5 Best Polished Concrete Floor Ideas

When building a new home, you have lots of flooring choices. These include wood, vinyl, tile, marble, engineered hardwood and carpet. It comes down to personal choice; if you are a handy person, you can install your flooring yourself.

What if you can’t decide or don’t like any of those options? Sometimes the best choice is to not cover the concrete at all. Exposed concrete floors are a new, modern trend that looks great and gives you a neutral palette to decorate your home. Polishing your concrete floors finishes them off, and you benefit from the following:

  • Stain resistance
  • Slip resistance
  • Dust free
  • Reduced maintenance

It is a multi-step process of grinding, treating and polishing to create a beautiful look and feel that will last a lifetime. If that isn’t enough reason to opt for a polished concrete flooring, there are more options. Here are some great polished concrete floor ideas.

Idea #1: Stained Floor

One of the most popular ways to enhance your polished concrete is with a coloured stain. This adds an artistic element to the floor and gives a smooth, fresh look that can brighten or darken your room.

Unlike the solid colour of regular paint, staining gives an uneven effect that is translucent and can be applied to resemble stained wood, tanned leather or even polished marble.

Acid staining penetrates the surface, reacts with the calcium hydroxide in the concrete, and can mimic the look of other flooring materials.

Water-based stains have more colours, including white, dark and even metallic, as it penetrates the concrete to give a range between opaque to translucent.

Idea #2: Dyed Floor

Dying the concrete floor is another option to give you the preferred colour. Where acid staining creates a chemical reaction with salt that produces the discolouring, dyeing penetrates the surface to add colour. It is more predictable but can be a little harsh because there is no variation, and it is more vibrant and intense.

Different dyes can be mixed to get unique colours and diluted with water or solvent to make a paler shade. Dyes are either solvent-based or water-based, and each gives a unique quality to the look of your polished concrete.

Idea #3: Bare Polished Floor

If you don’t want to colour or stain the floor, you can simply polish the grey concrete for a natural, earthy appearance. This will, in turn, highlight the furniture and decor you place on it and not compete for attention.

It gives a neutral yet industrial look and can be polished using different finish levels like soft matte, low sheen, medium gloss or high gloss.

Other grinding levels can produce a beautiful look by exposing the aggregate in the concrete. These include:

  • Cream: This is a bronzing finish that works best for newly poured slabs as there is no grinding a all.
  • Salt & Pepper: This polishing involves gentle grinding to expose a small amount of aggregate that looks like speckles of salt & pepper.
  • Exposed Aggregate: Expose aggregate is a silver finish where larger stones become visible and look like granite.

Idea #4: Patterned and Scored Floor

You can customize your polished concrete floors with scoring, cutting and stencilling. This goes beyond colouring; you can even add grout lines etched into it after staining and make intricate patterns on the surface using stencils and stamps. These patterns will remain for the surface’s life and make a permanent design, although they may change in colour as they age and wear. It does add to the aesthetic, though.

Deciding to leave your concrete exposed and polishing it has so many benefits, including:

  • Natural sunlight and overhead lights effectively reflect and scatter the light to brighten a room.
  • Minimalistic concrete gives you that stripped-down, seamless, and wide-open look. It creates depth and opens up a room to enhance your minimalistic design.
  • You can decide what colours to use, which are a bold or muted accent to your decor and furniture.
  • Rustic concrete is earthy and natural while balancing modern and traditional. It looks great with wood features and can be polished to mimic wood planks itself.

Idea #5: Overlay Floor

Polished overlays create a pleasing look and unique design that acts as a veneer over the top of your floor. It is a self-smoothing cement-based compound that works for older, uneven concrete floors that may be damaged and any other structurally sound substrate.

Your home’s foundation starts with concrete and doesn’t need to be covered or hidden away. Using any of these finishing ideas, you can leave it exposed to enjoy that polished look for years. Choose what finish you like best, and then experience the beautiful wonder of polishing your concrete floors.