Most people assume that polished concrete is expensive because it definitely looks it. You picture it in mansions and five-star hotels, and with the sleek, modern look that it lends to any room, it’s not surprising that the majority of people think that it’s out of reach.

polishing concrete

The good news is that polished concrete is a lot more affordable than it looks, and in the long run, a polished concrete floor could end up saving you money versus some of the other flooring options you might be interested in.

If you’re curious about the cost of polished concrete per square metre here in Melbourne, looking for ideas and information for your next renovation project, or just curious about the pros and cons of polished concrete fiscally, hopefully, this post will answer some of your questions.

Polished concrete floors can save you money

When you think of being economical, it’s easy to default to “cheapest is always best”, but there are many times when that simply isn’t true. If you had the option between buying a $5 pair of shoes that lasted you a week, or a $100 pair of shoes that lasted you a year, it’s pretty easy to notice that you’ll end up spending a lot more in the long run if you opt for the $5 pair.

Thinking in terms of value, rather than just cost, actually places polished concrete at the head of the pack. Polished concrete is about half the cost of the carpet or epoxy floors, over a fifteen-year lifecycle, and if properly cared for (which is incredibly easy too, a light mopping with a mild cleaner or water once a week), can easily last twice as long.

Polished concrete can also have some minor effects which add up over time. Climate control in Melbourne can be challenging, and having a polished concrete floor can make it a lot easier and more cost-effective. Even if you don’t go with a hydronic radiant floor, concrete has an excellent thermal mass and will store heat accumulated from sunlight during the day, and release it at night. It works in reverse too, in those stinking hot Melbourne summers, if you keep your floors shaded during the day, the concrete will cool overnight, and keep your house a bit cooler during the day.

This makes concrete a popular choice for passive solar homes. The time and money you save on cleaning is a nice bonus too!

Polished concrete floors have a timeless look

When it comes to looks, it’s almost impossible to beat polished concrete. That’s why it’s been the floor of choice for Melbourne architects and interior designers since its invention.

No more peeling linoleum, no more stained carpet, no more tacky orange tiles. Polished concrete is an elegant and striking option that provides a great foundation for building the style of your space. That’s why Apple stores and some of Melbourne’s best cafes and restaurants choose polished concrete. 

Polished concrete floors can actually increase the resale value of your home, something else you should factor into your decision.

You can choose a style of concrete grinding to match your budget

In a nutshell, the price of polished concrete is tied to how much grinding and polishing you want. A light grind will be cheaper than a heavy grind, simply due to the cost of labour and materials (The “sandpaper” we use is made of diamonds, so the price adds up!). A light grind and a polish will give you a lovely looking, understated option, but if you’ve gone with something more complex, with custom colours or interesting aggregate, you’re going to want a heavier grind to expose that complexity.

It’s important to know that you have a lot of options with polished concrete. Polished concrete is versatile not just in looks, but also in price. If you’ve fallen in love with the polished concrete look, but don’t think you have the room in your budget for it, don’t despair! You can easily tailor your project to match your budget.

Grind and Seal

The grind and seal method mimics a polished concrete look by grinding the concrete to your desired exposure levels and applying polyurethane and water-based sealants. Unlike polished concrete, the surface is not mechanically polished, but you still get the polished look. This makes it more affordable than mechanically polished concrete.

While they’re still more durable than a lot of your other flooring options, grind and seal concrete floors require more maintenance than polished concrete. This is because the sealer sits on top of the concrete, and may be damaged more easily, which will require reapplications of sealant every few years.

Mechanically polished concrete floors

Mechanically polished concrete involves using diamond abrasives to grind, hone, and polish the concrete before applying a chemical hardener which soaks into the concrete and makes it denser.

This makes polished concrete a lot more durable than the grind and seal method, as the sealant is soaked into the concrete, rather than sitting on a separate layer on top.

When you polish concrete, you increase its durability and lifespan, making it one of the most hard-wearing and durable surfaces available for flooring.

In addition to its durability and looks, polished concrete is highly versatile, you can really customise your floor for your exact requirements. Colours, aggregate exposure, gloss level, patterns, if you can imagine it, it can be brought to life in polished concrete. But the cost will vary depending on what you choose.

So is it worth investing in polished concrete floors?

Obviously, we’re a bit biased. That’s why we’ve tried to let the statistics do the talking for us. Also, you wouldn’t get solar panels on a rental property. Sometimes you can’t invest in the long term savings. But if you are looking to save money over the lifespan of a building, polished concrete really can’t be beaten. The fact that it’s beautiful, incredibly durable, and easy to clean, is just the cherry on top.

If you have any questions about the financial benefits of polished concrete floors here in Melbourne, contact one of our friendly staff today!

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