Concrete or Wood Flooring: Which Is Better?

Minimalist industrial loft conversion living room with grey sofa and tables against grunge concrete walls warmed by a suspended fireplace with burning fire. 3d rendering
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You are building a brand-new home from scratch. It is a slab home, so you’re looking at a choice between a standard concrete floor or a wood floor built over the top of the slab. Is one option better than the other? That depends on your point of view.

Concrete floors are pretty popular right now with new home construction in certain parts of the country. And yet to some people, the idea of walking around on concrete all day isn’t appealing. They prefer wood instead. Truth be told, there are a number of differences between concrete and wood flooring. Whether you perceive them as being negative or positive is a matter of perspective.

Floor Aesthetics

Some people look at their flooring options strictly from an aesthetic standpoint. In other words, what do the floors look and feel like when they’re done? The nice thing about wood is that you have so many finishing choices. For starters, you can go with tried-and-true hardwoods. They are the most expensive option other than high-end tiles and natural stone.

If you are not into hardwoods or cannot afford them, a manufactured wood product offers a similar look. Just know that some manufactured products look cheesy. Then there are laminates and vinyl flooring products that can mimic anything from wood to stone. Finally, there is always carpet.

As for concrete, the finish is generally determined by color and texture. Modern Craftsman is a Salt Lake City functional art studio that creates, among other things, concrete flooring. They say concrete can be stained and dyed to produce an unlimited number of colors and visual textures. Then there is the actual tactile texture. Concrete doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth. It can be textured as well.

Carpeting Over Concrete

You can certainly throw carpeting over a concrete floor just as easily as wood. A good pad and carpet can make concrete floors feel a little bit softer as you’re walking on them, but your feet are still walking on a hard surface that doesn’t absorb shock energy very well

Furthermore, it might make sense to put carpet over the top of a plywood sub-floor, but why would you carpet concrete? Doing so only covers what could be a truly beautiful aesthetic.

Radiant Floor Heating

Though it might seem like wood flooring is the best option, concrete does have its advantages. A big one is the ability to combine it with radiant floor heating. There is a lot to be said about the efficiency and comfort radiant floor heating offers.

If you are not sure how it works, radiant floor heating is a simple concept. Long tubes are installed on a concrete sub-floor first. Then the final concrete floor is poured over the top of the tubes. The system generates heat by way of a warm fluid that continuously flows through the tubes.

Radiant floor heating is incredibly efficient for the simple fact that concrete holds heat for quite some time. Heat radiates up from the floor rather than having to be blown into a room with forced air. Thus, the entire room stays warmer for longer. It doesn’t hurt that you always have warm floors to walk on.

It is impossible to say that wood is always better than concrete for flooring, or vice-versa. Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages. The key is to understand your wants and needs and how both materials relate to them. Only then can you make a good choice. The one thing you don’t want to do is make a decision without first being properly informed.

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