Pros and cons of choosing a concrete floor
Cost: Concrete floor coverings are relatively inexpensive. According to ServiceSeeking, the average cost per m2 is at about $AUD55. A basic flooring project can go as low as $AUD50/m2, and a decorative flooring job can go for as much as $AUD60/m2.
Durability: One of concrete’s main advantages is its strength. It doesn’t require a lot of upkeep – as long as it’s been sealed and polished, it’ll maintain its appeal for years. It’s also resistant to fire, stains, water and bacteria.
Appearance: Those who don’t consider concrete as an attractive flooring material need to rethink their concept of concrete. It can blend with natural materials like stone, timber and brick to create an industrial-chic design. It can also go with the soft, neutral palette of a Scandinavian-style house. But grey isn’t your only choice of colour – you can dye, paint or stain concrete floors to produce tons of desirable effects.
Cracking: Concrete can crack due to changes in temperature, moisture and settling. And, you can’t ignore it when it does, either. Cracks can spread and cause you to redo the entire floor.
Toughness: Concrete’s hard surface can also be a disadvantage. It’s not the most comfortable material to step on, and it can hurt if you slip and fall. Placing area rugs will soften the space, but might not be what you’re looking for if you want a clean, minimalist design.
Temperature: Concrete doesn’t insulate heat. It’s going to feel cold on your feet, especially in the winter. Ask your contractor to add underfloor heating to solve this issue.
How are concrete floor finishes installed?
Installation depends on the technique you use or coatings you want. Here are your options for concrete floor finishes.
Polished concrete: While raw concrete can look rough and unrefined, polished concrete floors look sleek and elegant. Don’t worry about learning how to polish concrete – the process is quite simple. Rent a floor polisher and grind the concrete down until it’s smooth. Apply a concrete sealer to protect the surface.
If you don’t have pre-existing concrete, you can buy pre-mixed concrete from Boral.
Epoxy concrete: Epoxy is applied by using a sander to prep the concrete surface, then rolling two-part epoxy resin. You can check your local home improvement store for concrete paint prices, but water-based epoxy generally costs about $AUD159.
While applying epoxy using rollers is an easy, DIY solution, it creates a slightly rougher texture. You can also go for a self-levelling epoxy system, which forms a smooth and level texture on the surface. It’s more advisable to hire a professional for self-levelling epoxy because it’s formulated differently.
Concrete overlay: While polishing or painting involves refining an existing concrete slab, concrete overlay involves pouring new cement. Applying cement or polymer overlays add colour and texture, and they can also function as a leveller for uneven flooring.
13 concrete flooring ideas
If you’re wondering how to do a concrete floor correctly, take inspiration from the following ideas. Here, you’ll see the vast potential of concrete flooring.
13. Use it in the bathroom
Concrete is water-resistant and easy to clean, making it ideal for a bathroom. Remember to add an anti-slip finish or surface treatment.
12. Black and white
When painted black, concrete creates a stunning contrast against white cabinets and walls.
11. Make it clean and neutral
Light-coloured concrete goes well with rustic barn doors and neutral accessories.
10. Experiment with the shades of grey
Make your house look like it’s from a classic black-and-white film by choosing shades of grey for every corner.
9. Keep it simple
Concrete and wood are a match made in heaven. Pair them together to create a modern rustic home.
8. Play with exposed aggregate
Grind the top of the concrete to expose the aggregate, and you’ll get a multi-coloured floor that’s both beautiful and durable.
7. Try weathered wood stained stamped concrete
Get the look of weathered wood tiles with stamped concrete. This involves using a stamper on wet cement to create interesting textures like wood grains.
6. Make patterns
Paint concrete in several interesting colours to make gorgeous patterns. The sky’s the limit for what you can create.
5. Install concrete floor panels
You don’t need to lay down cement if you want concrete floors. You can buy polished concrete floorboards as if you were installing tiles.
4. Apply an acid stain
Play with bold colours by applying an acid stain. You’ll never say concrete is a boring flooring option again.
3. Burnished concrete
Compared to polishing, burnishing is a less expensive option that produces the same smooth, refined finish.
2. Epoxy concrete flooring
Epoxy creates a stunning glossy effect. It’s available in a variety of colours and can be styled into different patterns.
1. Stick with polished concrete floors
Nothing beats the original. The smooth, grey finish is perfect for a minimalist or industrial-chic space.
Add a wooden picnic table to create a modern yet rustic, barn-style home.
Do away with any of the ornaments, and you’ll still have a gorgeous space.
Complete your industrial-chic interior by pairing your concrete flooring with a suspended concrete staircase.