Whether it’s in a basement, a garage, or the main floor of a home, many homeowners have at least some type of concrete flooring in their home. Concrete is a mixture of Portland cement and binders that forms a smooth, hard, and durable surface when cured. Concrete lasts for many years, but it needs to be properly cared for to prevent cracks, staining, and wear and tear. Part of that care is either sealing or coating your concrete floor with a long-wearing topcoat.
You can coat your concrete floor in many different ways. Some sealers and stains give it a new color and appearance, while others merely impact its longevity and do not alter its appearance in any way. These differences in coatings, combined with the fact that concrete floors can be used in many areas and come in many sizes, means that there is also a wide range of costs associated with coating a concrete floor. The national average cost range is $1,250 to $4,000, with most homeowners spending around $3,000 on a stain floor coating for a two-car garage floor. The project’s lowest cost is around $300 for a single coat of acrylic sealer on a single-car garage floor. This project’s highest cost is around $12,000 for a highly polished epoxy finish on the concrete flooring of a 1,000 sq. ft. loft.
|Concrete Coating Cost|
|National average cost||$3,000|
Many different types of coating can be used to protect and enhance your concrete floor. Each one is applied differently, and each one can give your floor both a different appearance and a difference in how it performs long term. Each material has a different cost for the material itself and the cost to apply it.
|Material||Cost per Gallon (Materials Only)||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Labor Included)|
|Sealer||$10 - $150||$1 - $4|
|Paint||$15 - $30||$2 - $4|
|Stain||$20 - $50||$2 - $25|
|Overlay||$20 - $80||$2 - $30|
|Epoxy||$30 - $150||$10 - $15|
There are many different types of concrete sealers. Concrete is technically porous, which means that unless those pores are sealed up with some other material, the concrete can absorb liquids and stain. Sealers prevent this by keeping liquids and debris on the surface, where they can be cleaned away. There are three basic types of concrete sealers: acrylic concrete sealer, polyurethane concrete floor coating, and polyurea concrete floor coating. Polyurethane is the longest-lasting of the three, while polyurea has the fewest VOCs--volatile organic compounds, causing lung irritation and headaches in some people. Acrylic is the least expensive and the easiest to apply. Each sealer has its own attribute to consider. In terms of value, polyurethane’s long-lasting results give the best value. For those who worry about VOCs or odors, polyurea is the best choice. Those who want to seal quickly on a budget may want to choose acrylic.
All sealers give you a glossy or matte finish, depending on the one you choose. They are not designed to change the color of the floor, but you can apply a sealer on top of a stain to change the floor’s color. On average, sealers cost between $1 and $4 per square foot, with acrylic being the least expensive at $1 per square foot installed and the polyurea coating cost per square foot being the highest at $10 installed. Polyaspartic floor coating costs $5 to $10 and is classified as a type of premium. On average, one gallon of sealer covers up to 400 sq.ft.
|Sealer Type||Cost per Gallon (Materials Only)||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Labor Included)|
|Acrylic||$10 - $50||$1 - $2|
|Polyurethane||$15 - $50||$2 - $3|
|Polyurea||$100 - $150||$3 - $10|
The cost to paint a concrete floor starts at $15 to $30 per gallon or around $2 to $4 per sq.ft. installed. A gallon of paint covers up to 400 square feet. Concrete paint is not strictly paint like you would apply to the wall. In fact, it’s actually a type of epoxy. Most concrete paints are made up of about 40% epoxy that is mixed with solvents to make it more spreadable. So, while people refer to it as paint, this method also goes by thin coat epoxy. There are high gloss concrete paints and those that can include some “chips” sprinkled into the paint after application to give it better durability and texture. Painted concrete floors cost less than thick coat epoxy ones but have costs that are similar to stains. The benefit is that with the paint, you don’t need to put a sealer on top of the color. Concrete paint comes in a range of different colors and colored chips for varying looks.
