By Stephani L. Miller. Decorative concrete floors offer a wide range of design flexibility. They can be painted, acid-stained, scored, saw-cut, polished, overlayed, micro-topped, or colored. Concrete's versatility as a flooring material -- and its ability to be easily renewed or covered up by the next homeowner -- makes it a popular choice for clients who want a one-of-a-kind floor. "Decorative concrete floors have steadily gained popularity over the last 30 years as a great alternative to stone, marble, tile, and wood," says Jackie Cain, corporate communications marketing assistant for Bomanite.

Concrete surfaces provide for low maintenance and versatility in a variety of applications, and they also offer a blank canvas for designers to work on. Mosaic patterns can be created, designs in varying sizes can be stamped into the surface, tile patterns can be fashioned by staining or painting, and much more.

"These floors are popular because they're distinctive," says Jim Peterson, president of, a business-to-business Web site serving designers, architects, contractors, and homeowners interested in anything concrete. "It's a craft product," he says. "The floors will have nuances based on the area of the country and the rock in the cement. This is for the people who will relish these differences, not for the ones who want exact results."

Decorative concrete floors allow homeowners to make design statements, and they allow designers to exercise their talents in new and different ways. "Artisans get a hold of it and they can do all sorts of neat things," Peterson says. "It becomes a work of art on your floor."

Nafco. PermaStone vinyl tiles in the Tumbled Marble collection come in five colors and feature a system that allows tiles fit together without visible seams. (256) 766-0235.

Photo: Courtesy Mohawk

Mohawk. Floating wood-grain laminate flooring installs with the company's tongue and groove locking system. Three collections are available: Paramount (shown), Heritage, and Avalon. (800) 2-MOHAWK.

GranitiFiandre. The Geologica line has been expanded to include three marble re-creations: Estremoz, Rouge Languedoc, and Cremo Delicato. Geologic stones offer the aesthetics of quarried marble with enhanced performance, the company says. The flooring is available polished and honed for interior and exterior use and comes in a variety of sizes. (888) 903-4263.

WFI Bamboo. As a renewable resource, bamboo flooring offers an environmentally friendly alternative to hardwood. It's available in many different varieties and finishes, as well as unfinished. The company says its bamboo flooring will not delaminate under normal conditions. (319) 390-2081.

Photo: Courtesy BHK of America

BHK of America. The glueless Moderna Ceramico Laminate Planked Tile Flooring looks like ceramic tile and comes in four colors. (800) 663-4176.

Pennwood. Unfinished plank hardwood flooring comes in uniform or random widths and in random lengths in several domestic species. Grades include Estate, for uniformity; Legacy, for subtle variations; and Heritage (shown,) for grain and color variations. (717) 259-9551.

Photo: Courtesy Armstrong

Armstrong. The Urban Settings collection of ToughGuard sheet-vinyl flooring now includes Twinkle and Vienna (shown) designs. Vienna features an embossed rectangle motif. The flooring will not rip, tear, gouge, or permanently indent, says the maker. (888) ARMSTRONG.

Photo: Courtesy Bomanite

Bomanite. Micro-Top, a two-part cementitious flooring system, combines colored powders and liquid polymers to offer unlimited design possibilities for concrete floor coloration. The product bonds to most surfaces, says the maker, and is installed by licensed Bomanite contractors. (559) 673-2411.

Photo: Courtesy Bruce

Bruce. The new Studio B line of hard-wood flooring features eight exotic species and comes in 1/4-inch-thick random-length strips. Kambala (shown), a West African wood, deepens in color as it ages. The material glues down with tongue-and-groove installation. (800) 722-4647.