If you are looking for a hard-wearing and visually appealing flooring solution for your industrial space, polished concrete may be the perfect choice. Industrial polished concrete floors offer many benefits over other types of flooring, and can be adapted to suit any setting. In this article, we will discuss what polished concrete is, who is contracted to make polished concrete floors, and the benefits of using this flooring solution in an industrial setting. We will also look at whether existing concrete floors can be polished, as well as the pros and cons of layering your concrete flooring with epoxy.
What Is a Concrete Contractor?
As you might be able to guess from the title, a concrete contractor is a builder who specializes in using concrete to create surfaces and structures. Used in many modern architectural settings, concrete is a durable, high-value material that typically has fantastic lasting power and a sleek, polished aesthetic.
A concrete contractor must be capable of selecting the appropriate type of concrete for the task at hand, preparing the site to receive the concrete, typically in the form of excavation, building a framework for the concrete to adhere to, pouring the concrete, and finishing the concrete—whether this is just a simple polish or as advanced as intricate designs and stains.
What Is Polished Concrete Flooring?
Polished concrete flooring is created through a process of framing, pouring, and finishing concrete floors—often cured with an added hardener, which also helps to create a dust-resistant surface. During the final stage of polishing, the concrete is ground or “sanded” using special machinery and polished using abrasives to hone a specific level of sheen and smoothness. Concrete flooring is not considered polished until it has reached 1600 grit, though it can be polished upwards of 3000 grit as well. Any grinding done under 1600 grit is technically not considered polished, but “honed.”
While concrete floors themselves can be traced back as early in human history as 7000 B.C, the modern method of dry polishing concrete floors was discovered serendipitously in the 1990s by an inexperienced contracting crew. Not realizing most stone, marble, and granite surfaces are generally polished wet, the crew took to polishing the concrete floor without water—with beautiful results! Nowadays, this form of flooring is prized and regularly practiced in residential, commercial, and industrial settings.
Benefits of Polished Concrete Floors in Industrial Settings
There are a huge number of assets when it comes to selecting polished concrete floors for your business, warehouse, or industrial setting. Some of these benefits include:
1. Durability and life span: It’s hard for other flooring materials to compete with the durability of well-laid concrete floors. Even if they should become chipped or cracked through regular wear and tear or some sort of mild earthquake, repairing the floors typically is a simple process for an experienced concrete contractor. And if you’re looking at a high-value investment with dividends that keep paying off down the road, you might be interested to know that concrete floors can last upwards of 100 years, if properly installed, sealed, and cared for.
2. Price range: Depending on your level of polish, the addition of colored dyes or stains, or any designs that you may wish to finish your concrete floors with, they can typically cost anywhere from $2-$30 per square foot to install. This is competitive with most vinyl flooring, which is considered one of the most affordable kinds of flooring materials—but with a much greater lasting power. Especially if you are looking to put in many square feet of flooring in your warehouse or business, you’ll need to consider the value and the cost of your flooring material heavily.
3. Maintenance: Once your concrete has been poured, hardened, cured, honed, and polished, there’s not much more you need to do to care for it other than regular sweeping and mopping—no waxing and further polishing necessary! Additionally, properly sealed concrete is actively resistant to dust, dirt, spills, and impacts from falling objects. Easy maintenance means a lower cost of upkeep, which can add up over time.
4. Low environmental impact: Unlike some other flooring materials that use valuable natural resources and toxic chemicals to seal them, concrete is considered an eco-friendly alternative that requires less energy to install than other types of flooring. There are also no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) associated with concrete, so you will not have to worry about the safety of your employees or crew members. There may also be additional tax breaks or carbon credits for businesses willing to make eco-friendly choices—something to consider for an investment as significant as an industrial floor!
5. Option for radiant floor heating: Concrete happens to conduct hot and cool air quite well, which makes it a natural choice for radiant floor heating. Radiant floor heating is an efficient way of warming a home or business that may even help you lower your utility bill over time. Cutting costs wherever possible can change the bottom line for your business and keep your finances moving in the right direction.
6. Aesthetics: Even if a plain, polished gray is not your favorite look, concrete floors are far from boring thanks to acid washes, dyes, and stains. Your floor can be bulletproof and beautiful thanks to the wide array of stains, dyes, colored hardeners, and finishing paint that can be applied to the concrete after it’s poured.
7. Repairability: Even if your concrete floor were to become cracked or chipped over time, there are ways that a contractor can repair, re-seal, and refinish the floor without having to start from scratch. Cracks in concrete can be spot-sealed through patching, and then re-polished to their original sheen.
To Top Coat With Epoxy Or Not To Top Coat?
The process doesn’t have to stop once the concrete floors have been cured and hardened, however—some homeowners and business owners opt to add an additional protective layer or two of epoxy resin to further seal their floors. Of course, this is an additional expense when it comes to the final contracting cost for installing the floors—and with epoxy resin come the VOCs that smell of ammonia that must be aired out before the floors can be used.
However, epoxy resin is an additional layer of protection on your concrete floors that can also dramatically change or improve the appearance of the finished floor. For more on the different kinds of epoxy floor designs, check out our recent article on the topic!
Can Existing Concrete Floors Be Polished?
Concrete floors do not have to be freshly installed in order to be polished—in fact, previous flooring materials like vinyl, tile, or bamboo can be removed to expose the concrete slab underneath. From this stage, depending on the state of the concrete, a contractor may be able to finish your floors in a way that makes them look new without the added expense of additional flooring materials!
However, not all existing concrete floors can be repolished. Concrete that has been excessively cracked or damaged or is particularly porous is not a good candidate for polishing or refinishing. If you are curious about the refinishing potential of your concrete floors, contact the professionals at Concrete, Etc. today for a consultation!
Industrial Polished Concrete Floors in Virginia
Whether you’re interested in a durable, eco-friendly flooring solution for your home, business, or warehouse, polished concrete floors may just be the answer you’ve been looking for. With a price point competitive with some of the cheapest flooring materials in the business and an incredible lifespan and low-maintenance characteristics to boot, industrial polished concrete floors can save business owners time, expense, and environmental impact when it comes time to select a flooring material.
Professional concrete contractors can do everything from concrete buildings to industrial polished concrete floors. Want to learn more about what a concrete contractor can do for your upcoming renovation or construction project? Contact Concrete, Etc. today!