Polished concrete flooring is cost effective but it's not a DIY project. You will need a professional concrete polishing contractor to do the job on your behalf. But even when you take the installation costs into account, the superior durability and the performance of concrete more than makes up for the initial costs. The polished result can range from satin to high-gloss, all finishes are extremely long lasting and low maintenance, the only real difference apart for the look, is that high-gloss finishes will require more polishing.
Polished concrete floors are available in a range of popular styles such as Ash White Floors, Diamond Polished Exposed Aggregate, Classic Grey Topping, External Brush Concrete, Industrial Power Floated Floors, Light Grey Topping, Natural Dry Shake Toppings, Natural Power Float Concrete Floors, Shot Blasted Concrete Floors, Steel Grey Floors and Coloured and Granolithic Finishes. A polished concrete floor is simply a concrete floor that has been diamond ground and then treated before progressively polishing with finer diamond polishing tools.
Polished concrete is considered a sustainable and energy efficient flooring option, this is because most buildings have an existing concrete floor that can be diamond polished, which eliminates the cost, energy and material consumed when applying a new floor covering. In addition to being low-maintenance and more durable than almost any other flooring option, polished concrete has a relatively high coefficient of friction so is non-slippery, especially after the sealers and stain protection treatments.
A floor screed is a material made from cement and sharp sand, applied onto a concrete ground floor slab or onto a pre-cast concrete floor unit. Screeds are directly bonded to the base, or laid unbonded onto a suitable damp proof membrane placed over the slab. Alternatively, it can also be applied as a finish over a layer of rigid insulation material if it contains underfloor heating pipes. If floor reinforcement is required, a fine metal mesh or polypropylene fibres can be inserted.
Ready-mixed sand and cement screeds are supplied factory-mixed and then delivered to the site, with some manufacturers offering pump-able flowing screeds which are anhydrite compounds based on a calcium sulphite binder. These screeds are quicker to apply and can also be used in conjunction with underfloor heating systems.
A professionally installed polished concrete floor can cost anywhere between £60 to £400 per square metre. The difference in pricing depends largely on whether the floor can be leveled using a machine, of if the space or access is too tight if the floor must be leveled and polished by hand. In addition, adding colour and different effects to the finish can also be more expensive. An average floor will take around a week to finish and will need another week before placing heavy furniture or kitchen units on it. Once finished, the floor will need resealing or painting as often as once per year.
Ask friends and family for recommendations if possible, if not identify at least 3 local flooring contractors and be specific when contacting them, setting out a detailed, clear brief when requesting quotes. The easiest way to do this is by using the free quote service on this site, it's quick and will have contractors getting in touch with you to provide quotes, rather than you having to ring around chasing them!
Always ensure you use a firm that advertises using a landline phone number and be wary of those only willing to give you a mobile number. Also check they have headed notepaper with business address in case of complaints. Always seek references and speak to previous customers. Finally, only pay for work that has been done and do not pay in advance. Some companies will request a small upfront payment to pay for materials, but beware of companies looking for substantial payments in advance.