We are living during an era where carpeting has gone out of style, and hard floors are in. One material you can consider for your own home flooring is concrete.
In this post, we are going to go over the key benefits of concrete floors in residential design. But first, let’s talk a bit more about where you can install concrete floors, how much they cost, and what your options are for customizing their appearance.
Where Can You Install a Concrete Floor?
You can install concrete just about anywhere in your home, including your indoor and outdoor spaces. Some homeowners even choose to use concrete in every room.
Concrete is particularly well-suited to certain spaces, however, due to its ease of maintenance and cleaning. Consider installing concrete floors in your:
Again, there is nothing to stop you from using concrete flooring in your living room, dining room, bedrooms, and anywhere else in your home as well.
Are Concrete Floors Expensive?
The next question you probably have about concrete floors is whether they are an affordable design choice.
You will find a very wide price range for concrete flooring, starting out at around $2 per square foot and going as high as $30 per square foot.
What accounts for such a large difference in cost? Some factors that can affect the pricing for concrete flooring include:
How much square footage you are ordering (while a larger floor will cost more overall, it will cost less per square foot).
Whether you are getting a basic shape or an elaborate one. If the edges of the room feature unusual angles or curves, the cost will go up.
What color you want for your flooring, and whether you want multiple colors or elaborate designs.
Whether you want to embed objects or materials in your flooring to add further decorative effects.
How polished you want your concrete floor to be.
Factors pertaining to the installation of the concrete, such as what preparation work needs to be done to get the surface ready, and whether you are installing the concrete on a raised surface.
You should also factor in the long term costs; you will need to purchase sealant every few years. A single gallon may be able to cover up to 500 square feet, however, so a little bit goes a long ways. We will discuss resealing concrete floors more later in this post.
Creative Ways to Customize Concrete Flooring
As you probably figured out reading the factors above that influence cost, concrete floors are easy to customize.
When you ask the average person to picture a concrete floor, most people are going to immediately envision a relatively unpolished gray surface such as you might find in a parking garage.
But that is only one possible appearance for a concrete floor. You can customize your concrete floor with:
Stains and dyes
Various degrees of polish
Keep in mind that with a great deal of customization, the price for stained concrete flooring can be similar to what you would pay for a material like slate or marble. Nevertheless, the versatility of decorative concrete allows you to create just about any look you can imagine in any colors you desire.
Concrete Floors Pros and Cons
You now know more about customizing concrete floors, and may be starting to visualize the possibilities for your home. Next, you are ready to learn about the benefits of concrete floors in depth. We will also go over potential drawbacks you should know about.
Concrete Flooring Benefits
Low maintenance. One of the top reasons why people choose concrete floors for their homes is to keep maintenance and cleaning to a minimum. If food, mud, or anything else gets on your concrete floor, cleaning up is usually as simple as just wiping off the concrete. As far as daily dust and debris are concerned, a quick sweep is all you need. Contrast that with the hassle of vacuuming carpeting or scrubbing out stubborn stains from a soft surface.
Durable and long-lasting. Another popular reason to install concrete in a home is its excellent durability. It can usually offer decades of use without significant wear and tear or damage. It is much more robust than wood or tile, both of which are more likely to get cracked or scratched. Concrete also adds more to the overall structural stability of a home than those other materials.
Moisture-resistant. If you seal your concrete floor (which you should), it will resist moisture. That means that it is also not as likely to end up developing problems with mold and mildew. Even if you do get mold on your concrete floor, it is not likely to do much damage. By contrast, if you ended up with mold in or on your hardwood floor, rot can quickly compromise your flooring.
Stain-resistant. When you seal your concrete floor, you not only protect it from moisture, but also from stains. This is one of the reasons it is particularly suitable for the kitchen. If you spill ingredients while you are working, it is unlikely that they will harm the appearance of your floor. You should still clean them up right away, but a moment’s delay will not cause the stains to set like they would on a different type of surface.
Customizable. As we have already discussed, there are extensive customization options available for concrete floors. Polishing concrete floors or staining them can give them a luxurious appearance. This is even the case for mid-range floors. But needless to say, the higher your budget is, the more you can tailor your floors to your liking.
