Decorative concrete finishes can lend both style and function to your concrete floor. You can petina the concrete, paint it, faux finish it, stamp it, or just leave it natural.
Acid Wash Petina
A petina is an aged look that happens to natural materials like copper. Concrete can simulate the petina look just by you applying an acidic petina wash to the surface of the concrete. After it’s applied and it sits for a while, it’ll start to change colors and look splotchy and colorful, with greens and yellows being pulled out of the nature of the concrete. Other acid wash patinas will bring out more reds and oranges, and even more will even draw out purple and blue. While it’s generally not recommended that you use more than one acid wash for your concrete petina, under correct and strict supervision you may be able to create the multitonal look you’re searching for.
A faux finish is an embellishment that’s meant to make a wall or floor look like a different material entirely, like marble, granite, tile, wood, etc. You can use paint to make your concrete floor look more like stone, just by layering different colors together and then using a feather to draw the marble veins onto the surface. You can also paint a colored grid line onto the floor, like beige, to make your floor look like it’s tiled and grouted. Even better yet, you can make your concrete floor look like wood with a woodgraining kit from your local hardware store.
When your concrete floor has been poured and is partially dried, you can use stamps to put permanent shapes and patterns into the floor. One popular way to do this is to use leaves from outside and press them into the very surface of the floor, and then take them out before the concrete hardens around them. You can also use rubber stamps acquired at your local craft store to put a repeat pattern into the concrete, and when you go to apply a sealant, you can have it tinted so that the sealant will fill the grooves created by the stamping, thus accentuating the shapes and details stamped there.
There is actually paint on the market today built for concrete floors. Some feel like rubber coating; this stuff is ideal for garages. Others are thin and look more like a tint than a paint, and this is more ideal for outdoor spaces. If you wanted an industrial feel in your home, you could use the same paint they use in garage floors but colored to your design specifications and tastes. You would use a roller to paint the floor, just as you would if you were painting a wall. Just like interior wall painting, you will probably have to use more than one coat to get the true color of the paint on the floor.
Each of these different techniques can lend a distinctive look to your cement floor and, if done correctly and sealed properly, can give you many years of protection as well.