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Polished Concrete Floors: An In-Depth Guide


Polished concrete floors have come a long way from when they were the preserve of uber contemporary homes.

You can now find polished concrete flooring in classic and contemporary homes as decorative concrete becomes the material of choice for homeowners looking for the ultimate no-wax flooring.

With proper experience and floor polishing equipment, contractors are grinding out concrete floors, whether it be for remodeling or new projects.

According to experts, concrete floors get you the high gloss finish that you’ll never need to coat or wax to maintain the shine.

Throw in the superior performance and durability of concrete and it is no wonder that many offices, commercial warehouse office facilities, and homeowners are increasingly preferring to use high luster and smooth concrete flooring.

What are Polished Concrete Floors?

Polished concrete flooring refers to floors made of concrete whose pores/holes are then ground down using a chemical densifier that progressively grinds the surface down much like sanding wood.

Just like sanding tools, the grit of the flooring tool increases alongside its fineness, such that you get the highest grade of finish with a higher grit.

For instance, a floor could work its way from the lowest finish such as the 400 grit and progressively become smoother as the grit goes to 800 and then 2000.

Types of Polished Concrete Floor Finishes

High Gloss Finish

Gives the highest sheen that resembles glass or marble

Matte Finish

Absorbs light and is usually intended to enhance the natural colors of the concrete

High Sheen Finish

The most popular concrete finish that provides a high sheen and provides excellent reflectivity to improve the lighting in a room as the color and light bounces and reflects off the objects in the room

Low Gloss Finish

Offers some light reflection and absorbs some light. It is sleek and is a low gloss alternative to the matte finish.

Poured Concrete Versus Tile Concrete Floors

concrete tiles ex

Concrete floors are often cheaper than poured concrete and hence you should go for tiles whenever you can.

Moreover, tiles tend to be more practical as they can be easily removed to repair and maintain damaged sections or to fix the faulty underfloor heating.

It is always easier and cheaper to rip up tiles rather than tear out poured concrete.

Once you have torn out poured concrete floors you will need to do the flooring afresh as compared to the tiles which can be easily installed.

You could easily DIY concrete tiles whereas you would need to get a professional installer if you want your poured concrete floor to look good.

When Should You Get a Concrete Floor?

A polished floor will be suitable if you need:

Sleek and smooth floors

It complements the minimalist interiors, common in many modern homes.

A floor that absorbs and holds heat well

If you are installing the floor in a place where the sun shines, the polished concrete surface is perfect as it benefits from solar gain.

Easy to clean and low maintenance floor

If you have children and pets in the house you need flooring that is easy to clean yet is durable enough not to get easily damaged.

Underfloor heating

Concrete works well with underfloor heating since it is an excellent conductor of heat.

A seamless look between the outside and the inside

If you have something like sliding doors or bifold between outdoor and indoor spaces, polished flooring provides a seamless look between the two spaces.

A non-slip finish

While it has a very high polished sheen concrete is not slippery and hence is ideal for non-slip areas such as kitchens, utility rooms, and bathrooms.

polished concrete floor in entryway

How Slippery Is Polished Concrete Flooring?

Polished concrete floor surfaces have a smooth as glass look though if they are kept dry and clean, they are not slippery at all.

As compared to other residential construction flooring material such as polished marble and waxed linoleum, they are very safe to walk on.

As such, they can be used in public facilities where the danger of slip and fall accidents tends to be high.

How to Improve Slip Resistance on Concrete Floors

While polished concrete floors are not as slippery, you can improve the slip resistance by doing the following:

Have a routine maintenance program

Ensure that the floors are free of stains, standing water, spills, grease, and oil at all times.

Get an anti-slip conditioner

Apply these onto your floors periodically. They have additives made to increase traction, particularly on wet surfaces.

Use Rubber Mats

In high traffic areas such as entryways, supplement the flooring with heavy area rugs and mats, which significantly reduce the risk of slipping.

Apply sealer coat

The coat usually contains anti-slip grit additives that when mixed into the sealer will significantly increase traction while maintaining the appearance of the polished floors.

How Do I Style Polished Concrete Floors?

Soften with a Rug

Concrete floors are minimalistic and hip, but the shiny concrete floor, especially at home, could come to look sterile, harsh and cold.

A rug in an appropriate location such as under the coffee table and in between the couches could soften it up.

Contrast polished concrete with dark and light on the walls

Add a smart and crisp aesthetic of the room by having white walls with dark concrete or dark walls with white polished concrete.

Balance with natural materials

Concrete tends to have a very industrial nature to it which you will need to neutralize. The best way to neutralize it is by balancing it with natural warm elements such as faux animal skins or wood.

Benefits Of Polished Concrete Floors

Polished concrete flooring offers a lot of benefits which have made it very attractive to medical, educational, big box stores, retail facilities, and homeowners. Moreover, concrete floors not only provides durability, but also beautiful.

The following are some of the benefits:

Cost Savings

You will not need a conventional floor covering materials when you get a polished concrete flooring. This makes the use of this type of floors cost effective and cheaper to maintain.

Longer life cycle savings

The floors tend to be harder as compared to those made of other materials.

As such, they are not as vulnerable to damage and frequent repairs or maintenance.

You will not need to conduct regular coating or messy waxes as well as the time and labor and associated expenses.

Polished concrete floors can be had in a variety of designs and colors – You can ask your contractor to style your floor in a variety of designs and colors.

Highly resistant to high foot traffic

Unlike your wood or marble floors you never have to conduct frequent maintenance of these concrete flooring as they can take high foot traffic without losing their luster.

Highlight reflectivity

If you have a public facility such as restaurant, hotel or office building that needs to maintain a clean and bright professional image, polished concrete floor work really well.

They also reduce artificial lighting needs which will save energy.

How to Customize Polished Concrete Floors

There are several ways to customize your floors that include borders, stains and dyes, coloring, bands, scoring, grids, and creating radial lines all of which make for a stunning effect.

Stains & Dyes

Concrete in any form can be dyed or stained into stunning color palettes or designs. Dyes and stains not only change the color of the concrete, but also change the feel and look of the flooring..

Radial Lines, Scores, and Other Designs

You can grid, line or score your polished concrete floors when it is wet and work it into any pattern, design or shape.


You can enhance your polished concrete by using borders which adds sophisticated detail and unique styling.

Polished concrete floors is one of the best decisions you can make when remodeling your home.

Its sleek designs, beautiful low maintenance, and non-slip finishes make it ideal for both contemporary or classic home.

Polished concrete floors will save you a lot of money in maintenance costs, and can be customized to make beautiful finishes that will significantly improve the look and feel of your home or commercial premises.

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