How much do polished concrete floors cost in Australia? 
Polished concrete floors are becoming more and more popular in Australia, for a wide range of reasons. In former industrial buildings that have been converted into modern housing, polished concrete floors provide a connection to the past, and in modern homes they offer an easy-to-clean option that aligns well with industrial-chic styling. Polished floors provide a point of interest, are easy to clean, and can be very cost effective compared to other types of flooring. But how affordable is concrete flooring and what should you expect to pay to turn a concrete slab into a finished floor? In this blog post we'll look at concrete floor costs and we'll try to give you some idea of how much your concrete flooring project is likely to cost.
What is polished concrete flooring?
In Australia, most houses are built on a concrete slab. A timber or steel frame is then attached to that slab, and then bricks are laid or weatherboard panels are installed to produce external walls. Timber flooring, tile floors or carpet is then installed on top of that concrete slab, with underlay, insulation, adhesive and other layers in between. As an alternative, that concrete slab can be ground down to a layer that includes aggregate and then polished to produce one of a number of effects.
If you're renovating a house or business and need to remove the existing flooring, concrete flooring may present itself as an option during your project. You might decide that grinding and polishing existing concrete floors is more cost effective than laying new carpet, installing tiles, or installing something like a hybrid timber floor.
The first step on the way to polished concrete floors is grinding. Grinding involves using a mechanical grinding tool to remove the top 1-2 mm layer of concrete. Often, when slabs are first poured, they include loose stones known as aggregate and a "scrim layer" which is a thin layer of concrete wash poured over the top of drying concrete designed to level the concrete and fill any imperfections. Mechanical grinding is designed to remove this scrim layer and expose the aggregate-filled layers underneath. This produces an attractive pattern and a smooth finish.
Concrete grinding is often required to remove previous adhesive associated with carpet or tiling, and it is often required before tiling and installation of other flooring materials. That means if you're removing tiles or laying new tiles, you'll often need to pay for concrete grinding, even if you aren't planning for polished concrete floors. That means paying for concrete grinding but getting no aesthetic benefit.
How long do polished concrete floors last?
If you polish the concrete slab on which your house is built, the slab itself should last as long as any other part of your house, and will likely be the last part of your house that remains if it is ever demolished. But the longevity of a polished surface depends on concrete surface preparation, whether the area being polished should expect heavy traffic, and the exposure level of your concrete surface for areas that are outside.
The longevity of your polished concrete floors also depends on the concrete finish you choose. Concrete floors that have been covered with an epoxy coating can last a lot longer, as the extra layer gives the floor additional protection.
Is polished concrete more expensive than other flooring options?
Concrete grinding is a required step for other flooring types and the installation of some popular flooring materials. That means you're part of the way toward polished concrete floors by preparing for other flooring solutions. In other cases, flooring can be laid or installed on bare concrete floors, which means you can just remove what you have now and install your new flooring.
Compared to carpet
Traditional wool carpet costs between $80 and $150 per square metre, installed, which makes it approximately the same price as some polished concrete options. But with an expected lifespan of 5-10 years, you'll likely need to pay a similar amount to replace carpet. That said, carpet can be warmer underfoot and insulated underlay can reduce power bills by making it easier to heat your home and keep it warm.
Compared to tiling
We recently published a blog post explaining that tiles cost between $25 per square metre for basic ceramic tiles and $200+ for artisan Italian porcelain tiles. The significant variation in price is indicative of the wide range of tiles available in Australia. Beyond the cost of tiles, you also need to consider installation by a professional tiler. Tiles need to be installed on a prepared surface and if you have existing concrete floors, that means cleaning and grinding to create a rough surface.
Compared to timber flooring
Timber flooring costs around $100 per square metres, with more affordable options and some custom and expensive choices. Hardwood flooring is an attractive option but it is among the most expensive. Recycled timber can produce a look that suits industrial chic decorating and styling, so renovators will often choose between the two. In most cases, timber floors can be installed on top of underlay and any concrete underneath - or other flat surface - won't need special preparation.
How much does it cost to polish concrete floors in Australia?
We've done some research and asked a few leading concrete polishing service providers what they charge for different levels of polish. Depending on the type of finish you're after, and the polishing process you're interested in, average prices are as follows:
Cost per square metre
Concrete floor grinding
$60+ per square metre
Honed concrete polishing
$80 per square metre
Concrete floor grinding, sealing and polishing
$100 per square metre
Concrete floor mechanical polishing
$120 per square metre
These are average costs per square metre but there are a range of additional costs you should be aware of. The concrete grinding process produces a lot of dust and your water bill for the quarter in which you undertake your concrete polishing project will likely increase significantly. In addition, you may find the use of extra machinery increases your power bill during the same period.
Some companies use concrete grinders and polishers that require 3-phase power, which is often not available at a residential property, and will need to charge an additional fee for bringing a generator to site. For commercial spaces where 3-phase power is available, you may need to notify other building tenants or your property manager.
To find a great concrete flooring professional in your area, start a task or request a quote right here on BorisDoes. There are a wide range of concrete flooring options with a variety of finish options, so it can help to do your research and decide what you want before you start looking for a Tasker or Business for your concrete flooring job. But once you're ready, BorisDoes is the best place to find a concrete flooring specialist capable of producing beautiful polished concrete floors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the factors that affect the cost of polished concrete floors?
There are a few things you need to account for when trying to work out a budget for your concrete polishing job. It's important to calculate the cost of floor removal so that you have a clean concrete surface to work with. It can help to decide the concrete grinding grade level you want to achieve, and whether you want a glossy finish or matte finish. Each of these decision-making points will affect price. Other things to consider are additional electricity and water costs referenced above, and any minimum area requirements that some concrete polishing contractors have.
Is it cheaper to DIY?
Like a lot of renovation projects, it can be cheaper to DIY if you have the skills and equipment. But if you make a mistake it can very quickly become the more expensive option. If you don't want to engage a concrete grinding service, you can hire a concrete grinder yourself, along with a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to remove dust and any existing floor materials and floor coverings. You can always then hire a professional to take care of the sealing and polishing, or you can try to complete those steps yourself.
How do I get a price estimate for polished concrete floors?
It's easy to work out if polished concrete flooring is in your price range. Simply start a task or request a quote here on BorisDoes, provide some details, and we'll make sure you get quotes and estimates from Taskers and Businesses in your area.
How much does concrete cost in the first place?
If you need concrete to be poured before it can be ground and polished you'll need to find a professional concreter. To help you establish a budget before you start your project, we recently published a blog post about concrete prices and how much you can expect to pay. Concrete floor installation is a significant cost that needs to be considered if your have a different flooring type to begin with, especially for larger spaces. However, you can discuss your requirements for your polished concrete floor in advance which means you can potentially reduce the cost of extras like complex designs, intricate patterns, and high-end finishes.
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