Pros of Polished Concrete Floors
Durability and Strength
Polished concrete floors offer superb durability and strength. When properly installed, they can withstand wear and tear for a long time. You can rely on their toughness to handle the pressure of heavy equipment or foot traffic in your space. Spills come up easily and won’t permanently stain a properly installed and maintained polished concrete floor.
These floors are easy to care for, making them a great choice for busy homes or businesses. To keep them looking new, you only need a quick sweep and a damp mop. Commercial and retail establishments can use a stand-up or ride-on concrete floor scrubber to easily clean their concrete and keep their floors in great shape.
No need for pricey cleaning supplies or time-consuming upkeep. They also don’t need to be waxed which also results in a huge time saving.
Design Options and Versatility
It is a common misconception that slate gray is your onl your only color option when you have a polished concrete floor. Nothing could be further from the truth. Whether you’re a homeowner or are considering concrete floors for your commercial or retail space, your style options are almost limitless.
Polished concrete offers a wide range of design options, such as various colors, textures, and patterns. With so many choices, you can tailor your flooring to suit your taste and your space’s unique style. Plus, it works well in both residential and commercial settings.
The two main options when it comes to decorative concrete are acid stained concrete floors and dyed concrete floors. With acid stained concrete floors, you get an elegant, mottled look which is ideal for office spaces or doctor’s offices. Dyed concrete options include almost the full range of colors. You can even have your company’s logo included in your decorative concrete floor. Either would look fantastic in a commercial space.
Compared to other flooring materials, polished concrete is quite wallet-friendly when it comes to the lifetime cost of the floor. While there may be a bit more upfront initial investment, the low maintenance requirements of a polished concrete floor make it relatively inexpensive to maintain when compared to floor coatings like epoxy, tile or laminate flooring.
It’s an affordable choice that still delivers fantastic performance and stunning aesthetics. Say goodbye to stretching your budget to achieve the look you desire.
Moisture and Mold Resistance
With polished concrete flooring in your home or business, you can forget about moisture and mold issues. Proper moisture mitigation will prevent moisture from becoming a problem and damaging the concrete or causing mold to form. As a result, polished concrete floors are highly resistant to both, so your space stays dry, clean, and safe.
Choosing polished concrete is not only good for your wallet but also for the environment. Concrete floors can greatly contribute to your building achieving LEED certification. LEED certification is the standard for sustainable building practices.
This flooring option is made from naturally occurring materials and requires less energy to create than other options. The lower maintenance requirements and long life of a polished concrete floor also contribute to LEED certification. Unlike tiles or vinyl flooring, it doesn’t need to be replaced and reinstalled periodically. You can feel proud knowing you’ve made an eco-friendly choice for your space.
Cons of Polished Concrete Floors
There are some minor drawbacks to polished concrete floors which should be considered when making your flooring choice.
Uncomfortable in Certain Settings
Polished concrete floors can feel hard and uncomfortable in bare feet. This hardness may bother you when standing or walking for extended periods.
If you have young kids or elderly family members, this could be a concern. You’re obviously not going to roll around on the floor playing with your children on a polished concrete floor.
To make frequently trafficked areas of concrete floors more comfortable. Anti fatigue mats are relatively inexpensive (starting at around $40 on Amazon.com). Mats offer varying levels of cushioning and support, reducing discomfort and strain on your feet.
These mats are ideal for areas where you’ll be spending a lot of time standing. Food prep areas in the kitchen and computer workstations (like standup desks) are perfect places to place these comfortable mats.
For residential use, concrete floors work better in some rooms than others. Polished concrete is a popular choice for basements and garages. Kitchens, dining rooms, and other entertaining areas are also ideal locations for polished concrete floors. Its ability to withstand foot traffic and easy cleanup make it a great choice.
It Can be Cold – But Only if Not Properly Insulated
Another downside is that polished concrete floors can feel cold, especially during winter months. Concrete is a great conductor of heat. To avoid this, just make sure that your floor is properly insulated.
When your concrete floor is installed, you can request radiant floor heating. While it will cost a bit more, this heating system helps warm your floors during cold weather. Heating cables are intertwined with the concrete slab during the installation to keep things warm when it is cold out.
Rugs are much less effective than radiant floor heating but are less thermally conductive. As a result, stepping on an area rug in the middle of winter in a cold house will feel less cold that stepping directly on concrete.
Noise and Echo
Concrete floors can create a loud and echo-filled environment in your home. This issue may become particularly noticeable in large, open spaces with high ceilings, making conversations and daily activities noisier.
Fortunately, this is easily mitigated as well. Just add soft furnishings, rugs, or acoustic panels to your space in order to tamp down the noise.
Cracking, Scratching, and Staining
Although polished concrete floors are durable, they can still develop cracks and stains. Serious cracks and stains can be avoided by using a reputable polished concrete flooring contractor with a proven track record.
Polished concrete is extremely durable, but can develop scratches if not properly maintained. Consider applying protective pads to furniture (like chair legs and table legs) in order to prevent scratches and damage to your polished concrete floors. Be mindful of heavy items as they might cause damage if not handled carefully.
Stains can also be an issue, especially if liquids are not cleaned up quickly. Acidic substances like wine, fruit juices, or coffee can damage the surface and leave stubborn stains. Regular maintenance and the use of protective sealers can help guard against staining.
Comparing Polished Concrete with Other Flooring Materials
Ceramic Tile and Natural Stone
When you consider ceramic tile and natural stone, keep in mind their unique features. Tile and stone offer a different look with a large variety of style options (just like concrete).
Both tile and stone require regular maintenance, while polished concrete is easier to care for. As an example, dirt and grime collect in the seams between tiles in a tile floor. As a result, the grout gets stained and requires periodic cleaning.
The major advantage of vinyl flooring is price. Vinyl is one of the cheapest flooring materials available.
Disadvantages of vinyl flooring are numerous. It isn’t natural, and therefore it isn’t environmentally friendly. This is a problem as vinyl isn’t nearly as durable as polished concrete and it will need to be periodically replaced. As a result, your vinyl floor will end up in a landfill while a polished concrete floor will still look shiny and new.
Check out are article on polished concrete vs vinyl for more details.
A hardwood floor is a great flooring option for many rooms of your house, but they do come with some drawbacks. Wood floors don’t do well if your sink overflows or the waterline to your fridge leaks. They’re very susceptible to water damage and will likely need to be replaced after an accidental leak.
Hardwood floors are durable, although not nearly as durable as polished concrete. They’re vulnerable to damage from pets and furniture and can be easily dented and scratched.
For more information on hardwood floors vs concrete floors, please check out our writeup.
Epoxy flooring can be an excellent choice – especially in industrial environments where business owners may be dealing with chemical spills. An epoxy floor can withstand a heavy amount of foot traffic and even vehicle traffic. It is also can be an extremely strong and durable flooring option.
If you’re considering a floor coating, we actually offer UV floor coatings that have similar properties as epoxy coatings – with much less downtime during installation.
Polished concrete floors are generally less expensive than installing an epoxy floor coating and tend to last a lot longer.
You can find our full analysis of epoxy vs concrete polishing here.