When to Choose Polished Concrete Over Tile for Your Floors
Choosing between a polished concrete floor vs tiles seems like a simple decision, but the truth is that there are positive and negative aspects to each floor type. Whether you are a business owner or a homeowner, there are several things to consider before making your decision.
Polished Concrete Floors are shiny, smooth, and straightforward flooring option. A single concrete slab is smoothed down and polished with a glossy finish.
Most homeowners who choose a polished floor let the furniture, walls, and decorations take the spotlight, whereas business owners may like them to avoid tripping hazards.
Polished concrete floors also offer a wide variety of decorative concrete options. Concrete dyes can add almost any color you can imagine to an otherwise boring, grey concrete floor. Acid stained concrete floors are another option. Acid stain can be added to concrete to create an elegant, mottled look which is ideal for commercial flooring environments like office buildings and retail shops.
Polished concrete is a smooth and sleek floor option with many benefits.
- Polished concrete floors cost less than most tile floors
- Polished concrete is long-lasting with little to zero damage over time.
- Its smooth sealed surface makes it easy to clean off messes.
- It is highly reflective which can provide savings on energy costs
- Despite looking slippery, it provides better than average traction than many other flooring types and is highly slip resistant
- It is a smooth, even surface that presents no real tripping hazards, unlike tile floors which can buckle or become raised over time
There are some negative aspects to having polished concrete floors as well.
- Concrete polishing is solid and hard – making it a less comfortable, forgiving surface – especially in bare feet – when compared to a carpeted floor or even a hardwood floor.
- Concrete polishing produces a dense floor that doesn’t absorb noise well unless you cover portions of the concrete flooring with items like rugs
- It’s best to hire a professional concrete contractor to avoid moisture from seeping in.
Tile Floors are one of the alternatives to polished concrete flooring. A tile floor consists of ceramic tiles held in place with grout and take a bit of work to install per square foot. Once installed, they have a very smooth finish.
They add personality and design to a home and are durable in a commercial setting as well. Like stained concrete, tile flooring has plenty of positive aspects and several downsides.
There are multiple reasons why homeowners or business owners prefer this type of ceramic tile flooring.
- A tile floor is typically a long-lasting flooring option.
- Tile flooring comes with plenty of options to choose from.
- Moisture doesn’t seep into tile floors (it doesn’t penetrate sealed concrete floors either)
- If taken care of, tile flooring can require little maintenance.
Here are the several negative aspects that come with installing tile flooring in your home or workplace.
- Tile flooring is one of the more expensive flooring options.
- Tile flooring isn’t as easy to clean because of the grout lines that can get downright nasty if not properly maintained
- Tile flooring isn’t as smooth and can be awkward on the feet.
Tile Floors Can Collect Debris and Grime Making Them a Nightmare to Clean
When you are comparing polished concrete vs tile floors there are some reasons to go for concrete.
As a homeowner, concrete flooring is a simple style that offers a blank canvas to decorate. It is also low-maintenance in terms of cleaning.
For business owners, it’s smooth and flat, making it easy to maneuver machinery around. It’s also strong and can withstand the weight and pressure of those machines and all the employee’s feet trampling over it.
When it comes to the lifetime cost of your floor, polished concrete is the least expensive option. Concrete is generally better overall for work-like settings, such as warehouses or construction buildings.
Tile is still a really good option for homeowners and business owners, just a much more expensive route – especially from a maintenance perspective. When installed properly, it provides good durability and longevity, as well as the ability to install it yourself.
Tile flooring is a better option for homeowners who want a project, like the design it adds to the room, and are willing to pay for it.
Business owners may choose to put tile on top of preexisting or newly installed concrete floors.
Moisture mitigation prevents moisture from seeping into concrete floors. This is important because moisture can create an odor, grow mildew or deteriorate the concrete over time.
Placing tile on top of concrete requires moisture mitigation, including implementation of a barrier between the two to block the moisture from passing through.
When installing tile on concrete there should be an additional cement board between the materials or an uncoupling membrane. A cement board is a less effective option compared to the membrane because it may crack regardless.
By not installing the tile directly onto the cement, the uncoupling membrane takes the role of an extra layer, or cushion, to prevent any leaks through any cracks. The membrane’s ability to easily move provides flexibility to both the tiles and the cement because it’s layered between them.
The layer breaks the two materials apart which removes the possibility of water transferring from one to the other.
An uncoupling membrane can last years upon years without leaks or cracks, and it will save you money in the long run despite its expensive price.
It’s crucial for homeowners and business owners to have a professional install the uncoupling membrane. Otherwise, the material might not be applied correctly, which may bring future problems like cracks.
Here are the most frequently asked questions when it comes to polished concrete floors versus tile floors.
Is Polished Concrete Cheaper than Tile?
Polished concrete is much cheaper than tile floors. Polished concrete pricing ranges anywhere from $2 – $16 per square foot. This assumes that you already have an existing concrete floor to work with. If you need to have a new concrete pour for your slab, this will increase the overall cost of your floor installation.
Tile flooring prices vary widely. Ceramic tile floors cost between $7 and $45 per square foot, and a porcelain tile floor comes in at the higher end of that range – from $12-$40 per square foot. This is due to the high material costs for tiles, which are sold by square feet, as well as labor costs if you choose to not do it yourself.
Is Polished Concrete Better than Tile?
It’s subjective whether concrete is better than tile, however, the lifetime cost of a polished concrete floor is lower than the cost of tile floors. Styles are different and it comes down to your preference. There are many colors, stains, patterns, and logo choices available with polished concrete. Ceramic tiles come in a variety of colors and patterns. From a pure aesthetics standpoint both options are versatile and it comes down to your personal preferences.
Are Concrete Floors Colder Than Tile?
You can replace tiles with polished concrete floors. Grout is a form of cement, so it’ll take some time to remove the ceramic tiles, but once you do, you are free to lay down the concrete and polish it.
Some houses have tiles layered on top of concrete, so you may be able to remove the tiles and polish the pre-existing concrete.
You’ll have to hire a professional to do it because of the complicated process of laying down concrete properly, as well as the machinery needed to polish it afterward.
Are Concrete Floors Colder Than Tile?
Yes, concrete floors tend to get especially cold in the winter months. Concrete isn’t the best insulator on its own which is why you’ll want to make sure your concrete floor is properly insulated when it is installed.
What Other Flooring Options Should I Consider?
We’ve put together a few different articles comparing polished concrete to other commercial and residential flooring material options. You can check out the details by clicking on the articles below:
And finally – an analysis of tiles that look like polished concrete:
What are polished concrete tiles?