Fresh Flooring Options for Kitchens

Laminate or tile are not your only kitchen flooring choices. Rubber, concrete and even brick are just a few of the stylish choices available.

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While concrete is usually thought of as a practical outdoor surface, new decorative treatments are bringing concrete indoors.

Many kitchens already have a layer of concrete under existing tile or linoleum floors. When the old flooring is pulled up, the concrete subflooring can be rehabbed into a beautiful, durable stand-alone floor. And creating a new concrete floor is as simple as installing thin slabs on top of the kitchen's existing subflooring.

Concrete floors offer a number of advantages. They are slow to heat up, meaning they help keep kitchens at a comfortable temperature, and they are an especially good fit for underfloor radiant heating systems. Inevitable kitchen spills are easy to wipe up, and concrete floors don't attract allergens like more porous flooring surfaces.

The look of a concrete kitchen floor can be customized with an acid-staining process. Stain isn't a paint; rather, it's a mixture of hydrochloric acid that will react with the concrete. Because the stain literally changes the color of the concrete rather than just painting the surface, the finish will never fade or chip, it's permanent.

Many homeowners choose to lay out a pattern or mosaic on their concrete floor and then apply a variety of stains. Others choose one or two stain colors for the entire floor. Acid-stained concrete can mimic tile, marble, slate or even hardwood, depending on how the stain is applied. Handy homeowners generally find acid-staining a concrete floor to be a relatively simple do-it-yourself project.

After staining, a layer of wax is applied, followed by a layer of sealant, giving the finished kitchen floor a rich, burnished sheen. Maintaining acid-stained concrete floors is easy, requiring only a mop and periodic polishing.

The costs for installing and staining a concrete floor are very reasonable, at about $3 to $15 dollars per square foot, depending on what type of stain and sealant are used, and whether an artisan is used to create patterns or decorative effects on the floor.

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