Concrete Flooring - Everything You Need To Know (2022)

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

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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

1. Durable

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.

2. Sustainable

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.

3. Economical

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.

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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.

5. Longevity

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

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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.

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Where to Have Concrete Flooring

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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.

1. Bathroom

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.

2. Office

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.

4. Bedroom

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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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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?

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AUTHOR BIO

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.

FAQs

Are concrete floors hard to maintain? ›

Low-maintenance: The same properties that make concrete floors so durable also make them easy to care for. Properly sealed concrete floors shrug off dirt, grit, stains, spills, and hard impacts. A little sweeping and damp mopping is all that's required to keep them looking like new.

How deep should my concrete floor be? ›

Standard concrete floor slab thickness in residential construction is 4 inches. Five to six inches is recommended if the concrete will receive occasional heavy loads, such as motor homes or garbage trucks. To prepare the base, cut the ground level to the proper depth to allow for the slab thickness.

Do concrete floors need to be sealed? ›

Whether it's your basement or your garage, a sealant is always needed to protect your concrete. Regardless, a sealant is always going to protect your concrete. The quality of the sealant may mean that it requires more frequent reapplications over the years, but it still functions just as well.

Is concrete floor cheaper than tile? ›

Because material and labor costs for tile are high, polished concrete is often significantly less expensive than tile in new residential construction and renovation. Depending on slab size and gloss level, a cream polished concrete floor is generally $3.50 to $5 per square foot.

Do concrete floors crack? ›

If exposed to severe changes in temperature (as in a building without climate control) a concrete floor may crack as it expands. It may also crack due to the freeze-thaw cycle during the winter, but this is more often a problem for outdoor sidewalks and patios that are directly exposed to the elements.

Are concrete floors cold in winter? ›

Another drawback of concrete is that it has little insulating value, and it will feel quite cold on winter mornings—unless it has been installed in conjunction with a radiant floor heating system. The inherent coldness of concrete can be offset to some extent through the use of carpets and throw rugs.

Is a concrete floor cheaper than wood? ›

Yes, concrete floors are generally more affordable than hardwood floors. Generally, a concrete floor costs between $2 and $15 per square foot, while hardwood floors cost between $12 and $20 per square foot, according to Floor Critics.

How much weight can a 4 inch slab hold? ›

A 4-inch thick concrete can support upto 40 pounds of weight. Weight should not exceed 40 lbs/sq ft on an undetermined 4-inch slab. 80 lb/sq ft in isolated areas is fine, but unless you know what the soil bearing and reinforcing is for that slab, you might be looking at cracking.

Do you need a subbase for concrete? ›

Subbase for Concrete Slab

The subbase placement is optional and it serves as a work platform for construction of the slab and provide more uniform support for the slab. As the thickness of subbase increases, the ultimate load carrying capacity of slab increases.

How big can a concrete slab be without expansion joints? ›

How Big Can A Concrete Slab Be Without Expansion Joints? Expansion joints need to be installed 2 to 3 times in feet the thickness of a concrete slab in inches. So if your slab is 4 inches thick, the slab can be 8 to 12 feet long or wide without requiring an expansion joint.

What is the easiest flooring to install over concrete? ›

Interlocking rubber tiles are easy for homeowners to install, they can go down directly over concrete or over a subfloor. The same goes for rubber sheet flooring. Both materials are available with different textured patterns, and in a limited range of colors.

How do I make my concrete floor warmer? ›

In short, the way to heat up a concrete garage is through smart insulation. Insulation the walls, door, and ceiling are the most important (heat rises). Covering a concrete garage floor with a more thermally conductive material (epoxy/rubber/carpet) can also help greatly.

What happens if concrete is not sealed? ›

What happens if I don't seal my concrete? Concrete is a porous material that readily absorbs liquids. In freeze-thaw climates, the expansion of frozen liquids can destroy the surface of unsealed concrete. Oil, salt, fertilizer, and other household chemicals can discolor and damage unsealed concrete.

What happens if you don't seal concrete floors? ›

If the concrete floor surface is left unsealed, its porous layers will emit tiny objects that endanger one's health. Not only will it put one's health in peril, but it's also the floor itself that will face various damages.

How long after sealing concrete can you walk on it? ›

Acrylic sealers can take anywhere from 4-12 hours to dry before being able to be walked on, but they will continue to harden for up to 48 hours after being applied. Concrete sealed with an acrylic sealer should not be walked on (with the exception of a recoat), driven on, or wet for at least 36-48 hours.

Is polished concrete waterproof? ›

Polished concrete provides an environment that is resistant to damage from chemical and oil spills, as well as, slip and water resistant.

