Whether renovating your entire house or upgrading specific features in individual rooms, there is nothing more important than the flooring that you choose. Not only does it make a significant difference when it comes to the aesthetics of the space, but it also affects the functionality and practicality of your home.
Over the past couple of years, concrete flooring has become one of the most popular options for homeowners all over the world, as the flooring material perfectly balances interior design with functionality. Not only is it practical, but it also can be customized with concrete floor finishes. To learn more about it, read on for the homeowner’s essential guide to concrete floors.
The Pros and Cons of Concrete Flooring
If you are considering installing concrete floors in your home, then you first want to understand the pros and cons of this type of flooring.
Concrete Flooring Pros
One of the most significant benefits of concrete flooring is that it is incredibly durable and exceptionally resilient. In other words, it will take a lot to damage it. Therefore, by having concrete floors in your home, you don’t need to worry about shoes, pets or pieces of furniture damaging the surface of your floor – it isn’t going to happen.
Furthermore, concrete flooring is one of the most eco-friendly options available. Generally, many homes already have concrete subfloors beneath the current flooring material. If this is the case, all you need to do is uninstall anything that was placed over it. Once that has been done, you need only finish the top layer of what’s already there. By utilizing an existing concrete slab, you are avoiding the need to use new materials.
As it is poured into place, in addition to the other benefits, concrete flooring is also one of the most economical choices (even if you can’t use what is currently under your floor).
In general, plain slabs of concrete go for about $2 to $6 per square foot. Of course, you can also upgrade your selections and look to bring different tones to the concrete flooring through concrete floor stains or by creating grid pattern lines. These more elaborate finishes may cost around $5 to $8 per square foot. And, with a slightly larger budget, you can even opt to get a highly decorative marble effect.
If you opt to add an overlay, you will only be required to add a relatively thin layer on top of the grade slab. No matter what design you choose, you can be assured that the cost is going to be far less than what it would be if you were to install tile or natural stone. Furthermore, upon request, a skilled installation team can replicate the look of natural stone (such as marble, granite, slate) at a much lower price than the real material.
4. Easy Maintenance
Concrete floors don’t require a lot of maintenance, especially when compared to wooden floors. In fact, all you need to do is seal or wax it every six to nine months and then do weekly mopping with soapy water. This will help to both protect its surface and to help keep it looking fresh.
To help with keeping your concrete floor looking finished, consider installing a baseboard as this will help ensure your mop doesn’t leave behind anything in the crevice where the floor meets the wall. By following these minimal maintenance steps and taking proper care of your concrete flooring, it’s almost guaranteed to last forever.
A concrete floor that has been cared for and maintained can last more than a hundred years. Its longevity is unparalleled when compared with other flooring options. What’s more, many homeowners love to celebrate the history of old concrete floors with all their quirks and cracks.
If you are looking for a durable yet sophisticated flooring material that’s easy to maintain, then concrete floors are ideal for you. Unfortunately, the other options (carpets, linoleum and other softer floors) can start to decline long before your home will need a renovation.
Concrete Flooring Cons
For many people, the only negative of having concrete floors is that they are hard and (potentially) cold in the winter months. However, both of these concerns can be managed by using area rugs.
You’ll also want to make sure that your concrete floor is correctly installed and sealed since it will be sensitive to moisture. If it is not appropriately installed, liquid can make its way into the pores of the concrete floor which, in turn, can cause cracks. However, if it is properly installed, there will be no issues.
There is no denying that an indoor concrete floor has far more advantages than drawbacks. Moreover, the smooth, hard surface will help any room in the house to have a constant sense of being clean and put together.
Where to Have Concrete Flooring
In the past, concrete flooring was considered as a basic flooring that should only be seen in the basement, utility room or garage.
However, that view has changed significantly, and concrete has grown to be considered one of the most stylish options available. This is because decorative concrete floors are available in a wide range of colors and texture effects, not merely the plain grey form. For this reason, there is a strong likelihood that concrete may become your choice for future projects.
All homes can find a concrete flooring that works for them. However, it looks particularly stylish in homes with a more modern style. Once the concrete is sanded down and polished or sealed, it looks fantastic around the house from the kitchen to the living room, dining rooms to bathrooms.
This is especially true when it is decorated with rugs and attractive furnishings and fixtures. Concrete flooring can be perfectly complemented with exposed brick walls and reclaimed wood details. In many cases, after being tinted and polished, an indoor concrete floor can look even more impressive than natural stone or tile.
In a bathroom, concrete flooring looks incredible because it provides an ethereal, airy feel to the room. Thanks to its light colour and texture, this smooth flooring can make a space feel significantly more open. Therefore, if you are looking to have a spa-like atmosphere in your bathroom, then you are going to want to install concrete flooring.
If you have a home office, concrete flooring offers an industrial sophistication as well as the benefits listed above. Altogether, a concrete floor brings a serious yet stylish aesthetic to any room.
