Concrete floors can have plenty of advantages—durability, easy maintenance and plenty of options for decoration. If you’re considering getting a concrete floor installed, though, you need to start by assessing the costs, just like any other home improvement project. This includes repairing the concrete slab—or laying it, if one isn’t already present—as well as polishing, staining and/or applying epoxy. To prepare a budget for the floor, first determine what the cost range is for each component. In all cases, local contractors should be able to help by giving you a quote.

The Concrete Slab

Before any surface treatments can be done, the existing concrete may need to be cleaned and repaired. The basic cost for surface repairs, which should entail sealing joints, cracks and chips, generally comes to about $2 per square foot; resurfacing on top of that pushes the cost closer to $4-5 per square foot. If there isn’t a concrete slab to start with, you’ll have to get that installed, of course. This is most often the case for an outdoor project, which can be well worth it for resale value and personal enjoyment; you will need to assess the size of the area and how much concrete is needed in order to determine the material and labor costs, though.

Surface Treatments

Coating the concrete surface is generally a must to preserve its integrity and aesthetics. At the least, this entails applying epoxy or another form of sealer, which will keep moisture out and protect the concrete. The cost to epoxy floor depends on the type of epoxy paint used—water-based, solvent-based or 100% solid—as well as any additives included for color or texture. Water-based epoxy costs considerably less per gallon than solvent-based or solid epoxy. A gallon of the former comes in at $30-50, while the latter types can be as much as three times that. Thicker epoxy coatings, naturally, require more per square foot, so you’ll be buying more gallons of the stuff.

Other Cost Factors

The sheer size of the project in square feet isn’t the only determining factor for the final cost. You may wish to have the concrete stained, polished, finished with an overlay or patterned with saw cuts or embeds. As the complexity of the project increases, so do both material and labor costs, though.

Additionally, atypical floor plans may incur extra labor costs due to the difficulty of working around curves, angles, doorways, etc. On the other hand, though, you can expect the price per square foot to decrease for larger projects due to bulk discounts on materials.