Concrete vs Hardwood Flooring

There are many beautiful choices for those considering new floors as a part of a new build or renovation.

Hardwood and concrete flooring are two alternatives for the flooring in your home.While each type has benefits and drawbacks, as properly as fee differences, it may be tough to decide which option is the exceptional for your home.

Hardwood flooring is a standard preference for indoors and exterior floor substitute projects, but it is not always the best choice.

But today, concrete floors are far from that bland gray slab destined for an unfinished basement or factory floor, and hardwood is no longer banished to the dining room and in halls.

Let’s find more deep comparisons between Concrete vs Hardwood Flooring that address the significant points between the two options.

Comparison Concrete vs Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Flooring

Wood floors had been in homes for masses of years and have in no way long gone out of style. They even add value to a home, regardless of the build year or style of a home.

hardwood is a “natural” product where planks are simply cut from a larger piece of wood then milled to last measurement and form. The individual boards are a piece of strong wood and the thickness is frequently three-quarters of an inch, however a thinner 5-sixteenth inch version can be available.

The finish could be utilized at the manufacturing unit (“prefinished”) or you should buy unfinished planks that may be sanded and finished in your work web site. The finishes are discussed in more detail under.

Over the years, hardwood manufacturers accepted the responsibility to look after the forests and have accomplished a good job replacing the bushes they harvest. A number of stories/articles have stated that for every tree harvested, approximately two timber are planted. Hardwood flooring, cut from bushes that can be replanted, is a prime example of a sustainable material.

Concrete Flooring

Concrete is a comparatively new choice for homeowners, but it can add value in your home. Concrete provides a host of different options for customization and style.

Depending on the home’s design and style, concrete floors can create really specific unique and fashionable rooms.

Most concrete floor slabs are a minimum of four inches thick. But today it is possible to go thinner. There are cement based overlays that do not have aggregate. They can go over existing floors/slabs very thin (i.e. as thin as ¼”).

Concrete is a mixture of sand, Portland cement, and aggregate (a.k.a. small rocks) that hardens to a stone-like material when mixed with water. The Portland cement is made from mined limestone that is fired in kilns, while the sand and aggregate are dug from pits. These would not be considered sustainable materials, even though there is a lot of limestone, sand, and aggregate to be mined.

So, some of the apparent differences between hardwood and concrete flooring: those who desire a sustainable materials, then hardwood flooring is a superior alternative versus concrete.

 

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Finish and Color

Hardwood

You can finish hardwood as is. A clear finish will spotlight the natural beauty of the grain and colour. Manufacturers typically stain it first to provide a color and/or spotlight the wooden grain.

Color selection was previously considerably restricted. But at present the colour selection is extra diverse. You could even discover a few vibrant colors.

When you acquire the color you want, then you possibly can end hardwood. Pros use varied coatings and sealers much like concrete.

But a significant distinction between hardwood flooring and concrete is that the primary choice you must make is between prefinished hardwood or a naked (“uncooked”) hardwood that is sanded and completed on web site. Both prefinished and raw have advantages and drawbacks.

Prefinished hardwood is handy and the floor could be put into use instantly after set up. The manufacturer pre-installs the stain colour and end coating at the manufacturing facility. That eliminates sanding, staining, and coating on the job website.

However, with a prefinished hardwood flooring, the joints are simply butted collectively and they are open to moisture if there is a spill or tracked rain or snow. Plus, the subfloor have to be very flat since you will not be sanding the put in boards easy. You do not want any misaligned plank edges to trigger a visible lip, or perhaps even a visit hazard.

If you’ve a customized interior design, you might like the liberty to select any stain shade you want or need to suit right into a custom interior design. Plus, the sanding step will make your floor nice and flat. So there shall be no want to worry about misaligned board edges.

But, remember you should have dust from sanding, potential odors from the stain and coating, and the additional steps to sand and coat will extend the time wanted to install the floor.

In basic, for these utilizing hardwood in a “moist” area like a kitchen, you are higher off putting in uncooked hardwood and finishing on website with a coating like a polyurethane. This helps to slightly seal the board joints, and within the kitchen, you need to take each precaution to maintain moisture from moving into and under the floor.

Concrete

Concrete floors used to be poured, and the end choice consisted of either a broomed or a easy energy troweled floor, and your shade choice was gray or grey.

But today, you will get concrete that has pigment added to the mixture when wet and many colors are attainable. Or you possibly can stain, acid stain, dye, or even paint the concrete floor after it has cured to achieve a rainbow of various colors.

For uncommon or vibrant colours, concrete shade know-how has advanced to the point that your colour alternatives with concrete could also be extra various in comparison with hardwood.

For a completed look, the concrete is commonly troweled clean and “polished,” but texture may be created if desired. In addition, you possibly can stamp the concrete during set up to give it texture and patterns to make it look like pavers, slate, flagstone, or even wooden. Some texture does assist to make the floor less slippery when moist.

