Concrete Kitchen Floor Info & Insights — Good Questions Apartment Therapy

Concrete Kitchen Floor Info & Insights?

Q: I have been thinking about flooring options for my kitchen and am considering simple light grey concrete to replace the cheap and chipped beige ceramic tile. Apartment Therapy readers have you any experiences to share? Cost? Working with contractors? Maintenance?

Regina Yunghans


Much better looking, true, but oh so tiring to stand on while cooking.

I have a certified Home-catering kitchen (and am in there ALL the time!) with concrete floors. I love it for cleaning etc. but find a good-quality anti-fatigue mat is pretty key where you chop. We pigmented the concrete before pouring (solomon colors, mauve) and love it- a nice natural color. We used a topical sealer, which can scratch, but ends up with a nice patina-ed effect. I highly recommend it.

If there is already a concrete slab, you may be able to just do a topping slab that’s 2″ thick or so. This is still quite a lot of thickness to add to a floor. If you want it to be flush with your other floors, you’ll probably have to do some serious demolition. (It is unlikely you’ll be able to clean the grout from the tiles off of an existing concrete slab.)

Concrete floors require periodic sealing every couple years, depending on traffic. (Bare concrete stains easily, and would absorb any oils or strongly colored food spills.)

And suzee’s right — it’s very hard, both on your feet and any dishes you might drop.

My father installs decorative concrete floors for a living and my parents’ house has beautiful concrete floors so perhaps I can give you some insight!

First of all, it will eventually crack. Saw-cut joints can prevent the spread of cracks, but as the foundation of the house shifts, the concrete will settle and crack almost for sure. don’t expect miracles!

Do you have a basement in your home? People seem to enjoy concrete floors best when they have radiant heat. My parents do not have a basement, so when they build the foundation to their home, they installed a radiant heat system before pouring the concrete floors. Otherwise, they feel pretty cold all the time.

As far as maintenance goes, a coat of sealer every few years. Being indoors, it doesn’t take as heavy of a beating as a patio, for example, but eventually heavy traffic areas will need to be resealed. Too much sealer causes cloudiness and is costly and messy to strip off.

Concrete is more versatile than many people think! It can be colored before drying with powdered color hardener, colored after installation with acid stains, cut and stained to look something like tile, and even etched with acid to create beautiful designs.

There’s some indoor photos on my dad’s website here if you’re interested in getting some ideas!

Do you know what the sub floor is? If it is concrete it would probably be pretty easy for a contractor to give it some new life. They could also pour a leveling layer of concrete if the existing floor is uneven.

I recently worked on a project where we installed concrete counter-tops. The price was comparable to a stone installation. not as cheap as one might think. Another option might be to do a porcelain tile. There are some really great options out there right now that are large format tiles and have a great concrete look.

Good luck with your project!

From fellow landscape architects, saw cutting concrete doesn’t prevent cracks but it helps guide them. Again, concrete is not kind to your joints, so if you plan to do a lot of cooking, you’ll need those gel-like mats. A few other minuses: it’s cold on bare feet, falling glass items will break, and if it gets chipped or plumbing needs to be replaced, patching will look terrible.

For that kind of $ and effort, I’d research other options. I’ve heard great things about cork and true linoleum. Kinder on your feet for starters. Good luck!

Have you considered a poured resin floor?

They are very popular in Europe, and have been for many years. Unlike concrete, you can get them in pretty exciting colours. As well, like rubber, they are very comfortable underfoot, have good sound properties, and are hygienic.

You can get them with textural aggregates mixed in as well.

Since they aren’t as common in North America, you may not be able to find them locally, but it’s worth looking into. As a compromise, we went with rubber flooring.

Here’s a website from England:

We have concrete floors in our loft and while I love the look it wasn’t sealed enough and has stained over the years. Make sure yours gets really sealed.

