Your Ultimate Guide to Poured Concrete Flooring

By Amanda Lutz Updated May 13, 2024

Poured concrete floors are no longer exclusive to industrial buildings. They’ve become a sought-after flooring type in modern and minimalist design, with their clean lines and high-end aesthetic complementing uncluttered spaces. Concrete also offers some excellent benefits beyond appearance. It’s incredibly durable, low maintenance, and fire-resistant. Of course, there are also drawbacks, such as the potential for cracking and feeling cold underfoot. 

This guide explains the installation process, weighs the pros and cons, and provides insight into maintenance and repair. Keep reading to decide if poured concrete floors are right for your next home remodeling project. 


Design Possibilities with Poured Concrete Flooring

Poured concrete floors offer a canvas that can adapt to various aesthetics. You can vary the floor’s color, texture, and finish to create something suited to every style. 

Color

While industrial concrete is primarily light gray, mixing pigments into it will create almost any color you want. Introducing color pigments in the pouring stage can produce anything from an earthy tone to a vibrant pop of color. Acid staining after you’ve cured the concrete will provide variegated hues that bring out the concrete’s natural character. 

Finish

Sealants are the last step in finishing a concrete floor and will significantly impact the final look. Floor finishes determine the concrete’s sheen and create a protective top layer that can extend the floor’s life. Homeowners may choose penetrating sealers with a natural concrete finish or high-gloss finishes with a mirror-like effect. 

Texture

Manipulating the concrete’s surface can create interesting textural effects. Sandblasting or grinding the surface exposes the aggregate, which are the stones within the concrete mix, and gives it a more textured feel. Polishing concrete gives it a glassy, highly reflective finish. Stamping tools can create patterns or designs in wet concrete that mimic the tile look or add visual interest. 

Popular Concrete Flooring Designs

There are endless options for finishing poured concrete floors. Some of the most popular designs for concrete floors include: 


Benefits and Drawbacks of Poured Concrete Flooring

Poured concrete floors offer major benefits like durability and stunning aesthetics, but there are drawbacks to consider, such as coldness and comfort. Here are some key benefits and disadvantages you’ll want to consider before deciding if poured concrete is the right option for your home. 

Benefits

Drawbacks


Installing Poured Concrete Flooring

A flawless, long-lasting concrete floor requires professional installation. Experienced contractors have the expertise to properly prepare the subfloor, mix and pour the concrete, and finish the project beautifully. Here’s what you can expect from the floor installation process. 

Materials Needed

Installation Process

  1. Prepare the subfloor: You should start by inspecting the existing subfloor and ensuring it’s level. Apply a compacted crushed stone or gravel layer to create a stable foundation, then install a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from penetrating the concrete. 
  2. Create the framework: To define the edges, set up wooden or metal frames around the perimeter of where you’ll be pouring the concrete. You must place wire mesh, and sometimes rebar, within the forms to reinforce the concrete and minimize cracking. 
  3. Pour the floor: Next, you’ll mix the concrete and carefully pour it into the forms to fill the area evenly. 
  4. Level the floor: Level the concrete using a long leveling tool called a screed. A concrete vibrator removes air bubbles and compacts the concrete material. 
  5. Apply finishing touches: Once the concrete is set, smooth it using a hand trowel. This may be when you decide to use other techniques like stamping.
  6. Cure and seal the floor: Concrete floors will be moist for several days. Once you’ve cured the concrete, you can apply a concrete sealer, such as an epoxy, to enhance the final look and protect the floor. 

The installation typically takes a few days, or up to a week for larger spaces, and another week for curing. Your contractor can give you a more accurate time frame for your space.


Cost of Poured Concrete Flooring

The cost of a poured concrete floor will vary depending on several factors, but it generally falls within a midrange price point compared to other flooring options. On average, homeowners can expect to pay around $4,500 for a new concrete floor.* Learn more about what influences the price and how it measures against other flooring options. 

Factors Influencing the Cost of Concrete Floors

Concrete Flooring Option Cost Comparison

A poured concrete floor can be a budget-friendly option if you are happy with the look of basic sealed cement. However, the more intricate your design, the more you’ll pay, with costs rising to $10 per square foot or more. 

Concrete Flooring Cost Compared to Other Flooring Materials

Poured concrete is an excellent midrange option when compared to other flooring options. You might pay more than you would for carpet or vinyl, but its durability and low-maintenance needs make concrete more cost-effective in the long run. 

*Cost data in this article via Angi.


Maintenance and Repair of Poured Concrete Flooring

Poured concrete floors are renowned for being low maintenance, but a little care will go a long way in preserving their beauty. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your concrete floor looking its best. 

Cleaning and Upkeep

Regular sweeping is key to maintaining your concrete floor. Use a soft-bristled broom to remove dirt, dust, and debris that could scratch the finish. When you mop, use warm water and a pH-neutral cleaner to avoid damaging the finish. A few drops of dish soap in your mop bucket will do the trick. 

As long as you have a good sealer on top, it should be easy to mop up most spills. Blot them with a cloth, then clean the area with a mild detergent. If your concrete does stain, you may need to use a product specifically designed to clean concrete. 

Potential Repair Issues

Most concrete floors require very few repairs over their life span. If you do run into an issue, it’s likely to be one of these: 

If you aren’t sure how to address an issue with your concrete floors, consult a professional contractor. They can assess your floor and recommend the best course of action. 


Our Recommendation

Poured concrete flooring has become popular, particularly in modern and minimalist designs. Concrete is a versatile material ranging from clean and cool to warm and rustic. It’s low-maintenance and fire-resistant, and its durability can make it a cost-effective flooring option that lasts a lifetime.

But is it the best flooring for your home? If you love a modern, minimalist aesthetic, concrete’s clean lines and design possibilities will appeal to you. It’s also durable and eco-friendly, making it an even more attractive option. However, if your household includes young children or seniors, it may be wrong for you. Its coolness underfoot and inherent hardness are downsides you’ll need to consider for your home. 


Poured Concrete Flooring FAQ

What are the disadvantages of concrete floors?

Concrete floors are disadvantageous because they are cold, unforgiving on impact, and prone to cracking. They may not be suitable for homes with children or in colder climates. 

Are concrete floors a good idea?

Concrete floors can benefit homeowners who value beautiful, durable, and low-maintenance surfaces. However, you’ll need to consider comfort and budget. 

Is concrete floor cheaper than tile?

Concrete flooring can be cheaper than high-quality tile. Compared to other popular flooring options like hardwood or laminate, concrete generally falls within a midrange price point. 

What is poured concrete floor?

A poured concrete floor is a seamless surface created by pouring and finishing a concrete mixture on a prepared subfloor. It makes a modern aesthetic and offers excellent customization options. 

How long does poured concrete flooring last?

With the right maintenance, a poured concrete floor will last up to 100 years (sometimes more). Its life span will vary depending on thickness, installation quality, and foot traffic.