BENEFITS OF POLISHED CONCRETE

Concrete slabs have an inherent natural beauty, but until recently, residential and retail facilities preferred floor coverings, such as vinyl composite tile, decorative tile or terrazzo, to make up for the perceived lack luster of concrete’s natural state. However, the benefits of natural concrete, such as cost savings and high-traffic durability, have long been a familiar solution for industrial sites.

The polished concrete industry is rapidly becoming very popular to all industries, as it provides durability and aesthetic value. Both topical and mechanical polishing can result in a glossy appearance; however, both are derived from very different techniques. Differences in these processes greatly affect cost as well as finish and surface longevity.

Polished Solution is dedicated to defining all aspects of polished concrete, and providing you with the specifications, education, and resources to choose whichever option is the most viable for your project.

Elimination of Dusting from Efflorescence

In ordinary unpolished concrete, tiny particles of dust are pushed to the surface through an upward force called hydrostatic pressure, resulting in efflorescene. Efflorescene leads to dusting, which forces epoxies off of the surface of concrete floors, and can make maintenance a costly priority.

Stain-Resistant

By densifying and sealing the surface, polished concrete transforms a porous concrete floor into a tightened floor that is dense enough to repel water, oil, and other contaminants, preventing them from penetrating the surface.

Improved Reflectivity and Ambient Lighting

The reflective properties of a polished concrete floor increases the lighting in facilities. Increased ambient lighting will reduce the energy bill as well as look beautiful.

Increased Slip Resistance

Polished concrete, though quite shiny, does not create a slippery floor. In fact, the benefits of mechanically grinding and flattening the floor will increase the coefficient of friction when compared to ordinary concrete. Polished concrete often exceeds OSHA standards for floors. (ASTM C 1028)

Less Maintenance

Most floor systems, including tile and linoleum, require aggressive scrubbing to maintain a clean environment and nice appearance. Polished concrete surfaces are tightly compacted, reducing stains, and do not require any waxing or stripping to maintain the sheen.

Cost-Effective

Polished concrete will reduce energy and maintenance costs significantly through reflectivity and ambient lighting, reduction in upkeep (such as waxing), and reduced tire wear.

LEED Friendly

Polished concrete not only utilizes existing concrete surfaces, eliminating additional materials such as coverings/coatings and moving towards sustainable building, it typically contains no noticeable VOC’s, making it friendly for any USBG LEED project.

Improved condition for old floors (Mechanical Polish Only)

As concrete ages, surface stress, delamination, curled cold joints, and other problems can arise. Mechanically grinding the floor will remove the top surface of the old concrete and polishing will then strengthen it, increasing it's impact and abrasion resistance.

Reduced Tire Wear (Mechanical Polish)

The rough, uneven texture of natural concrete causes tires to abrade, adding to their wear. A polished concrete floor system will level the joints and make the entire surface smooth, preventing this abrasion.

No Production/Plant Shutdowns (Dry-Polish Mechanical)

Dry-Mechanically polished concrete can be put into service immediately after the process is complete. Due to the cleanliness of the process and the lack of toxic or hazardous chemicals, floors can often be serviced while the plant is in full production.

Based on a survey conducted by the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association, the information below compares the cost per square foot of commonly used commercial flooring materials and polished concrete floors. This recent examination of flooring costs over a 20 year span illustrates not only some of the hidden costs involved in the purchase and installation of various materials; it also illustrates the dramatic difference in the cost of these materials.

Comparative Installation and Maintenance Costs for Polished Concrete Floors

All costs per square foot

 

Installed
Cost*

Annual Maint.

Average Life in Years

Cost to Replace

Total Expense
20 years

Cost PSF/
Year

Vinyl Sheet

$2.72

$1.39

9

$3.43

$38.14

$1.91

Vinyl Tile

$1.23

$1.47

15

$1.60

$32.76

$1.64

Ceramic Mosaic Tile

$6.48

$1.22

20

$30.88

$1.54

Quarry Tile

$5.78

$0.58

20

$30.18

$1.51

Cement Terrazzo

$8.50

$0.46

20

$20.10

$1.01

Granit-Glaze

$6.50

$0.46

20

$15.70

$0.79

Polished Concrete

$3.98

$0.17

20

$5.90

$0.30

*Comparative costs based on 10,000 square feet. Your costs may vary based on square footage, preparation needs, coloring, etc.

 

Polished Concrete Vs Epoxy Coating

 

Polished Concrete

Epoxy Coatings

Peeling 

Does not peel or Flake - There is Nothing to Peel

Frequently Peels and Flakes

Dusting

Dusting is Usually Eliminated

Dusting Often Causes Failure of the Coating

Slip Resistance

Inherent Slip Resistance

Can be Slippery Unless Sand or Other Aggregate is Added.

Maintenance

Does Not Require Waxing

Frequent Waxing Recommended on Decorative Applications

Environmental

Uses the Existing Floor, no Noticeable VOCs

Frequently Have High VOCs and Often Require Frequent Recoating

Down Time

Polished Concrete Requires no Cure Time

Often Requires Cure Time of Several Days After Completion

Longevity

Normally 10-15 Years

Often Requires Recoating in 2-5 Years

Cost

Comparable to Epoxy Coatings

Comparable to Concrete Polishing