Is it time to upgrade your flooring? Surely, you’ve come across polished concrete flooring during your research. We certainly understand the appeal! These are fantastic options that can enhance the value of any property. However, with anything in life, it’s vital to consider the pros and cons before making a final decision. Changing or installing new floors is a big decision. Hence, it’s crucial to consider all possibilities and consequences to ensure you’re making the right decision for you and your property. Thus, let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of polished concrete flooring so you can start your project!
What Is a Polished Concrete Floor?
Before getting into the advantages and disadvantages of this type of flooring, it’s crucial to know what it is. This concrete floor has been chemically treated and ground down using specific tools, much like sanding wood. The type of finish of polished concrete floors depends on the fineness, which is influenced by grit. In general, the higher the grit, the higher the fineness. Those floors with a higher finish also tend to have a shinier polish.
Pros and Cons of Polished Concrete Floors
Whether you’re considering changing the existing floors in your home or workplace, it’s crucial to consider the pros and cons before making your final decision.
Pros of Polished Concrete Floors
It’s no secret that polished concrete floors are beautiful and can add to the aesthetic of any residential or commercial space. However, there are many other wonderful benefits to consider as well. Let’s look at them!
Polished concrete flooring is an excellent way to add a fresh and modern appeal to any property. Apart from the overall appearance, you can choose between various styles, designs, and options. Therefore, you’ll be able to install an utterly personalized floor that complements the rest of your space.
Since they’re versatile and flexible, polished concrete floors are ideal for your home or workplace renovation project.
Concrete floors are known to last longer than many other flooring materials. This makes them ideal for any areas with heavy foot traffic, as you don’t have to worry about them scuffing or scratching easily.
Furthermore, they’re also easy to maintain as they don’t require any sealants or wax.
Installation Is Cheap
One of the first questions you probably have is, “How much does a polished concrete floor cost?” Even though concrete is more durable than other materials, it’s also cheaper. Thus, these floors are worth considering if you’re on a tight budget. Polished concrete floors cost $4 to $10 per square foot. When looking at other materials, such as tile or hardwood, the cost usually starts at $10 per square foot.
Therefore, when you opt for these concrete floors, you can rest assured that you’re getting high value for money.
They’re Easy to Clean
Since polished concrete has a smooth finish, it’s easy to clean. To polish concrete and keep it shiny, all you have to do is vacuum it and use a damp microfiber mop. This is one of the main reasons many large corporations opt for polished concrete flooring – they cut down on many cleaning costs.
These Polished Floors Are Environmentally Friendly
Concrete floors are naturally eco-friendly since they use your existing concrete floor rather than having flooring added above the concrete slab. Therefore, installing concrete floors requires less water and energy than installing other flooring. Additionally, polished concrete floors serve as a significant source of LEED credits and environmental tax credits for construction projects.
Furthermore, when you choose polished concrete flooring, you reduce up to 97% of lifetime waste. This is because these floors don’t need regular maintenance, replacement, and repair, unlike other flooring options, such as wood, tile, vinyl, etc.
Concrete is also known for having a higher thermal mass than other materials, meaning it can absorb heat throughout the day and gradually release it during the evening. This makes it a convenient option for solar projects.
They’re Moisture Resistant
A silicate densifier, a penetrating liquid used to polish concrete floors, lowers the concrete’s inherent porosity. Less porosity reduces the quantity of moisture that a polished concrete floor absorbs from floods or spills. Most of the time, polished concrete floors are not repaired after a flood or accident involving liquids, such as a burst pipe.
Polished concrete floors are free from volatile organic compounds (VOC). The same can’t be said for other floor types, such as carpet, vinyl, or wood. This is because of the polished concrete floor installation process.
While you might not realize it, inhaling VOCs has several negative health consequences and can cause allergies, migraines, kidney damage, eye irritation, and a sore or scratchy throat.
Therefore, polished concrete flooring is ideal for any residential project, especially if you have pets or children.
You might also be wondering, “Are polished concrete floors slippery?” Fortunately, they’re not because of their flat surface, which is another reason they’re considered a safe option. It’s the most slip-resistant of all hard, smooth floors.
Cons of Polished Concrete Floors
While polished concrete surfaces are much more popular than other types of floors and have several benefits, there are a few downsides you also need to consider before continuing with any reno project:
One of the benefits mentioned above pertains to the strength and durability of these floors. However, the downside is that they are hard and have no room to give, making it uncomfortable or tiring for workers on their feet all day.
Don’t panic, as there’s still an effective solution. You can reduce the negative effects of hardness by investing in anti-fatigue mats and strategically placing them across your office or workplace facility.
The Quality of Concrete Pour Affects the Entire Floor
Polished concrete flooring uses the existing concrete slab in place; therefore, ensuring you use high-quality concrete pour is vital. This will significantly impact the appearance and durability of the floor. If the incorrect or an inferior-quality pour is used, you might end up with an unattractive-looking floor.
Polished concrete flooring is often cold because it has a high thermal mass. The benefit of this is that you can expect reduced energy bills. However, this might be slightly unpleasant during the colder months. Once again, this isn’t permanent, and a simple fix to this problem is installing radiant heating on your floors.
How Can You Customize a Polished Concrete Floor?
We’ve already mentioned that polished concrete flooring is versatile and can be personalized in any way to suit your tastes and preferences. Let’s look at a few of the ways you can customize your polished concrete floor to turn your vision into reality:
You can choose between a number of design options, such as lining, scoring, or gridding. One of the major selling points of concrete is that when it’s wet, you can create almost any type of design, shape, or pattern. Therefore, you get a blank canvas on which you’re free to create anything you like.
This makes it one of the most loved construction materials, as contractors are free to customize it to ensure it fits the visual aesthetic of any space.
Dyes and Stains
Standard-grade concrete is grey. Even when polished, this might not be ideal for your home or office. Fortunately, concrete is versatile, and its appearance can be completely transformed. One of the most common options people opt for is stains or dyes. This enables you to select the color palette of your choosing.
While dyes and stains change the color of concrete, they do much more. When done in conjunction with polishing, they elevate the look and feel of the entire concrete surface.
Polished concrete floors can be personalized by the use of borders, just like other concrete surfaces in architecture. This refined detail completes the look and has its own innate sense of style. Therefore, you’re free to choose any design that complements your tastes.
Interested in Polished Concrete Flooring?
If you’re considering polishing concrete floors in your home or office, consider each of the pros and cons mentioned above. While there are numerous factors to consider, it’s clear that the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to these types of floors. Once you’ve decided to install polished concrete flooring, finding a reputable and professional concrete polishing contractor who will execute the job correctly is vital. Austin Innovative Concrete has been in the business for many years and is ready to turn your vision into reality. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote.