Polished Concrete Flooring – Pros and Cons

Last Updated: May 13, 2022

Updated on 5/12/2022

The Positive Characteristics of Polished Concrete Flooring

  • Strong and Durable: Polished concrete flooring is extremely tough and resistant, and is able to withstand the pressure from heavy equipment such as cars, trucks, forklifts, and stacked crates. That is why it is such a popular material for hard working commercial areas such as garages and warehouses. Durability also means that the material is difficult to damage. High heels, furniture legs, and pet claws will not scratch the surface. You also don’t have to worry about damage from most dropped items.
  • Life-Span: A polished and properly maintained concrete floor can last many many years. Even in commercial applications it can survive under high traffic conditions for years to come. This saves you money, while also preventing the troubles of having to get new flooring installed periodically.
  • Maintain Easily: Keeping a polished concrete floor looking its best will only require a minimum amount of maintenance. It will need to be sealed or waxed periodically depending on the level of traffic in order to maintain the protective layer over its surface. Other than that you just have to dust mop or broom sweep daily to prevent dirt accumulation. You should also damp mop it weekly to remove smudging, scuffs, and water marks, and restore gloss.
  • Cost-Effective: Depending on the level of complexity, polished concrete floors can cost as little as $3 a square foot or as much as $30 a square foot. Most concrete floor installations are quite cost-effective, especially if you have an existing concrete slab that’s all ready for polishing. The price savings doesn’t always come at installation, but over its lifetime if you factor in maintenance costs.
  • Design Options: When most people think of concrete floors they think of ugly gray utilitarian surfaces with sharp bumpy textures. However modern advances in concrete mixing and setting have allowed designers to achieve an endless variety of color and texture effects. In some cases coloration will be mixed directly into the concrete before the slab is placed. For already installed floors you can grind the surface, and use an appropriate dye or staining agent. Alternatively you can just polish the surface to a smooth sheen.
  • Clean & Sanitary: Properly sealed and polished concrete can be virtually resistant to fluids, especially water, therefore resisting mustiness, allergens, and fungus. Protective layers installed can provide waterproof barriers and prevent contaminants from actually getting to the concrete.
  • Green Option/Environmentally Friendly: There are no harmful chemicals involved in the concrete polishing installation process. Polished concrete floors do not contain harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) like hardwood floors, vinyl carpets and synthetic carpets.

The Drawbacks of Concrete Flooring

  • Hardness: The surface of a concrete floor is very hard, so it won’t cushion or “give” under feet, making it uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time. To overcome this, you can add anti-fatigue mats to areas where employees face hours on their feet on a day-to-day basis. That is also why generally these floors are not recommended for areas which will be frequented by children or elderly people.
  • Cold: Another drawback of polished concrete floors is that they do not tend to retain heat very well. That means that on a cold winter morning the surface of the floor is going to feel chilled against bare toes , but no more so than ceramic tile or natural stone flooring.
  • Loud: Polished concrete floors can be loud like ceramic tile, natural stone flooring, and some hardwood or bamboo floors.
  • Moisture: If not properly sealed on both top and bottom surfaces, concrete will be very susceptible to penetration by moisture. If liquid does manage to make its way into the pores of a concrete floor, it can sit there and lead to the growth of mold or mildew. In some environments, you will also have to worry about the moisture freezing, which will cause it to expand which can crack the floor slab through its center. If you have a trusted professional installing your concrete flooring, you shouldn’t have to worry about this. AI Coating offers moisture testing services to help you find the right floor system you need. 
  • Substrate Requirments: NOT all concretes are suitable for concrete polishing, especially for Class B and Class C polishing. Some old concrete substrates are too soft to polish. There are specifications and guidelines for polished concrete slabs identifying the minimum standards a polished concrete slab should meet. Architect/engineer, contractors, and the property owner should work together to reach consensuses before concrete was poured to achieve the best result.
  • Cracking: Concrete slabs may develop cracks over time, even expertly poured. Temperature changes, moisture, or structure settling could all cause concrete cracking. Dyed polished concrete may help to hide it. Many people actually like the natural style though.

AI Coating’s Concrete Polishing Services have been trusted by our commercial, residential, and industrial customers in Jacksonville, FL and the Northeast United States for many years. Contact us today to get a free consultation and estimate. 

For more information our Polished Concrete, check out our Polished Concrete – The Complete Guide 2022


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