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Concrete Flooring: The Pros vs. Cons

Concrete flooring is growing in popularity as more homeowners realize the fantastic benefits concrete offers. Additionally, new processes and technologies have been developed to make concrete one of the most affordable and versatile flooring materials. There aren’t many disadvantages associated with concrete flooring. However, homeowners should consider whether the benefits of concrete flooring outweigh the few disadvantages.

Image courtesy of concretegrindandpolish.co.nz

The Benefits of Concrete Flooring

Eco-Friendly & Energy Saving – If sustainability and eco-friendliness are important to you, then concrete flooring is a great option. Concrete floors are eco-friendly for several reasons:

1) They use less energy in production compared to any other flooring type.

2) No trees need to be cut down.

3) Concrete is recyclable.

4) Choosing concrete floors helps minimize waste. Other flooring types create lots of waste, such as the waste from carpet padding and carpet scraps.

5) Concrete floors do not contain harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds), as many synthetic carpets do.

Concrete floors have energy-saving capabilities. They can make you feel cooler in the summer, so 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.

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.

Cost-Efficient – 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 cost results 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.

Design Options – There are literally endless design options. Concrete floor artisans can create and design a floor to your specifications.

Concrete Flooring

Durable – 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.

Improves Indoor Air Quality – Unlike carpeting, concrete floors do not harbor dust mites. For allergy sufferers, concrete floors can be a blessing.

Disadvantages

Professional Installation – Concrete floor installation must be installed by an expert. It cannot be completed as a DIY project, whereas other flooring types can.

Messy Installation – Concrete installation is an extremely messy process.
Care needs to be taken to protect the walls and furniture in your home during installation.

Hard and Cold – Some homeowners who have installed concrete floors report feeling cold, despite adding area rugs. Additionally, concrete floors can be tiring for those standing on it for a long period of time.

Re-sealing – While maintenance is rare for light traffic areas, concrete floors with high traffic must be re-sealed every few months.

Transmits Sound Easily – Even after placement of area rugs, some homeowners feel that concrete floors transmit too much sound and create echoes.

Not for Every Floor – Before considering a concrete floor, consult an experienced concrete contractor who has installed similar floors. Often, extra preparation to the subsurface and structural support is necessary and can add to your installation costs.

Cost – Custom designed concrete floors can be expensive. If you choose to add several colors and designs, you can end up paying $30 per square foot (or more).

Written by Marcy Tate, a home improvement blogger at Networx.com. She has been working with concrete contractors for over a decade. First image courtesy of concretegrindandpolish.co.nz; second image courtesy of decorateokc.net

This article originally ran on The World Floor Covering Association’s blog—FloorTalk.