Concrete floors are cost effective, comparing favorably in price to wood flooring and ceramic or quarry tile. Even the most elaborate concrete flooring designs, with intricate designs and multiple colors, are less expensive than most terrazzo, marble, or slate – often by a wide margin.
Although there are many flooring options that are initially cheaper than concrete, when you amortize the cost of a concrete floor over its lifetime, the price can be comparable or even lower than other high-end flooring materials. A concrete floor will rarely, if ever, need replacement.
You can do things with concrete that you can’t do with any other flooring material. You can’t put a price tag on the self-expression possible with concrete floors.
When compared with high-end floor coverings, such as ceramic tile, slate and marble, decorative concrete is often an economical alternative. Plus, skilled concrete artisans can duplicate the look of these pricier materials.
Yet, the life expectancy of a concrete floor will far surpass that of most floor covering materials. That means in the long run you can save money because you’ll never need to rip out and replace worn or damaged flooring.
Yes, concrete can be cold, but no more so than ceramic tile or natural stone flooring. And yes, concrete floors can transmit moisture vapor if they aren’t insulated properly or if the slab is built on a poorly drained sub base.
But concrete doesn’t have to be cold. Its thermal properties give it the ability to store and radiate heat. For example, you can embed radiant heating cables in concrete floors, so they can stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Concrete floors can be slippery, especially when wet, but no more so than vinyl, linoleum, marble or ceramic tile floors. However, slippery floors can gain traction by mixing a nonslip additive into the stain or sealer before application.
Concrete floors can be loud and produce an echo effect, but no more so than ceramic tile, natural stone flooring, and hardwood or bamboo floors. You can muffle the sounds by using sound-absorptive materials such as area rugs, curtains and wall fabrics.
No type of flooring material is truly “maintenance free,” no matter what the manufacturer may claim. While concrete floors are relatively easy to maintain, compared with other types of floor surfaces, they aren’t completely maintenance free.
In most cases, residential concrete floors experience light foot traffic, and a simple cleaning regimen of occasional sweeping and damp mopping will keep concrete floors looking like new for many years. And when protected with a good sealer and a coat of floor finish or wax, concrete floors are highly resistant to staining, chemicals, and abrasion.