Concrete is often used to fill the base of a house, create the basement and to make a solid foundation. However if you don't pour concrete then, concrete slabs are another alternative for basement floors and walls. There are both advantages and disadvantages of using these slabs in your home, though.
Concrete, as a rule, is an extremely long lasting and durable material. While wooden floors or walls may rot or break, concrete is just as long lasting as many stones. However, certain environmental factors like freezing water can shorten the lifespan of concrete by weakening or cracking it. However, such damage usually takes time and it doesn't change the fact that, properly cared for, your concrete slab floors can last decades rather than only a handful of years as some other materials will.
The color of concrete slabs used to be a major disadvantage, as concrete only came in gray. However, there are options for coloring and decorating your concrete slab floor. You can put carpet over the concrete for instance, but for homeowners who want to utilize the concrete instead of hide it, acid stain is a more common route. Acid stain, when properly applied, will change the color of the concrete and create interesting shades and patterns on your slabs. It can be expensive and time consuming, though, and once acid stain's been laid, it isn't undoable.
One of the biggest problems with concrete slabs is that they are a huge energy drain. Concrete slabs conduct heat easily, which means that they tend to be constantly cold, and that they will siphon off heat to whatever's on the other side of them. This problem can be mitigated with proper planning though. If you insulate a concrete slab floor either by putting something on top of it (like carpeting or a protective coating) or something on the dirt side of the slabs to stop the heat from escaping (like reflective insulation) then the drain will be minimized.
Neal Litherland is an author, blogger and occasional ghostwriter. His experience includes comics, role playing games and a variety of other projects as well. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, and resides in Northwest Indiana.