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Stained and Polished concrete

Are you struggling to decide between stained or polished concrete for your flooring? Learn about their differences and benefits to best make a choice for your floors.

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You’re deciding on what kind of concrete flooring to go with, but which type is best for you? We’ll explore the key differences between stained and polished concrete and discuss their uses and benefits.

Key Differences

Stained concrete has a special coating over the concrete to give the material an aesthetic shine and enhance its durability. Polished concrete is simply the concrete itself but with the use of bonded abrasives to cut the concrete floor’s surface and create a shiny, aesthetic appearance.

The concrete surface itself must be densified with a sodium chloride or lithium chloride liquid to achieve a dense enough surface to be polished.

Both stained and polished concrete are extremely durable, water-resistant, pet-friendly, and can be cleaned daily using a vacuum, wet mop, or broom. Both, also, must be professionally installed. However, there are some key differences between stained and polished concrete.

  • Stained concrete needs to be resealed or waxed every 1-2 years, while polished concrete doesn’t require that level of maintenance.

  • While both are very durable, stained concrete is more susceptible to scratching or fading, especially if used in a high-traffic area. Polished concrete tends to remain in its same condition even in the most high-traffic areas.

  • Tip: To enhance the durability of your concrete flooring, whether polished or stained, epoxy quartz flooring may be applied to your concrete.

  • Polished concrete tends to run more expensive than stained concrete, with polished concrete typically costing between $3 and $12 per square foot to install. Stained concrete is cheaper at $2 to $4 per square foot.

  • The installation, itself, of polished concrete will typically be more expensive and take longer to complete than for stained concrete.

  • Polished concrete can be customized using different colors and patterns whereas stained concrete can only be customized using the stain itself. However, you can customize your stained concrete with any color you desire.

Best Uses for Stained and Polished Concrete

Polished concrete tends to be more durable and less susceptible to scratching and fading than stained concrete, so this type of concrete flooring does best in high-traffic locations. Regardless of your level of traffic, polished concrete will maintain its pristine appearance. This is why it tends to be a popular choice for high-traffic stores and restaurants.

Stained concrete, on the other hand, does best in locations that are fairly lower-traffic because it marks and fades easier than polished concrete. Stained concrete can have a very long lifespan, but it requires a bit more caution and maintenance.

Benefits of Stained and Polished Concrete

Stained Concrete

Stained concrete can last a lifetime with the proper care and maintenance. The only downside to this is needing to touch up your flooring with resealing or waxing every 1-2 years, but this may be a small price to pay for an otherwise affordable, long-lasting flooring option.

As mentioned before, stained concrete is the cheaper option out of the two. If you’re looking for a cost-efficient flooring option, or if your location is high in square footage, stained concrete may be the best choice.

Stained concrete can be used in any indoor location, and can also be used outdoors provided that an outdoor staining is used on your flooring to prevent unwanted marks or fading.

Polished Concrete

Polished concrete can also last a lifetime. It is extremely durable and doesn’t require any maintenance. You can use polished concrete flooring for any indoor location and have little to no susceptibility to scratches or fading. Any small marks can be cleaned or buffed out.

Polished concrete, as stated prior, requires no maintenance. So, even though polished concrete tends to run more expensive in material and installation, you may save money in the long run by not needing costly maintenance procedures.

While polished concrete can’t be used outdoors, unlike stained concrete, you have endless customization options! You can choose various colors or patterns to fit your location’s style, which is a major benefit if aesthetics are an important factor for you.


• Can stained concrete be polished? Yes, and it will not affect the coloring of your stained concrete floor, but be mindful that the stain of your floor may get removed a bit from the deep grinding of the polishing process. • Is polished concrete slippery when wet? No, because the surface is porous. When wet, it may even offer a better grip for your shoes because of the surface’s texture. • How long does polished or stained concrete last? Both are said to last between 10 to 25 years, but either can last a lifetime with the proper installation and maintenance. • Are concrete floors cold? Yes, it can be cold, but generally it is no more cold than natural stone flooring or tiling. • Can concrete flooring crack? Concrete can crack at any point, including at the point of installation, and you may end up with some cracks down the line. But, this can be better prevented and remedied with the correct maintenance.

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