Concrete Floor Alternatives (3 Alternatives)

This article will provide concrete floor alternatives. These alternatives are categorized for easy determination that is best suited for your project. Advantages and disadvantages for each concrete alternative are also presented. 

Concrete Floor Alternatives

Concrete as base material for your flooring can be detrimental to the environment, and can be a bit boring already. Whether you are planning to install new flooring for your drivaways, garage, walkways, shed floor, kitchen floor, and even foundation of your homes. There are several alternatives you can use as material instead of concrete.

Here are some categorized concrete floor alternatives categorized:

Eco-friendly Concrete Floor Base Alternatives:

  • Ashcrete

Ashcrete if the combination of fly ash with lime and water. Fly ash is produced from combustion of coal usually disposed of in landfills. This material is also becoming an alternative for precast concrete.

Pros:

  • Lessens the emission of carbon dioxide.
  • Increased concrete strength
  • Lessens the bleeding and shrinkage unlike traditional cement.

Cons:

  • Difficult to find seller and installers locally
  • Concrete debris

Utilizing concrete debris is the best solution to cut down the resource consumption and lessens the processing of the raw material to cement. This can be a good alternative for reinforced concrete.

Pros:

  • Reduces carbon emission
  • Saves landfill space
  • Reduces the use of water resources

Cons:

  • Decrease compressive strength of concrete
  • Lower quality of concrete and reduces the workability
  • Blast furnace slag

Blast furnace slag is a glassy granular material which is a byproduct when molten iron slag is quenched into water and steam from the blast furnace. This can be used as a substitute to 70 to 80% of cement, improving the durability of the concrete.

Pros:

  • Increase the strength and durability of concrete
  • Considerable sustainability benefits
  • Has a good surface finish making it aesthetically pleasing

Cons:

  • Early age strength development of this material is somewhat slower 
  • Bamboo

Bamboo can be used as framing in buildings and can be a substitute to rebar and concrete construction. Although lightweight, bamboo has tensile strength enough to be utilized as an alternative to expensive construction materials.

Pros:

  • Has durability similar to traditional hardwood flooring
  • Easier to clean with mop and mild soap
  • Provides a contemporary look on your flooring

Cons:

  • Low quality bamboo flooring can be prone to scratches and dings.
  • Prone to be damaged by water absorption and excessive humidity
  • Recycled Plastic

Plastic is a non-biodegradable material causing landfill to overfill and releases high concentration of greenhouse gases. Utilizing plastic as concrete reduces the CO2 by half and can eliminate further problems of plastic accumulation in the future.

Pros:

  • Reduces carbon emission and saves landfill space
  • Excellent thermal and electrical insulation properti
  • Good resistance to water, chemicals and impact
  • Lighter weight

Cons:

  • Has low bonding properties, thus, lower tensile, compressive and flexural strength
  • Cannot be used to high temperature service because it has a low melting point.

Stylish Concrete Floor Alternatives for Garage and House Floor

  • Resin Flooring

Resin flooring is a widely used polished concrete flooring solution which utilizes a combination of various resins with specific chemical hardeners. There are different types of resin flooring that you can use to achieve a certain evel of chemical resistance that is durable and can even be harder than concrete.

Pros:

  • Resistant to harsh chemicals that can be spilled on your concrete floor
  • Easy to clean
  • Flexible design flooring ideas

Cons:

  • Can have unpleasant chemical odor
  • Epoxy Flooring

Epoxy resin flooring is a type of synthetic resin flooring that can be normally applied to concrete floors but can be applied to hardwood and stone slabs as well. There are plenty of paints, sealers, and acid stains that can be used for epoxy flooring for better aesthetics.

Pros:

  • Durable and easy to clean
  • Resists oil stains and water
  • Flexible desing options
  • No major maintenance is required

Cons:

  • Slippery when wet
  • Removal can be difficult
  • Preparation is tedious
  • Dismantling can be difficult

Cheap Concrete Floor Alternatives for Driveways and Walkways:

  • Gravel

Gravel is one of the common concrete alternatives for flooring for your walkways and driveways. Several types of gravel are available in home improvement stores including crushed stone, quarry process, and pea gravel.

Pros:

  • Low-cost and quick installation
  • Easy to maintain but requires addition of gravel during rain and snowy months.

Cons:

  • Gaps and holes may develop in the surface
  • Requires replacement when rocks go missing or sink down
  • Gravel debris can fly up and can be accumulate making it look dirty
  • Asphalt

Asphalt is similar to concrete but utilizes different adhesive material which is tar rather than cement. It is usually used for walkways, driveways and roads. It has a rougher look as compared to concrete and has a notable smell.

Pros:

  • Cheapest as compared to other alternatives
  • Repair of roads and other flooring using this material is easy
  • Can remain intact for 20 or more years

Cons:

  • Has tendency to crack and soften in high heat
  • Requires be sealed every 3 to 5 years
  • Less durable than cement
  • Sand

Sand is one of the easily accessible and eco-friendly alternative concrete in terms processing. However, accumulating sand can be detrimental to the sand source. Sand can be used to create walkways and is not suitable as cement alternative for structures that require integrity.

