Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Decorative Concrete

Concrete has become increasingly popular in many decorative applications like floors and countertops. It can be polished, colored, and textured with decorative aggregates. It is durable, cost effective, and easily maintained.

Concrete is primarily a mixture of water, aggregate, cement. Humans have been using concrete for thousand years, with the earliest known uses in the Nabataea culture about 7000BC. The Romans and the Greeks used concrete extensively, building some of the best known and preserved structures in the world such as the Pantheon and Colosseum. Concrete is known for its versatility, hardness, and longevity. Concrete has become even more versatile in modern applications by using high tech admixtures, which are materials, added to the concrete for color, flexibility, accelerators, and other desired characteristics.

Concrete floors and countertops can accent any space or decor. It can be protected through polishing or sealants. Polishing “densifies” the concrete by mechanical abrasives that seal the concrete surface. These types of concrete floor finishes can be seen in many industrial or retail floors settings. Another option is to apply a sealant to the finished floor, although it is less durable and requires more frequent maintenance. Polishing requires more up front investment since is a bit more labor intensive than just sealing, lasting over 10 years in high industrial traffic areas. The resulting surface is very low-maintenance and can be stained to replicate the look of polished stone.

Standard concrete floors can be about $3-7 per square foot, while polished concrete floors can be about $5-10 per square foot. Concrete countertops can be about $150-300 per linear foot. Concrete wears very well, is impervious to stains, mold, and is easy to maintain.

Comparing concrete floors to other floors depends on many factors other than cost. Wood floors, for example, are about the same cost, yet require refinishing about every 10-30 years, and are vulnerable to wear, water damage, and staining. Carpet and linoleum are the cheapest at about $3-10 per square foot, but are essentially disposable floors lasting only about 10-20 years or so. Ceramic tile can be cheap or expensive depending on the quality. The quality of the tile will dictate how long it lasts, although good quality tile can last 50 years, while cheap tile can last 10 or less. Tile can be anywhere from $12-75 per square foot, and require little maintenance except for the occasional re-grouting. Natural stone is great, being equally durable as tile and concrete, does take some maintenance like sealing and grouting, yet is the most expensive to purchase and install at about $25-80 per square foot.

Concrete is n versatile material that deserves its place as a great option for floors and countertops. There are many talented local contractors that specialize in concrete, so there is no need to go to the big box retailer on this one. You can also introduce in floor radiant heat systems for greater comfort.