Design Shopper, Your House

Should I Have Polished Concrete Floors?

9th January 2013

Sam contacted Mad About The House to ask about concrete flooring.

poured concrete flooring. Image from kitchenbuilding.com

poured concrete flooring. Image from kitchenbuilding.com

Q: What do you think about polished concrete flooring? I am struggling with a funky idea for my (small) kitchen floor and was interested to know if concrete is something you had come across – it sounds like it could be an inexpensive option (we are totally refurbing this money pit and there was only a certain amount I could put on that xmas list) and would appreciate any advice as always.

Farmhouse in Weesp, a small village near Amsterdam. Image from kitchenbuilding.com

Farmhouse in Weesp, a small village near Amsterdam. Image from kitchenbuilding.com

A: Firstly, whether you use the material or the colour, it’s suddenly screamingly fashionable. According to the trend forecaster Scarlet Opus, it’s an on-trend material as well as a key shade for 2013.

concrete feature wall from viewhometrends.com

concrete feature wall from viewhometrends.com

Victoria Redshaw, forecaster and MD of the company, says: “Concrete shakes off its ugly reputation thanks to brilliant innovations and brave applications by Product Designers.  Stick to light-to-mid shades (with a matt finish) and simply think of it as you would any other neutral colour when pairing it with other colours.”

It also works in any room of the house, not just kitchens but also bathrooms. And if you’re worried about it looking too industrial, you can soften it with rugs and textiles.

image from shelterness.com

image from shelterness.com

So, to the practicalities. Where do we get some, what does it cost, when can we have it? First things first, a polished concrete floor costs anywhere between £60 to £400 a sq metre. The difference depends largely on whether it can be levelled by machine or, if the space is too tight, if it must be done by hand.

from archdaily.com

from archdaily.com

John Reid, of White + Reid  says you should expect to pay between £120 and £140 per sq metre. If you want colour added that will push the price up further.

“The polishing comes during the levelling which brings out the natural sheen of the concrete.”

from bodieandfou.blogspot.com

from bodieandfou.blogspot.com

How long will it take? Well, Reid says a concrete floor of 100mm thick, which is their standard depth, will take about a week from start to finish but if you are then installing a kitchen, he suggests perhaps waiting another week.

“It needs to be fully dry but that can be affected by the weather, humidity and size of the floor, so that is only a guideline.”

What are the drawbacks? It might sound obvious but it’s very, very hard. If you fall, it will hurt. It will need regular resealing – probably once a year. It’s cold underfoot too, so you might want to consider underfloor heating, which will, of course add to the cost. It is also messy to install and really must be done by a professional.

On the upside, it’s hardwearing, easy to clean (water will do it) and if you get bored then you have a ready-made surface for laying floorboards or carpet. And, let’s not forget, it’s a great look. It also holds the heat well so is perfect for underfloor heating.

from massdecoration.com

from massdecoration.com

If concreting a floor seems a bit much, then how about using poured concrete as a worktop? It’s supremely practical since, as long as it’s properly sealed, you don’t have to worry about stains (marble), burning (wood) or scratching (stainless steel). And, since it’s poured in liquid form, you can have any shape you want – rounded corners for example.

wooden kitchen with concrete worktop from lovewoodfurniture.co.uk

wooden kitchen with concrete worktop from lovewoodkitchens.co.uk

Here’s a close up look

Concrete Countertopswhiteandreid.co.uk

Concrete Countertops
whiteandreid.co.uk

Finally, what about Litracon? This is a brand new translucent form of concrete, which is 96 per cent concrete and four per cent optic fibres. It ends up looking rather like polished marble but transmits light at the same time. It costs from£745 per sq metre for the thinnest application of 25mm. If you want to know more then contact THJ Solutions . Here’s a picture of it

litracon wall by day

litracon wall by day

Close view of wall by night

litracon wall by night

So Sam, are you going to concrete or not? Does anyone else have experience of concrete flooring that they would like to share?

For more posts about flooring:

Buyer’s Guide to Carpet

Mad About … Painted Floorboards

 

 

 

 

 

 

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    […] Should I Have Polished Concrete Floors ? – Mad About The – Should I Have Polished Concrete Floors? 9th January 2013. … The builder poured an ordinary concrete screed on both the kitchen and patio floor, … […]

  • Concrete polishing gold coast 26th August 2016 at 3:20 am

    Hi libby, you can contact us (07) 5539 6612 if you want the same design as you mention. Grind n Shine are specialists in polished concrete for interior and exterior floors.

  • Suchita Rao 20th June 2016 at 7:29 am

    Dear Kate,

    I’m writing in from India and I am considering getting concrete floors in my bathrooms. Considering its very very hard, I am wondering if its safe to use in wet areas – like the shower area and children’s bathroom – is it fairly anti-slip? Would you suggest a tiled floor instead?

