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Fantastic Concrete Floor Finishes

Think of a concrete floor as a cold gray slab? We’ve got some other ideas for you.

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Scored Concrete

Scoring is a simple way to create interesting geometric patterns on a concrete slab. Score lines can be added to a freshly poured slab using a groover tool, or after the concrete has hardened using a circular saw or grinder with a diamond-tipped concrete-cutting blade. Score lines 1/16-inch to ¼-inch deep. The lines can be stained a contrasting color, or left natural.

 

Credit: WA Design

Image: Tahoe Ridge House
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  • Scoring is a simple way to create interesting geometric patterns on a concrete slab. Score lines can be added to a freshly poured slab using a groover tool, or after the concrete has hardened using a circular saw or grinder with a diamond-tipped concrete-cutting blade. Score lines 1/16-inch to ¼-inch deep. The lines can be stained a contrasting color, or left natural.

     

    Credit: WA Design

  • A concrete basement floor gets new life with a stain treatment. Once old tile was removed, the old slab was smoothed with a diamond grinder. Then a quick-drying, turquoise acetone stain was sprayed on. An epoxy filler and top coat of clear urethane complete a process that costs about $5 per sq. ft. Imperfections and variations in the concrete add color gradations to the final finish. The water-like look is perfect for this lakeside house.


    Credit: Joyce Cole of JAC Design/Goddard Construction/Unique Crete/R. Stoneman of HouseLens

  • Ideal for basements with moisture problems, this technique starts with a coat of concrete to smooth imperfections in a slab. The “planks” are outlined with fiber tape and a textured coating is sprayed on top and combed to simulate grain and knots. Then the tape is pulled up to create the edges and butt joints of the planks. Each plank receives a custom stain to create realistic variations in the “wood.” An epoxy topcoat and urethane sealer finish the job. Cost: $7-$9/sq. ft.


    Credit: Decorative Concrete Kingdom

  • This dramatic, black concrete floor is on the upper story of a house. Because the installers used lightweight concrete and a thin (½- to ¾-inch thick) overlay application, no additional structural support was necessary. The eco-friendly, water-based black stain has low VOCs and is ideal for interior use. Slight variations in the color and normal wear will eventually give the floor a unique, rich patina. Cost: $12-$18 per sq. ft. (add $1-$2 per sq. ft. for prepping the subfloor, if necessary).


    Credit: Mode Concrete

  • Thorough prep — especially removing any trace of oils or grease on the existing slab — were keys to success for this DIY stained concrete floor. The homeowners used tape to mask off faux grout lines, then applied an acid-free, ultra-low-VOC stain ($40/gal. covers 400-500 sq. ft.) Once dry, the tape was removed and the grout lines were colored by hand. The topcoat sealer didn’t hold up to dog traffic, so the owners resealed using a stronger water-based, acrylic-urethane product ($85/gal. covers 200 sq. ft.)


    Credit: LauraMakes.com

  • This technique for coloring concrete floors results in mottled patterns that mask imperfections. The acid stain penetrates the concrete surface, and must be neutralized and washed off at the right moment. By adding different hues, you get marbled and swirled patterns of color. A DIYer can tackle it, but it’s a tedious process that benefits from experience. Buy acid stains at home improvement stores. 1 gallon: $60; covers 200 sq. ft. A pro will charge $3-$6 per sq. ft.


    Credit: Table Mountain Creative Concrete, Golden, Colorado

  • A floor design like this one is part art, part technical expertise. First, the concrete is buffed smooth. Then the design is laid out using chalk lines, and the pattern is scored onto the floor using a circular saw with a diamond blade. Acid stains are used to color in the design, and finally the floor is waxed to a soft glow. Cost is $3-$6 per sq. ft.


    Credit: Texas Stained Floor

  • Paint is an easy way to spruce up slab floors. Clean an old slab thoroughly, then apply a concrete primer ($20/gal.) followed by concrete floor paint ($30-$40/gal.) But don’t stop there; how about decorative touches that’ll make your floor a work of art? Mylar stencils, such as this one featuring French poetry (52-by-22-inches; $89) and a postmark stamp (15-by-8-inches; $24), let you add a touch of glam to painted concrete. Protect your work under a clear urethane finish.


    Credit: Royal Design Studio

  • Concrete engraving adds exceptionally crisp detail to stained concrete floors. First, an acid stain is used for the overall color. Then a design is incised into the concrete by hand using precision engraving tools — special plastic stencils help guide repeating motifs. Concrete artists add color to the intricate designs using water-based stains. When dry, everything is protected with clear urethane.


    Credit: Carpet Tech

  • A blah concrete floor becomes a parfait of hues using colorants in a layer of clear epoxy. First, the floor is painted a tan base coat and allowed to dry. Then a coat of clear epoxy is applied. While the clear coat is still wet, powdered colorants are sprinkled in, and the mixture is blended to create swirling patterns of color. The finish is slip-resistant; cost starts around $6.50/sq. ft.

    Want more cool concrete ideas? Check out these imaginative ways to use concrete around the home.


    Credit: Elite Crete Systems’ Reflector Enhancer

  • If you like these, you may want to take a spin through HouseLogic’s library of slideshows.

     

  • Scored Concrete
  • Dive Right In
  • Concrete Wood
  • Trés Chic, and Trés Lightweight
  • DIY Effect
  • Acid Staining
  • The Star of the House
  • J'aime mon plancher! (I love my floor!)
  • Engraved Design
  • Rainbow Swirl
  • Like our slideshows?
  • scored-concrete
  • dive-right-in
  • concrete-wood
  • tres-chic-and-tres-lightweight
  • diy-effect
  • acid-staining
  • the-star-of-the-house
  • jaime-mon-plancher-i-love-my-floor
  • engraved-design
  • rainbow-swirl
  • more-slideshows
  • Image: Tahoe Ridge House
  • Image: JAC Design/Goddard Construction/Unique Crete/R. Stoneman of HouseLens
  • Image: Decorative Concrete Kingdom
  • Image: Mode Concrete
  • Image: LauraMakes.com
  • Image: Table Mountain Creative Concrete, Golden, Colorado
  • Image: Texas Stained Floor
  • Image: Royal Design Studio
  • Image: Carpet Tech
  • Image: Elite Crete Systems’ Reflector Enhancer