Concrete floors are becoming increasingly popular in homes, businesses and restaurants that want to capture a chic industrial feel while also avoiding the high costs of installing hardwood or natural tile. Although stick-on tile is also a popular choice in some areas, with the right tools equipment, you can turn your concrete floor into a smooth, lustrous surface that complements any decor.
How to Finish Concrete Floors
There are several ways to finish concrete floors. Because of tradition, many people assume that they need to have wood floors or tile floors, especially in the home. The idea of a concrete floor may sound cold and uninviting — and even uncomfortable — but a finished concrete floor is a beautiful, sleek and modern looking space.
Finished concrete floors are popular in offices, restaurants, venues and even in luxury hotels and residencies. Depending on the kind of finish you are looking for, you may want to stain your concrete floors a certain color, or simply grind, smooth and polish them until they resemble smooth tile.
Before committing to something like stick-on tile, which can be a pain to install and replace, and doesn't boast much durability or longevity, take a look at some examples of a finished concrete floor. Whether you choose to stain or stamp the concrete, or simply polish it, learning how to finish concrete floors may help you make a great choice for your interior.
Finishing Concrete Floors
Finishing a raw concrete floor generally means grinding it down to a smooth, level surface, and then polishing it with a series of increasingly fine abrasives until it achieves a lustrous sheen. Typically, if you are beginning with a raw concrete floor, you will need to fill in any holes or cracks with an expanding epoxy. After it dries, you will use a professional grade grinder to bring the floor down to an even, level surface throughout.
Once you've evened out the floor, you can use the concrete polisher to polish it completely until it shines. At that point, you can decide to apply a stain or a paint to the surface of the floor. It's a good idea to apply at least three coats of stain or floor paint to a concrete floor. Concrete is strong, but paint can chip, even the most durable paint intended for outdoor use.
Once you've stained or painted the floor, you should seal it with a water-resistant sealant to protect it from any additional staining and to prevent any damage to the color you have chosen. You may also want to apply a stain-resistant coating to the floor to protect it from damage by exposure to chemicals, spills, foot traffic and other agents that may leave marks it's tough to get rid of.
Staining Concrete Floors
Staining concrete floors is slightly more time consuming and challenging of a job than painting. Depending on the type of stain you choose, your prep and application will be different. The acid-based stain has a limited color palette, but acid stains tend to last longer on concrete floors than the water-based stain.
To apply an acid stain to a concrete floor, you generally spray the stain across the surface of the floor, and then work it into the floor with a rubber broom or squeegee type tool. After the acid has been applied, a neutralizer should be applied to the surface of the floor to remove any acid residue. Allow the neutralizer and stain to dry overnight before mopping and drying the floor.
For water-based stain, you will only need to stain the floor, and then apply a sealant. Wait 24 hours between painting the floor and applying the sealant to ensure that everything is fully dried. Be sure to wipe the surface of the floor with a tack cloth or microfiber cloth before applying the sealant to ensure that no particles of dirt or grime sneak into the sealant.
Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience working in the home, design and interiors space.