    Also, cracks sound like a nightmare – Is there a way to avoid them altogether while laying the concrete.

    Thanks a ton 🙂
    Suchita

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 1st July 2016 at 2:38 pm

      I think it is quite anti-slip – possibly more so than tiles. But for more information you will need to ask an expert.

  • Dave Carr 20th January 2016 at 9:20 pm

    Excellent article Kate showing a few faces of the polished concrete world. When polished concrete is done well it can look superb, often the perfect canvas on which to place your kitchen, showroom or work area, the light reflected up around you from below improves your mood and has the effect of enlarging the room.

    Unfortunately much of our diary is filled with work redoing floors that have been poorly processed. So my advice before taking the plunge in the polished concrete, is to please do some research and speak to a few companies, look at their portfolio to see if they have a good track record.

    All the best to those choosing concrete flooring, it really is beautiful stuff 🙂

  • Matt 10th January 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Hi there!
    If somebody would like to know more informations about polished concrete floor, just write me, polconcretefloor@gmail.com
    I have a big experience about concrete floors. I have worked with that for over 10 years.
    Regards,
    Matt

    • Ian 31st March 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Hi all – great posts. Im in Northamptonshire, I’m completely renovating a house and want to install polished concrete floors in the kitchen, the size is approx 30sqm. I have a tight budget ! – can some of the labour work be done by non specialists and then get the pros in at the end to save some money. The tradesmen I’m using are trusted friends and very competent but not experienced in the fancy part.

      I’ve been quoted £6500 which seems a lot to me ??

      Thanks

      • Alex 7th July 2015 at 9:30 am

        Ian

        Another alternative to traditional polished concrete is a micro concrete, this has been developed to give residential clients the option to refurbish existing areas when they don’t have the 100mm depth required. These micro concrete systems are laid at around 5-7mm and can take just 2 days to install and can be walked on the following day. It is also, a much more cost effective option. Please feel free to take a look at our site and email us if you have any questions: http://www.icefd.co.uk

    • Jenny Goudie 1st August 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Hi Matt, from a damsel in distress. I have taken on a big alteration to my house. The kitchen has been extended increasing the size by at least a third. There has also been a large covered patio built on outside the back door.
      I really wanted to have a polished cement floor. the man who quoted to do the patio floor happily include the kitchen in at the same price. He said he just needed the floor to be really smooth but no advice how to achieve that. and that it needed to cure for 25 days.
      The builder poured an ordinary concrete screed on both the kitchen and patio floor, it was leveled but as it dried the floor was very dusty. every time it was swept there was fine dust!!! The day dawned to do the top screed, a soft mix of cement water and a little sand was made. this was poured on the floor to a depth of about 3mm and smoothed with a steel trowel. no one walked on this floor for 2 days 3 days later I went on holiday thinking this was giving the floor plenty of time to cure.
      Two weeks later I was home wanting to contact the guy to make a date to polish this floor. Then I noticed a lot of cracks like a crazy patchwork on the floor both in the kitchen and outside on the patio floor. Now what? My son who lives in Cape town a thousand miles away says that there should have been a plasticiser or some other product added to the top screed and also that the floor should have had an acid wash before the screed was poured.
      Now the builder thinks he has to remove the screed on Tuesday, with new cupboards in place! But I don’t think he has a clue as how to rectify the original mistake.
      HELP, what am I to do? I am 70 years old and although I have managed this whole process I am lost now. I have had experience with building other houses but never with Concrete floors, they have always been covered with carpets or tiles. I hope I don’t have to give up on this idea and put conventional flooring down.
      Hope to hear from you soon,
      Jenny Goudie

  • Michael Hurley 21st September 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Hi Guys!
    I can help with the above.
    We can also go over the top of existing surfaces E.G. wooden floors or wall and floor tiles.
    Thanks
    Mike

    • vicky rhodes 31st March 2015 at 11:45 am

      Hi there, do you do this in the Greater Manchester area? I have a 4 sq meter bathroom and want my walls doing. Can you recommend anyone?
      many thanks in advance
      Vicky

    • sam quinlan 8th January 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Michael
      please can you tell me how to contact you directly . samhquinlan@gmail.com I am in Monmouth Wales and I cant find anyone who speaks polished concrete language. Getting desperate …..

  • losangelesconcretepolishing 1st May 2014 at 4:18 pm

    One of the awesome information about the Should I Have Polished Concrete Floors.You really did agreat job by posting about this nice information on it.Thanks..

