Concrete has long been known for its durability and cost-saving features. With modern technologies, homeowners and business owners are finding they can harness these advantages of concrete in their floor along with many other added benefits. Polished concrete is a popular alternative to other flooring materials because of three noteworthy benefits: lower total cost, lower maintenance, and aesthetics.
Polished concrete’s superior durability and performance have made it a top finish for retail stores, warehouses, office facilities, and municipalities. Homeowners, as well, are selecting these smooth, high-luster floors that imitate the look of polished stone.
Polished concrete floors are very economical. Unlike many other floor surface materials, a polished concrete floor can last up to ten years or longer before it needs to be refinished. Maintenance on a polished floor is also minimal, thereby reducing costs associated with keeping floors clean, durable, and traffic-friendly.
Polished concrete floors are striking in appearance. The exposure of the aggregate in the concrete unveils a look of stone. There are a variety of colors available on the market to stain or in some other way modify the color and look of the polished floor. There are also various levels of sheen depending on the degree of reflectivity and shine that is desired.
Polished Concrete F.A.Q
Polished concrete is a high-gloss finish attained by using special floor polishers fitted with diamond-impregnated abrasive disks (similar to sandpaper) to grind down surfaces to the desired degree of shine and smoothness.
The resulting surface is very low-maintenance and can be stained to replicate the look of polished stone.
Because of polished concrete’s unique shine and slick appearance, many people question if it is a slippery surface. When the concrete is clean and dry, it is generally no more slippery than plain concrete surfaces. In fact, polished concrete tends to be less slippery than waxed linoleum or polished marble.
There are anti-slip conditioners that can be applied to a polished concrete floor for extra protection against accidents. The special additives in these products are designed to improve traction and make wet surfaces safer. They don’t require any additional cleaning needs than the usual damp mopping during routine cleanings. However, they must be reapplied periodically
Maintenance for polished concrete is very minimal. Regular care includes occasional damp mopping to remove dust or grit. Some contractors recommend a neutral cleaner and conditioner that cleans the surface, and leaves behind a dirt-resistant film.
Except for high traffic areas, polished concrete will keep its shine for years. If it should ever dull, it is easy to restore. Sometimes simply buffing the floor with a commercial polishing compound will do the trick. If more touch-up is necessary, the floors can be lightly re-polished with a fine-grit abrasive.
Benefits of Polished Concrete
One of the benefits of polished concrete is less maintenance cost. In high traffic areas especially, such as schools, hallways and corridors hold up better and last longer with polished concrete. Not only are polished concrete floors easy to clean, requiring only occasional damp mopping, they can resist scuff marks and tire marks. They also eliminate the need for messy waxes or coatings as well as the associated labor, time, and expense to apply them. Its dense surface also inhibits stains from oils or liquids.
Polished concrete has a longer lifespan than materials such as vinyl composite tile (VCT) or upgraded stone tile. Polished concrete only needs to be refinished once every five to ten years. In addition, the downtime required the polishing process is minimal, and service or traffic on the surface can start almost immediately.
People typically compare polished concrete’s cost and its appearance to other materials. Knowing polished concrete is a viable, economical and long-lasting option, the next most important question is “what does it look like?” Polished concrete is shiny, beautiful and striking. By smoothing and exposing the aggregate in the concrete, polishing provides a design that has a natural stone appeal and appears expensive and elegant.
It’s important when choosing polished concrete to also understand that polishing can expose some of the concrete’s imperfections. You have to be comfortable with the theme of the concrete. Polishing can produce rustic-looking results, and imperfections will show. The floor has to fit the character of the space. Some of these imperfections may include cracks already existing in the floor, uncovering different types of concrete in places or uneven concrete. These imperfections can be improved but they will be reflected in the final product. Some people call this organic where you see the natural qualities of the concrete. You can see areas of coarser aggregate and unevenness of veins and aggregate. This is often one of the most appealing characteristics for people who want a natural and still functional look.
The high light reflectivity of polished concrete is another important benefit, especially for office buildings, hotels, restaurants, and other public facilities that want to project a bright, clean, professional image. Concrete polishing can give concrete a higher degree of shine, similar to polished marble or granite, than can be achieved with a high-gloss coating. This means greater visibility and fewer overhead lights required in buildings with polished floors.
Polished concrete contains no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which makes it an environmentally friendly surface. There are no coatings applied, such as epoxies, urethanes, or waxes. There is no slurry or hazardous waste.