Polished concrete floors radiate a sophisticated and luxurious vibe and have become a popular choice in residential and commercial architecture.
A significant contributing factor to this popularity is its versatility and aesthetic appeal. From bright colour palettes to muted tones, polished concrete can be moulded into different forms, and you can experiment with variegated and distinctive design patterns.
The possibilities are limitless, but before you explore the scope of customisation, you should know about the types of polished concrete floors. In this guide, we will give you all the details. So, without further delay, let’s begin.
Before we delve into the different polished concrete flooring types, it is essential to have a brief idea of what concrete polishing entails. It is a multi-step mechanical process in which the concrete is ground and honed before being polished with the help of bonded abrasives.
Aggressive grinding tools are used to cut the floor’s surface and remove any imperfections. This step focuses on homogenising the surface and is broadly known as “cutting.”
Then, the floor’s surface is further cut down using less aggressive grinding tools to achieve the desired level of smoothness or reflectivity. This process is known as “polishing.”
After this, a penetrative chemical compound known as hardener is applied to the surface to harden it and make it dust-proof.
Polished concrete flooring is highly durable, and you can choose the level of sheen as per your requirements. Once polished, the concrete surface can be dyed or stained, and you can experiment with different design options.
Apart from residential areas, polished concrete floors are popularly used in:
Polished concrete floors are of several types, depending on the finish and concrete quality. In this section, we’ll be looking at the three most common varieties. Let’s check them out.
Also known as the “Bronze” finish, this is one of the simplest forms of concrete flooring. Here, the surface of the concrete isn’t ground or honed but is simply polished with diamond pads to enhance the floor’s natural colour.
Since there is no concrete removal from the floor surface, the natural variegation and texture of the freshly poured concrete will be visible, giving it an aesthetically appealing look.
Besides, this type of polished concrete flooring has a very organic look which is quite popular in residential areas, especially the newer constructions. Moreover, if you want to enhance the look of your floor further, just stain the concrete.
However, the cream finish can only be achieved if the concrete floor is smooth and undamaged. If the surface is uneven, grinding becomes essential to reach a level area.
Therefore, the cream concrete flooring works only on freshly poured concrete surfaces that do not have any stains or scratches. As such, the final appearance highly depends on the quality of the concrete mix and pouring technique used.
For those who might not know, aggregates are coarse or fine-grained particles such as crushed stone and sand used in the construction process. In the exposed aggregate finish, the concrete surface is heavily grounded to expose the aggregates in the concrete mix.
In this process, the cement paste is ground to remove its outer skin and expose the larger, uneven aggregate in the concrete slab. The exposed aggregate surface closely resembles a granite block and is skid-resistant. Furthermore, it can withstand extreme weather conditions and heavy foot traffic.
The colour of the aggregates depends on their geological origin and can vary from earthy brown tones to rose quartz and red granite.
Besides, you can opt for decorative aggregate to give your concrete flooring a unique look. Usually, people prefer natural stones such as granite, quartz, limestone, or basalt but some also choose recycled coloured glass or seashells.
The most significant advantage of a full aggregate finish is that it is highly durable and can achieve different texture variations. Often, the aggregates are mixed with the concrete, but in some cases, the aggregate is sprinkled on freshly poured concrete and spread out using a bull float. So, it is the perfect blend of durability and versatility.
That being said, this type of finishing is slightly expensive, and the installation takes some time. We recommend you ask the contractor for samples before choosing a design since sometimes, exposed aggregate slabs might not gel well with your house aesthetics.
Also known as “gold” concrete, the concrete surface is gently ground in this type of finishing to reveal the small aggregates below the surface paste. As the name suggests, exposing the more refined grains of aggregates gives the surface a speckled or salt-and-pepper look.
In this concrete type, the floor is polished to provide a high-gloss finish, making it different from the exposed aggregate finish, where the surface is given a matte look. Besides, you can customise the look as per your preferred colour and gloss level.
One of the significant advantages of the salt-and-pepper variety of polished concrete is that it can blend with any structure, be it residential or commercial. It is highly durable, reflects light, and gives a unique look to your flooring, which is why it is the top choice for restaurants and shopping malls.
Usually, this type of concrete flooring is pretty popular in residential renovation projects since the cream concrete finish cannot be used. But, it is more expensive than cream polished concrete, and the installation takes longer. Additionally, exposing finer aggregates is a complex process that can be done only by experts.
Now that we have looked at the different types of polished concrete floors, let’s look at a few reasons it is counted among the most alluring flooring solutions:
Polished concrete surfaces are highly durable and less prone to staining. As such, they last longer than vinyl, carpet, wood, and other such flooring types. Besides, polished concrete is usually hardened, which means it is sturdy and unlikely to chip or crack.
Polished concrete surfaces are not prone to stains and do not accumulate dust particles or allergens. Although they demand regular maintenance, the requirements are manageable. All you have to do is clean the floor using a damp cloth and a chemical cleaner regularly.
Keep in mind that if polished concrete is not cleaned routinely, it might lose its sheen over time. Pay special attention to spot cleaning and use soap and water for weekly cleaning. Do not make the mistake of applying a wax coating over polished concrete, since it dulls the surface.
Polished concrete flooring is a highly sustainable flooring option for several reasons. For one, it is naturally reflective and reduces the need for artificial lighting. This makes it an excellent choice for businesses, schools, and other high-traffic areas which need a clean and bright look.
Besides, polished concrete flooring doesn’t need harmful coatings, chemical cleaners, or adhesives. Also, since it uses an existing concrete slab, it doesn’t require any additional materials. Therefore, all these factors make it a greener flooring option.
Polished concrete is a hypoallergenic flooring option. Besides, it is non-porous and doesn’t allow moisture or dust particles to penetrate through. Thus, the chances of mould formation are reduced, and since the contaminants cannot enter the concrete surface, it remains clean and allergy-free.
Therefore, it is a fantastic flooring option for people allergic to dust, pet dander, and other contaminants.
Polished concrete flooring, if kept tidy and dry, is slip-resistant. Besides, compared to other surfaces such as polished marble and waxed linoleum, it is less slippery. So, do not be deceived by the sleek look of the surface.
That’s all, folks!
We hope our guide has given you a comprehensive overview of the different polished concrete flooring and the associated advantages. Besides, you can enhance the flooring’s overall appeal by adding sophisticated accent pieces and area rugs to your space.
To sum up, polished concrete is a highly versatile and cost-effective flooring solution, but keep in mind that it is essential to hire a professional to polish the surface. This is because the polishing process is complicated and requires expertise and heavy-duty polishing tools. So, our parting advice would be not to make the mistake of going down the DIY road.
With that, it’s a wrap. Until next time, take care!