Yeah, you didn’t ask for this, but concrete feels awful to stand and work on, even with a gel mat, as it isn’t just the hardness of the florr surface, but also how much give there in in the subfloor. Wood, real linoleum (a natural product), cork and rubber are far preferable for the body. But then, I find tile almost as tiring as concrete, and you didn’t mention minding the hardness of that. Probably due to age. my guess is that you are not yet in your 40s. that’s when the fat pads on the bottom of the feet start to thin out, and the joints start to let you know they are there, and when hard floors really started to bother me. If you plan to stay there a long time, or think you may not want to preclude most people over 50 from the market for your resale, consider one of the softer choices. your older self may then thank your younger self.

Concrete is great if you like surfaces that acquire a patina over time. If you prefer that a surface look spotless and pristine, I would advise you to avoid concrete at all costs. My concrete kitchen counter tells a story of each little drip or drop over the past two years. It’s a rustic, lived-in look.

Take out the old tiles and replace them with some post-modern tiles. Take your time to find a good match for your cabinets and lighting.

My apartment has concrete floors, countertops, and shower. They look like they were stained, but the landlord has not taken the time to treat the concrete or re-seal it and the color is faded in some spots and dirty in others. It’s impossible to clean so my counters look dirty all the time. It drives me crazy. I do love the look of grey natural concrete with a high polish, and a coat of clear on top, I’m not sure the technical name for it. But unless you want to commit to that kind of look with all the upkeep it requires, I would say steer clear. It does not age well at all. If I could choose, I would pick wood, or tile. Something that’s easy to clean. But I cook a lot, this may not be an issue for you.

This article from Dwell has a cheaper alternative:

installing half-inch-thick smooth fiber-cement panels instead of poured concrete. The contractors at Les Constructions JJL attached the Finex panels to the subfloor with stainless steel screws, finished them with a sealer by Sika, and piped a line of water-resistant exterior caulking between each one to allow for subtle expansion and contraction due to humidity.

concrete won’t be any «harder» than your existing ceramic tile, but as many posters have pointed out, really only works well if the house is set-up for it. the beautiful, decorative concrete floors you see in modern spaces are usually designed and poured (with the proper mix, finishing and coloring) to be a finished floor. most existing concrete floor are meant to be a slab and therefore hard to get to that finished state. no impossible, but hard. a few points:

— unless your kitchen is already on a concrete slab, forget about it. if so, look at refinishing the existing slab more than pouring anything new.

— anything less than a few inches is really only a «topping» (usually called «ardex») that will likely chip and crack (and flake off) in a matter of a few years, especially is something is dropped (i.e. a dish, pan)


— old school linoleum. look at forbo’s marmoleum.

— VCT. a solid color can look interesting.

— as stated: concrete or more-interesting tile: porcelain or slate

good luck.

depending on when the tiles were installed, they might have been set in a mud base (

2″ thick concrete) — so when you demo’d out the tiles you’d take the base with it, then pour a new slab (with welded wire fabric) control joints are critical to keep cracking where you want it,

5′ centers is a good start. As long as you use a commercial sealer you should be good to go, I’ve seen warehouse floors that were sealed properly have very few problems years down the line (of course, they usually aren’t drinking red wine in them either so no idea how that works).

Six months ago, we purchased a mid-century rancher in southwest florida and promptly removed the existing carpet, tile and linoleum floors. Our initial plan was to polish the underlying concrete ourselves, and very quickly we revised that plan after finding that the subfloor needed some rejuvenation. We found tons of useful information on as well, and after meeting with three or four local concrete guys we hired the one who seemed most knowledgeable (incidentally, his also was the highest estimate). He poured a thin layer of new concrete throughout the house (except bathrooms) and applied a troweled finish at our request. The finished product was left a natural grey color (like the picture in the original post) and sealed with high gloss. We absolutely love our floors. I cook a lot and have had no pain in feet or joints. Now that the daily temperature around here is consistently in the mid-80s, we’re also excited that the floors stay so cool so that don’t have to run the A/C during the day.

My in-laws did concrete and hated the dark and uneven color. They eventually put giant oversized square grey tiles on the floors and it looks so much homier and pulled-together.

hello, i recommend inatech finishing center, experts in stamped concrete, this are a good way for make more beautiful and durable your concrete floor

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