Is a Concrete Floor the Best Option for You?
Concrete slabs have long been used as flooring in basements, garages, patios, and utility areas. Still, it is also a viable option for home interiors, where it can be polished, etched, or painted to act as a finished flooring surface. Concrete floors may be some of the most glamorous and vibrant you've ever seen, but they aren't a good match for every home's style.
A concrete floor is solid and long-lasting, and if built and maintained correctly, it will last for the entire time you own the home. And there are a lot of different design choices. On the other hand, concrete is harsh and cold underfoot. It's only a viable option if there's already a concrete slab, such as slab-on-grade foundations or basements of homes constructed over basement foundations.
Relatively inexpensive - Since there are so many finish choices, the cost of installing a concrete floor will vary significantly. A standard floor price can vary from $2 per square foot to $30 or more for a high-end artistically rendered floor. A properly sealed and maintained concrete floor will last an infinite amount of time. Concrete, also in industrial applications, will last for decades in high-traffic areas. Compared to repairing flooring every few years, this will save you a lot of money and time in the long run.
Durable - Concrete flooring starts with a structural concrete pad, which is incredibly strong and durable by design, which is why it is so common in high-traffic commercial areas like garages and warehouses. When used as a residential flooring material, concrete has similar advantages. It is impossible to scratch and not be scratched by high heels, furniture legs, or pet paws. You also don't have to worry about most dropped items causing harm. Although it is possible to chip or scrape a concrete surface, it requires considerable effort.
Easy to maintain - It's relatively simple to keep a concrete floor looking its best. Keeping the protective layer intact should be sealed or waxed every three to nine months, depending on the amount of traffic. Aside from that, you can mop the floor with a neutral cleaning agent regularly. For incredibly stubborn stains, a blue utility pad may be used.
Design Flexibility - Concrete floors are a strong fit for homes with a modern or industrial look, but not so much for homes with a classic antique style. A polished and acid-stained concrete floor, for example, would look out of place in a traditional colonial-style home but would look great in a contemporary-style home.
Hard and cold - The material's strength and longevity can also be a disadvantage. A concrete floor's surface is rigid; falling into it can hurt and can seriously injure people. Dropped items are often more likely to shatter or break on these surfaces. Consequently, concrete floors should not be used in places where children or the elderly will be present or in kitchens where dishes are likely to break. Concrete's toughness makes it difficult to stand on for long periods.
Slippery - Concrete that has been highly polished or buffed or that has been coated with a gloss sealer can be extremely slippery, particularly when wet. This is particularly true of concrete in toilets, kitchens, and entryways. Another disadvantage to concrete is that it has no insulating value, so it can feel cold on cold winter nights unless combined with a radiant floor heating device.
Susceptible to moisture - When installed over bare soil, concrete is easily penetrated by moisture if not adequately sealed on both top and bottom surfaces. In humid conditions, the cool temperature of concrete can cause moisture to condense. If a liquid manages to get into the pores of a concrete surface, it can cause mold or mildew to develop in your home.
Environmental concerns - Consumers who care about the environment would appreciate that finishing an existing concrete slab does not necessitate the production of new concrete. However, the same homeowners have reason to be worried about pouring a new slab or overlay since concrete production takes a considerable amount of energy and produces a lot of CO2.
If you have an existing slab base and a home style that complements the polished gleam of honed concrete, a concrete floor might be a good option. However, be prepared for a challenging and naturally cold floor.