A benefit of concrete floors that many people overlook is how much they can brighten a room with their high light reflectivity. Installing light-colored polished concrete floors can help save energy and reduce lighting bills by amplifying the amount of natural light entering a home or building during the day and reducing the need for artificial light at night.

For some projects, these green-friendly floors are used to help achieve LEED certification and slash energy consumption. For others, they are used primarily for aesthetic reasons. Bright, shiny polished concrete floors simply look better than a dull, drab surface. In public facilities such as office buildings, stores, restaurants and schools, polished concrete projects a bright, clean, professional image. In a home, polished concrete floors make rooms sparkle and they are easier to maintain.

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See these shining examples of concrete floors that combine beauty with high light reflectivity:

A Bright and Shiny Showroom

The owners of Productivity Inc., La Vista, Neb., knew it was going to take something special to set their showroom apart. They wanted a place to highlight the broad range of machine tools they sell, and they decided that a polished concrete floor would show off their best assets-their equipment. The durable floor surface also allows them to move their machines in and out with a forklift without suffering any damage.

School Goes Green with Polished Concrete

Honored as one of the top 10 schools for green building excellence, Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Kirkland, Wash., used light-colored ground and polished concrete to make the grade in the subjects of performance and energy efficiency. The beautiful concrete floor also provided immediate savings in maintenance costs and will save money in the long-term by outlasting the floor coverings typically used for schools, such as tile or carpet.

Glossy Polished Floor Guides the Way

The polished and colored concrete floor in the facility of W.I. Clarke, a heavy construction equipment company, has a two-lane road design running right through the middle to guide customers from the front door to the sales counter. The road design was sawcut by hand and the entire floor was polished to a 3000-grit finish for a high sheen that reflects the overhead lighting.

Using Concrete's Natural Color to Reflect Light

This concrete floor in a car testing facility, once part of a condominium complex, needed some sprucing up to make it look more professional. Keeping the concrete its natural color and polishing it to a high shine gave the space a cleaner, brighter appearance.

Polishing and Dye Enhance Existing Floor

Previously covered by carpet, the polished and dyed concrete floor in the office of Anlar General Contractors is now a low-maintenance, light-reflective surface. Although the existing floor had some minor cracks and pitting, distinctive decorative effects were achieved by air-brushing the cracks with dye to create a beautiful crackle pattern. A densifier and finish coat enhance the floor's durability and gloss.

Dyed and Polished Floors Meet LEED Standards

Briar Patch Co-op Community Market, a LEED-certified building in Grass Valley, Calif., chose polished concrete because of its green-friendly features, including high light reflectivity (up to 30% greater) and improved indoor air quality. The concrete was densified and dry polished to 3000 grit and dyed to create a colorful river-themed floor.

Dealership Floor Gets Mirror-Like Sheen

The polished concrete floors at the Colonial Harley Davidson dealership were originally vinyl tile. After removing the tile, the concrete was dyed and polished up to a 1,500 grit. The end result was a high-gloss polished finish that reflects the motorcycles on display and is easy to maintain.

Burnished Concrete Flooring

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