When, Where and Why Polished Concrete Floors
When choosing a flooring product, the major factors to consider are appearance, environment and usage. So how do you determine if polished concrete is the best option for your business? There are many different answers to this question, however; keep in mind polished concrete is a very durable floor that can handle most environments and withstand high levels of traffic. There are two requirements most environments have that polished concrete is suitable for.
Concrete becomes highly durable and abrasion resistant once it has been polished. By removing the microscopic highs, continuing the refinement process with finer and finer diamond grit tooling, and chemically treating it with a hardener densifier, the amount of ongoing concrete damage will be minimized. This is because the surface has become microscopically flatter and smoother. The densification process transforms the still “soft part” of the concrete that would typically dust for the lifetime of the slab. In other words the densifier hardens the concrete making it more durable.
Refining, flattening and densifying allows for less dirt to collect in the small pores of the surface, and for the surface to become more dustproof. The outcome is polished concrete, a highly durable floor with a long in-service life and easier maintenance.
Polished Concrete floors improve illumination inside buildings by making better use of the available light from both natural and artificial sources. By becoming a reflective surface, shadows from large machinery, stacked goods and tall racks are reduced.
Increased visibility and employee morale from improved illumination are just two important outcomes every building owner will appreciate. In addition, the reflectivity of light from the floor surface will reduce the requirement levels of both fixtures and lighting. This improved illumination will create inherently safer facilities for manufacturers, processing centers, distribution centers, warehouses, schools and retail environments alike.
What is the ROI of Polished Concrete?
Let’s look at an example to help quantify the ROI. For the example, we will use a grocery store with 35,000 square feet of floor surface of which 28,000 square feet is in use (not underneath gondolas or cases).
If this store was VCT it would cost $105,000 ($3.00/square foot by 35,000 feet) initially to install, and then $2.00/square foot/year to maintain (28,000 x $2.00 = $56,000/year). Over a ten year period the total cost to maintain the VCT floor surface would be $560,000. When it comes time to replace the VCT, removal and replacement will be $4.50/square foot x 35,000 = $157,500. The total ten year cost of this VCT floor is $822,500
If the store had a polished concrete floor, it would cost $175,000 (35,000 by $5.00/square foot) for the initial install. Maintenance would be $1.00/square foot/year (28,000 x $1.00 = $28,000) multiplied by ten years is $280,000. For this example let’s assume they will need to rejuvenate the floor during year ten. Since there is no removal and the concrete has already been flattened and refined, the cost will be $52,500 (35,000 feet by $1.50/square foot). This rejuvenation will bring the floor back to looking like it did when it was initially installed. Therefore, the total ten year cost for a polished concrete floor is $507,500. Using polished concrete saved this one store $315,000 over a ten year period.
Polished concrete that is mechanically refined and densified is where you will see the largest ROI due to the ease of maintenance. Not all flooring contractors will do this. So your contractor selection will play into the ROI of your polished concrete. You are better off to choose an experienced polished concrete flooring contractor who backs up their work with a gloss and dust-proof warranty. This will ensure they have the proper equipment, training and maintenance support.
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