Is a concrete floor warmer than tiles? ›

Polished concrete floors are better at keeping you warm

Unlike tiles, polished concrete floors, if exposed to sunlight, absorb and store heat and release it slowly throughout the day, making them a great option for keeping your home warm in the winter.

Can you put concrete on wood? ›

You can use overlays to create concrete surfaces that run up wood walls. Overlays are also used down wood stairs, over wood countertops, and — more often than not — across wood floors or decks. The substructure must be well construction to successfully support a cementitious overlay.

Can you leave concrete floors bare? ›

Without protection, concrete is susceptible to extreme temperatures, harsh chemicals, impacts, tyre traffic, de-icing salts and liquid. In an industrial area this could mean that the floor quickly becomes chipped, contaminated, cracked and unclean. If nothing else, bare concrete isn't the best look.

Should new concrete be watered? ›

Properly curing your concrete improves strength, durability, water tightness, and resistance for many years. The first 7 days after installation you should spray the slab with water 5-10 times per day, or as often as possible. Once the concrete is poured the curing process begins immediately.

Does sealing concrete prevent cracks? ›

After concrete has been poured and cured, adding a sealer helps protect it from future damage, corrosion, and stains. Because concrete is porous, it tends to absorb water and other substances. Sealing closes up pores and prevents any future freeze/thaw damage to the concrete which can result in cracks.

How can I make my concrete floor more comfortable? ›

Tips to cozy up your concrete floors
  1. Radiant heat floors. One way to combat cold toes is by installing radiant heat flooring. ...
  2. Add a rug. If you have existing concrete floors, you can cozy them up for the winter with a simple area rug. ...
  3. Throw blankets. ...
  4. Add natural light. ...
  5. Decorative lights.
21 Nov 2018

Are concrete floors energy-efficient? ›

Better still, they are highly energy-efficient as they have a high thermal mass, which is the potential the material has to store and release thermal energy. Concrete floors can regulate the indoor temperature by absorbing heat, thereby keeping a space cool and reducing the need for air-conditioning.

Are polished concrete floors slippery? ›

However, there is a common misconception that floors with shiny finishes are slippery and cannot be walked on without skidding. That's not always the case. Polished concrete finishes may look as smooth as glass, but surprisingly, they are not slippery when wet.

Why do houses generally have cement floors? ›

Answer. Answer: Cement flooring is an excellent choice to decorate your outdoor area, as well as practical and extremely resistant to climate change. The easy care of concrete, the ability to handle heavy traffic and resist stains make it the perfect choice for busy areas.

Do concrete floors stain? ›

Although polished concrete floors are stain-resistant, they can still stain if spills are not cleaned promptly. The most common stains we see are fruit juice, wine, vinegar, laundry soaps, and pet stains. These liquids tend to have an extreme pH and can etch the most superficial surface of a floor, requiring repair.

Is rebar needed in concrete slab? ›

Rebar is not necessary for every concrete project. The general rule of thumb is that if you are pouring concrete that is more than 5 inches in depth, you are probably going to want to add in some rebar to help reinforce the entire structure.

Do you need wire mesh for 4 inch slab? ›

No, they do not. Larger projects or slabs may need steel reinforcement to provide support or extra strength. Wired mesh can also help resist cracking. However, not every piece of concrete necessarily requires that extra boost.

How many inches of gravel do you need for a concrete slab? ›

How Much Gravel Do You Put Under a Concrete Slab? You will need 3 inches of gravel under a concrete slab that is 4 inches thick. More gravel is better, but 3 inches is the minimum amount of gravel you should have with a 4” slab. Use ¾” washed and screened gravel, then compact it to level.

Is it OK to pour concrete on dirt? ›

Long story short, yes you can pour concrete over dirt.

What happens if you don't put gravel under concrete? ›

Because concrete is a very porous material, it will absorb any moisture that it contacts. This can cause pooling. Without crushed stone, pooling water will settle under it and erode your slab. Adding a layer of crushed stone will add proper drainage, as well as create a barrier between your slab and the ground.

What is the minimum thickness of a concrete slab? ›

Most building codes require concrete patio slabs to be laid at a minimum thickness of 3.5 inches with a compressive strength of 3,000 PSI. Given the industry standard for residential properties is four inches, it's a good idea to budget for that extra 0.5 inches to provide additional support.

Why do you cut concrete after pouring? ›

When concrete is poured, it is very important to cut expansion joints in the concrete. By cutting control joints in the concrete you can better control the random cracking that inevitably occurs in concrete slabs soon after the concrete is poured and set.

When should you float concrete? ›

Float the concrete when you're done grooving and edging (Photo 6). Floating removes the marks left by edging and brings the surface one step closer to a final finish. You may have to bear down on the float if the concrete is starting to harden.

