Concrete is a terrific building material. It is strong, it can be custom-formed for an exact fit, it is fireproof, it is an excellent soundproofing agent, and it is extremely durable. Unfortunately, concrete can also be cold, drab, boring, and ugly. That’s a shame, because concrete can be beautiful. If you have a concrete floor, don’t be fooled by that dismal-looking gray disguise it is wearing. Whatever your level of home-improvement expertise, you can find inexpensive ways to cover concrete floor surfaces.

Here are some ideas, ranging from simple solutions anyone can do to more complicated ones that require some tools and construction skills. Most of these ideas require only a few simple tools such as a tape measure and a razor knife, but you may have to buy or rent the essential equipment needed for some of these projects. For example, smoothing concrete requires specialized equipment, and cutting it requires heavy-duty saws and specially designed blades.

Accent It

If your concrete floor is already painted, stained, polished, or covered up with some sort of flooring, the cheapest way to cover concrete floor surfaces is to add a rug or mat. A strategically placed rug with an eye-catching design can totally change the look and feel of an entire room. Try a large rug that covers most of the room, or use several smaller rugs to designate zones in a multi-purpose area.

Cover It Up

If your grandparents had a basement recreation room, chances are the floor was covered in an easy-to-install and maintain smooth-surface floorings such as vinyl tiles or sheet flooring. There are still plenty of great cheap basement flooring options over concrete floors. Peel-and-stick vinyl tiles or planks require the fewest tools and construction skills, followed by floating laminate flooring, but the newer loose-laid vinyl sheeting is very user-friendly, as well. If your floor is not smooth, or if it has pits or wide cracks, you may need to apply a floor-levelling paste before you lay the flooring.

Layer It On

Think of your concrete floor as a vast, empty canvas. Concrete floors make a great base for all sorts of beautiful flooring, including hardwood, ceramic tile, and even natural stone. These types of flooring are less flexible than thinner options, and they all require some sort of substrate. For example, ceramic tile requires a mortar bed. If you are generally handy and have a little do-it-yourself experience, watching a few DIY videos online should prepare you to do the job. These options are more expensive, but if you are trying to increase your home’s living space, one of these options may be the best floor covering for basement areas.

Make It Shine

Polished concrete is one of the most beautiful construction materials you can find. If your concrete is already smooth, you can roll on a couple of coats of high-gloss sealant and have a gorgeous floor in an afternoon. You can even stain your concrete any colour you like before you seal it, or choose a two-in-one sealant/stain combination.

Enhance It

There are a number of roll-on options for concrete, ranging from heavy-duty epoxy finishes to durable floor paint. One of the most inexpensive flooring options is concrete-friendly paint. You can use masking tape or stencils to create simple or elaborate patterns. If your floor is rough, your options will be limited unless you have it ground down. Should you choose to do that, consider having the contractor cut some decorative lines in your floor. The resulting pattern will be beautiful on its own, but a little creative staining can really make your floor pop.

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