A guide to polished concrete flooring

When thinking about flooring for our homes, most of us are considering a choice between floorboards, laminates and good old-fashioned carpet of one kind or another. In recent years the stripped and treated floorboards have held sway. They may be noisy and sometimes draughty but they are versatile, hard-wearing and give our homes a stripped-back feel of modernism.

polished concrete in living room

Image Source: Pinterest

More of us are now turning to polished concrete as the material looks good, provides clean lines and works perfectly with the unobtrusive underfloor heating that many homeowners desire. After all, underfloor heating cuts out the need for bulky radiators and provides heat across a room rather than concentrating it in one corner. Your concrete will then be warm underfoot in winter and cool underfoot in the summer, offering you the best of both worlds. And what is more, it will last you forever.

There is no getting away from the fact that concrete has an industrial look but it need not always be plain old grey. Colour can be added to the mix when the floor is poured, as can textures and coloured chips or sparkles. Your flooring specialist will be able to offer a variety of finishes, although you should be aware that the price will rise as you steer away from the city centre greys.

Polished concrete cost -you can expect to pay upwards of £60 per-square metre for a basic job in an easy-to-install environment but you can go up to £400 per-square metre with add-ons.

polished concrete in kitchen

Image Source: Pinterest

As you can imagine, concrete is somewhat messy to put in but contractors will tidy and clean up after themselves once the floor is poured, dried and polished to a shine. A degree of disruption to home life should be expected but not much more than you would expect when laying any other floor surface. Although, of course, you will have to keep children and pets at bay, unless you want their footprints to be immortalised in your shiny new flooring.

How to polish concrete – once your floor is poured, levelled and set then the real magic that you are paying for begins. The floor’s surface will be ground with industrial machinery with diamond abrasion units installed. A densifying material is added to the concrete’s surface and then a final polish can be completed. All you have to then do is give it a mop now and again. If the sheen goes over time then you can have it re-polished.

living room design with polished concrete

Image Source: Remodelista

Some contractors will do the abrasive part of the job while the concrete is still wet. But each contractor will be able to advise you on his/her methods and talk over any design or style needs you may have when they come to measure up for the job.

The downside of concrete flooring is that it is hard to remove if you decide for some reason that you have tired  of the look. It is also hard full stop. So it may not be suitable in spaces where children are running around or where elderly relatives are in danger of falling.

Polished concrete flooring is definitely not one to make a snap decision about but I’m inclined to think that the upfront cost will be worth it, both in terms of longevity and good looks.

At Rated People we have registered polished concrete specialists in our flooring specialist category ready to help you. Post a job for free and get up to 3 quotes for your project.

Iain Aitch

Iain is a London-based writer who works as a journalist for a number of newspapers and magazines. He has also written two books, one of which is a hilarious lexicon about Britishness – Iain is a Brit through and through!

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  1. Is polished concrete the same as ‘beton cire’ which translates as waxed concrete? Do you have a list of trades people who specialise in the material, either polished concrete or beton cire.

    1. Hi Grahame,

      That’s great. How we work is that you post your job using the main form on our homepage ( and up to three local tradesmen can contact you to quote. After that, you’re free to choose the tradesmen that you would like to hire for the job.

      Our tradesmen do however have to pay for the chance to contact you, therefore if you’re not certain of carrying out the job, I would suggest that you ask for advice using our Ask an Expert forum, as opposed to posting this as a job in the first instance:

      Best Wishes,

  2. Polished Concrete is not like waxed concrete, and you will get what you pay for. For a full system, the contractor will grind down into the concrete (up to 10mm) to expose the aggregate, then progressively grind the surface using finer grit tools. A grouting system will be carried out to fill in any holes/cracks, and a chemical ‘densifier’ will be applied in stages which will harden and fill any pores in the surface. Once completed, a polished concrete floor requires very little maintenance, is extremely hard wearing, and will last a lifetime! A full polished concrete system in your home will cost you anywhere from $85 – $150 per sq.m, obviously depending on the area you have, and i repeat you will get what you pay for.


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