All you need to know about Polished Concrete

All you need to know about polished concrete

Over the years, polished concrete has become the most preferred flooring material. It is not just used for flooring but it is also used in countertops and fireplaces. With the advancement in polishing techniques, concrete is developed with the high-gloss finish. In fact, it has become a great alternative to linoleum, granite, marble and other tiles. However, you can choose the level of sheen of the polished concrete. At the time of renovating your home, you often get confused with the most appropriate flooring material within your budget. Nonetheless, with polished concrete flooring, you will be selecting the most cost effective option.

What is polished concrete?

Easiest explanation is the polishing concrete is similar to sanding wood. With heavy-duty polishing machines equipped with progressively finer grits of diamond-impregnated segments or disks you are gradually grind down surfaces to the desired degree of shine and smoothness. The process itself consist of few steps of rough grinding, few steps of fine grinding and finally few steps of polishing process. There are some who claim that you can polish concrete yourself but the cost of equipment is rather high and it’s not advisable. Today, you have a lot of companies which will polish your concrete floors with professional tools at very low cost.

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Benefits of Polished concrete

  • Aesthetics – The foremost feature of installing polished concrete is that it looks shiny, smooth and striking. Whether it is polished concrete floor, countertop, fireplace or wherever you have installed it, it will augment the entire look of your dream home. Polishing exposes the aggregate in the concrete and offers the appeal of natural stone. It looks elegant, expensive and exclusive.
  • Low Maintenance – The captivating feature is that concrete does not require much maintenance. It is ideal to be installed at the places with the high traffic like corridors, hallways and schools. You can clean the polished concrete surface easily with the water and broom. As compared with other materials such as stone tile and vinyl composite tile, concrete surface has a longer shelf life. However, you will need to refinish it after every 5 years.
  • Better Lighting – Since the polished concrete reflects high light; it keeps the surface and environment bright. Like a polished marble or granite, polished concrete offers a high degree of shine with high-gloss coating. Thus, there will be a need of fewer lights for visibility and brightness. It will keep your entire environment look bright and full of light.
  • Economical – The cost of polished concrete floors is very low, about $2 to $6 per square foot to polish a plain gray slab, giving it a lustrous sheen. The concrete’s tonal differences, subtle cracks and aggregates take on a stone like, natural feel.
  • Durability – Concrete flooring is extremely tough and resilient, and is able to withstand the pressure from very heavy equipment. That is why it is such a popular material for hard working commercial areas such as garages and warehouses. It also means that the material is difficult to damage and high heals, furniture legs, and pet claws will not even scratch the surface. You also don’t have to worry about damage from dropped items.

Polished Concrete Design Ideas

Today, an endless variety of polished concrete is available in the market. You can think of installing stained polished concrete, which can add warmth to your floor. It looks simple yet stylish whether it is your countertop or floor. Dyed polished concrete has become popular among the homeowners that love setting their own style statement. Concrete dyes look more vibrant and are available in various patterns. Right from those huge spirals to abstract patterns, you can revamp your home with dyed polished concrete. In addition to this, plain grey polished concrete are ideal for the formal places where you need decency with style while the scored concrete can add colors to your space.

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Choosing the proper Concrete Polishing

It is important to choose right type of polishing for your concrete surface. To start with, salt and pepper polished concrete will look best if you want aggregate exposure in different locations. On the other hand, cream polished concrete surface looks amazing, as it can be stained with any possible color while large aggregate polished concrete looks ideal at the places where you need to have bold appearance.

When you are choosing concrete polishing, keep in mind the leveling of your floor. Sometimes, your floor might not level enough, which means different level of aggregate will show at different places. It could work though, depending on the kind of aesthetics you are going for. Similarly, the time when you start polishing your concrete is also important. For instance, in the case of medium aggregate exposure, the ideal time to start concrete polishing is within a week after pouring the concrete slab. Doing so ensures that there is correct amount of aggregate exposure for pleasing aesthetics.

Thank you for sharing, Handyman tips team!
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6 comments

  1. Ernest London

    Thanks for the information on polished concrete. I had no idea that the process was similar to sanding wood. I like that you mentioned that polished concrete reflects light, which provides better lighting for the room. My wife and I are trying to decide what we want for our fireplace area. I think polished concrete would be a good choice.

  2. Marcus Coons

    Thank you for mentioning how you need to refinish your polished concrete every 5 years. We are doing some remodeling in our kitchen and my wife wants to have polished concrete laid to increase the looks of it. As I see it, taking the time to consult with a professional can help you find the best treatment for your concrete to add to the value of your home.

  3. lu

    I had no idea that polishing concrete was anything similar to sanding wood. I would imagine that it would take a lot more time and something much tougher than sandpaper though. There are probably contractors you can look into who would be able to handle the process for you.

  4. Tony Jeremia

    Thank you Handyman Tips for this article. I’m kind of blown away at how much you know about polished concrete. I think I run into more incorrect blog posts about concrete polishing than I do accurate ones. I will say I’m impressed and appreciate your taking the time to write this out. I never knew about the timing from when you pour the concrete to when you start polishing. I had no idea that it made a difference.

  5. Jeff Evans

    It’s really cool that they use diamonds for the grit on the polishing machines, and I didn’t realize the aesthetic impact they have. It’s cool that you mention the lighting and how the reflection helps lighten the mood in the room, which is definitely true. I’ve always liked the way that polished concrete looks and I’m definitely going to have to look more into getting this done!

  6. Sarah Smith

    I have a concrete floor in my basement and don’t really want to put down a carpet. It’s good to know that a polished floor provides better lighting and lower maintenance. Thanks for the advice about how it’s best to get the concrete polished by a company. Hopefully, I can get a polishing company that is licensed and offers a warranty.

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