to sell, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to make updates and fixes with concrete. Refacing a worn fireplace with skimmed concrete (or stucco) could make the entire room more attractive to potential buyers, while resurfacing a cracked interior basement floor will increase the market value of your house by eliminating an unsightly imperfection.
In a world of cookie-cutter furniture and mass-market decor, custom solutions are often overpriced and occasionally hard to find—but not so with concrete creations. The material enables homeowners to produce one-of-a-kind objects tailored to their exact specifications. Tall, stylish concrete planters, stained or stamped concrete flooring, hanging light fixtures, iron-and-concrete end tables with a Gothic vibe, and even edgy art pieces are all yours to be had with just a little ingenuity. If you can imagine it, with the help of Quikrete, you can often make it so.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!