When weighing up all your flooring options, you need to consider what will suit your aesthetic tastes, how your floor will measure up to your lifestyle and the treatment it will be dealt and how much you can afford to spend. With stained concrete flooring, you can be confident of appealing looks, low maintenance and economic benefits. No longer considered a poor man’s option, turning bare cement into gorgeous stained concrete flooring is not a matter of applying a couple of licks of sealer to the cold, gray harshness.
What is Stained Concrete
Specially formulated stains chemically react with the lime content in concrete, and lightly etch and bond the chosen color into the surface. Old or new slabs can be treated, though a little unpredictability exists in the case of old floors due to weathering, exposure to other chemicals and leaching of lime over time. All slabs will absorb the stain in varying degrees of intensity, resulting in an unevenness that lends an aged appearance.
Stained concrete flooring resembles marble or glazed stone; a very affordable way of creating a floor that looks a great deal more expensive. You can hire skilled artisans who, using mops, sprayers, brushes and other incredible effects, can transform your concrete into a work of art. The final step in the finishing process is to seal the surface with waterproof wax, which brings out the sheen, protects the coloring and provides more comfort underfoot.
Maintenance is a matter of mopping occasionally with floor wax and periodically reapplying the sealer or wax, depending on the volume of traffic the area experiences.
If you want a floor with a finish that outlasts all others in terms of longevity and low need for maintenance, stained concrete flooring is it. It is ideal for high-traffic areas, and does not attract dust or enable the growth of allergy-causing molds. The staining will last for as long as the concrete does and will only require re-waxing infrequently. The finish is attractive, permanent, affordable and perfect for an array of situations.
If cracks or uneven patches exist in the slab, staining will not conceal these. You should decide if this might be an issue for you but many people appreciate the character it adds. Acoustics could be a problem with stained concrete flooring in some areas of the house where you require absorption of noise. Softer floor coverings such as carpet and linoleum are more efficient in this regard, however adding rugs and furniture, and hanging drapes, will reduce this issue.
Some people dislike concrete because of its hardness but this can be overcome with furnishings. Stained concrete flooring can be uncomfortable to work on or to stand for long periods such as in the kitchen but people are often willing to compromise with the use of rugs and mats.
The do-it-yourself option makes stained concrete flooring even more affordable. Basic stains and wax can be purchased for around 25 cents per square foot. Specialized colors and commercial quality sealers can raise that to around $1.00 per square foot. However, this is a fairly unforgiving process and proper preparation of the concrete is key. Consider having a contractor give you some quotes for the job. Naturally, contractors costs will include markup on materials plus fees for labor.