The Disadvantages of Stained Concrete As Flooring
Stained concrete floors aren't cheap or maintenance free
By Stevie Donald
Stained concrete flooring has increased in popularity along with a growing interest in environmentally friendly building choices. By eliminating the need for carpeting, wood or vinyl flooring, it is a more economical choice that also improves indoor air quality, according to Anne Balogh of the Concrete Network. But stained concrete flooring is not without its disadvantages. While it may look good, once you've stained your floors you'll have to live with it, so weigh the pros and cons before you decide.
There are several types of concrete stains. Acid-based concrete stains are the most durable and also the hardest and most expensive to apply. The application process is best left to professionals, who must clean and etch the floor with strong chemicals before staining it. Solvent (oil-based) stains act like wood stain, penetrating and dyeing the concrete. Working with solvent stains also requires care because they're flammable and toxic. Water- and soy-based stains are environmentally friendly and easy to apply, but they can fade quickly.
Except for acid-based stains (which can be extremely expensive to apply), both solvent and water-based stains will need regular maintenance. Although you can probably apply these yourself inexpensively, factor in the cost of recoating and resealing them regularly. They are not maintenance-free flooring choices.
If you are bothered by cracks, blemishes and irregularities on your concrete flooring, don't expect concrete stain to hide them, because it won't. This is a matter of personal taste. Some people like the character and patina of an irregularly-colored floor, but if you're not one of them, stained concrete may not be for you. Water- and soy-based stains and solvent stains can fade quickly and may require annual refinishing to stay fresh.
Concrete flooring tends to feel colder to the feet. It also conducts heat, cold and sound so if you drop something breakable on the floor, it will shatter. To offset the effects of a hard, cool floor, you may need a lot of area rugs.
The finish can be unpredictable, and once done, it is difficult to change the color. If you ever move a wall or expand the room, it will be impossible to have a seamless, blended look to the flooring -- the new floor will take the stain differently. If the floor develops a crack, any patching and restaining you do will be quite obvious.
About the Author
Stevie Donald is a regular contributor to DexKnows. She has been a painting contractor since 1979.
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