Should you saw cut concrete? ›

Saw cuts are a used to create control joints in concrete, which help control where cracking occurs due to shrinkage. The cuts should be made at a predetermined spacing and only after the concrete has obtained sufficient strength but before internal cracking begins. Therefore, the timing of saw cuts is critical.

Can you live with concrete floors? ›

A sealed and properly maintained concrete floor can last indefinitely. Even in commercial applications, concrete can survive under high-traffic conditions for many decades.

Do concrete floors cause dust? ›

Garage floors are made of concrete and this is the major cause of dust. There are many reasons why dusty concrete becomes such a problem, including: Inadequate mixing of the concrete, with excess clay or silt in the mixture.

Why is concrete good for flooring? ›

A concrete floor also has practical advantages: it's easy to clean, hardwearing, and looks even better as it ages. The other aspect of concrete we like is its versatility. Concrete can be laid with underfloor heating, and can be used for a continuous, wall-to-floor finish.

Is concrete flooring expensive? ›

Concrete flooring cost ranges between: $2 to $6 per square foot for a basic design. $7 to $14 for a mid-range design. $15 to $30 for a high-end, customized floor.

Do concrete floors cause foot problems? ›

Unlike other surfaces, concrete has no give. This inflexibility affects the body. Standing or walking on concrete flooring every day can result in backaches, knee pain, swollen legs and sore feet.

Are concrete floors noisy? ›

Yes, concrete floors can be loud and produce an echo effect, but no more so than ceramic tile, natural stone flooring, and some hardwood or bamboo floors. The pluses: You can muffle the sound by using sound-absorptive materials such as area rugs, curtains and wall fabrics.

Do indoor concrete floors crack? ›

Once your carpeting and hard flooring are in place, you'll quickly forget all about those cracks. They won't be felt under your floor, and they won't be a place for pests to hide. Concrete cracks can seem scary at first, but they are common on almost every home that has a concrete floor.

How do you seal a concrete floor to prevent dust? ›

Rust-Oleum Industrial- How To Video: Sealing Dusty Concrete Floors

How do you prevent cement dust? ›

To prevent dusting, do not carry out finishing operations with excess water on the surface and provide effective curing (producing a stronger surface, more resistant to abrasion, chemical spillage etc) by using a curing compound or covering the surface with wet hessian or plastic sheet.

How do you control concrete dust? ›

Wet Cutting (Water Spraying) – This engineering control helps to eliminate silica dust from ever becoming airborne and is the most efficient method of dust control in concrete cutting and grinding.

Do concrete floors crack? ›

If exposed to severe changes in temperature (as in a building without climate control) a concrete floor may crack as it expands. It may also crack due to the freeze-thaw cycle during the winter, but this is more often a problem for outdoor sidewalks and patios that are directly exposed to the elements.

Is a concrete floor cheaper than wood? ›

Yes, concrete floors are generally more affordable than hardwood floors. Generally, a concrete floor costs between $2 and $15 per square foot, while hardwood floors cost between $12 and $20 per square foot, according to Floor Critics.

How do you maintain a concrete floor? ›

Dry dust mop or damp mop regularly to keep away dirt and grime, cutting down on abrasion. Damp mop with a pH-neutral cleaner and water for an occasional deeper cleaning. Protect with a good film-forming sealer and a coat of wax or floor finish. Reapply as needed depending on wear, generally every few years.

Is concrete floor cheaper than vinyl? ›

Vinyl flooring is less expensive, less loud, and comes in a variety of colors when compared to polished concrete. However, polished concrete offers more durability, longevity, as well as unique customization, making it a useful flooring choice for high-traffic areas.

How long does concrete staining last? ›

Durability of Stained Concrete

And because stains permeate the concrete to infuse it with permanent color, a stained concrete floor or pavement should last a lifetime when properly maintained (see How to Protect and Maintain Stained Concrete .

Are stained concrete floors slippery? ›

Like any hard, smooth surface, stained concrete can become slippery when wet, especially if it has been coated with a high-gloss sealer. For concrete floors or walkways exposed to moisture or in areas with a lot of foot traffic, there are ways you can increase the slip resistance without affecting the color.

Videos

1. What Most People Don't Know About Pouring Concrete Floors (Now You'll Know)
(Mike Day Concrete)
2. THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING // CONCRETE TINY HOUSE
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3. Wet Look Polished Concrete Floors | Making Your floors look beautiful | The Armstrong Family
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4. Resurfacing Concrete Floors with a Self-Leveling Skim Coat
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5. Microcement Flooring Tutorial for rustic and beautiful floors
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6. How to level a concrete floor part 1: preparation
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