  • Christopher 29th March 2014 at 3:00 pm

    HELP! I’m having a hell of a time trying to find someone to hire to do this. I recently purchased a new build house in the Greater Manchester area. Anyone here know of anyone that provides this service in my area? It’s approx 19 M2 and comprised of entry, kitchen and wc. I’ve left multiple messages and filled out many online quote request. Only 1 person has got back to me and they had a crazy high price. Any help for me out there?

    • Adele barker 3rd November 2014 at 4:03 pm

      Christopher,

      Did you manage to find a company in greater manchester? I live in the sMe area and I’m now interested in getting a quote. If you see this reply feel free to email me at abarker1@hotmail.co.uk

      Adele

  • Julie 28th February 2014 at 10:16 am

    Hi we have an old house in Ireland and keen to pull up the dreaded wood veneer floor to replace with either flagstone or polished concrete. Any advice or possible peeps you may know of in Northern Ireland who could supply and fit would be a super help.

    Many thanks
    Julie

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 28th February 2014 at 10:28 am

      Does anyone know of any suppliers to help Julie?

    • Jane 4th June 2014 at 12:46 pm

      Julie, did you have any luck finding a supplier in NI? Thinking of embarking on a project in Belfast…

      Thanks,
      Jane

  • Kathydowling 21st February 2014 at 2:15 pm

    My husband does this for a living. I can tell you a few hopefully helpful things about polished concrete. The floor has to be in good condition to be polished. Cracks are fine, they can be filled if not too wide but they will always be there. Some people love the cracks others don’t. The floor has to be flat if you don’t want any of the stones to show through in spots, again some people don’t mind that others dislike it. If doing it in new construction make sure the concrete contractor pouring the floor knows that it is vital that he pour a flat floor with the right mix for polishing. Good contractors follow a set system of steps for polishing, it is time consuming and some choose to skip steps leaving you with a floor that is not truly polished. Be careful that you choose the right contractor. There are a lot of fly by nights that use machines that don’t really polish the floor well enough to make it easy maintenance. Their are many grades of polishing, each with a unique amount of shine. They can be slippery when snow is on top so rugs at entrances are a must. Water does not make them slippery, only snow. I think they look best in a regular gray concrete color or dyed slightly darker but that is my opinion. Black is a maintenance nightmare. Like any surface the medium shades show the least amount of dirt. You can have professional cleaning done to bring it back to new every few years if you want. You can’t say that about most floors and much cheaper than re-sanding a wood floor. All that said they can be a beautiful surface for your floor. I think they lend themselves to the most modern and most rustic styles. I think many people will just love them if they follow these rules. And don’t fall for the process of “chemically polished”. That is not a real polished floor and will not produce the easy maintenance floor you are expecting with truly polished concrete. Best of luck with your projects.

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 21st February 2014 at 3:11 pm

      thank you so much for all this information, I’m sure it will be really useful to anyone who is thinking about using concrete in their home. I would love to have concrete worktops in my kitchen. If anyone’s looking for inspiration here’s my newest Pinterest board

      • Namita 11th May 2015 at 9:25 am

        Hi Kate,

        We are thinking of concrete floors but I have a question – do you think concrete floors are a fashion or is it a look that is forever as it can be quite expensive?

        Thanks!!

    • Patrick Allan 25th October 2014 at 8:52 pm

      Hi Kathy,
      Does your husband carry out installation in domestic properties, 19.55 square meters.
      The base of the floor is concrete, withe ceramic tiles & laminate.
      The property is in the West Midlands.
      Regards,
      Patrick

  • Professional Polishing Group 13th February 2014 at 9:25 am

    Thanks foe share….. amazing post…..

  • pete bage 11th September 2013 at 7:13 pm

    I am looking to replace the ground floor of our cottage we have tiles at present. these are hard to keep clean have customers that have concrete floors ie france,
    looking at cost at the moment
    pete

  • sam 16th January 2013 at 10:40 pm

    brilliant post kate thanks so much. gonna attempt the concrete worktops. feel a bit nervous tho…… wonder if Alan (his post is above) has those pics? x

  • Alan Crawford 9th January 2013 at 11:58 am

    We have just finished a project in North London where the entire ground floor of the renovated house is polished concrete along with the kitchen worktops.It is not straightforward to achieve the level of finish desired, with a great deal of effort (and dust) created along the way, however, the end result is superb and has a feel of a monolithic, jointless marble floor. We are very pleased with the outcome and will be posting some professional photographs of the completed house very soon!

    • karla 8th July 2015 at 10:29 am

      Hi Alan, who did you use – I’m keen to do this in my kitchen but not sure if it is too small a space?

    • aswiniw@me.com 11th October 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Dear Alan,
      I would really like to know who you used and if you are still pleased with your floor. Our project is in North London too.
      Many thanks,
      Arty

    • Libby Kemp 18th August 2016 at 2:33 pm

      Please could you supply the details of the company that did the work for you. Many thanks

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