How much is polished concrete going to cost?
Concrete is much more than a building material but if you plan to use it as a flooring solution, it’ll take time and dedication to make it look right. Here’s a breakdown of how to factor in costs and what to expect during the process.
Raw vs polished flooring
Concrete is a seemingly simple material that can withstand a lot of abuse in general construction. But extra care must be taken when creating a concrete surface that will remain visible. Once concrete has cured (dried out) it has a somewhat unimpressive appearance. In normal construction this doesn’t matter to anyone as it gets covered up.
Polished concrete floor is very different from this basic poured finish material as it involves taking off top layers to reveal the sand and/or the aggregate beneath. This time-consuming and skillful process can transform concrete from a workaday building material into one of stunning brilliance. You’ll need an early discussion with your supplier about exactly what type of finish you’ll want on the surface of the concrete floor. Some people enjoy the individual aggregate pieces showing when ground down; others like the look of a smooth, stone-free, almost ‘cement looking’ surface. It can be made to be very shiny or totally dull.
How to calculate the cost of polished concrete?
Probably the most common question on this subject and the most difficult to answer. Costs depend on whether the concrete is new or existing, on what scale you’re thinking as larger surface areas can be relatively cheaper, how complex your final finishes will be, edges & expansion joints, sealers and much more.
Prices can vary from €90 – €150 per square metre but we have known people who have spent more than €200 per sqm as their project was very unique. If you’re thinking of going this route then get quotes on a like-for-like basis from more than one specialist contractor. Be sure to see examples of their work in the real world, not just on a website or in photos. Anyone who promises you a great finish for little money should be avoided as we regularly get calls months later to rectify floors that an inexperienced contractor was not able to achieve.
Pmac only specialises in the polishing element so obtaining the services of a contractor who can pour a perfectly level floor for polishing is another important task.
Get in touch with our sales team through our enquiry form https://pmac.ie/contact-pmac/ with some details of your project so we can provide you with an estimate / quote.
In our opinion the best route to a perfect polished concrete floor is to involve professionals right from the start. Your main contractor will install the sub floor – a slab of concrete with reinforcing bars, plus insulation beneath – ready for the specialist concrete contractor to install his, usually 100mm thick, concrete floor on top at a later date.
After your concrete contractor installs the concrete slab, they should take care not to walk through the mix as this could cause sandy patches at a later stage as their footfall could push down the aggregate. Power floating will be needed to produce a smooth, level, surface but when placing concrete destined to become a polished floor extra special care and attention needs to be paid to the perimeters. These can often be botched in normal concrete floor situations, even with power floating and hand troweling.
The leveling, floating and finishing of the concrete needs this high attention to detail because when the surface comes to be grinded and polished. If the above precautions are not taken then it may not be possible to provide the floor finish you requested. We are happy to advise concrete contractors / builders / engineers before and during the process so to mitigate any potential concerns they have.
Your concrete installer will advise how to prevent, as far as possible, any settlement cracks that under normal circumstances wouldn’t matter but are now on public view. Such cracks can appear many months or even years after installation so there has to be a plan for how to deal with these. A concrete expansion joint or control joint is a gap which allows the concrete to expand and contract as/when the temperature changes. It forms a break between the concrete and other parts of a structure to allow movement without causing stress, which can lead to cracking. These control joints are cut by the concrete installer and filled at a later stage by a choice of materials such as Mastic, Brass & Aluminum.
Once installed and cured, the concrete should be well protected while other construction takes place. Pieces of scaffolding, for example, dropped on to the surface can cause blemishes that are near impossible to remedy. Of course, once the concrete is polished and ‘finished’ it has to be lovingly protected as if it were a timber floor. In this regard it’s vital to get the surface protected so decorating and other liquid building materials don’t stain it.