Polished Concrete Floors
Polished concrete flooring can be scored, lined, or gridded. The beauty of concrete is, when it’s wet, the surface is a blank slate and can be worked into nearly any shape, design, or pattern. This is useful in customizing the look to make it fit the space better – for example, to provide geometry to the floor in a space where such an addition makes all the difference in style.
As with concrete elsewhere in architecture, polished concrete flooring can be enhanced by the appropriate usage of borders. This adds a finishing touch and is a sophisticated detail that carries with it its own inherent sense of style.
Polished concrete floors can certainly be retrofitted, although new floors require less work and are therefore less expensive. The method used for retrofitting a polished concrete floor is either to (a) cut or sand the existing floor slab to be hardened and polished, or (b) apply a topping slab of polished concrete flooring, at least 50 mm thick, over the existing slab.
New polished concrete flooring provides some options, including the inclusion of decorative aggregates (such as riverstone, granite, or black basalt mix) within the concrete itself. What’s more, during the finishing phase, any decorate aggregates can be placed into the surface (think seashells, glass or porcelain chips, or even pieces of metal). Knowing this in advance is helpful for ending up with a polished concrete floor you truly love.
As with anything, the costs of polished concrete flooring are directly linked to the complexity of the project, whether it’s a new floor or not, and how much customization you’re after. In general, however, polished concrete flooring is one of the most cost-effective flooring options, on average similar to (slightly less than) vinyl or linoleum or wall-to-wall carpet. It is less expensive (on average, half to one-third less) than hardwood or ceramic tile flooring, and it’s of course much less expensive than natural stone flooring.
While very hip and minimalistic, a massive expanse of shiny concrete on the floor could come across as overwhelmingly cold, harsh, or sterile. Soften the look or break up the expanse just a bit with a plush rug.
This modern contrast – either white polished concrete flooring with dark walls or dark concrete with white walls – adds a crisp, smart aesthetic to the entire space.
By its very nature, concrete is highly industrial. Provide some balance in your polished concrete floored space with some warmer elements, such as wood or (faux) animal skins.
Bottom line: polished concrete flooring is a couple steps away from being a warehouse floor. Embrace this fact, and go all in with the raw, exposed, unfinished aesthetic of your space.