When it comes to flooring, many homeowners are looking for a material that is durable, low-maintenance, and stylish. If you are interested in polished concrete flooring, you may be wondering how much it costs. In this article, we will discuss the cost of polished concrete flooring per square foot as well as the cost of heated concrete flooring. We will also explain how heated floors work and the benefits of radiant heat flooring options.
Benefits of Concrete Flooring
Aside from being customizable through stains, etching, dyes, and degrees of finish, concrete flooring has many benefits. It is better for the environment for other flooring materials that require hazardous chemicals to seal, and it is durable, low maintenance, and easy to clean! Polished concrete flooring can also brighten up a room thanks to its highly reflective surface, but there are even more reasons why you might want concrete flooring—not least of all is the value for the price point.
How Much Does Polished Concrete Cost (Per Square Foot)?
Now that you know some of the perks that come with concrete flooring, you may be interested in determining the cost of such an endeavor. Of course, the price of a concrete floor will depend on the level of shine you aspire to achieve (shinier floors take more extensive polishing), the size of the floor, and the complexity of the project. For a basic concrete floor with moderate shine and a stain, you’ll be looking in the ballpark of $3-$5 per square foot.
In more elaborate flooring cases, however, with etched designs, multicolored dyes, and high polish, a home or business owner can expect between $8-$12 per square foot—or even more, as complexity increases. This is compared to other flooring options, like bamboo ($1.50-$11 per square foot), vinyl ($1.50-$10 per square foot), tile ($7-$24 per square foot), or hardwood floors ($6-$23 per square foot). When it comes to durability though, it’s hard for other materials to contend with a concrete floor…so the decision to go with concrete may even have dividends for many years to come.
How Much Do Heated Concrete Floors Cost (Per Square Foot)?
If you love the idea of sturdy concrete floors but hate the idea of having cold feet in the winter, there is a solution for you: radiant heated concrete floors. There are two main types of heated floors—hydronic (water-based) radiant heat and electric. Hydronic heated floors tend to run between $6-$20 per square foot (not including the necessary boiler or additional water heater) while electric will cost between $8-$15 per square foot. Hydronic floors rely on warm water circulating through a series of pipes, while electric heated flooring utilize thin, heated wires.
How Do Heated Floors Work?
Unlike other traditional methods of warming a house like heated baseboards, standing radiators, or the circulation of warm air through a venting system, radiant heating emits heat from the floor up, warming furniture, people, and walls as it does so. Heat rises and with it, thermal energy is sent through the air in electromagnetic infrared waves, releasing its warmth when they encounter an obstacle, like a sofa or bed.
Through the use of heated water, electric wires, solar or geothermal energy, or even propane, modern contractors can install a radiant heating system capable of warming objects directly, rather than the air around them. This is the same concept as turning on a burner on a stove to bring a pot of water up to a different temperature—just in a slower, more controlled way. A responsible contractor will look at many factors, including the aspect that your house is facing, to determine the number of radiant heating elements they will need to install in each room of the home or building.
What Is Radiant Heat?
Radiant heat relies on electromagnetic infrared waves that move through the air until they meet with an object or person, upon which point the waves release their heat. This is different from the traditional methods of heating the air within a room, as it can often take more energy to achieve a more superficial level of warmth than heating a house from the ground up. If you’ve ever been warmed by sitting around a campfire, you have enjoyed the benefits of radiant heat.
Benefits of Heated Concrete Flooring
Intrigued by radiant heating systems but not sure if heated concrete flooring is right for you? Here are some of the top benefits of installing heated concrete floors:
1. They save money: You read that right! While at first, it might seem like an expensive upfront investment to hire a contractor to install a radiant heat system in your floors, long-term this move can save you money. In fact, it is likely to save you money on future utility bills down the line. Heating your home through traditional methods can take about $20 every 24 hours—but for the same time with radiant heat, only $3. The long-term rewards are even greater for those who install hydronic systems from the get-go, as water can hold well over 3,000 times the amount of heat that air can. This allows you to bump your thermostat a little lower on cold days without experiencing chill or discomfort.
2. They add value: Yes, there is an initial cost associated with radiant floor heating—but depending on your contractor, your heating system can be good to go for as long as the next 45 years. Radiant heating systems can take up to 50% less to maintain and run, and add value to your house should you ever look to sell it someday.
3. They protect your family: Worried about grandma catching a chill, the toddler burning themselves on the radiator, or the husband’s allergies flaring up after the centralized heating kicks in? Heated concrete floors minimize the likelihood of each of these scenarios from happening, without the hassle of heated air kicking up allergens like dander or dust. Not having to worry about floor vents or radiators also means you can relax when children or pets come to visit—there are no cuts, burns, or scrapes to be had with radiant heating!
4. They’re easy to maintain: Even the most demanding type of radiant heating system (hydroponic) only requires an annual inspection, bearing lubrication, and cleaning.
5. They feel good: If you’ve ever rolled out of bed in the winter and placed your bare feet on warm floors, you know just how pleasant radiant heating systems can be. This type of heating system warms the bones of the house, not just the air within it—making for a comfortable atmosphere than can be achieved with a lower thermostat setting than centralized air or radiators.
Polished Concrete Flooring Professionals Near Me
The benefits of radiant heating systems far outweigh the initial cost of installation—from increased comfort to decreased utility bills. At as little as $6 per square foot to install, for those looking for polished concrete floors, it may be worth it to invest in a hydronic system. These radiant heat systems are equipped not only to add warmth, value, and comfort to your lodgings in colder months but can even be rigged for cooling purposes as well.