Pros & cons of polished concrete
As with all flooring materials concrete has a variety of benefits that have made it an extremely popular flooring choice for commercial, high traffic environments, but, there are also some drawbacks to using it in certain areas. However, many of them are easy to overcome, and in the end, the positives of concrete flooring far outweigh the negatives. It is important to understand the demands of the environment where the flooring will be located as well as the pros and the cons before making a final flooring
Extremely Durable: Concrete flooring is remarkably strong and resilient to loads, extreme foot and equipment traffic. Due to this durability, it is actually quite difficult to damage concrete, this is made even more difficult once they have been properly polished and densified.
Service Life: When concrete has been properly installed, polished, and maintained it can be expected to last a hundred years or more in even the most difficult commercial settings. The service life of concrete flooring will far surpass that of other floor coverings such as carpeting, vinyl tile, and wood laminates. This means that in the long run, you can actually save money by choosing concrete because you will not have to remove and replace damaged floor coverings.
Ease of Maintenance: Maintaining polished concrete and concrete floors in general is a very straight forward and easy affair. Dust/dry mop or sweep daily to remove any small grit or debris. Depending on weather conditions and foot traffic, this may be all that is required. However, it is recommended to damp mop with the correct cleaning agent once weekly to remove any smaller contaminates, and restore shine.
Budget Friendly: Depending greatly on the level of complexity, polished concrete floors can cost as little as $3.00 or as much as $30.00 a square foot. However, most installations of polished concrete are quite cost-effective. This cost effectiveness is achieved by having large areas of existing concrete that is in good sound condition and ready for immediate polishing. Although at the time of installation polishing concrete may be more of an investment, if you look at the service life of products and maintenance requirements it is actually cheaper in the long run. The only reason to ever remove polished concrete is that you are tired of looking at it.
Unlimited Design Options: One major interest with concrete flooring and polished concrete is the design versatility. With concrete, you can achieve almost any color, and your design is limited to your own imagination. Many corporate companies choose to have their logos included in their floors. Your designs can be improved on even more by including decorative engraving and scoring.
Sanitary: Once concrete has been properly placed, polished, and sealed the surface becomes quite sanitary. During the grinding and polishing process, the pores of the floor are closed off leaving behind a hard flat closed off surface with nothing for dust or other contaminates to collect in. they can also be very resistant to stains and water penetration once properly finished.
Slip Resistance: Polished concrete is inherently slip resistant. Despite the higher gloss levels achievable, polished concrete maintains on average a higher c.o.s. (coefficient of slip) than other flooring options.
No VOC: Concrete floors do not contain harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) like hardwood floors, vinyl tile, carpets and synthetic carpets.
Hard: The durability and strength of concrete can actually be a drawback in that the surface is very hard and doesn’t “give” or flex under feet. This can make it uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time. However, one effective way to overcome this drawback is anti-fatigue mats where employees will spend hours on their feet.
Cold: One of the most noted drawbacks to concrete and polished concrete flooring is the floor being cold. Concrete by nature does not retain heat very well, often resulting in floors feeling chilled, however, not more so than you would experience with ceramic tiler or natural stone flooring. One effective way to overcome this drawback is to embed radiant heating into your concrete flooring at the time of construction. Due to concretes great thermal mass, this can actually reduce your overall heating costs.
Loud: Concrete floors, just as ceramic tile, natural stone, and even some hardwoods or bamboo floors can be loud. You can reduce this by, furnishing your space with area rugs, heavy drapes, acoustic wall or ceiling panels and other elements.
Cracks: It is a well-known fact that concrete cracks. Steps can be taken to help minimize this, however as a natural product which can be subjected to movement and swelling from the earth beneath there will always be a chance cracks will appear. Properly cutting control joints into the concrete at the time of construction will greatly reduce the likelihood of cracking and micro cracks developing. Thankfully, these cracks do not impact the performance or durability of the concrete flooring, and actually add character to the floor rather than detract from the appearance.