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French bulldog sleeps on a concrete floor under a tent, making its choice in the concrete vs. carpet debate clear.

Concrete vs. Carpet: Which is Better?

With so many products available for home flooring, it’s easy to overlook some options. Concrete was once considered only a subfloor material to cover with something else, but advanced decorative methods and colorful stain options make it a great choice as finished flooring. 

Beautiful flooring doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Products like Direct Colors’ Concrete Acid Stain make decorative concrete accessible, affordable, and easy for everyone from first-timers to veteran DIYers. Both existing and newly poured concrete are easy to color and design on a budget. 

Carpet is a mainstay in homes around the country. It’s familiar, safe, and maybe in your home already. But, just because it’s there doesn’t mean it’s the best flooring option for your home.

To help you on your journey to new flooring, we’re comparing concrete vs. carpet flooring. From price and maintenance to sound control and pets, we’re exploring the difference, the pros, and cons of concrete vs carpet flooring.

The Question of Cost

It isn’t easy to directly compare the cost of carpet and concrete. Concrete flooring can be added to your home in two ways and at two very different price points. When refinishing existing concrete with decorative colorants and sealers, the cost of the finished floor can be as low as $1 to $3 per square foot. This is equal to most low-cost carpets with lifespans of just 5 to 7 years. 

When buying premium carpet with a longer lifespan, the cost can go as high as $5 to $10 per square foot.

Even newly poured concrete floors tend to cost only $5 to $25 for extensive stamping, carving, and staining to complete the job. If you’re a handy homeowner or veteran DIYer, it’s possible to get beautifully colored and sealed concrete floors for nearly the same price as carpet. 

In the question of straight cost for concrete vs. carpet, carpet wins by a small margin on most projects. But, you’ll want to consider the longevity of a concrete floor, and some of the other factors we’ve listed below.

Keeping the House Clean

With concerns over floor-based transmission of COVID-19, many homeowners are looking for the easiest and most in-depth cleaning routine possible. 

Concrete is easy to both clean and sanitize since it’s a solid, heat- and moisture-resistant material that is nonporous when properly sealed.  Simply use a steam mop, sanitizing sprays or washes, and any other measures necessary to keep messes under control. 

Vacuuming dirty carpets which is a big issue when it comes to comparing concrete vs. carpet flooring.

Carpet is one of the most difficult flooring materials to sanitize and clean, followed by cork and natural wood. Even professional cleaning can leave behind bacteria or damage and weaken the carpet fibers.

When it comes to cleaning, concrete flooring wins the concrete vs. carpet battle.

Versatility

Carpets are limited to any colors and patterns chosen by the designers based on the trends of the last few years. Basically, if it isn’t on the shelf, you can’t buy it.

If a homeowner wants to get creative or stay on the cutting edge, concrete flooring offers endless opportunities. Homeowners can mix and match a wide range of concrete stains or dyes to create practically any design they can dream of. When combined with other decorative concrete options like stamping and engraving, it’s possible to create practically any classic or new design. Antiquing stains can make a new floor look like it’s lasted through the centuries, while metallic pigments add luxurious galaxy swirls to the finished floor. 

While there are thousands of different colors, styles, shades and patterns of carpet, it doesn’t beat the freedom to create your dream flooring. Concrete flooring is the winner here.

Future Renovations

Renovations are an important and often overlooked aspect of adding new flooring to your home.

Consider the difficulty of removing and replacing the worn-out flooring in the future when choosing what to install today. Carpet isn’t just tricky to stretch and staple into place, it takes plenty of effort to pull up and roll away when it’s stained and worn out.

When a homeowner wants a change with a concrete floor, they may think that they need to grind down the surface to start fresh with a new color of stain or install any other flooring right over the surface. But, that isn’t always the case. With some concrete colorants, colors can be added on top of previously stained and sealed flooring, making changes and updates easy and convenient.

Given the cost and labor involved in removing and replacing carpeting, we’re going to give the edge to concrete here as well. But, this may depend on how extreme the renovation or resurfacing project would be for a concrete floor.

Sound Control

Noise is one potential downside of concrete flooring. 

In a large room with high ceilings and few soft furnishings, sound can bounce around from any hard-surfaced floor like concrete. 

Carpet may be a better choice for some open floor plans and hallways where sound is a concern. However, don’t forget that rugs offer the same muffling effect without requiring the commitment to permanent carpet installation. Rugs are even available in interlocking tiles to create the look and feel of carpeting that comes up in a few minutes at the end of a day for cleaning. 

Consider the flexibility of rugs versus the permanence of carpet before deciding that concrete might be noisy.

Longevity

Looking for a floor that can last the lifetime of a home while needing only minimal maintenance? Thanks to the durability and refinishing options, concrete checks all the boxes.  

Carpets always have a fixed lifespan due to wear and tear. Even the toughest fibers and most reinforced backings will eventually give up under years of foot traffic. Concrete flooring is worth the investment purely for its practically limitless lifespan as long as it’s maintained and sealed routinely.

Maintenance Needs

Speaking of maintenance, carpet needs vacuuming at least weekly and should be deep cleaned at least once a year or every six months depending on if you have pets and kids. 

But, concrete is much simpler to maintain. Simply do a deep clean and apply a new layer of concrete sealer every three to five years and consider a touch up of stain after a decade or so of heavy foot traffic. Concrete needs little other attention over the years unless it’s time for a visual update.

Pet and Family Friendliness

Carpet may have a reputation for being comfortable to roll on, but concrete can take what pets and kids dish out over the years without scratching or chipping.

A new house full of carpet can become stained and worn within a few months if there’s a busy crew playing on it and tracking in dirt. Or if you happen to spill even a drop of red wine or coffee.

It’s very hard for pets and kids to damage concrete floors. When there is a stain or spill, there are plenty of options for cleaning or buffing it out depending on the severity. It’s also easy to design a custom mix of various concrete stain colors to disguise future marks and messes, which is practically impossible with most carpets.

A baby and a dog roll around on a carpeted floor.

If these facts make concrete vs. carpet flooring sound like an appealing addition, check out our selection of beautiful concrete stain products here at Direct Colors.  By creating the highest quality products and resources and working with industry experts,  we’re making it as easy as possible to decorate and customize new or old concrete floors.

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