Concrete flooring is recognized for its durability and extensive application in both residential and commercial architecture. Does this type of flooring catch your interest?

In this guide, I will provide a comprehensive review of concrete flooring, including:

  • Features (Pros and Cons)
  • Types
  • Construction (Step-by-Step)

Let’s get started.

concrete-flooring-picture

Concrete Flooring

Features (Pros & Cons)

Concrete flooring is an excellent choice for any space. It’s durable, easy to clean and maintain, and it boasts a beautiful aesthetic once polished. Concrete flooring is also relatively easy to repair should any damage occur over time, making it a prime choice for house and commercial floorings. Concrete floors come with plenty of advantages but also some disadvantages which I’ll elaborate on below:

Pros

Cons

  • Eco-Friendliness: Made from natural materials, concrete flooring is harmless to human health and suitable for various places.
  • Moisture & Chemical Resistance: Concrete flooring has superb moisture and chemical resistance.
  • High-Strength & Durability: Concrete flooring exhibits high strength and long-term durability.
  • Smooth & Uniform Surface: Concrete flooring can produce a smooth, uniform surface.
  • Fire Safety: Concrete flooring demonstrates good performance in fire safety.
  • Dust-Free: The surface, when specially treated, does not produce dust.
  • Hygienic: Resistant to bacterial growth, mold, and rotting, making it very hygienic.
  • Longevity: Properly-maintained concrete flooring can last 20-30 years without the need for repairs.
  • Compatibility: Soft and hard floor coverings can be installed on top of a concrete floor.
  • Heated Flooring: It can be utilized for under-floor heating.
  • Affordability & Accessibility: Concrete and its additives are readily available and affordably priced at retail stores.
  • Decoration Cost Savings: Concrete flooring’s aesthetic and practicality can save on flooring decoration expenses.
  • Ease of Operation: Pouring technique allows you to create a smooth concrete floor with your hands.
  • High Hardness: Concrete is hard, thus more likely to cause injury if a person falls or to shatter fragile items like glass or ceramics. Therefore, it’s less suitable for nurseries or bedrooms unless paired with thick, soft carpeting.
  • Cold Temperature: Concrete floors can be cold underfoot unless a radiant floor heating system is used.
  • Design Limitations: The formal aesthetic of concrete flooring does not suit all interior design styles, such as cozy Provencal interiors or Shabby Chic and country designs.
  • High Cost: Although concrete itself is an inexpensive material, some special treatments required for floor coatings could substantially increase costs.
  • Need for Special Treatment for Water Permeability: While high-quality concrete has low permeability, a special compound treatment is still necessary to completely seal the floor surface.
  • Post-Treatment Requires Professional Equipment: Mechanical and chemical methods, requiring specific equipment, are necessary for post-construction grinding and polishing.
  • Heavy Weight: The weight of concrete- around 2000-2600 kg/m³- may not be suitable for some weight-sensitive structures.
  • Long Installation Period: It generally takes 15-20 days to fully harden.

4 Types Concrete Flooring Finishes

Previously, we’ve discussed the various types of finishes for industrial concrete flooring. However, for residential and commercial concrete floors, the finishing options are more varied and the aesthetic requirements are often greater. Commonly used finishes include polished concrete, stained concrete, epoxy resin, and overlay layers (such as tiles and pebbles). To further explore these, we have prepared a table comparing their advantages and disadvantages.

Polished Concrete Floor

Polished Concrete Floor

Polished Concrete

Advantages:

  • Moisture and Mold Resistance: Polished concrete is unsusceptible to moisture damage and mold, making it an excellent choice for homes with allergy or asthma sufferers.
  • Versatility: Polished concrete offers unlimited color and design choices for business owners and homeowners.
  • Durability: Polished concrete flooring is known for its ability to withstand high traffic and long-term everyday use.
  • Low Maintenance: The smooth and sturdy surface of polished concrete requires minimal upkeep, as it is easy to clean and long-lasting in its shine.
  • Economical: Polished concrete flooring is a durable, cost-effective alternative to other types of flooring materials.
  • Eco-Friendly: Polished concrete flooring promotes sustainable building practice as it reduces the need for additional materials.

