The first thing you need to understand about installing polished concrete flooring is that the only way to get a good estimate of how much it will cost you is to contact concrete polishers (like us) and ask for a quote. Every floor is unique, so there is no singular standard price you should expect. That being said, we can tell you a bit about the many factors that affect the cost of polished concrete flooring.
It’s probably no surprise to find out that the size and dimensions of the space being polished has a significant effect on the price, but what may surprise you is that a smaller space isn’t necessarily cheaper. Concrete grinding and polishing can be done by a machine or by hand – machine grinding gets great results in a lot less time, so if most of your floor can be polished by a machine then you can expect to save some money on labour costs. So, what areas can’t be grinded and polished using a machine?
The machines are big, and the last thing we want to do is damage your wall, so hand grinding is done on any flooring within 10mm of a wall. Although there may be more concrete to polish in one large room as opposed to many smaller rooms, the large room would likely have less labour costs as there’s a smaller total area close to a wall. This is why we usually recommend that new builds get their concrete grinding and polishing done before the inner walls go up!
Really small areas, like shower bases, cannot fit a polishing machine at all as the machines are fairly large. This means very confined spaces are generally 100% done by hand grinding. It can take one full day to do one shower base, which is very labour intensive and therefore very expensive.
Stairs and ledges are too narrow to balance the machine safely, so they need to be done entirely by hand grinding and polishing. Like with the confined spaces, this is very labour intensive, and the cost will reflect that.
Grinding and polishing machines were made for floors, so any vertical surfaces like walls or the risers on stairs need to be done entirely by hand.
Not all polished concrete looks the same, these different looks are achieved through different levels of aggregate exposure and gloss. These things will affect the price as they will dictate the amount of time and product needed to get your floor to match your preferred look.
If you want to polish an old or existing slab, then there will be a cost associated with preparing it for grinding and polishing. Before any polishing can be done, we would need to remove all traces of previous coverings such as paints, sealers, glues, mortar, tacks, and nails. Once that’s done, we’d then need to repair any cracks or holes, which will definitely be there if you’ve had carpet covering the concrete.
New slabs are generally cheaper to grind and polish as we can get straight to work. Unless there was a major problem in the pour, we wouldn’t need to spend any time in repairing the slab to prep it for grinding and polishing.
Although concrete grinding and polishing can have a large upfront cost, especially if you’re using an experienced and trustworthy company for the job, it can actually work out to be cheaper over time. The reasons for this are:
As with anything, paying for your flooring once is going to cost you less than paying for it multiple times over the span of years. A genuine mechanical polish has had hardening solutions worked into the concrete, filling microscopic holes, and making the concrete denser. After further processes sealer is used, which seeps down approximately 20mm into the concrete. This type of finish lasts decades as long as it’s treated and maintained correctly, the same cannot be said for other types of flooring.
To keep floors looking great, they will require some level of care. The care required for polished concrete is fairly simple, just sweep or vacuum on the brush setting regularly, mop occasionally, and clean up any spills as they occur. You will need to use a pH balanced solution to make sure the polish isn’t damaged during cleaning, but this is very affordable unlike expensive re-sanding and resealing timber. Carpet is also more difficult to maintain and expensive in the long-term as it requires regular shampooing to keep it looking fresh and it generally needs to be replaced every 10 years or so, unlike polished concrete which can last decades when properly maintained. While tiles are comparable to polished concrete in terms of longevity, the grout tends to become dark and grungy as dirt gets ingrained in the grout lines. All cementitious grouts need sealing every year or two to keep them stain-free and fully waterproof.– this doesn’t happen to polished concrete as there aren’t any grout lines in which dirt can become trapped.
Polished concrete is the healthiest flooring choice you can make, as it doesn’t trap dirt, allergens, mold, or oils, nor does it contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC). The same cannot be said of other flooring options.
Whether you’re renovating your premises or building it new, there are a lot of costs associated with getting new flooring. To get the most accurate estimate for how much installing polished concrete flooring will cost, you need to ask for a quote from your contractor of choice.
At Grind and Seal, we are experts with over 22 years of commercial and industrial experience in the fields of concrete grinding, polishing, and sealing. If you want more information about best practices when installing concrete flooring, make sure to check out our other blogs. Wanting to get polished concrete flooring in your home or business? Contact us at Grind and Seal Melbourne for more information and a free quote.