What is the Best Finish For a Concrete Floor
Although concrete has been installed as a finished floor surface for thousands of years, only in the last several decades has the artform developed sufficiently to create concrete finishes that meet the demanding standards of luxury residential installation. These finishes look excellent, can be installed in a wide variety of styles, and offer durability that exceeds other types of flooring installations, including wood and tile.
Every day at Craftsman Concrete Floors, we’re asked ‘what’s the best finish for a concrete floor?’ In most circumstances, the best concrete floor finish is polished concrete.
Benefits of Polished Concrete Floors
- No film-forming coating
All concrete finishes are intended to reduce the porosity of concrete and therefore reduce the potential for unwanted stains and wear. With all other decorative concrete finishes, such as stained concrete floors, a coating must be applied to the surface of the floor and is prone to scratching and failure. Polished concrete depends on penetrating liquids to reduce the porosity of the concrete surface. These liquids, called silicate densifiers, cannot fail because they physically penetrate the concrete rather than sit on top. Further, these liquids are non-toxic and have no VOCs.
- High Slip Resistance
Polished concrete is one of the most slip-resistant floors that can be installed. Even when wet, polished concrete is more slip-resistant than luxury linoleum or engineered wood floors. For more information, see our page ‘are polished concrete floors slippery?’.
- Extreme Durability
Polished concrete was engineered for heavy commercial installation, such as warehouses and distribution centers. We’re only now seeing polished concrete floors commonly specified in luxury residential architectural plans. Because they’re engineered for industrial use, they’ll have an incredibly long and maintenance-free life in a residential installation.
- Versatile Appearance
When installed in new construction, Craftsman Concrete will collaborate with your architect or designer to achieve the look that’s specified before concrete is poured. For renovation, there are many options, including concrete pigments and overlays. See our page on polished floor concrete finishes for additional design ideas.
LIMITATIONS OF POLISHED CONCRETE
- Low Chemical Resistance
For installations that are frequently exposed to oils or acidic liquids, such as commercial kitchens and garages, polished concrete should not be installed. Epoxy floors and polyurethane coatings will provide better chemical resistance and overall durability in these applications.
- Higher Installation Costs
Polished concrete floors generally cost $4-10+ a square foot to install, while grind and seal concrete floor installations can be as low as $1 a foot. Keep in mind that these are upfront costs. Polished concrete has the lowest maintenance costs of any concrete finish, and therefore can be a less expensive installation over the life of a home or business.
- Slower installation times
The concrete polishing process is very labor-intensive, so an average residential installation will take a few days at a minimum. In certain circumstances, stained and sealed concrete floors can be installed in as little as one day. If the speed of installation is critical, polished concrete may not be ideal.
Looking for More Information about Residential Polished Concrete Floors?
See our polished concrete page for links to articles about the types of polished concrete floors, galleries, and other content. To learn how we’re involved in the community, visit the West Dallas Neighborhood Coalition. As always, give us a call for a free consultation.