Does the idea of a smooth, lustrous, and durable floor surface that’s easy to maintain and doesn’t need waxing to keep its shine sound appealing?  

If it does, you might like to check out polished concrete, an affordable, increasingly popular flooring solution for many commercial and even residential settings.  

What Is Concrete Polishing?  

In crafting polished concrete, the installers use heavy-duty machines to grind down a concrete surface until achieving whatever level of aggregate exposure is desired. There are 4 basic levels. Level 1: Cream has little to no aggregate, and highlights most of the existing trowel marks and aesthetics from the concrete placement and finishing. Level 2: Small aggregate is commonly referred to as “Salt and Pepper. This is the most common because it exposes the sand in the concrete mix, is the most consistent, and evens out most of the finishing and trowel marks. Level 3: Medium aggregate exposes a little bit of the rock in the concrete mix, typically 1/8” to ¼” in size. This can be one of the more difficult levels to achieve a consistent look because the rock isn’t always evenly placed at a consistent depth in the concrete. Level 4: Large aggregate exposes ½” to 1” of the rock depending on the size that was used in the concrete mix. Sometimes referred to as “Poor man’s Terrazzo” because it can mimic the look of Terrazzo for less cost although it is the highest cost level and may require patching and grouting the floor to fill in voids and pits where the concrete is not as solid and consistent. After the aggregate level is achieved the process continues by grinding the floor with progressive grits until the desired sheen level is achieved. There are 4 levels. Level 1 is satin which stops at 400 grit, level 2 is semi-gloss which stops at 800 grit, level 3 is a gloss which stops at 1500 girt, and level 4 is a high gloss which stops at 3000 grit There are also a few other steps in the process such as applying a concrete densifier, which hardens, acts as an internal sealer and helps increase the longevity of the floor. Applying a penetrating or semi-penetrating sealer after the polishing is complete. Or applying an optional color which is usually a solvent-based, penetrating dye. Concrete polishing works on both new and old concrete alike and can give a beautiful new look and feel.  

What Are the Pros and Cons of Polished Concrete?

Nothing is perfect, so polished concrete does have its drawbacks as well as benefits. In our opinion, the pros outweigh the cons by a great deal. However, in the interest of helping you have all the information you need to make your decision, we’ll give some examples of both.  

The Pros of Polished Concrete:  

  • Polished concrete can save money because it usually costs less than other floor coverings.
  • It also saves money because it’s easy to clean and lasts longer. Nor does it require hazardous cleaners or coatings. 
  • Because of its hardness and durability, it holds up to heavy foot traffic extremely well. 
  • It comes in a great variety of designs and colors. 
  • The high reflectivity of polished concrete makes its setting look cleaner and brighter. 
  • Despite the smooth appearance and texture of polished concrete, it provides better traction than most alternatives with higher durability.
  • Is more resistant to water damage and can be repaired rather than needing to be replaced.

The Cons of Polished Concrete  

  • Polished concrete is hard, obviously. That hardness is what makes it so durable under heavy foot traffic, but at the same time, it doesn’t provide any cushion. If it’s in a setting where employees or customers are on their feet a lot, you can add mats for comfort. 
  • Concrete doesn’t retain heat well, so it has a colder feel than some alternative floor coverings. However, it’s not any colder than other hard surfaces such as natural stone or ceramic tile.. 
  • Polished concrete doesn’t absorb sound well and can be loud both by echoing sounds and by people in hard-soled shoes walking on them. You can mitigate this by using sound-absorbing things such as rugs, thick drapes, etc. 
  • Polished concrete, although it’s more stain resistant than non-polished concrete, is still porous and somewhat susceptible to stains and/or odors. 

Where Is Polished Concrete a Good Choice?  

Polished concrete is most popular in commercial settings such as retail stores, warehouses, office buildings, restaurants, hotels, and showrooms at auto dealerships.  

However, polished concrete is sometimes a good choice in residential settings like kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms or anywhere there is concrete. It can provide an elegant look while being durable and scratch-resistant.  

Great American Flooring  

Ever since 1985, Great American Flooring has served the flooring needs of Wichita, KS homeowners, and businesses. The beautiful, durable floors we install, along with our reputation for professionalism, reliability, and honesty, have made our family-owned business one of the region’s leading flooring companies.  

If you think polished concrete might be a flooring solution for your home or business, let us help. We’ll sit down with you to discuss your needs as well as the options so you can make the choice that’s right for you.  

If you would like a quote or have any questions, contact us today at 316-264-3660 or with our convenient online request form! 


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