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sustainable alternatives to carpet on cement slab

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    🙂 Ooh thanks MurphysLaw – I’m liking this idea and the minimalist approach. I just have to get the energy now to rip up the carpet, this may take some time and some red wine too.


    I’d rip it up asap, any excuse for a tipple of the good stuff. :whistle:

    Wash the floor with sugar soap and an old paint scraper to get any lumpy bits off.

    Love the idea of the aboriginal paintings.



    paint it? you could be very creative – borders or patterns in the very centre etc – and if you get bored with it, paint over it 🙂


    OK, I’ve recharged the camera batteries so here’s a couple of pics. One in a high traffic area where the old designs are showing through, and one low traffic area where it is all one color. The red is the same color in each photo but it has come out differently because of the light. There is a small couple of areas near the door where the paint has worn through to the original cement but it still kind of looks OK.


    Paint sounds like a real winner, fairly cheap, DIY & lots of creative options. It does get cold though, especially in winter, but is probably a good heat sink once warmed.

    I like seagrass matting, jute, coir etc but it does harbour mites & dust as well as half of the kids meals when they eat at midnight.

    With the decline of using corks in wine bottles, as they are being replaced with screw caps, the demand for cork has dropped. This is a shame as cork trees can be grown fairly sustainably and as such a good use for an existing resource. Granted cork does need sealing but there are a number of natural wood sealers that could probably suffice.

    Whatever you do choose remember you often put rugs down in certain areas and times of the year with hard surfaces that does add to both the cost & the time it takes to clean.


    Paint will give you a nice range of creative options, but I’d still suggest you should seal it for wear and stain resistance. Any concrete slab will have hairline cracking and a sealer will fill these and prevent staining and the paint lifting. You also need to ensure the paint is suitable for concrete so that it gets a good bond. Have a look at the Porters Concrete Wash as this is specially made for the job and is translucent so the nature of the concrete will show through.

    Cleaning will depend on what you need to get off the concrete. Glues and stains into the actual pore structure will probably need a solvent based cleaner (or a grind). If the surface is solid (not dusting badly or pitted) and not stained, then it probably just needs a vacuum.


    Oh and the uncovered slab will help flatten out the changes in temperature in the home. If the house is well insulated and you can get plenty of sun through the windows and onto the floor during the winter the floor won’t be cold and it will actually help keep the house warm overnight. The reverse is true in summer, but in summer you need to stop the sun getting onto your windows (deep eaves, awnings, trees whatever). If the sun hits your windows then the exposed slab will slow down how much the house warms up, but once it does warm up it will stay hot overnight so shade those windows and ensure you can ventilate well.


    This is an interesting topic, sounds like painting has lots of creative options, sounds like fun! Even the worn paint showing designs through looks good to me – like some old buildings in Europe with frescos still visible.

    my own experience when faced with similar issues 26 years ago – We live in cold winter area, and moved into new house and lived on concrete for 6 months. It was the 80s so cork was a trendy option then. Friends had just vinyl on concrete and found even youngish feet were a bit achy at end of a time in the kitchen. So were mine on the new concrete. We laid cork – thickest available and the difference to feet instantaneous! We still have same tiles – been sanded twice and sealed once without sanding. We will reseal more frequently with less toxic water based Enviropro before getting so worn next time. Also had just a heavy duty area resealed without doing the lot expecting edge lines but not even noticeable after a few days.

    Carpets have been removed from lounge and solid timber planks glued direct to concrete with a large centre rug.

    Bedroom replaced carpet with laminated timber floating floor, pre finished surface – easy to scratch.

    In winter when I pad around at night I have to walk over the 3 surfaces and of all, the cork is always the warmest!!

    Laid cork on small area in walkin robe recently ourselves – shop guy says that people of the 80s are returning to buy this stuff!!

    Now expensive i guess and best done by professional if available.


    We have used Jarrah wide boards-feature grade which if not turned into flooring would be chipped. Oiled using a natural oil. Not toxic and easy to touch up if there is damage. The floor is warm and very beautiful- if I could upload photos I would. I layed sanded and polished it myself.


    I once saw an amazing floor done with concrete floor and paint.

    They were inspired by an old factory floor with many layers of paint and wear.

    They applied about 10 coats of paint to a smooth concrete floor and then used a floor sander to approximate many years of wear and bring up the beautiful swirled patterns from the mulitlayered paint.

    It did take them a while to do, as each paint layer had to be allowed to dry thoroughly to ensure a hardwearing surface. But the end result was truly stunning.


    Ah we’re trying to decide the exact same thing at the moment! I don’t want concrete at this stage as we’ve two almost 3 young kids and I want a softer surface to stop breakages and injuries from falls.

    So we’ll probably go carpet; we did get a brochure for one made from a corn polymer that said it was sustainable etc; but also very exxy. Think we’ll probably go a wool carpet. Anyone got any ideas?

    The kitchen and dining is already cork, so we’re leaving that – i like it! Did consider a floating timber floor and I think I’d prefer that to carpet, but it seems very very pricey….


    What about bamboo flooring, supposedly its renewable and you can stain it any colour you like and be environmentally friendly with the stains you use…


    There is a company in WA who make an olive-oil based floor sealer for concrete floors. It is non toxic, doesn’t off-gas and is applied with a mop and bucket. It’s very simple to use and the upkeep is equally simple – use a small percentage of the solution in your floor-washing water every so often.

    The only drawback is that it does require the floor to be free of all glues that may cause the sealer to not be absorbed – easy enough to tell as you just pour water over the floor and if it pools on top them that area may need grinding to get rid of the glue residue.

    They also do a range of natural lime based paints for walls.

    Unfortunately I can’t remember for the life of me what they are called and the PC that I have their details stored on is currently not working. Also, I’m speaking from a non-personal-experience veiwpoint at this stage as I haven’t yet bought the product and used it myself. I did research it pretty thoroughly and the lady advised me that a single large tin would easily do our floor space (140sqm) and give us enough left over for years of maintenance. At a cost of $140/tin that seemed pretty darn good to me.

    Once the studio is built and things start moving I will report back with a verdict on the use of the stuff as I do intend to use it.


    Shangri LaShangri La

    I was going to say bamboo too, I have seen it used quite a lot in new houses.

    Unfortunately I think it is all imported from China although still much better than old growth forest timber as bamboo is very fast growing. Why we are not growing it here in large quantities is beyond me, especially as there is nothing left of the sugar cane industry here (the sugar mill was pulled down several years ago).

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