The Cost-Effective Flooring Trend That's Having a Moment

The material is nothing new, but it's more versatile than you think.

Sage Green Kitchen
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

When you look at the cost of each element of a home renovation or construction project, flooring is often one of the more expensive line items, especially if you're talking about flooring for multiple rooms or even an entire house. Many of us may dream of having wide-plank hardwood and marble tile floors in our homes, but when you're on a limited budget, you can start to feel boxed into considering more cost-effective options. But that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice on design or style.

Over the past 50 years, flooring trends have come and gone but there have always been popular options on the cheaper end of the spectrum—from carpet to linoleum to engineered hardwoods. Right now, the cost-effective flooring of the moment is also a practical one: concrete.

If the thought of putting a driveway in as the floor of your house immediately repels you, don't write it off quite so quickly. Concrete floors are certainly modern and give an industrial air to a space, but there are so many ways to finish off concrete floors, they can end up working with a lot of design aesthetics. Check out the concrete floors in this kitchen that beautifully blends traditional and more rustic and industrial elements.

Of course, one of the biggest pluses to this versatile flooring trend is the price. Concrete floors can start as low as $2/square foot, with the price increasing based on the complexity of the installation, and the type of materials used.

Concrete floors are polished, which means they can have as matte or glossy of a finish as you like. And if you're installing new concrete (as opposed to finishing the existing concrete slab your house is built on, which is another option), it's possible to add both color and texture to the mixture while it's wet to create an entirely different look from the grey floor seen above.

Dyes and chips can both be added to wet concrete, which when combined, can have an appearance very similar to terrazzo tile, another popular flooring trend right now.

If you aren't a big fan of the solid slab look, concrete can be poured into divided sections to mimic the look of individual tiles, like those pictured below. It can also be stamped with a texture—a popular option is a stamp that looks like the grain of wood floors.

Individual concrete or cement tiles are also a popular flooring option right now, which often come with beautiful patterns and designs painted on them. They're a more expensive option than a solid slab, but compared to similar-looking ceramic tiles, are more cost-effective.

Concrete floors may not be for everyone, but they are a budget-friendly option that still allow for a good amount of customization. And of course, are praised for their durability, stain-proof nature, and low maintenance.

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