Concrete is a popular flooring choice for many homeowners. It’s durable, easy to maintain, and can be customized to match any style. But should you DIY your concrete floors, or hire a professional contractor? In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of both options and help you decide which is the best choice for your home–so that way, when you go to search for concrete “near me,” you can decide if you want to buy raw materials or hire a concrete expert to do the work.
Is It Cheaper to DIY Concrete Floors?
While it can be tempting to look at the price of a quality flooring contractor and think you’d be better off installing your concrete floors yourself, in reality, the price of equipment, materials, and the time you’d spend researching and installing the concrete makes any financial savings a moot point.
For example, it’s one thing to search for concrete “near me” and bring home the raw materials to complete the job at a cost of roughly $125 per yard. As a rough estimate, if we calculate the floor at 500 square feet, this means you will incur a cost of roughly $1,136 for the concrete itself alone. However, you will also need an extensive list of tools to complete the job as well, including:
· Wooden boards for a frame
· A level
· Electric miter saw
· Mixing hoe
· Measuring tape
· Concrete hand float
· Personal protective equipment
· And more
If you don’t already have all these tools on hand, you can expect to tack on at least another $400-$600 on to your list of expenses. If you’re starting from scratch like many new homeowners, this puts your DIY project at roughly $1,536 for 500 square feet of flooring…and that’s assuming you get it right on your first try as a new concrete pourer. And of course, all of this is simply to tally up the financial expense of the process, not the value of your precious time. How much would you make in a few days’ work? Is it worth the trade-off?
Is DIY Concrete Flooring Worth It?
One of the primary benefits of choosing concrete as your flooring solution is its durable, low-maintenance nature and its extensive life expectancy. If done and maintained correctly, a well-installed concrete floor can last a lifetime—or upwards of 100 years. However, this durability does come with a certain amount of permanence, which can make removing concrete floors time-consuming, labor-intensive, and costly. This is why most people who have a concrete slab in their house simply lay new flooring over the top if it is perfectly level, rather than removing the concrete and starting over.
However, if you don’t pour your concrete slab correctly, it can be prone to all sorts of problems, including slanted floors, a tendency toward moisture problems, cracking, air pockets and excessive porousness, and more. This makes your $1,500 project a little bit more high stakes—because if you don’t get it perfect on your first go around, it can cost upwards of $1,400 for concrete slab removal.
This reason alone is enough to deter the less confident DIY-ers with fewer hours spent working with this rock-solid material from installing their own concrete floors. Some find that installing a featherweight or lightweight concrete alternative at as thin as 1/8 of an inch can be a safer alternative to pouring a thick concrete slab—and generally, the materials cost less as well. However, if you are a new homeowner with little concrete experience, most agree the headache, research, and expense involved is quite a gamble for the price–as opposed to hiring a professional contractor to get the job done right, on the first try, and quickly.
Benefits of Hiring a Concrete Contractor
If you are one of the savvy homeowners who knows when they are out of their depth with a flooring project, especially for something as permanent as concrete, it might be worth considering hiring a concrete contractor. There are several key benefits to hiring a contractor, including the following:
1. The average cost of concrete contractors’ labor is less than the cost to undo incorrect concrete work. In fact, the labor to pour concrete typically costs around $45 per hour or $2.50 per square foot…which translates to $1,250 in the example of our hypothetical 500-square-foot floorplan. This is $150 less than the cost to have a professional team come and rip out an incorrectly done concrete slab…not including the $1,500 that the DIY-er is already “in the hole” for their botched efforts.
2. No prep work or research is necessary. A good concrete flooring contractor is interested in not only bettering their craft but staying on top of industry trends or advances. This means that in order to keep their business competitive, they’re already doing the hard research about what type of concrete or gravel mix is most reliable, what moisture ratio to mix at, and how heavy your concrete floors can be for the space. This is far less stress and prep time off of your plate and more time spent focusing on the bigger details of your project.
3. No need to acquire tools. If you’ve ever poured concrete before, or even spent any time working on a DIY home improvement project, you understand how quickly the expense of tools can add up. If you aren’t already equipped to build a framework, mix, pour, level, and cure the concrete yourself, buying all those tools and equipment can be a painful additional expense.
4. Reliable results that add value to your home. A professional concrete contractor will be able to get you results you can trust on their first attempt—which is not always a guarantee when you are experimenting at home. This not only has safety benefits and aesthetic benefits but also may guarantee that you are adding more value to your home—rather than potentially taking value away in the pursuit of saving a few hundred bucks. This makes your resale value even higher should you ever decide to sell and increases the likelihood of ending up with positive equity on your mortgage.
5. Aesthetic prowess. Even if it’s not your first time pouring concrete, you might not have the most experience using water- or acid-based stains, dyes, or other forms of decorating your concrete. Suppose you’re looking to create floors that are both durable AND beautiful. In that case, a professional concrete flooring contractor will not only know how to bring about the aesthetic you desire but will know how to handle all the chemicals during the process. A professional will even be able to place a company logo or geometric pattern in your concrete, for an additional cost! Most concrete DIY-ers don’t have access to this type of knowledge or these types of materials or both.
Concrete Near Me with The Concrete, Etc
If you are one of the many homeowners who experienced a wave of ambition to fix up your house after the onset of the global pandemic, it’s understandable. Being stuck at home staring at everything that needs updating can take its toll, and it can be tempting to search for concrete “near me” and attempt the task of pouring concrete slab floors yourself. However, for all its wonderful low-maintenance characteristics once it’s been installed, concrete is a fairly unforgiving medium that can cost as much to undo as the project itself—even if you save a few hundred bucks on skilled, contracted labor.
That’s why many homeowners are turning to concrete contracting professionals like the experienced floor installation experts at The Concrete, Etc. If you want positive results that are as beautiful as they are functional, contact us today for an estimate, or browse our gallery of previous work here!