In our recent guide to the best flooring for your kitchen we gave you an overview of the most popular flooring options for your new kitchen. Here, in the first of a series of new blog posts, we’re going to take a much more in depth look at each option starting with one of the more unique choices…a concrete kitchen floor. Laying concrete in your kitchen is not the most obvious choice and won’t suit everybody’s taste but in the right home or apartment it can look amazing and be incredibly functional.
In this Home Flooring Pros guide we will consider the pros and cons of concrete kitchen floors as well as examining how to install concrete, how much it will cost and how to clean & care for your concrete. Finally we share some of the best ideas for concrete in a kitchen…you might be surprised at the many different styles available.
Pros and Cons of Concrete Kitchen Flooring
There are many benefits to installing concrete floors for the kitchen, as well as a few potential drawbacks to keep in mind.
Concrete kitchen floor advantages:
- The floor can be created from an existing slab or newly poured material
- It has a gorgeous stone-like appearance similar to natural stone when stained and pigmented
- Concrete offers nearly unlimited design options for color, texturing, staining, polishing and more
- It is low-maintenance and resistant to staining when properly sealed
- It’s ideal for use with radiant floor heating which is efficient and cost-effective
- Concrete is very durable and long-lasting (50 to 100 years)
- It does not contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in synthetic carpet, hardwood, vinyl, laminate and other flooring types
- Concrete costs are less than many other flooring types (See pricing information below)
Concrete kitchen floor disadvantages:
- Installing concrete kitchen flooring requires precise skills and timing for the process (pigmenting, pouring, finishing, staining, polishing and sealing the concrete), so this is a job only for professionals or the highly experienced
- Staining concrete can be hard to control in that if you want brown, for example, you’ll get brown but also faint veining-like highlights of the colors used to create brown such as red, yellow and black
- Without radiant floor heating a concrete kitchen floor will be pretty cold
- It is quite noisy and echoes like ceramic tile or hardwood
- Concrete flooring in the kitchen is susceptible to staining from water, oil, pet accidents and spills if not properly sealed and then resealed every one to three years
- It is obviously a very hard, unforgiving surface so may create discomfort when stood on for a long period of time
- And it will cause breakages far more easily than softer flooring materials when items are dropped on it.
- Concrete can chip if a very heavy object is dropped on it
- It will develop structural cracks if expansion joints are not properly installed
- And it might develop surface cracks, though some consider these part of its character
- Concrete costs are higher than some other flooring when multiple processes are included (See pricing information below)
Concrete Kitchen Floor Installation
Concrete installation requires between a couple of days to a couple of weeks to complete. Every project is unique, and the specific techniques your concrete flooring specialist uses will affect the time schedule.
Preparing existing kitchen concrete by removing old flooring and adhesive and/or cleaning the surface takes 1-2 days
Pigmenting, pouring and finishing the concrete takes 1 day
Stamping or embedding materials into the concrete must be done the day it is poured
An acid stained concrete kitchen floor takes 2-5 days depending on whether the entire floor is the same color (2 days) or a stone-look floor is created with multiple color “slabs” (up to 5 days). The stained concrete floor must often be covered for 2-4 more days to allow the stain to penetrate the concrete surface.
Polishing the concrete requires 1-3 days of work. Going over it with a 100-grit pad to create a matte finish takes a day. Using progressively finer sanding pads, up to 3,000-grit, requires several more days.
Sealing the kitchen concrete takes 1-2 days.
To Get Started
Concrete Kitchen Flooring Cost
As you can imagine, the price of concrete flooring in a kitchen depends on what you include in the process such as:
- Subfloor preparation and cleaning
- Slab installation
- Polishing from matte to gloss finishes
- Embedding of tile, stone, glass, etc.
Here’s an overview of your potential costs per square foot of installed and finished concrete flooring.
Concrete slab installation with one color and finished: $2.50 to $5.25
Saw cuts for design: Add $1 to $3
With saw cuts and additional colors to create a stone slab appearance: Add $$1.50 to $3.25
Acid staining the entire floor the same: Add $2.25 to $3.00
Acid staining small sections separately for a varied look: Add $3.25 to $5.00
Polishing: Add $2.00 to $4.50 ranging from low luster to high gloss
Application of coatings to create depth: Add $3 to $10
In short, your finished concrete costs will be as low as $2.25 per square foot for staining an existing concrete kitchen floor that is in excellent condition to $30 or more per square foot for a freshly installed floor with all the extras.
Cleaning Concrete Kitchen Floors
It’s important to keep gritty dirt off of the floor in order to prevent it from wearing away the sealer that protects the floor from stains. Therefore, sweep or vacuum the concrete floor regularly. If you use a vacuum, disable the rotating brush, so that it won’t damage the finish of the floor.
A soft cloth or mop with warm water should be used for stubborn dirt. Avoid detergents, since they can leave behind a residue which will dull the floor’s surface and may even stain the floor. Floor cleaners with harsh chemicals, citrus, vinegar or other acidic agents should never be used on concrete flooring.
A wax formulated for concrete flooring might also be advisable as protection. Consult your floor installer about using wax.
Concrete Kitchen Flooring Ideas
One of the many pros of concrete flooring is that it can be customized to deliver the look you want. Here’s an overview of your options.
Pigmenting (Colored) : Tint is added to the concrete floor to create nearly any color.
Acid staining: Direct acid staining permanently changes the surface color of the concrete so that it appears to have shades and veining like natural stone.
Embedding materials: Tiles, stone and glass are among the most popular materials to embed throughout the floor field or around the perimeter.
Metallic coatings: Epoxy coatings with metallic flakes create 3D depth in the surface. Read more about epoxy kitchen floors.
Stamping: Any design can be created and stamped into the surface.
Saw cutting: A saw is used to cut the surface of the finished concrete to create the appearance of randomly shaped stone slabs or uniform tiles.
Polish level: Depending on how fine the sanding material is, anything from a low-luster matte finish to a highly-reflective gloss can be achieved.
Take a look at our kitchen concrete floor Pinterest board to see these concrete ideas in action.
About the Author:
Jamie Sandford is the Owner and Chief Editor of Home Flooring Pros (find out more). After 12 years’ experience in screen and stage set construction followed by a further 15 years working in the home renovation/remodeling business he now writes and curates online home improvement advice.
“Buying and installing home flooring should be a fairly straightforward process, but often it isn’t. After more than 15 years’ experience in home flooring and remodeling, I started Home Flooring Pros in 2013 to help homeowners navigate the often-over complicated process of choosing, buying and installing a home floor. The aim is to save you time and money by helping you to make better floor buying decisions.”