Stained Concrete versus Wood and Other Flooring Materials

By Anne Balogh,

Decorative stained concrete offers a number of advantages that other flooring materials can't match, particularly when it comes to design versatility. Here, we compare stained concrete floors with some of the alternatives.

Wall-to-wall carpet Ceramic tile Vinyl or linoleum Wood or wood laminate Natural stone (such as slate or marble) Stained concrete

Available in a wide spectrum of colors Stained concrete has a unique beauty that's brought to life by different finishing and coloring techniques. There's no predetermined color palette to limit designs (see What Colors Are Available?)..

Yes Yes Yes No No Unlimited

Longevity and performance Few flooring materials have the longevity of concrete. Carpet, tile and even wood floors eventually need replacement, which uses up resources and creates disposal problems (see Durability and Resource Conservation).

Poor Good Good Good Excellent Excellent

Handcrafted and customizable Every concrete floor is unique, often customized with the input of the owner to blend with other architectural elements in a given space (see What's So Unique About Stained Concrete?).

No No No No No Yes

Can radiate heat and store solar energy Concrete flooring is often a central component of passive solar home designs, because the slab absorbs the heat of the sun during the day and releases the stored heat as needed at night. Concrete is also ideal for use with radiant floor heating systems.

No No No No Yes, depending on the material Yes

Vulnerable to humidity and moisture damage

Yes No Yes Yes No No

Can harbor mold, mildew, dust mites and other allergens Concrete is a great alternative to carpeting for people who are allergic to animal dander and dust mites. Concrete also is an inorganic material and won't support the growth of toxic mold (see Easier Breathing).

Yes No No Yes (mold and mildew, if the flooring becomes wet) No No

Average cost per square foot installed Depends on the complexity of the job. More elaborate stained concrete floors with multiple colors, borders, and stenciled or sawcut designs will cost more (see What Will I Pay for Stained Concrete?).

$3.38 - 6.61* $11 - 22* $2.64 - 5.64* $8 - 10 ** $20 - 50+ ** $2 - 15+ **Note: For stain application to an existing concrete slab.

* Source: Old House Web

* *Source: Bob Harris' Guide to Stained Concrete

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How to Make Concrete Look Like Marble

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