Also, you possibly can place enlargement or management joints in the concrete floor to create “blocks,” patterns or designs. Combining a paneled pattern with an attention-grabbing stain can give the concrete floor a marble or leather vibe. Designers have acknowledged that and are incorporating it on a extra frequent basis. .

There are additionally numerous clear coatings like acrylic, polyurethane, epoxy, or epoxy-acrylic you could apply as a end to offer gloss and seal the surface of the concrete. Keep in thoughts, coatings do put on. They will doubtless tucker out after a sure variety of years. You will need to reinstall them sooner or later (consult the manufacturer’s instructions for all times expectancy).

In some instances, folks end a concrete flooring with a wax or end. You might want to preserve the wax. You can try this by reapplying it not more than once every six months, and at least as soon as each three years. The time between purposes will rely upon the quantity of traffic in the space.

Installation

Hardwood

Like concrete, it is also best to go away hardwood to the pros. It requires a information of wooden’s moisture content. It additionally requires walk-behind sanding tools and a number of different fussy particulars.

Plus, most homeowners is not going to personal the flowery pneumatic staplers or nailers they need. However, you possibly can hire them.

To begin, there will need to be an underlayment to provide protection towards moisture. Companies usually supply this as a rolled sheet that’s unfold out and stapled to the subfloor. Then they set up the planks on prime of the underlayment.

In basic, hardwood uses a tongue and groove edge to engage the boards to at least one another. They normally staple or nail them in place by way of the tongue to cover the nails.

You must take care with details like controlling the place your butt joints fall from row to row (they should not align). The installer must additionally know details like when and the way to embody “washer” or “dime” expansion joints to stop buckling. That varies for different sorts of wood.

Hardwood flooring requires a niche at walls and other strong obstructions. That allows for the board motion that occurs as a result of seasonal moisture modifications within the wooden. With most residential tasks, regular room sizes preclude the usage of further growth joints in the field of the floor. But in giant rooms, you could need expansion joints in the middle of a floor. You will need to examine the directions on your specific flooring material to find out when and where you will need joints.

As already talked about, installations utilizing unfinished hardwood planks require sanding, stain, and coating steps. The price and time for these steps when utilizing uncooked hardwood have to be allowed for in the schedule and finances. If the time is tight, then prefinished hardwood may be a better option.

Concrete

Concrete can be blended on site, however for a floor slab, the quantity of concrete needed is giant. So, ready-combined concrete is often ordered from a concrete plant, and it’s delivered to the positioning in these giant, rotating drums we now have all seen.

Once blended with water, you begin a race with time since concrete waits for no particular person and you have to get it off the truck, placed, leveled, floated and power troweled (or stamped) before it starts to harden. This is not a course of for a DIYer. The data and tools wanted are highly specialised and a great concrete floor installer earns their money.

Concrete additionally requires a data of control and growth joints. When, the place, and tips on how to place them is tricky and sometimes even designed by an engineer to forestall cracking of the slab. Interior designers may also require management joints to create the desired pattern.

You must also cure concrete. This might involve masking the slab or wetting it for a period of time. Cracking occurs if you permit concrete to dry too fast, so curing is a vital step, but it may be messy.

Overall, the installation is soiled, hard work. The supplies and procedures demand a strong working data of the supplies and procedures for a profitable set up, so make certain to hire a contractor with good recommendations. You also needs to keep in mind to permit and prepare for the untidy, industrial nature of a concrete pour in areas like kitchens.

Durability

Hardwood

Those who own old houses in New England understand that hardwood floors last. Some are over one hundred years old. And compared to concrete, the hardwood floor is a welcoming, heat floor for feet (particularly naked feet!). But there are some points concerning the sturdiness of hardwood flooring.

If you drop items, they’ll dent hardwood flooring. But you can restore them with methods like a Dutchman. That is a “patch” laid into to exchange a small area of harm.

It can also be potential to take away and replace whole planks, but this isn’t a DIY project. Another options, some just like the character brought from minor dings and scratches, so they only stay with them.

In excessive traffic areas, you may even see more put on and tear on hardwood floors than you would on concrete. This will vary for several types of wooden, and you can select particular species to offer increased traffic resistance (e.g. hickory is harder than white pine).

When it comes to using it under grade, a serious difference between concrete and hardwood is that strong wooden is not a good choice. Moisture in basements or other below grade flooring will cause a hardwood floor to buckle and carry.

Also, we should always mention fading. Hardwood will fade at completely different rates depending on the amount and depth of daylight, and in some cases, this provides a desirable patina. But it may be a problem with hardwood flooring, like the place a carpet or mat covers an space and it fades in a different way than the rest of the uncovered floor, or a special colored spot or sample created by a localized space of sunlight sneaking.

Concrete

When you think of concrete, probably the most extensively used development materials on the globe, the picture of an industrial, sturdy materials often involves thoughts. We even have the overused statement “cast in concrete” that has come to mean permanently established.

