Depending on who does the staining/stamping, you could have a really
ugly floor or something beautiful. Cost will depend on your area and
who is doing the work. Both are durable floors with the travertine
easier to patch provided you keep some extra tile as insurance.
I'm assuming that you're talking concrete vs travertine as opposed to
concrete on top of travertine. Probably a safe assumption, but you
never know with some of the questions on this newsgroup.
Lately, stained concrete floors have become popular in our area.
I've seen them written up in Fine HomeBuilding and other magazines as
well. I personally like the look in the right application. My
brother-in-law did about 1000sq ft of the stuff in a house he built
last year. It particularly appealed to them, because they have a
radiantly heated slab. He used the Kemiko (sp?) system which is
basically an acid that reacts with the concrete to create a mottled
color. In his case they chose a redish brown tone that looks vaguely
like well-worn leather. Whatever tone you chose, they're all
overcoated with an epoxy that can have anything from a matte to glossy
Here are a few considerations. First, the slab must be finished
well. An uneven, rough slab obviously won't look as nice as one that
is smooth. This also carries over to things like the control joints.
My BIL carefully layed out the control joints so they would form a
pleasing (as well as functional) pattern. Cracks will obviously be
quite visible, so anything that can be done to minimize cracking is a
plus. This means good subgrade prep, rebar, dryish concrete mix, good
curing, etc. Also, if anything gets spilled on the raw slab prior to
finishing, it can show up as noticable unstained areas. On the job I
mentioned, he accidently spilled a bottle of PVC cement, but quickly
wided it up. Nonetheless, it seemed to partially seal the pores, and
that area ended up lighter than the surrouning floor. Even though the
finish is meant to look mottled, this looks like a mistake.
Secondly, the application process is fairly involved. He first
sanded the floor - a messy job. Then several chemicals are wiped on,
allowed to react, and then wiped off. Finally there's the epoxy, which
must be allowed to cure for several days before traffic can be allowed
on the floor. This is of course complicated further if any equipment
is already mounted to floor.
Finally, the epoxy overcoat is not as tough as some other types of
flooring. My BIL has complained that dogs, kids, and furniture moving
all scratch the floor. He frets when someone walks on it with shoes
on, for fear a pebble stuck in their tread might leave a scratch. I
will say however, he's pretty picky and uptight about that sort of
thing and I think the floor still looks great. It's probably fair to
say the epoxy is nowhere near as tough as ceramic tile. I guess what
I'm saying is if you can't accept a little "character", it might not be
the floor for you.
I may sound down on the stuff, but I'm actually getting ready to
do about 400sf of it in my own new house. We'll be using it in the
laundry room and a half bath. If it shows a little wear over time, no
big deal. Hope this helps...
Richard Johnson PE
Camano Island, WA
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.