The cost to stain concrete floors indoors is $2 to $25 per sq.ft. Stain costs $20 to $50 per gallon for materials. One gallon of stain typically covers about 150 to 300 sq.ft. of floor. Applying multiple coats creates a more artistic look and a unique appearance. For instance, stain can be applied before some are removed to create a new look.Stencils, multiple color build-ups, and repetitive patterns cost more than two-color floors or random color placements. Staining permanently alters the color and appearance of the concrete. There are two basic types of stain, water-based and acid-based. Acid staining is sometimes also referred to as acid etching the floor. Stain can be applied in several ways, which impacts the cost. You can have a single coat of stain applied.
Polymer modified concrete overlay finish is usually sprayed on and has a $2 to $30 concrete coating cost per sq.ft. and is $20 to $80 per gallon. In many cases, a gallon covers 300 sq.ft. If you desire, you can have the floor sprayed in different colors or patterns to give it a fresh new look. Doing so increases the cost toward the higher end of the range. Homeowners often need to coat their concrete floors because the floor is cracking, settling, or has suffered stains from spills and an unsealed surface. If your concrete shows signs of a lot of wear, then a polymer-modified overlay is the best choice for coating it. This overlay contains polyurethane, so it creates a very hard, durable, and long-wearing topcoat surface. The thickness of the overlay helps seal up cracks and small depressions in the concrete’s surface, so you have a more level, durable finished floor.
The cost to seal a concrete garage floor with epoxy is around $10 to $15 installed per sq.ft. and $30 to $150 per gallon. On a completely flat floor, one gallon can coat 1,600 sq.ft. with a thin layer. While concrete paint is technically a type of epoxy and contains about 40% epoxy solids, it’s also possible to coat your floor in 100% epoxy. This creates a much thicker, more durable, and longest-lasting floor coverage. This is known as a thick coat epoxy. It helps level small depressions and uneven floors and fills in small cracks. This type of floor coating comes in several different colors and has decorative and colorful chips like concrete paint. The biggest difference is that this floor coating is a full 10 ml thick, which provides a much more durable and longer wearing surface. It is possible to create patterns or achieve metallic looks and high gloss finishes with epoxy.
Labor costs for installing a concrete floor coating vary depending on the type of coating you have done. Most costs quoted include both the labor and the materials. The material cost per square foot for basic sealers can be less than $0.50 per foot, with labor making up the balance.
Labor costs increase when the pattern is more complex. For instance, a simple design might have labor costs starting at $1 per sq.ft. Material costs range from $0.50 to $4, but labor costs range up to $30 for the most complex patterns using a stain. When acquiring quotes for a job, you can expect it to include materials and labor. On average, you can expect to pay between $2 and $30 per sq.ft. for most floors.
Old concrete floors can stain, crack, and otherwise wear down over time. This doesn’t mean that they’re unstable or that they need to be replaced, however, just that the surface may require refinishing to look their best. There are many ways to go about refinishing a concrete floor. Using a floor coating is one option. Staining, painting, or applying either an overlay or a thick coat of epoxy can refinish the surface of the floor to give it a different appearance. Concrete can be ground down and polished, leaving its original color intact.
The cost of refinishing the floor comes mostly from the level of finish you need. A basic resurfacing and repairing costs between $4 and $10 per square foot. Polishing costs between $5 and $15 per square foot for a simple polish and up to $30 per square foot if you are first staining the floor in a pattern or in layers and then polishing. For a 500 sq. ft. floor, this makes the cost range of refinishing between $2,000 and $15,000.
In some cases, before worrying about concrete coating costs, you need to consider resurfacing. On average, a resurfacing job costs between $4 and $10 per sq.ft. For a 1,000 sq.ft., that means you could pay between $4,000 and $10,000 depending on the level of resurfacing needed. Many factors play into the cost, including the location of the home, desired textures and colors of the floor, and the current condition of the floor. A simple resurfacing might be on the lower end. However, if there is substantial damage and a need for major aesthetic changes, the price will be much higher.
If you are finishing your basement, staining your concrete floor is a great option. This eliminates the issues that some other materials have with being installed below grade and gives your basement an incredible range of different looks and appearances. Stains can be layered on one another to give your basement floor depth and interest. Stains have a wide range of costs depending on the type. A single coat of stain in a solid color is around $2 per square foot. An intricate design that uses stencils or creates a pattern with different colors can cost as much as $25 per square foot. The average basement is around 1,000 sq. ft, making the cost of staining it between $2,000 and $25,000, depending on the stain you use.
