5 Reasons Why Microcement is Designer’s Matter Envy

5 Reasons Why Microcement is Designer’s Matter Envy

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Hello there! It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything concerning design for I was away on summer vacation. Yeehh! Promise, I’ll be posting my impressions, review, and tips about Syros – my summer hotspot very soon. Today though, I’m posting about an inspirational building material that makes fabulous design matter: microcement. It is a material that is extremely easy to love for its minimal deco appeal. Microcement is really the evolution of an old material well known to us who live in the Mediterranean, trowelled screed (made of cement and sand).

partial view of a dining space with a black steel table, built in bench, a black steel chair and lots of wooden details on the ceiling. The floor is an off white microcement.

Vois Architects. Photo credit: Yiorgos Kordakis. Source

Material Envy

Microcement is such a beautiful material. It is basically made of cement (obviously!) and resins (that add on durability). Some of you might already know it as microconcrete. There are almost the same thing and therefore, these two terms are used interchangeably by most. However, there are a few minor differences between the two materials (mainly in thickness and durability; microconcrete being slightly thicker and hence, more durable and suitable for hard wear).

A rustic natural bathroom in gray tones. The small washbasin rests upon a shelf in the corner. The walls and shelves have microcement. The small rectangular mirror is also in the corner.

Sinas Architects. Source

It can have a polished concrete looking finish to it or a more rugged look depending on the desired outlook. It can be applied on most surfaces both indoors or outdoors, from walls to floors, ceilings, tiles, counter tops, including furniture and lighting i.e. tables, shelves, sideboards, and scones. Its thickness does not exceed 3mm and there is an extensive color range making it a very attractive choice for both residential and commercial use. Its tiny thickness means that it is a do-able solution for numerous home-improvement projects, especially existing floors and kitchen back splashes.

A white bedroom with a coastal style, open shelving for clothing storage on either side of the door that leads into the bedroom. The floor is an off white microcement.

Vois architects. Photo credit: Yiorgos Kordakis. Source

A bedroom with a white bed, white walls, black trim window doors, black wire frame hangers for the clothes, and an off white microcement floor.

Microcement floor. Source

5 Reasons to Use Microcement

Why go for it?

  1. It is resistant and durable. If applied properly then, it is crack-free and waterproof.
  2. It gives a seamless and cohesive look to a space. There are no joints and consequently, spaces acquire a particular continuous fluidity. Its finish works like a canvas.
  3. It is DIY – friendly. Anyone who likes crafts, will love this material. It doesn’t require any special skills or tools and companies will sell anyone their ready-to-mix product with a set of application guidelines. However, for large surface areas it is best to get a professional with an assistant. It hardens fast and therefore, it takes at least one person to prepare a batch and another to apply it.
  4. It is the best rendering tool-material (as I like to call it) for designers and design addicts alike. It can transform just about any surface with its unique finish. The actual final finish is unique. It depends entirely on the craft skills of the technician who applies it.
  5. Value for money. This material makes it possible to produce a concrete finish on almost any surface at a fraction of the cost and weight of real concrete. In some cases it is much more affordable than laying tiles.

Let’s think about this for a minute! We can literally upgrade our homes with this super versatile material in countless ways at our own pace. This is why it is design matter envy. It is the ideal home-improvement material.

A rustic bathroom in light beige tones, microcement walls and counter, a stone washbasin and an off white carved mirror.

Vois architects. Source

Pointers

As a professional who has used this material repeatedly, I do need to give you a few pointers. Although, every brand has its own color range there’s always the option of customizing it using their respective pigment powders. The trick is to make sure you use the exact same quantity of pigments each time you prepare a batch. Believe me, that’s not always as easy as it sounds because it involves a trial and error process against the ticking time! It is also very important to keep in mind that it is a material that is applied in layers. That means, that every layer application needs its curing time. Don’t rush the required time interval between applications! It also has a rather strong smell to it that lasts for a couple of days, especially its waterproof coating layer. So make sure that you air the space during and after the application. Another factor to consider is the room temperature. If the room temperature exceeds 25°C, then it’s best not to undertake the project. The mix hardens real fast and at high temperatures you’ll need a retard admixture at best. Moreover, to avoid cracking use a mesh designed for microcement applications. Better safe than sorry!

A spacious attic bedroom with a modern fireplace, a white free standing tub and a dark gray microcement gry wall. The floor is wooden.

Gray microcement wall. Source

A stylish gray microcement wall with a black shelf sideboard next to it stacked with frames, decor articles, brushes and more.

Interior stylist: Pella Hedeby. Photo credit: Ragnar Omarsson. Source

My tiny bathroom with a combination of gray microcement walls, tiles that look like wood slats and a rectangular white porcelain wash basin with stand

My tiny bathroom, designed by myself and hubby. Half of the walls are lined with tiles and the other half with dark gray microcement.

Most brands claim that it is low maintenance. From my personal experience, I find that as long as you are careful enough and not mistreat it then, it will give you no worries. Harsh cleaning agents, cotton dubbed in nail polish remover and acidic foods like lemons may harm your beloved concrete surface. So, yes it is low maintenance as long as you look after it properly. Part of my tiny bathroom has dark gray microcement walls (including my shower). But, since I knew that I can’t be as cautious in my kitchen while preparing meals, I chose not to use it on my former kitchen counter top.

There’s also one really cool thing about this material I forgot to mention. If you dislike the outcome, you can simply sand it down, clean the surface and re-apply! Dark hues are very impressive from up close. Its resulting “brush like shading” which is part of its unique beauty, stands out best with dark hues. This might explain the popularity of dark gray tones. Light hues produce a more uniform and seamless outlook. It’s really a matter of preference. I love them all. I love its rugged yet, polished finish and its breezy drama. It’s gorgeous any way we look at it. More importantly it gives us real solutions! I hope these photos inspired you. If you do have any home-improvement projects in mind, then you can share them in the comments below or drop me a line. Till then, keeping dreaming and living big!!

Love,

My signature as Velvet with a blank and a pink ink stain next to it

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