We just purchased a Eichler in Sunnyvale and are looking to renovate some things. My question is about flooring: is there anyone out there who has concrete floors? We love the way they look but are very concerned about hardness and the 'cold' appearance of concrete-also we have a 3 year old and want to ensure that the floor will work for him. If you have concrete floors I would really appreciate having a conversation about the day to day living realities of the floors. Our other preference is wood flooring but we really are partial to the uniformity of concrete :)
We renovate ours in San Jose 2y ago and start with the floor. Our investigation leads to 2 solution: concrete and/or tile. We want the same look inside the entire house. Wood was out for 2 reasons: my first daugter and my second daughter (wood is fragile).
As far as "coldness" is concerned, in winter, with the radiant heating (assuming yours is still working) both are actually "hot" and, in summer, both are cold - which is actually welcomed.
We decided to go with tile for one reason that I will share with you as you may want to consider this in your decision: in case you have an issue with the radiant heating (water leak) the entire room floor will be trashed with the repair and you will never be able to match up the connection between rooms (unless you are dedoing the entire house completely)...
I am not answering your direct question, trying to provide some thoughts.
We looked at a lot of options and settled on cork tiles. It seemed like the best compromise for us between feel, radiant efficiency and look. We chose one with some whole cork in the surface but you can also get it with a uniform granulated pattern in many colors. Like linoleum there are no grout lines between the tiles so the look is more consistent than ceramic tile. So far the floor seems very resilient to anything that is not sharp. What damage there has been is significantly less obvious than similar events on hardwood.
Hardwood, carpet, and other insulating floor coverings like cork are a poor fit for radiant heated floors. We saw a huge difference in livability the winter after we changed all the carpet to tile - before, the poor boiler couldn't even get the house past 66 some times! We occasionally break up the tile with oriental rugs - you could do the same with concrete I suppose. That said, almost every house I've seen with concrete floors had a terribly sterile and/or unfinished look. It seems particularly difficult to manage the edges and create a finished look around doors and windows - or transitions to other floor surfaces. People criticize tile for being cold, but I think it's actually warmer than wood in the winter since it conducts the heat better.
We renovated with concrete floors (previously tiles) back in 2007, when our son was 2 years old. Concrete floors works well with our existing radiant heat, of course it will be cold if no radiant heat is turned on during the winter months. It has been relative easy to maintain, mostly normal sweeping and mopping and semi-annually we applied a floor finish (wax) to keep the floor shines and also acts as a light protectant.
Depends upon your desire application of the concrete (which we added color coating), the concrete may have small chips if dropping by sharp objects. But I would say in general it is similar level of care as hardwood floors. Though hardwood floors can fade in color under the sun, and so far our concrete floor has been holding up quite well all these years under the summer heat through all the glass panels.
We just bought an Eichler in Sunnyvale, and replaced the floors before we moved in. We ripped out all of the linoleum tiles which were also covered in most rooms with carpet and replaced them with 24x24in ceramic tiles. We considered concrete, but decided on large tiles with really narrow grout lines, so it looks like one solid surface.
We have a 3 year old too, and he seems to manage fine on the tile. We put a rug down in the play area, so it's not too hard on his (or our!) knees.