Coating a garage floor is a good idea to protect it from wear and spills like oil or gasoline. The most common garage floor coating is epoxy. While you can use stains and paints, a thick coat of epoxy gives your garage floor the longest lasting protection from oil spills and the weight of your car. The epoxy garage floor cost per square foot is around $10 to $15 a square foot. For a two-car garage (around 575 sq.ft.), this comes out to around $5,750 to $8,625.
If you don’t use your garage for car storage, you can use other types of concrete coatings. Garage floor painting costs with thin coat epoxy are around $2 to $4 per square foot or around $1,175 to $2,325 for a two-car garage.
Basements can be finished with either a thin coat of epoxy--concrete paint--or a thick coat of epoxy. Both provide long-lasting protection for your basement floor as well as various colors, and in the case of thick coat epoxy, different designs. If you use concrete paint, your costs will be around $2 to $4 per square foot or $2,000 to $4,000 for a 1,000 sq. ft. basement. If you use a thick coat epoxy, your costs will be $10 to $15 per square foot or $10,000 to $15,000 for the average basement floor.
Some floors that are in poor condition may need a primer before being finished. The primer helps the epoxy of the paint adhere better to the floor. Also, it helps level small indentations and fill small cracks. This means that the final coat goes on more smoothly.
Primers are generally only used for concrete paints. They are not used with stains and are not necessary with thick coat epoxy or overlays, which are both significantly thicker and able to level the floor on their own. If you need a primer added, it increases costs by another $2 to $4 per square foot, installed.
There are several advantages and disadvantages to coating a concrete floor. It is important to be aware of both so you can make a decision that works best for your home. For one thing, in areas where stains are common, sealing can prevent them. Other forms of coating make removing liquids easier.
Another advantage of painting, staining, or sealing a concrete floor is the nice aesthetic. Many coating materials repel moisture which means the concrete lasts longer. In addition, in cold climates, it protects the floor from frost. Coating the floor increases durability, which is useful when things are dropped on the floor or vehicles are placed on the concrete.
On the other hand, some cons are also associated with coating a concrete floor. For instance, more maintenance is required after sealing a floor. If this is not handled, it can wear away, and all the benefits from above will no longer be present. In addition, staining, painting, or sealing the floor costs, and some people may find it too expensive. This project requires the floor not to be used until it is dry.
Maintenance is important for a coated concrete floor, but how often it needs to be done will vary. That comes down to the amount and type of traffic on the floor. However, it is useful to sweep or mop the floor regularly to remove dust. On an as needed basis, it can also be washed with mild detergent and warm water. Areas that see a lot of traffic should be buffed regularly to keep the floor shining.
Burnishing can also be done less frequently to restore the appearance of the floor. First, sweep or mop with a mild detergent and cold water before using a burnisher over the floor after it is dry. Make a single pass, and the job is complete. Keeping up with these tasks ensures the floors look their best as time passes.
Concrete is a fairly durable material, but it can develop issues over time, such as settling, sinking, and cracking. The cost of concrete repair varies depending on the issue. Most small problems can be fixed for $3 to $5 per square foot. Larger problems, however, can cost as much as $10 or $15 per sq.ft., depending on the severity of the issue.
Concrete coatings vary in costs depending on the look and finish you choose. A simple sealer can cost $1 per square foot installed, while a highly intricate stain with multiple colors and patterns can cost as much as $30 per square foot to complete.
Sealing is usually fairly inexpensive. The cost is between $1 and $4 per square foot, depending on the type of sealer you choose.
Polishing is more expensive than painting or a single coat of stain, but it’s much less expensive than some other finishes. In general, you’ll pay between $5 and $15 per square foot to polish the concrete.
Most garage floors use a thick coat of epoxy, which is the most durable for the garage’s purpose. The average cost of this finish is $10 to $15 per square foot. For a two-car garage, the cost would be between $5,750 and $8,625.
The epoxy itself costs around $30 to $150 per gallon. Having it installed costs between $10 and $15 per square foot on average.