Disadvantages:

  • Hardness: Though the hardness of concrete contributes to its durability, standing for lengthy periods can become uncomfortable.
  • Coldness: Like tiles, polished concrete can feel very cold underfoot. This might not be an issue in warmer climates or if floors are exposed to sunlight, but can be a disadvantage in colder climates.
  • Slipperiness: Polished concrete floors can be extremely slippery, especially when wet. This can be a significant risk in areas prone to spills or near outdoor entrances.
  • Noise: Concrete surfaces can be quite loud and echoey. In some settings, this can be a marked disadvantage, especially in environments requiring a bit of quiet.
  • Installation Difficulty: Installing concrete flooring is a complex process that involves precision and must be done just right; if not, you risk wastage of materials and time.
  • Staining and Damage: While sealing concrete floors can prevent water and stains from penetrating, the sealant tends to wear over time. Unsealed concrete is porous, hence, liquids may easily be absorbed, causing deep stains.
  • High Maintenance: Despite its relative ease of cleaning, polished concrete requires regular upkeep to maintain its shine. This usually involves periodic waxing or resealing.
Stained Concrete Flooring

Stained Concrete Flooring

Stained Concrete

Advantages

  • Durability: Stained concrete offers long-lasting, semi-transparent colors that won’t chip, flake, or peel, ensuring durable color finishes.
  • UV resistance: Stained concrete provides excellent UV resistance, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications.
  • Aesthetic versatility: Stained concrete finishes enhance surface colors and textures in unique and creative ways, radically transforming both interior and exterior design.
  • Cost-effective: Concrete staining is a quick and inexpensive technique to enhance the aesthetic appeal of concrete surfaces.
  • Variety of finishes: The application of colored stains to concrete can achieve a range of finishes, from natural earth tones to vibrant shades, imparting attractive and unique appearances to concrete surfaces.

Disadvantages

  • Color limitations: You may not get the exact color you want when using concrete stains. Stains react differently to different types of concrete, making them somewhat unpredictable and causing color variations.
  • Maintenance: Some types of stained concrete may require regular waxing or sealing to maintain their appearances.
  • Difficulty in changes: Once concrete is stained, changing or removing the color may be a difficult and expensive process.
  • Highlighting imperfections: Stains are semi-transparent; they don’t hide surface flaws. Any cracks, pits, or other defects in the concrete remain visible after the staining process.
Epoxy Flooring

Epoxy Flooring

Epoxy Flooring

Advantages

  • Spill-resistant: Epoxy floorings protect underlying concrete floors, repelling various liquids. This makes accidental spillages easy to clean up.
  • Brightness enhancement: Epoxy floors form a shiny high-gloss surface, significantly improving the brightness of indoor areas.
  • Durability: Epoxy flooring offers a wear-resilient and robust surface, capable of withstanding heavy and continuous traffic. With proper maintenance, its lifespan can extend between 10 to 20 years.
  • Resilience: Epoxy flooring can withstand various factors, including chemicals, impacts, and water.
  • Customizable: Compared to ceramic tiles and hardwood flooring, epoxy floors provide almost limitless customization options.

Disadvantages

  • Long curing time: Epoxy flooring requires a significant amount of time to cure, which may be inconvenient for busy households or businesses unable to tolerate downtime.
  • Strong toxic fumes: Epoxy flooring emits strong fumes during the installation process, which can potentially be hazardous to health.
  • Slippery surface: Epoxy floors can become extremely slippery when wet, posing a safety risk.
  • High maintenance cost: Epoxy flooring, while durable, may require frequent maintenance and repairs, which could be costly.
  • Cold and hard to feet: Walking on epoxy flooring might be uncomfortable as it can feel cold and hard underfoot.
  • Fracture and cracking: The floor is prone to shattering and cracking, which might lead to potential damage over time.
  • Professional installation required: Installation typically requires hiring a professional as DIY installation may result in substandard flooring.
Overlay Flooring

Overlay Flooring

Overlay Flooring (Covering with other functional finishes on top of concrete, for example, tiles and wooden flooring)

Advantages

  • Design flexibility: With floor overlays, you can select from a variety of colors, materials, and textures to fit your interior design. This offers a broader range of design options than those provided by concrete finishes.
  • Comfort: Certain types of flooring, such as wooden flooring, offer a warm comfort to a room that concrete cannot provide.
  • Maintenance: While concrete floors are easy to keep clean, many flooring materials also offer similar levels of simple cleaning and maintenance.
  • Sound absorption: Some flooring materials, like carpets and wood floors, can absorb noise, creating a quieter environment.
  • Durability: Flooring materials like ceramic or stone offer a higher degree of wear resistance compared to concrete.

