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Reno right: Concrete at home

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Q: I’ve seen bare concrete floors and walls in the wet areas of a bathroom, but won’t water damage concrete? Can I use concrete near windows, where the rain might come in?

A: Homeowners might like concrete for their bathroom walls, to achieve an industrial look, but the material is not recommended for flooring, as it can get slippery when wet, and when soap comes into play. Falls will be harder too. Knowing the properties of various materials will help you decide if it’s suitable for the application you want.

As concrete has a porous surface, hairline cracks will occur over time, says Dess Chew of Three-D Conceptwerke. If a concrete surface is placed near a window, the heat that is transmitted through the wall will cause the surface to crack even more.

“When used in bathrooms that are not ventilated well, mould or a reaction with detergent or shampoos might cause patch marks on the concrete,” says Dess. If you’re still keen on having concrete surfaces in wet areas, then you have to accept that the look of the material will change over time.