Concrete Floors Are Trending—Here's Why You Should Consider This Affordable Alternative to Hardwood and Tile

This flooring type isn't just for industrial style homes.

industrial modern kitchen with concrete floor and gray island

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With its clean gray colorway and minimalist appeal, concrete flooring has long been a go-to staple in urban homes aiming for an industrial aesthetic. However, this design detail is increasingly making its way into homes that don't necessarily fit that "modern" mold, including rustic, farmhouse, and contemporary styles. 

"Today, concrete floors are mixed with more traditional finishes, like whitewashed brick, vintage wood beams, and Shaker-style cabinetry, which quickly balance out the stereotypically cold concrete. They are being used more commonly," says Jaimee Longo, interior designer and founder of The Layered House. 

Their rise in popularity is multi-fold, Longo says: For starters, concrete flooring provides a blank slate that's easy to work off of. It can quickly lean industrial, yes, but you can also make it feel warm with the right touches. Homeowners are also likely embracing concrete flooring for its affordability and eco-friendliness, adds Longo. "I think people are becoming more conscious of the environment, and the rising costs of materials and household bills which are now unavoidable," she says. "Forgoing wood flooring and choosing concrete floors in main areas of the home addresses both concerns." 

As with any flooring type, concrete comes with its own set of nuances. If you're contemplating taking the concrete floor route, keep reading to learn some of the benefits and considerations.

What Is Concrete Flooring?

Concrete flooring uses poured concrete slab as the finished surface without any other surfacing on top, such as hardwood, laminate, or carpet. "It can be poured as a subfloor or over a subfloor, depending on the project type," says interior designer Helena Brana, the founder of Brana Designs. "For example, in one of our remodeling projects, we took off engineered wood flooring and used the originally poured concrete from when the house was built in 2016."

The material itself is usually made from a combination of aggregate, sand, cement, and water, says Gideon Mendelson, the founder and creative director at Mendelson Group. A sealant is always required in order to keep moisture out and protect the concrete from scratches. This is done after the flooring is poured and set—and it's a good idea to re-seal every two to five years. When left as the primary flooring, concrete is often polished, waxed, stained, or stamped depending on aesthetic preferences. 

Rooms That Work Best With Concrete Floors

Concrete flooring can be used anywhere in the home, so long as it's sealed properly and maintained. The only exception? It doesn't work well in any room below ground level. "In below-grade spaces, concrete can be a problem with moisture rising from below and cracking," says Mendelson. "Similarly, it can get quite cold in lower levels and basements." 

In terms of aesthetics, you'll probably want to get a bit more strategic about where concrete flooring goes and where it doesn't. In Brana's designs, the end-goal is always cohesiveness, she says. If concrete flooring is the primary floor type, then she'll utilize it throughout the home and even extend it into the bathrooms. "However, if our concept is centered on engineered wood and we wish to incorporate concrete flooring in some way, we reserve it for areas that are somewhat separated from the primary living space, such as the garage or utility space," Brana says.

living room with modern furniture and concrete floor

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Benefits of Concrete Flooring 

If you're considering this flooring type for your upcoming renovation, there's good news—there are plenty of benefits associated with concrete, starting with the price.

Cost Effective

Affordability is a huge bonus of concrete floors. Not only is concrete cost effective, but if it has already been laid as the subflooring, it's virtually free. It's also inexpensive to maintain, Longo says. 

Easy to Clean

Concrete flooring is easy to clean, especially compared to carpet and genuine hardwood. It's also resistant to bacteria, and is better for air quality versus carpet since it doesn't become a harboring ground for dust, dirt, and dander, says Longo.


Concrete floors are very durable, which makes them a great choice for high-traffic areas and homes with pets. As long as they're sealed well, they're water, stain, and fire resistant. They can also become more beautiful over time as they develop a lived-in patina, says Brana.

Saves Energy

"Not only are you saving trees and the hefty line item of wood flooring on your new build, but long term, you can save on energy bills with concrete flooring," says Longo. "They help regulate the temperature by storing and releasing thermal energy."

Looks Sleek 

Along with all the above benefits, concrete flooring is beautiful and sleek. It provides a clean backdrop for a range of design styles and doesn't look busy.

Cons of Concrete Flooring

While concrete flooring has a range of benefits, there are some potential drawbacks. Here are some factors to keep in mind before you install it.

Feels Cold

Concrete flooring will feel cold under your feet, which may not be ideal if you already live in a chilly climate. (In hot climates, this could potentially be a benefit.) To combat this, "I would recommend installing radiant heating below your concrete floors," says Mendelson.

Very Hard

If you're someone who loves the plush feel of carpet under your feet, you may find yourself needing to wear socks or slippers when walking on concrete floors. Mendelson recommends layering textural area rugs to soften the look and feel. 

Can Absorb Moisture

Your climate is something to consider before opting for concrete floors. Concrete is a very porous material, so it tends to hold onto and release moisture—which isn't good if you live in a humid locale. "Drier and mostly warmer climates tend to suit homes with concrete flooring really well," says Longo.

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