Stained Concrete Flooring. What’s That?
Shiny and smooth, natural yet sophisticated, stunning yet discreet. Those are the words that come to mind when thinking about concrete.
Concrete?! Wait a second; what is so beautiful about that stuff that grubby old sidewalks are made of? A lot of people would be surprised to learn that the elegant floors beneath their feet in a fine restaurant or museum are the very same material as utilitarian sidewalks, carefully stained and sealed.
The staining and sealing is not about covering up the concrete though, it is about enhancing the incredible beauty of it.
Concrete stands out among other flooring options. A skillfully stained concrete floor can rival the beauty of (and be mistaken for) natural stone flooring like marble or slate, at a small fraction of the cost.
Concrete offers color possibilities as vast as carpeting, tile or vinyl with longevity and performance that exceeds all of those options.
Concrete flooring gives you the freedom to customize like no other flooring option. Stained concrete flooring will amaze you with just how untouched it looks, like something created over the ages in nature.
Yet that very natural beauty is the outcome of your unique brushstrokes.
As you will see, concrete flooring has just as many advantages as options.
More and more people every day are catching on to what many artisans and designers already know; bringing concrete floors into a living space is an outstanding choice.
The Beauty of Concrete Floors
Concrete is a noun, but it’s also an adjective. It means tangible, real, actual, and specific. Those terms are just as appropriate to describe what you will see in a stained concrete floor. The specific reaction between an acid based stain with the physical composition of concrete is well controlled, but also takes on a life of it’s own.
So what you get is a subtle kaleidoscope of coloration, then when a sealer is applied, it sets off the visual depth of the stain, locks it in and provides differing levels of shine, depending on your preferences.
Concrete flooring goes way beyond industrial settings, and gray does not have to be the limit of your color palette, unless of course you want it to be!
Concrete is absolutely not restricted to a cold, hard-edged modern look either. With the wide array of decorative effects achieved by staining and sealing, you will be able to create qualities in your floor that gracefully echo wood, natural stone, leather… even tropical water with some of the adventurous aqua colored stains available!
Let’s not forget about the wide variety of effects such as mimicking tile, stenciling, embedding stones and objects as well as mixing and pairing different colors.
Common knowledge tells us that looking and feeling good go together. So let’s not forget to consider another aspect of the beauty of concrete floors, they are healthy!
Concrete is recyclable, does not emit dangerous VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and doesn’t provide a place for allergens to collect . The staining process itself creates minimal waste and will last a lifetime.
The Comparatively Low Cost of Concrete Floor
Stained concrete flooring is for those with marble taste on a linoleum budget, really!
While there are many factors to consider including the complexity of your design goals and the type of products used, the cost per square foot of a basic stained and sealed concrete floor compared with other types of flooring is one of the least expensive options at $2.50 – $5 per square foot on average.
When you consider the lifespan of the different flooring options available, concrete could very well come out as the best possible value.
Many types of flooring are vulnerable to staining, water damage, and general deterioration over time. For all it’s beauty, concrete is still superior when it comes to strength and durability . Properly stained and sealed, you can easily expect your concrete flooring to outlive you.
If you decide that you are equipped and ready to take on the staining process yourself, the costs will be hard to beat. Considering the overall cost comparison with other flooring types, even when working with top of the line staining products, you are still getting a better value.
The Ease of Cleaning and Maintaining Concrete Floors
Low maintenance and easy cleanup are one of the major advantages of concrete flooring. A good sealer is your first line of defense in establishing easy maintenance. Applying a good sealer to your flooring not only adds shine and beauty, it goes a long way in keeping dirt, stains and debris out.
Keeping dirt and dust off the surface of stained concrete flooring is no more difficult than the sweep of a dry dust mop. Washing with a mild cleanser as-needed will take care of any spills or buildup, and an occasional layer of floor wax will bring out the shine.
Light foot traffic versus heavy foot traffic will make a difference in the amount of upkeep, but overall, a properly stained and sealed concrete floor is among the easiest to clean and maintain compared to other types of floor.
Carpeting is highly absorbent when it comes to spills and dirt, sort of like a cotton sweatshirt. Many people opt for hardwood flooring to avoid the hassle of dealing with a sponge-like carpet, but hardwood flooring is a lot like a “water resistant” rain jacket, whereas concrete is truly “waterproof”.
Besides day-to-day advantages of keeping a concrete floor looking clean and nice, there are definitely long term advantages. When you take into account the vulnerability of other common flooring materials to environmental damage like humidity, moisture damage, mold or even pests, concrete looks better all the time. You will never have to worry about your concrete floor rotting because of termites or water damage.
Treat your concrete floor well, and you will be rewarded with a virtually indestructible work of art that also doubles as a utilitarian floor.
The Durability of Concrete Floors
Ancient Roman structures still standing strong to this very day show that the durability of concrete speaks for itself. A properly installed concrete floor can easily see a newlywed couple through to their great grandchildren and beyond.
It is tough stuff! The amount of foot traffic and activity that a concrete floor can handle over a decade, for instance, would mean two or three replacements of carpeting in order to retain the same level of performance and appearance.
How many of the common flooring options out there can boast a replacement schedule of once every never?
The exceptional durability of concrete flooring means a lifetime of advantages, not only for your wallet, but also for the environment.
The longevity of a concrete floor means far less consumption of raw materials over time, and in many cases the concrete does not need to be mixed and poured new, as it is often already present underneath existing flooring of homes and buildings.
A Few Questions about Concrete Flooring
Are they hard? There are no two ways about it, concrete is hard. It’s true that there is no cushion on concrete as a walking or standing surface.
In a business environment, the hardness of concrete is beneficial to withstanding heavy foot traffic and use of machinery like forklifts. In a home, area rugs are a great way to add softness to the walking surface. Remember, one of the reasons concrete floors are so durable is because of their hardness.
Are they cold? Just like a natural stone or tile flooring, concrete can be cold, especially in the winter. But unlike those other flooring types, concrete is able to absorb and radiate heat. Installing radiant heat cables is an option that many homeowners choose for their concrete floors. If your home design allows a lot of natural light in throughout the year, this is a good way to warm up the floors too.
Will they crack? A lot of the issues with cracking are with new concrete that has been improperly poured. So unless there are problems with the foundation of the home or some sort of major trauma to the floors like an earthquake, cracks should not be a major concern, although some people think the cracks add beauty. There are ways to conceal cracks if and when they become bothersome.
Are they loud? They can be. So und will echo off concrete more so than some other materials, but just like any room with hard surface flooring, area rugs, furnishing and minimizing wide-open spaces will reduce the echo.
Are they slippery? Just like marble or linoleum, concrete floors can be slippery, but they don’t have to be. Stained sealed concrete can be every bit as beautiful as costly marble, for example, but unlike marble, a special slip-resistant additive can be used in the sealer. Common sense practices like keeping the floor free from wetness will help reduce slippage.
Concrete floors are not for every home. Not all décor will be a good match for stained concrete floors. However, if stained concrete will be a good fit in your home, make sure to do your research first. Before jumping in head first, spend plenty of time reading about the process and watching instructional videos.
We have a lot of resources available here at our site, and we would love to get you headed in the right direction.