Polished/Coated Concrete Vs. Traditional Flooring

December 11, 2020
Residential Concrete Polishing & Coating

There seems to be a misconception about the price of polished concrete and coated concrete floors in comparison to more traditional flooring options. Many people overlook polished/coated concrete floors for residential purposes, because they simply assume the price of these durable, low-maintenance floors will be too high. However, this is absolutely not the case. Polished concrete and concrete coatings are actually affordable flooring solutions that should be considered instead of carpet, hardwood or tile. While each situation is different, concrete flooring options are generally comparable or even cheaper than other floor coverings. This price disparity becomes even more pronounced when you factor in the longevity, durability and little-to-no maintenance required to keep them looking as good as new.Let’s break it down for the average 700-square-foot basement in Des Moines.

Concrete Flooring Options Vs. Other Flooring Materials

Polished ConcreteCoated ConcreteCarpet + PadCeramic TileWood / LaminateCost per SF$4.50$6.75$6+$12+$8+Total Cost (700SF)$3,150$4,725$4,200+$8,400+$5,600+Longevity + DurabilityGreatGreatPoorGoodGoodCare RequiredLowLowHighLowMediumVulnerable to Moisture?NoNoYesNoYesLifecycle CostExtremely LowLowExtremely HighMediumMedium

Polished Concrete Coated Concrete Carpet + Pad Ceramic Tile Wood / Laminate
Cost per SF $4.50 $6.75 $6+ $12+ $8+
Total Cost (700SF) $3,150 $4,725 $4,200+ $8,400+ $5,600+
Longevity + Durability Great Great Poor Good Good
Care Required Low Low High Low Medium
Vulnerable to Moisture? No No Yes No Yes
Lifecycle Cost Extremely Low Low Extremely High Medium Medium

For a free consultation and estimate for your specific project, reach out to Performance Concrete Polishing today! These are just estimates, and the price is dependent on multiple factors, including where you live, the condition of the underlying concrete, the concrete coating used and the price of the carpet/tile/wood. These prices also include rough estimates for installation and labor. For a free consultation and estimate for your specific project, reach out to Performance Concrete Polishing today!

8 Ways to Upgrade Your Concrete Floor

There are so many ways to upgrade your concrete floor from polishing to coating to engraving or staining. We love helping our clients pick out the right fit for what they are looking to accomplish. Sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming to choose what to do with your concrete flooring. Here are 8 ways you can upgrade your concrete to protect and/or enhance it with a little explanation about each technique. We hope this helps when deciding what to do with your next project!

Mechanical Polishing

Mechanical polished concrete is a process that takes abrasives (diamonds) and mechanically places scratches in the concrete. This scratching process uses finer grit abrasives to remove and replace the scratches with smaller and smaller micro scratches.

The objective is to refine the floor and take away the small scratches so that you see a reflection in the floor. This process can be achieved with older concrete, new concrete and/or coated concrete.

This process is considered to be the maximum refinement method, and can be considered the best long-term solution for polished concrete.

Topical Polishing

Topical polishing is similar to the mechanically polished floor, but the course of action is shorter, and it leaves the floor at less than maximum refinement.

Most of the time the topically processed progression ends at a 200- or 400- grit step. These grits leave peaks on the top of the scratches that have zero lateral support. A topical sealer is then added and is placed into the gaps left by the scratching process. As the sealer settles and dries, it gives the appearance of being completely polished and is referred to as “polished concrete.”

This process is a much cheaper alternative to the mechanical process. The “topical polish” is exactly the same thing as putting on a coating. This method can be done with a burnisher, a floor scrubber and even a swing machine.

Decorative Epoxy Coatings

Epoxy floor coatings are hard wearing and durable solutions for both commercial and residential flooring. These floor coatings can be applied over concrete floors to provide a high performance and an attractive surface.

New technology now offers you the ability to choose almost any color. Metallic additives create a gorgeous surface and multiple colors can be randomly applied together revealing a swirling effect that is very unique and attractive.

Decorative Overlays

Overlays are a great option for concrete floors that are damaged or distressed. They are extremely durable and attractive. Overlays typically consist of a cementitious product, but some may be a combination of polyurethane and cement. They can be stained, mechanically polished, coated or stamped with any pattern you can imagine. Overlays are a great way to make an old concrete floor look brand new.

Dyes and Stains

The skies the limit when it comes to colorants. Multiple colors and patterns add to the beauty of your polished floor. There are a multitude of application techniques to add interesting effects when applying dyes and stains.


We can incorporate engraving into your polishing process to provide borders and logos. Engraving can turn ordinary concrete surfaces into slate, tile, stone, brick and much more.

Hardeners and Sealers

Hardeners/densifiers are products that penetrate into the concrete surface and react with the Portland cement and fills the micro-pores. This reaction creates a very dense surface that helps with ease of cleaning, abrasion, dusting, staining, and overall wear of your concrete surface. These products do not change the appearance of the surface but can generate a sheen after burnishing and actually becomes harder the more you use the surface.

Sealers are an option for some floors. Depending on your needs it may provide a shiny surface that is easy to clean. All sealers will need to be reapplied at some point depending on wear and tear.

Final Notes

Performance Concrete Polishing is focused on providing services that are related to concrete surfaces. These services are appropriate for new and existing concrete. The majority of services we offer are oriented to improving the aesthetic appearance of these surfaces. Decorative concrete services are the hallmark of this company, and we’d love to help you out with your next project!