Stained cement or hardwood floors in a rental property?

10 Replies

I am going to be putting in new floors in the living room and dining room of my condo, and the cost to install hardwood isn't greatly different from having someone professional stain the cement.

I know the stained cement would be more durable and less maintenance, but I would like to know other pros and cons of both options.

Hi Victoria,

I am architect; in my oppinion the hardwood is more confurtable for living, more warm on cold weather. Of course the cement is more durable and easy to mantenance, probably a little expensive than hardwood. All depents that you want.


IMO, stained cement is an acquired taste. Not everyone likes it and it gets pretty cold in the winter. Unless your condo is a sweet downtown pad, with a view, it may be best to stick with the traditional flooring option. 

Also, you would need to install plywood under any real hardwood you may want to put in. I'm pretty sure that the staining option would be less expensive of the two, however, you may cut your potential tenants by half if not more. 

I think it depends on the clientele you are looking to attract.  I know concrete floors (and countertops) can be found in some unique and higher end projects, but I don't think a run of the mill family would necessarily want concrete floors.

I have to agree that wood floors are more "homey" and comfortable, and if I were personally looking for a place to rent, I wouldn't be thrilled with concrete floors.

Good morning Victoria

I am also an Architect here in California. I guess it really depends on how you are going to be using the spaces. Do you have pets that could scratch the hardwood? Will you be moving furniture around frequently?

Frank is correct in the 'warmth' issue but that is directly related to what level these spaces are on. If you have a slab on grade that you are doing this on then this is something that you will need to consider. If these spaces are above a wood or metal framed floor level then the temperature difference will not be noticeable.

Personally, I really prefer stained, sealed concrete floors as they provide a rich texture to the existing concrete that you really have a hard time achieving with flooring and it wears better than any other material.

Chad Conrad

Hi @Victoria Jonagan  yet another architectural voice here-if your utmost concern is about the ease of selling/renting the place then wood should do a lot better for you for just the acquired taste description @Roman Pak  cites (I know because I put in concrete counter tops in my kitchen that I loved but came to regret when I sold.)  BUT you could always go stained concrete and see what happens.  If it's detrimental then wood can be put in on top of it.  Yes I realize that advice is not cost effective but it provides flexibility in your decision. And if you put in the concrete and it 'feels' cold you can warm it up with some area rugs when you are showing the place to potential buyers/renters.  Let us know what you decide and post some pics!  What a fun decision to be faced with :)

It really depends on your client base. Most families with children will not want cement in their house as they may view it as a safety hazard to their child.

If you are marketing to college kids, then cement is the way to go because it is easy to clean vomit and spilled beer after parties and cement doesn't stain as easily as wood or carpet.

Personally I go for what I like. I wouldn't rent out a house that I personally would not want to live in and I personally would not want cement flooring in my living room or bedroom or kitchen so I would put down wood flooring.

I actually prefer hardwood, but seeing as this place will eventually be a rental property, my decision will be based on that.

My condo is on the bottom floor. The living room/dining room area is about 350 Sq ft. The kitchen and entry way has white tile. I have seen other units in my complex with the stained cement, and it looks really nice. But those places have exposed brick, which mine does not.

As far as the warmth aspect goes, my gas is covered by the hoa, and my condo is about 750 Sq ft, so I'm not sure how much that will end up being a problem.

I have two cats that's are declawed so pets aren't an issue for me, but I haven't decided if pets will be allowed when I eventually rent the place.

The Plaza area in Kansas City is one of the nicer areas to live, with a lot of professionals. So I am trying to update my condo with those things in mind as well.

Hey @Victoria Jonagan  

Being from Kansas City and knowing the area you are referring, I feel that going with stained cement without the exposed brick might put you at a disadvantage when competing with a nearby property with stained cement and exposed brick.  The person that you are targeting using the stained cement will pick exposed brick more times than not if you are going head to head.  Just my opinion.  I would think about a less traditional wood if you are going to try to set yourself apart.  I have a hand-scraped bamboo wood floor throughout my first floor and I get a ton of compliments on it.  


Stained cement doesn't have that "homely" feel at all IMO. It makes it feel like work/storage space.

Hi @Victoria Jonagan

What did you end up doing?  I have a single family 3/2/2 in Arlington TX and plan on going with stained concrete everywhere except the bedrooms.  It is a rental in a decent area so cost and durability are important.  Lots of higher end homes in the area are doing this so I thought I would give it a try whenever my tenant moves.

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