When to use it. Concrete flooring is a good choice for people who live in warm climates, are looking for easy cleanup in the kitchen and don’t mind having a rug to give the flooring more softness underfoot in high-traffic areas. It’s also a good option for pet owners.
How to install. If you’re building a new home, concrete can be an excellent choice to consider, but do it before construction begins. Concrete will be poured during the early stages of construction, which means you’ll need to have your selections made before pouring begins.
In an existing home, floors can be stripped back to the concrete slab. This layer of flooring was not meant to be seen, so it will need refinishing. You can also have concrete flooring poured in your kitchen, but it will be important to have the builder ensure that the framing beneath can support the new flooring material. If the structure needs to be reinforced, that will cost more.
Best climate. It’s best for homes in warm climates, unless you are also going to install radiant heat. Concrete tends to hold the cold, Martin Bovard says. “We almost require that in-floor radiant heat be part of an indoor concrete floor install,” she says. “A warmed concrete floor feels delightful to bare feet and is an energy-efficient way of maintaining indoor temperature in the home.”
Cost. The final costs will depend on the finishes you decide to use on your concrete floor.
- Budget: $2 per foot for slab with no stain
- Mid-level: $6 per foot with a simple stain
- High-end: $8 per square foot with multicolor stain
Whom to hire. A general contractor. For best results, Martin Bovard recommends hiring a foundation subcontractor and a concrete flooring specialist.
This 300-square-foot kitchen by Rebecca Ward Design took three days to complete, which included skimming the existing concrete slab. The company that completed this flooring project charged a minimum of $3,000, or $4 per square foot.
Best time to install. Any time, but if you live in an arid or desert-like climate, Martin Bovard says the contractor may add a retarder to the concrete to slow down the cure time.
If you drop a plate on your concrete kitchen floor, the plate will most likely break, but your floor should come away from the incident unscathed.
Water resistance. Sealed concrete floors will resist water. This same sealant can help control any dust released from the concrete, Martin Bovard says.
Maintenance. Concrete floors are easy to maintain. All you need to do is mop them with soapy water. You should get them resealed every now and again, but a good sealant should last 10 years, Martin Bovard says. You can do this yourself or hire a professional for the job.
When to replace. You should never need to replace a concrete floor. Concrete floors will last as long as the house. However, if you change your mind, it’s expensive to remove concrete flooring.
If your concrete is only sealed in an acrylic sealer, it will feel more like tile, says Felicia Majola-Moropane of Ekhaya Designs. If you use an epoxy coating, it will feel more like linoleum.
Why the pros like it. Concrete floors make for a great blank canvas to build upon, Martin Bovard says. This solid base allows her to pile on other natural elements that complement the common colors of concrete flooring, such as gray, green, taupe and sometimes even a light gray.