Disadvantages

  • Cost: The purchase and installation of flooring materials are often more costly than the prep and finishing of concrete floors.
  • Maintenance: Flooring materials may require more cleaning and maintenance. For instance, wooden floors may require waxing, and some materials like dark stone may show scratches or wear more easily.
  • Durability: While many flooring materials have good durability, their lifespan is often shorter than that of concrete floors. Flooring materials can fade, wear, and even rupture under heavy load or abrasion.
  • Installation and replacement: If you choose to install flooring over concrete, you would face additional labor and costs when replacing the flooring. In contrast, concrete flooring is easier to update and embellish.

Construction Method (Step-by-Step)

In the technology of building concrete floors, it can typically be divided into 7 stages:

Marking and Calculation for Concrete Flooring

Marking and Calculation for Concrete Flooring

1. Marking and Calculation

Measure the perimeter of the walls with a tape measure to determine the floor area. Then, use a level or laser level to find the highest and lowest points of the base. This will allow you to determine the optimum thickness of the screed. The required volume of concrete is calculated by multiplying the area of the room by the thickness of the future leveling layer.

By vertically installing a ruler at different locations in the room, the differences in the base can be determined. The lowest point in the room is where the laser shows the highest value on the ruler scale. Conversely, the highest value is the lowest point on the ruler.

Base Preparation for concrete flooring

Base Preparation for Concrete Flooring

2. Base Preparation

The surface should be dust-free and primed to increase the adhesion of the solution to the ceiling.

Dust is removed using an industrial vacuum cleaner. Then, a primer is applied to the floor using a roller. The next stage can proceed after a two-hour wait.

Installation of Insulation Layer for Concrete Flooring

Installation of Insulation Layer for Concrete Flooring

3. Installation of Insulation Layer

Insulation material is typically laid out before installing the screed on the ground. It is also often used to level the floor. Polystyrene foam blocks or expanded clay backfill are suitable for this purpose.

Waterproofing for Concrete Flooring

Waterproofing for Concrete Flooring

4. Waterproofing

For rooms with high humidity, like bathrooms, waterproofing measures should be provided to ensure that lower floors are not flooded in emergency situations.

This is usually done using coating methods, like adhesive applications. There are also roll materials such as roofing felt and thick polyethylene. With these methods, waterproofing applies not only to the floor but also to the lower 10-15 cm of the walls, as well as the walls within shower and bathtub areas.

Installation of Damping Tape around Walls

Installation of Damping Tape around Walls

5. Installation of Damping Tape around Walls

This compensates for possible thermal expansion of the screed, preventing it from leaning against walls and forming cracks. This is particularly important if underfloor heating pipes are laid within the screed.

Concrete Preparation and Pouring

Concrete Preparation and Pouring

6. Concrete Preparation and Pouring

Use concrete to gradually fill the floor, pouring the mixture directly onto it from the bucket during mixing. You should start from the opposite side of the room when laying out the solution. This process, known as “concrete screeding” can be performed using a hand screed.

To release the air in the solution and avoid forming cavities within the screed, it is recommended to use a vibrating screed to vibrate concrete.

After Pouring Concrete

After Pouring Concrete

7. After Pouring Concrete (Typically after 5-10 hours)

the hardness of the screed is sufficient to walk on while its surface remains workable. During this period, you can do concrete troweling and finishing work with a trowel equipment. For larger areas, you might also need to cut expansion joints in the concrete.

Conclusion

Concrete floors are suitable not only for industrial plants, but also for private homes. The right flooring is not only a functional structure but also a decorative addition to your home. Using modern materials and techniques, you can build the perfect concrete floor.

Are you also interested in concrete flooring? If you have other questions, you can leave a message below to discuss with us.