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Which Is Better for You? Polished vs. Stained Concrete

by Kenneth Eres on Jun 18, 2021

Have you decided to give your floor a new look but can’t seem to determine if you should settle for polished or stained concrete? After all, choosing a suitable finish for your concrete surface will significantly impact its durability and appearance.

Moreover, there are numerous factors to consider for the polished and stained concrete before deciding. With that said, this article contains every detail you need to consider to help you make an informed decision.

Introduction to Polished and Stained Concrete

Polished concrete refers to a floor finish that appears glossy. It has a mirror-like finish and offers numerous decorating options for buildings. 

As a result, polished concrete is ideal for property owners who need different floor colors and creative designs. In addition, it is a popular option, and the finish works well with almost all substrates and offers a professional floor look.

On the other hand, stained concrete, commonly referred to as acid stain, involves color being added to the concrete. Stained concrete floors do not need surface preparation, and hence, it is ideal for application on both new and existing floors.

What to Consider Before Making a Decision

When restoring or building a house, it is necessary to plan every detail correctly. In addition, proper planning on the suitable concrete for your floor means considering the appearance, installation cost, material cost, and maintenance costs as well. 

With that said, here are some of the factors to consider when choosing a finish for your concrete surface.

1. Cost

Polished concrete tends to be more costly compared to stained concrete. The difference arises because when installing polished concrete surfaces, you will need more equipment compared to installing stained concrete. 

Also, installing polished concrete takes a considerably longer time to complete. However, suppose you are looking to restore or renovate a building that already has concrete floors. In that case, you can choose to polish or stain it without making any changes. 

2. Maintenance

The cost of maintenance for both options varies. However, stained concrete is more expensive to maintain compared to polished concrete. 

Once you polish concrete, it guarantees closure of all the pores. As a result, it helps endure the moisture and staining. Therefore, regular daily cleaning using a concrete polisher, a broom, or a wet mop will be enough.

On the other hand, stained concrete needs more maintenance. It needs frequent application of waxes and coats once the previous coats wear out, which is usually within a year from application. Thus, it is a little more costly to maintain than polished concrete.

3. Appearance

Most people believe that stained concrete has a more appealing look than polished concrete in terms of appearance. However, how well each type of concrete appears depends on your taste and preference.

You should note that both stained and polished concrete has a shiny finish. However, stained concrete takes the lead when it comes to appearance. Unfortunately, most polished concrete appears dull and bland compared to stained concrete as the latter offers numerous design options.

Since stained concrete is made from water-based stains, acid stains, or integral color, they offer a higher level of design flexibility. Moreover, these options give design and appealing touch to concrete that adds color to your floor.

Additionally, you can also stain your walls and countertop to make them appear like the countertop is made of granite or marble at a more affordable cost. 

However, before applying any staining option on your concrete, you need to ensure it is in good condition. After all, staining doesn’t cover any damages or cracks that may appear on the concrete.

4. Durability

Both stained and polished concrete offers a long lifespan. However, taking proper care and routine maintenance of polished concrete guarantees you 20 years of service. 

In comparison, stained concrete can last for up to a century, but the stain can wear out over time. That is why it is essential to reapply the coating and wax the floor regularly. If you need to choose a flooring option for outdoor installation, stained concrete is your only option. 

This is because polished concrete is specifically meant for indoor use, and thus, it is pretty limiting. So, when looking to install stained concrete for outdoor use, ensure you choose an outdoor-friendly stain that can withstand harsh weather elements. 

 

Conclusion

With that said, you now know the primary factors you need to consider when deciding on which type of concrete is ideal for you. While both options can be the right choice, it still depends on what you need.

For example, stained concrete offers more variety and appeal in its appearance, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor spaces. In addition, concrete staining is also more affordable and quicker to carry out.

Meanwhile, polished concrete offers longer-lasting durability and resistance to stains and moisture. However, it’s only designed for indoor use, unlike stained concrete. 

Nonetheless, both options are excellent choices and can elevate your space’s look without sacrificing durability.

 

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