I was talking to someone over the weekend who really wanted to have a polished concrete floor in the new house they were building but had been put off by all the negatives she had heard about living day to day with a concrete floor.
As someone who has polished concrete floor in my own house and was a complete non negotiable when I was building my own place I was intrigued to hear what the perceived negatives were:
Its hard underfoot
It stains easily
Now i’m not going to lie, it is hard underfoot if you are standing/walking about your home all day in bare feet like I do but this is the same with the flagstones I have in the older part of the property and is easily negated by using lots of rugs (although it is a bit of a shame to cover up the gorgeous concrete floor) or you can wear slippers around the house to provide some comfort. But realistically unless you are on your feet constantly in your home this isn’t too much of a problem.
The second con of it being cold, yes this would be the case if you didn’t have any underfloor heating but again this would also be the case if you laid flagstones or porcelain tiles. I wouldn’t recommend going down the polished concrete floor route if you aren’t having underfloor heating.
So does polished concrete stain? As someone who is incredibly clumsy I can assure you that a polished concrete floor is no more liable to staining than a wooden floor if sealed correctly. We didn’t seal the floor in the kitchen section (we have a 60msq of concrete in an open plan space broken up into 3 sections) we had planned to do it when we moved in and then life took over and we still haven’t done it. Even in this area we only have a couple of stains and this is from spilled fat, it seems to be the only substance that permeates it and believe me I have dropped numerous liquids on this floor. In the areas we did seal we have had no such problem, we made sure to seal with an oil based sealant so any liquid sits on top of the concrete and doesn’t seep through.I’ve dropped red wine onto this floor and there has been no staining!
Now after living with a polished concrete floor for 3 years I feel confident to let you know what the pros of having one are:
Its warm underfoot
It makes a space feel bigger
Its easy to clean
Polished concrete floor and underfloor heating are natural bedfellows. In fact a thick pad of concrete is the best conductor for the heat. The concrete can take a bit of time to heat up the concrete but once it does it retains the heat incredibly well. This warmth also surprisingly provides a little softness underfoot too
By not having lots of grout lines as you would with tiles the concrete helps make the space feel bigger.
The concrete is incredibly durable, we walk across it in heels, muddy boots and we have to contend with claws from both a cat and a dog and it withstands it all.
Its also incredibly easy to keep clean, a quick brush and a mop will see you right
If you are laying a new screed as part of your build, having a concrete floor is a relatively cost effective option as you are needing to order concrete anyway but just adding a few sq metres extra. There is a lot of pre planning and prep if you are going to go down the diy route like we did as you need to make sure you order the correct grade of concrete and that there are no fibres in the mix. Then you need to make sure all hands are on deck the day it arrives to float it and get the ‘cream/fat’ to the top to give it that nice finish before it starts hardening. The most agonising aspect though is then covering it up for months and not knowing how its going to look until its fully hardened and by this point apart from polishing it up to get the sheen you want you are basically stuck with how it looks.
There are many companies offering this service out there now and if you are nervous about going down the diy route I would definitely suggest hiring someone professional to come and do the job.
So hopefully I have helped clear up any misconceptions over having a concrete floor and I would be really interested in hearing if you went for it. I love my polished concrete floor and so glad we went for it!