3. Kitchen and Dining Room
For similar reasons, concrete flooring works well in kitchens and dining rooms, or places that become filled with people. In these rooms, concrete floors provide a design carte blanche you can accessorize how you see fit. Moreover, it is an excellent material for these rooms because you can make it impervious to water and most staining agents, ensuring maintenance ease.
While you may not initially think that concrete flooring works in a bedroom, as soon as you have a look at the offerings, you will surely change your mind. Thanks to the wide array of stains, stamps and colors that are available, you are guaranteed to find concrete flooring that will work with the design of your bedroom. Perhaps your children would like stamped leaf patterns in their room, while the adult bedroom can be stained with a high gloss for the ultimate sleek look.
If you like to follow design trends or switch up the styling of your home every few years, then you want to ensure your home’s more permanent points (such as flooring) can be adapted to the design changes. In this situation, concrete floors are ideal as they can operate as a blank slate.
Whether you leave the concrete floors exposed, re-stain them in a few years, or change the rugs every season, having concrete floors is an excellent way to ensure changing your interior design is possible.
Furthermore, when you add a new concrete floor or an overlay in your home, you may also want to consider taking the opportunity to add an in-floor radiant heating system. This is a surefire way of ensuring indoor comfort, uniform heat, and energy efficiency in your home.
What Are Concrete Flooring Finishes?
While there is certainly nothing wrong with keeping the plain concrete slabs, you also have the option of utilizing a concrete floor finish. This is one of the most popular choices as it allows you as the homeowner to create a finish that is unique to your space.
Due to the range of pigments, stains, stamps and stencil patterns, gloss and friction finishes that are on the market, you can create a custom work of walkable art to match any room in your house. Additionally, you can design the concrete floor finishes using acid etching or staining, acrylic staining, spray overlay, micro-topping and stamp overlays. By blending these techniques, you are guaranteed to create a unique flooring.
Here are some concrete floor finishing ideas:
1. Polished Concrete Flooring
Over the past few years, as modern polishing equipment and techniques have improved, it is now possible to transform your old concrete floors. Through a series of polishing treatments, you can turn dull concrete slabs into replicas of tile, granite, marble or even polished stone. If you are longing to have a high-gloss finish on your floors, this is the way to go.
As this type of finish requires specialized heavy-duty polishing machines, homeowners that want polished concrete floors will need to hire a professional concrete polishing contractor.
2. Stained Concrete Flooring
Another option is to have stained concrete floors. This technique works because concrete stains can permeate the concrete, which, in turn, creates a permanent colour effect.
In many cases, homeowners like to choose grey or brown for their stained concrete floors; however, you can also opt for a slightly bolder hue of blue or red. Choose between water-based stains and acid-based chemical stains for limitless decorative effects to suit your home décor.
3. Acid-Stained Concrete Flooring
If you want concrete floors that make an impression, then you may want to consider using an acid product to stain it. This technique involves mixing hydrochloric or phosphoric acid with salts and then applying the formula to the concrete slab.
The discoloration on the surface of the concrete is a result of the chemical reaction that occurs. Furthermore, with acid-stained concrete floors, you can opt to add faux grout lines to give the impression of a tile floor.
4. Painted Concrete Flooring
You can choose to decorate your concrete floors with special paints such as epoxy, which is available in an assortment of colors, granting you the opportunity to devise your own design.
With this type of treatment, the resulting surface is tough and durable, making it ideal for high-traffic spaces. Painted concrete floors are suitable for rooms that require a pop of color, or for areas that have a vibrant modern design.
If the existing surface is in good condition, then most of the finishing prices will be relatively similar. As long as your existing concrete is structurally sound, most repairs can be sorted by filling in the cracks or holes and then moving forward with an overlay, stain, or polished finish.
Where to Purchase Your Concrete Flooring Finishes
Choosing your concrete floor finishes is an important decision — one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. After all, you want to ensure that you are getting a high-quality product that is going to look as good as you envision. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you opt to purchase your concrete floor finish from a reputable seller that has a long history in this industry.
Even if you are working with a designer, architect, or contractor, you still want to work with a concrete floor finish provider. Not only will that give you greater access to a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures, but they will also be able to advise you on what will work specifically for each project.
This is invaluable guidance if you are new to concrete floor finishes or are working on a brand-new project. In many cases, these experts will be able to help you generate the design of your dreams.
Do you have concrete flooring in your house? If so, have you applied a concrete floor finish? If not, are you considering it?
Ralph El Eid is the Business Development Manager at COLORTEK – Wall & Floor Fashion. EQUIPAINT is the franchise owner of COLORTEK in Dubai (U.A.E.) and Doha (Qatar); an international paints manufacturer specializing in the widest range of decorative paints and seamless concrete & resin flooring, with a unique showroom concept, and thus an ideal destination for homeowners, consultants, architects, interior designers, and paint applicators.