By Marcy Tate, Guest Blogger
Most people associate concrete flooring with commercial flooring, imagining the gray floors in warehouses or the super-shiny floors in department stores. However, this association is quickly changing as concrete flooring is becoming an accessible, affordable and beautiful residential flooring option.
The benefits of residential interior concrete floors are vast. From endless design options to durability and low maintenance, concrete flooring is the rising star of residential flooring.
Two myths associated with concrete floors are that they are louder or more echoey than other hard floors and that they are slippery. They are no louder than other hard floor surfaces and area rugs can be used to offset any noise. Concrete installers add a non-slip additive to the finishing of residential floors.
Concrete flooring is a smart and sustainable interior flooring option that offers many benefits:
- Durability – Concrete floors can last a lifetime if maintained properly. There are no tears, staining, flood damage or signs of wear associated with concrete flooring.
- Low Maintenance – Depending on the amount of traffic, concrete floors need to be resealed about every two years. This inexpensive process will help ensure a long life for your floors. Cleaning is easy; simply sweep and wash with vinegar or a gentle floor cleaner.
- Economical – Concrete flooring allows you to save by eliminating the need to purchase an additional floor covering. When you choose concrete flooring the floor slab is the floor covering.
- Improves Indoor Air Quality – Unlike carpeting, concrete floors do not harbor dust mites. For allergy sufferers, concrete floors can be a blessing.
- Eco-Friendly – Less energy is used in production of concrete than any other flooring type. No trees need to be cut down and concrete is recyclable. Choosing concrete floors helps minimize waste. Other flooring types create lots of waste, such as the waste from carpet padding and carpet scraps. Concrete floors do not contain harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) as many synthetic carpets do.
- Energy Saving Capabilities – Concrete floors reduce energy consumption. Because they can make one feel cooler, there is less of a need to use the air conditioning. During the winter, concrete floors absorb the heat from the sun, helping to keep your home warm. Concrete floors work well in conjunction with radiant floor heating systems. These systems get installed under the concrete floor and are energy efficient. They decrease the need to use forced-air heating systems.
- Cost-Efficiency – The average cost of concrete flooring is more than other residential flooring types but the return is higher as the floor will never need replacement. The higher costs are from the finishing of the floors, often completed by a concrete artisan. The average cost for concrete floor installation (including the decorative finishing) is about $15-$18 per square foot.
Beautiful Design Options
There are literally endless design options. Concrete floor artisans can design and create a floor to your specifications.
There are five ways by which concrete floors are finished:
- Polished Concrete – Also known as honed or burnished concrete, polished concrete floors have that shiny, waxed look. This is the most basic type of concrete floor installation. Dyes can be included in the finish to add color.
- Acid Stained Concrete – Acid and water are mixed with metallic salts. This method can be applied in a variety of colors.
- Scored Concrete – Scored concrete is a popular choice for homeowners who install concrete flooring. Circular saws are used to create shapes and patterns by making shallow cuts in the surface.
- Stamped Concrete – This method results in a textured appearance to resemble other flooring types such as tile, wood, stone or brick. It’s often used for outdoor flooring (such as for patios). Stencils can also be used to create distinctive shapes and patterns.
- Concrete Overlays – Overlays consist of polymer coatings or overlays onto an existing concrete floor. This option is only for structurally sound floors.
- Concrete Floors – Great overview of concrete flooring options, resources for finding a contractor
- Comfort and Joy Home Design
- Concrete Flooring, Dallas, Texas
- JH Decorative Concrete, Union Town, Ohio
- Networx.com – Home Improvement Network website
- Trendir – Home Decorating Trends magazine on concrete flooring