Pros:

  • Cheaper to install and does not require extra materials.
  • Easy and quick to install and can be done without contracting professionals. You just have to simply dig out the soil and spread the gravel

Cons:

  • Difficult to maintain and keep clean
  • Not advisable to be used for driveways due to sand dust
  • Requires sublevel material underneath to hold the sand such as gravel or tarps.
  • Mulch

Mulch is the most-eco-friendly and cheapest option to cover your walkways. Mulch is any material that is spread over the surface of the soil to maintain its moisture, spress weeds, and hold nutrients in the soil as they decompose.

Pros:

  • Cheaper to install and does not require extra materials.
  • Easy and quick to install and can be done without contracting professionals.

Cons:

  • Dispersed easily causing you to lose your driveway
  • Can look dirty if not maintained properly
  • Needs to replace your driveway multiple times
  • Not advisable to be used for driveways due to sand dust
  • Requires sublevel material underneath to hold the sand such as gravel or tarps.

Conclusion

There are lots of options you can choose from for your flooring projects, not just concrete and cement as material. If you are planning to use eco-friendly, cheap or stylish material you have to consider first what is the best suited material for your project depending on the purpose of your flooring and availability of these alternatives in your area.

For any questions and suggestions about this article, please feel free to submit your thoughts in the comment section below.

FAQs: Concrete Floor Alternatives

What is a poor man’s concrete?

Poor man’s concrete refers to a mixture of soil and cement. The specific components of this are on-site soil, a little portland cement and water, thus, the only material you need to buy is the cement powder. Poor man’s concrete is commonly used as a sub-base for asphalt or other paving forms such as driveways, garage floor, patios, and sidewalks. According to Portland cement association, it is a good material due to its durability and great strength and creates a concrete almost the same quality as pure Portland cement or asphalt, however, it is not aesthetically pleasing.

Is it cheaper to mix my own concrete?

It is always cheaper to mix your own concrete, just buy bags of cement and add water. You have to be conscious in getting the right cement, water ratio for this will determine the durability of your concrete and then mix it thoroughly. If not enough water was added the concrete may crack or crumbles. On the other hand, if too much water was added it would create a slurry mixture that won;t even harden. You can also opt to use sub-grade concrete. Subgrade concrete is cheaper and you can still obtain quality concrete. You can buy this material at salvage yards.

What is the best flooring to put on a concrete floor?

Any kind of flooring is good to your concrete floor; it only depends on your preference aesthetically and the purpose of your flooring. However, if issues regarding humidity and damp conditions is a factor, using solid hardwood and laminate flooring that are not treated for moisture resistance are not advisable for this type of flooring will absorb moisture causing your flooring to be deformed and clasped. In terms of aesthetic and moisture resistance, ceramic tile is the designer’s choice because it has a wide range of design options, color and style.

What happens if you don’t put underlayment under laminate flooring?

Underlayment is a thin padding placed under various types of floors especially for laminate flooring. This provides support and protection for the flooring above  and reduces unwanted noise when your laminate flooring is installed. Therefore, not putting underlayment in your flooring can damage or ruin the flooring and you will have to replace or install a new flooring then which can be costly as compared to just install an underlayment. Installation of underlayment should also be done correctly.

Do you need a moisture barrier under vinyl plank flooring?

Underlayment is not required for your vinyl plank flooring if the plank already has underlayment installed, however, it still requires a vapor barrier. Plywood floor doesn’t require moisture barrier, however for installation of vinyl plank flooring over existing flooring such as tiles, vinyl flooring, and even hardwood, you require to install one.

REFERENCES:

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22 Concrete Alternatives for Driveways, Fence Posts and Foundations. (n.d.). Home Stratosphere. Retrieved from: https://www.homestratosphere.com/concrete-alternatives/

Franco, M. (n.d.). 8 Easy and Affordable Garage Floor Options. Bob Vila. Retrieved from: https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/8-easy-and-affordable-garage-floor-options-46893

Resin Floors. (n.d.). Florock. Retrieved from: https://www.florock.net/resin-floor-types/

Epoxy Floors: What are the Advantages and Disadvantages. (n.d.). HIM. Retrieved from: https://www.him.nl/en/epoxy-floors-what-are-the-advantages-and-disadvantages/

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Magher, M. (n.d.). The Cheapest Way to Get Concrete. Hunker. Retrieved from: https://www.hunker.com/13401897/the-cheapest-way-to-get-concrete

Riha, J. (n.d.). The Best Basement Flooring Options. DIY Netword. Retrieved from: https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/rooms-and-spaces/floors/best-basement-flooring-options

Preston- Strout, M. (2012, October 27). Laminate Flooring Underlayment: Does it Really Matter? Flooring. Retrieved from: http://www.flooring.org/blog/laminate-flooring-underlayment-does-it-really-matter/

Uhacz, A. (n.d.). Do I Need Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring? Floor City. Retrieved from: https://www.floorcity.com/blogs/flooring-expert/underlayment-for-vinyl-plank-flooring

Horn, J. (2020, December 11). How to Get Free Mulch. Workshopedia. Retrieved from: https://workshopedia.com/how-to-get-free-mulch/

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