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Concrete Buying Guide Floor Types

Concrete only appears to be a simple choice. Sure, your basic concrete floors all contain the same three ingredients: cement, water and aggregate, but that's where the simplicity stops. Do you want a stamped concrete floor or a polished concrete floor? This section covers popular choices in concrete flooring surfaces and coloring agents. If you can dream it up, chances are concrete can be customized to reflect your vision.

Concrete Surfaces


Concrete floors can be polished to a mirror–like shine, giving you the look of a highly waxed floor without all the back–breaking work of waxing.


A sealer will offer added protection against water, abrasives and stains. Sealers come in clear and colored forms. A good sealer will not only make your concrete floor more slip resistant, it will also make it easier to clean.


A circular saw is used to create a pattern in the concrete. This is used to give concrete flooring the appearance of tile grout lines.


Freshly poured concrete is stamped, creating a textured pattern that resembles brick, stone, wood planks, slate, etc.

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Concrete Coloring


A wide variety of stains are available that can make your new concrete flooring resemble anything from marble to wood. Stained concrete floors create a look unique to every floor as the stain reacts to each floor differently. Stained concrete floors are characterized by deep, translucent coloring. Reactive concrete stains are water–based and acidic. Reactive stains permanently bond the stain with the concrete guaranteeing it will never peel off or chip. Non–reactive concrete stains are water–based acrylic stains that permeate the surface of the concrete, leaving pigment particles in the concrete's open pores. Though easier to apply, non–reactive stains lack the depth of color that reactive stains have. Non–reactive stains leave an opaque and even color on your concrete floors.


Dyes are often mixed with stains to create rich shades for concrete that cannot be achieved using stain alone. Dyes are typically mixed at the installation site and can create colors as bright as jewel tones or as subdued as earthy shades.

Integral Color

During the concrete mixing process, liquid or powdered colorant is added, creating a through and through tinting of the concrete.


Paint can be used on concrete to create anything from a matte color floor to your favorite team's logo or a more complex look such as patterned marble.

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Colored Hardeners

Powdered hardening aggregates are dusted over freshly laid concrete where they react with the concrete's moisture and create a hard, solid surface. Colored hardeners are recognizable due to the intensity of the coloring. The colored hardener concentrates color in the top layer of the concrete.

Colored Release Agents

Used in conjunction with colored hardeners, colored release agents are liquid or powered coloring used with patterned stamps to create an antiqued look of variegated coloring. These pigments rest on the surface and must be sealed or waxed over to protect and preserve them.

Colored Surface Overlay Material

If you have old concrete flooring that has seen better days a colored surface overlay can give your floors a brand new look. A thin layer of coloring can be applied over your existing concrete floors. The surface overlay can be colored or patterned.

Concrete Texture

The types of aggregates in your concrete mixture will determine the texture of your concrete floors.


Concrete flooring most often comes from a fine aggregate mix, with sand mixed in to create a smoother textured concrete.


Crushed stone or gravel is mixed with concrete for a rough, bumpy surface, often used for driveways or walkways.

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