Perfect for modern or Mid Century Modern homes. Concrete is a strong material with a simple, clean appearance. As a result, it is popular for use in homes that are modern or Mid Century Modern in style, and can help you capture either of those looks. It is also great if you want to aim for an appearance that is industrial or minimalist. It has taken over the barn homes trend too.
Can be heated. If you like to walk around your home barefoot, you might fret about whether you will be able to do that comfortably on concrete floors. The answer is “yes!” Just install radiant in-floor heating, and your concrete will be nice and cozy even in winter. Plus, when your feet are warm, your whole body tends to feel warmer. That may reduce your reliance on central heating, helping you to cut some of your ongoing costs and conserve energy in your home.
Healthy. Did you know carpets can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your house? The reason is that the majority of carpets feature a latex backing. Carpets also do a good job of accumulating dust and allergens, both of which can further reduce your air quality. When you go with concrete flooring instead, you can avoid these health issues. Concrete will not release VOCs (assuming you choose VOC-free sealants). And so long as you are sweeping on a regular basis, there will be no buildup of dust, pollen and allergens.
You can always add rugs. If you find yourself longing for the softness of carpet under your toes, you have the option of putting some rugs down on your concrete floors. When you want to clean them, you can just pick them up and shake them out outdoors. That is often a lot faster and easier than having to vacuum frequently as you would need to do with wall-to-wall carpeting.
Concrete Flooring Drawbacks
While concrete materials have a number of outstanding benefits for durability, customization, comfort and maintenance, they do have some possible drawbacks as well. Let’s take a brief look at those now.
You might sometimes have to reseal the floor. It is generally recommended that every three years, you reseal your concrete floors. While it should not be too expensive or difficult, some homeowners may not feel like doing it that often (still, it is worth it to protect your flooring and maintain its benefits).
Repair work can be involved. Concrete floors are generally resistant to damage, but now and again, it is possible for a crack to form. If that happens, you will need to patch the damage.
Wet concrete can be slippery. You probably won’t slip and fall on dry concrete, but if you spill something on concrete or you deliberately get it wet for mopping purposes, it can be come quite slick. Of course, if you are being careful, this probably will not be an issue. Just make sure those around you know when the floor is wet.
Concrete may be noisy. Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of concrete is that sound tends to echo off of it. As a result, it can be quite loud to walk on, and voices may also bounce off of it and carry. If you do not wear shoes indoors, that will eliminate at least some of the problem. But if you are still finding your floors too noisy, you might want to put down some rugs to muffle the sound.
What is Involved in Resealing a Concrete Floor?
Of the few drawbacks listed above, the one that probably has you the most concerned is having to reseal your floor every few years. It sounds like a pain, but it is really not as big a deal as you might be thinking.
First, you need to sweep your floor to clear away debris. If any deep cleaning is necessary, you’ll take care of that next. Then, you will have to mop your floor, vacuum up any additional debris that has settled during this process, and then let your floor dry for a day and a night.
Are there any new cracks or pits in your floor? If so, fill them next.
Once you have repaired any damage, you can apply a chemical stripper to the concrete to remove what is left of your old sealant. You can either use a paint sprayer or a nap roller to do this.
After the chemical stripper has had time to eat away at the sealant, you will be left with some sludge. You will have to scrape it away and dispose of it.
Now it is time for another quick cleaning. Once again, you need to wait for your floor to dry thoroughly.
Finally, it is time to reseal! You are going to want to apply a couple of coats and then wait for them to dry.
The process is a bit tedious, and can be time-consuming since there are multiple drying phases involved. But it is not particularly challenging, even for a DIYer. So, you may very well be able to take care of it yourself rather than hiring out. That said, hiring out will make the job go faster, and free up your time and energy for other things.
Install Beautiful, Durable Concrete Flooring in Your Home
You can now appreciate that concrete floors do not have to look or feel cold and impersonal. With a wide selection of colors, finishes and decorative options available, you can create any look you want in your home with concrete.
You will benefit from concrete’s excellent strength and durability, its ease of cleaning, and its advantages for your health.
Ready to install beautiful, long-lasting concrete floors in your home?