Concrete Flooring: Appealing or Drab?

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women standing on concrete floor

When it comes to flooring materials, especially for homes, hardwood and tile are the most preferred types. Both are aesthetically pleasing, timelessly appealing, and low maintenance. They also make any space look bright and airy, with their minimalist appeal that consumers and designers love.

But as home designs get more creative and daring, less popular flooring materials are starting to earn favor, one of them being concrete. Normally, you’d imagine the material on garages, basements, and gardens. But it turns out that they work pretty well in living spaces, too.

Working with concrete flooring is just a bit tricky. It isn’t like ceramic tile or vinyl tile that you’d just install and you’re done. Concrete is essentially a structural material, so you can’t leave it as it is after the slabs have been installed. You have to apply finishes on top it, or else, your space would look as if it’s still under construction.

While that utilitarian aesthetic is appealing to some, it doesn’t have to look half-done. But concrete is not for everyone. If you’re falling in love with the material, use this checklist to decide if you should get it.

1. You Don’t Live in a Humid Area

Concrete is susceptible to moisture, so if you live in a humid region, the moisture from outside can seep through your floors and affect its quality. And because of the moisture, concrete can be cold to the touch, and therefore uncomfortable to walk on. If you don’t have kids who are fond of lying on their bellies on the floor, concrete could work for you. Pets may like it because they enjoy lying down on cool surfaces during hot weather.

2. Your Budget is Flexible

Installation of concrete floors ranges from $2 per square foot to $30 or more. The more artistically rendered you want your floors to be, the higher price goes. A basic design, of course, guarantees the lowest cost. It already includes polishing and colorizing treatments, so it won’t leave you with a useless surface.

You can save more money on concrete floors if your home has an existing slab-on-grade foundation. In fact, opting for concrete floors is most practical that way. Installation costs can blow up if you’d work on a completely blank slate.

cracked concrete floor

3. You Know How to Use Concrete Sealers

Sealers and proper maintenance allow concrete floors to last an indefinite period. If you’re considering concrete floors for your garage or basement, high-quality epoxy floor sealers will preserve their quality. The product is easy to apply, so you won’t need a professional if you can make time to learn the task.

Prep the floors by ensuring that there are no serious cracks or chips on the surface. If the concrete floors are old and damaged, do some repair and patching work before sealing. Otherwise, it’s ready.

Clean the floor with a broom and a wet-dry vacuum. If you need to degrease it, apply a degreaser with a stiff brush, then rinse it off with a garden hose. Next, use the etching solution included in your epoxy kit to etch the concrete. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

After etching, the concrete is now prepped for sealing. Apply painter’s tape on the areas you don’t want the epoxy to touch. Then mix the epoxy as per the instructions, and apply it to the concrete as soon as it’s ready. Use a paint roller for the large areas, and a paintbrush for the corners. Keep the space well-ventilated to allow the epoxy to dry. Wait at least 24 hours before testing the sealed floors with your foot, or putting your car back into the garage.

4. You’re Familiar With Concrete Floor Treatments

For concrete floors in living spaces, other treatments are required to make them last longer and look appealing. Above, we’ve mentioned a basic concrete design with polishing and coloring treatments. Below are the specifics of such:

  • Acid stain — This treatment is made of hydrochloric or phosphoric acid and salt. The acid opens the pores in the concrete, while the salt discolors the floor’s surface. The result will be three-dimensional-looking concrete floors because of the color variations. It can even look close to marble floors.
  • Faux grout lines — You can use faux grout lines after acid staining. It makes concrete floors mimic large-scale tiles.
  • Stain and polish — For spaces that lack brightness, polished concrete floors will help, because the shine reflects and bounces off the light. The stain, meanwhile, is for adding color.
  • Dye — Dye is more opaque than stain. It completely coats the concrete in your desired color.
  • Paint — Concrete paint is just colored epoxy. This is suitable for floors that often suffer hard wear, like a garage.

If these concrete flooring pointers suit your tastes, budget, and lifestyle, the material might just be your best option. Don’t let concrete’s bare look fool you; it may look drab at a glance, but once furnishings are on top of it, it can look more appealing than most popular flooring materials.

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