Concrete is sturdy and it takes heavy site visitors exquisitely. But the onerous, strong surface that gives that resistance to heavy visitors comes at a value as it may be onerous on feet should you spend lengthy hours standing on it. So, you may want anti-fatigue mats in those areas the place you spend lots of time.

Also, concrete is prone to acid. However, you can protect it by utilizing some of the coatings as a finish.

To be safe, if you have a concrete floor avoid contact with acidic materials, and that includes cleansers and a surprising number of meals and drinks. Clean spills or dropped food instantly and use a neutral-pH cleaner.

If you used a high-construct coating for gloss or safety, then you should expect some scratching and put on in the coating, especially if you have pets or drag things on the floor. You may even want to replace a clear concrete floor coating periodically. You can use concrete for below grade floors.

However, the end or coatings must be breathable, so choose your coatings/finish very rigorously for beneath grade slabs. Also, make sure to place a vapor retarder underneath the slab whenever you pour it. That will stop migration of moisture in the soils below into your floor meeting.

Cleaning

Hardwood

Let’s start with an necessary warning, keep away from using a steam or wet mop on a hardwood floor (lone exception: steam mops with a hardwood setting). Water pushed down into the joints will stain and swell the wood. So, you must train care to maintain water out of the joints and you need to wash hardwood flooring utilizing solely a humid, not wet, cloth or mop.

The general cleaning methodology follows a easy course of. Sweep or vacuum (with a hardwood-pleasant vac) frequently to take away all mud, dirt, and debris to forestall abrasion harm from fantastic filth particles. Move the broom or vacuum in direction of the grain to take away debris between the planks and keep away from scratching the wooden. Then, wash with damp, not wet, material or mop.

A few of the finer particulars:

  • If needed, use a cleaning soap or cleaner advocated by the hardwood manufacturer.
  • Do not let the floor grow to be wet whilst mopping.
  • Sweep, wash and buff with the grain.
  • Buff after cleaning with a microfiber towel or material diaper.

The coatings in your hardwood might become worn and tired after a variety of years, and cleansing won’t restore the shine. Sanding and reinstallation of the coating might be necessary at that point, and it’ll deliver the gloss back to your hardwood floor.

Concrete

One of the advantages offered by a concrete flooring is how simple they are to maintain clear with common sweeping and occasional moist mopping. But as with all things in life, the little particulars matter.

Use a impartial-pH cleaner, or a product made specifically for concrete, to keep your flooring looking great. And avoid using excess water or anything acid-primarily based.

For floors that need extra aggressive cleansing to take away stains, strive utilizing a more concentrated cleaning soap solution or a mix of cleaning soap and ammonia. In some circumstances, folks additionally use trisodium phosphate (“TSP”) on concrete to remove stains like rust or oil/grease. But do a check spot out of sight place to make sure it won’t harm your stain/end earlier than use.

If your concrete floor begins to lose its luster or shine, you could need to re-wax or re-end to restore the shiny, new look. Depending on the way you put in your concrete floor, you might must reapply a sealer or coating periodically.

Details differ depending on the amount of visitors your floor receives and the coatings or sealers your contractor makes use of. So seek the advice of the sealer or coating producer’s directions on use and care (your contractor could possibly help, too).

Cost

The budget for a project is almost at all times a priority, and other people usually need to understand how a lot hardwood and concrete flooring prices. That is more durable to answer than you would possibly assume since the costs for each differ broadly. Prices can seem like they are everywhere, but one rule of thumb is that hardwood flooring supplies cost two to 3 instances as much as a concrete floor.

But you’ll be able to benefit by performing some legwork and buying round. Keep in thoughts a price comparability is dependent upon the kind of hardwood or the concrete end you choose. It is feasible for a “fancy” concrete floor to be more expensive than a cost-effective hardwood floor.

In general, a decent budget will discover concrete flooring extra budget-pleasant, however it is determined by the design and finish of the concrete floor. For those who must have a hardwood floor, you possibly can shop somewhat as prices differ tremendously for various species. For example, you can set up an oak floor for much less money than a Brazilian cherry, maple, ash, or mahogany floor.

If your design calls for mahogany flooring, however your budget calls for a neighborhood oak, then set up the oak and stain it to the colour you want. Wood stains have come a great distance and making a less expensive wood imitate the color of a costlier species is an efficient way to management the finances.

If flooring does not simply idiot you, and you have to have the grain and color of Brazilian cherry, then you will need to increase the the budget to get what you want.

Conclusion

If a sturdy, easy-to-care-for floor that looks nice are your prime issues, then a polished, stained concrete floor may be for you. The design possibilities are nearly infinite, and the floor will doubtless outlive you.

For those who want the longevity and pure, warm feeling of wooden, a hardwood floor is the obvious selection. Wood is easier when standing for a period of time and warmer to a naked foot. Plus, hardwood is sustainable, and concrete isn’t.

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