Polished concrete floors are a popular choice for improving the appearance and functionality of unfinished concrete floors. Businesses and homeowners alike can achieve a very smooth and glossy look at a very reasonable price.
Polished concrete floors cost far less than marble. They also often cost less than other alternative flooring options like hardwood or imported tile floors.
How are polished concrete floors done
The word polish might be a slight misnomer as the process of putting a high gloss is not achieved by applying a polish and buffing it as you might do on a natural wood floor. A special concrete polishing machine, equipped with diamond-encrusted sanding disks, is used to remove thin layers of the concrete surface.
Starting with a coarse-grade sanding disk, an experienced operator will remove any burrs and slight imperfections in the concrete floor. A number of passes will be made over the surface with the grit of the sanding disks changed intermittently to a finer and finer level.
The last pass or two may use a 1500 grit abrasive material which puts a very smooth and impressive shine on the concrete. It’s important to notice that the grinding is done to only the surface layer, not to hit the aggregates inside the concrete. Unless, of course, that is wanted.
While the process is primarily a dry sanding operation, some contractors will add a commercial quality polishing compound at the very end to enhance the final appearance. It is usually not necessary for most situations, but the polishing compound does offer a little added protection.
Factors that affect the cost
Costs for having a concrete floor polished to a glossy finish are determined by a number of factors. Most important is the labor cost as the polished floor isn’t done by adding anything expensive to the floor, on the contrary, it’s quite affordable.
While many companies try to gain business by offering lower prices than the competition, it is worth paying a little more for an experienced crew that really knows how to do the job the right way.
Almost anyone can push a machine around the floor, but knowing when to change the grit level and how much material to remove is something of an art form. As stated before, most of the time we don’t want to hit the aggregates on the concrete but want the smooth “cream” layer on the top.
Cost of polished concrete floors depends on the usage
Typical polished concrete floors cost less per square foot for larger surfaces than they do for small surfaces. A 5,000 square foot concrete warehouse floor typically costs between $3 and $5 per square foot.
Polishing a 200 square foot game room in your house might cost $6 to $12 per square foot. The difference is due in part to the type of machinery used and the size of the job.
Other factors include the number of passes made with the polishing machine and any extras like adding a stain to color the concrete or sealing the concrete.
In addition to the relatively low cost per square foot of actually getting the job done, a concrete polished floor will save you money in the future.
Polished concrete floor can save you money
It is a virtually maintenance free surface that normally requires nothing more than an occasional pass with a wet mop to keep it looking good.
A highly polished concrete floor will brighten up any room because it reflects light very well. Savings in electricity for lighting costs can be as much as 20 percent per month.
If the floor is used by forklifts or other vehicles with rubber tires, the smooth finish will actually prolong the life of those tires. Unfinished concrete is quite abrasive and takes a toll on the rubber tires used on forklifts and other warehouses’ mechanical equipment.
A polished concrete floor is a sensible solution for budget-conscious homeowners as well as hospitals, schools, and other large public and private businesses and organizations. Long-lasting, beautiful, and easy to maintain is a good combination overall.
Benefits of polished concrete flooring
Now that we’ve overviewed the cost, lets have a look at the benefits as there are some to choosing polished concrete flooring over other options.
Concrete has always been less expensive than other types of flooring. However, traditional floors such as tile, granite, and marble have dominated the market because of their visual appeal.
Nevertheless, modern concrete flooring is currently gaining popularity because of the benefits that it provides.
Times move on and new techniques are developed
Technology has greatly enhanced the aesthetics of modern polished concrete flooring. You no longer have to sacrifice style for the benefits of concrete.
A polished concrete floor is not just a boring slab of concrete. There are many different styles to choose from, and unique concrete floors are becoming easier to find. There is a polished concrete floor available to suit every need.
Traditional flooring comes with the expense of regular maintenance. Carpet needs to be cleaned, wood needs to be rewaxed, and tile and marble both take constant upkeep to remain in good condition.
Flooring maintenance is expensive and time-consuming. Polished concrete flooring, on the other hand, saves you both time and money on maintenance and general upkeep.
Choosing a polished concrete floor offers the benefit of inexpensive maintenance along with less expensive installation.
Usually the concrete is already there to be used
Concrete is typically the starting point of another flooring. Other items are layered above, which increases the cost of the floor and its impact on the environment. Opting for polished concrete will save you money on labor and materials while reducing your environmental footprint.
Although polished concrete has always been the least expensive flooring option available, it has been consistently overlooked in favor of more traditional flooring options.
However, the benefits of polished concrete flooring are attracting more customers. Additionally, technological innovations now make it possible to purchase beautiful and stylish polished concrete options for a small amount of what traditional flooring costs.
Once installed, the durability and low maintenance cost of polished concrete flooring offer further financial benefits. The money that polished concrete saves you with installation and upkeep makes it well worth the initial investment. Polished concrete is a popular flooring choice for many people both because of the benefits that it offers as well the way it looks.
Negatives of polished concrete floors
To keep me hones, negatives have to be reviewed as well. Most of these comes from the very attributes of concrete.
Concrete is hard surface, it isn’t as comfortable as something like carpet is to your feet. It’s a tradeoff between easy maintence and comfortability.
Concrete doesn’t insulate sound as well as other surfaces might be. You know how big concrete structures can echo loudly.
In cold climates, concrete is a cold surface. It can be negated with floor heating, but that can cost some extra. The good thing is, you have to heat the house anyway in there so warmth coming from the ground can be a nice addition. Once warmed, it also releases warmth slowly.
There are also some claims that polished concrete can be slippery when wet, but some of that can be negated with concrete sealers and adding some roughness there.
The last thing is concrete cracking. If not installed properly or if for some other reason the concrete cracks, it is a little bit of work to repair it. This is something that can be said of any floor thought.
As a concrete worker, I might be a little biased here or there, but I honestly think that polished concrete floors cost is on the sensible side and they are a good option in the house.
If I didn’t have wooden floors in my house, I’d consider it as well or stained concrete. What I like here is the ease of cleaning and being easy to maintain.
With kids I would have some worries with the hardness thought so some movable carpets would be needed here and there. Still, with kids being messy it would be easy to clean again.