Polished Concrete vs. Tile, Wood and More

Compare the cost, maintenance and design options of polished concrete floors with other popular materials
By Anne Balogh, The Concrete Network
Updated April 6, 2021

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Decorative polished concrete offers a number of advantages that other flooring materials can't match, particularly when it comes to durability, performance and sustainability. Here, we compare polished concrete floors with tile, hardwood and other flooring options.

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Polished Concrete Floor
Floriartisan LLC in Spokane Valley, WA

Tile Floor

Polished concrete is more durable than tile, easier to clean, and surprisingly affordable. You'll get a shiny, seamless floor uninterrupted by tile grout lines. If you're a skilled DIYer, you may be able to lay tile yourself, while polishing requires special equipment and training.

Related: Removing Tile from a Concrete Floor


Polished Concrete Floor
VR Polished Concrete in Corpus Christi, TX

Hardwood Floor

Polished concrete and hardwood both offer a high end look for floors. Polished concrete is especially suited to modern architectural styles, while hardwood can be used to achieve a traditional or rustic feel. When done right, polished concrete will last longer and be easier to maintain than hardwood floors.


Polished Concrete Tile Wood or Wood Laminate Carpet Vinyl or Linoleum Natural Stone
Average cost per square foot installed
See details: Polished concrete cost
$3 - $12 $11 - $22 $8 - $10 $3.38 - $6.61 $2.64 - $5.64 $20 - $50+
Average lifecycle cost Extremely Low Low Intermediate High Intermediate Low
Available in a wide spectrum of design options
See Options: Polishing Concrete Floors
Unlimited Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Longevity and performance
More details: Durability and Resource Conservation
Excellent Good Good Poor Good Excellent
Ease of maintenance
Learn more: Maintaining the Shine
Excellent Good Good Poor (needs frequent vacuuming; stains easily) Good (may need occasional waxing) Good (may need occasional waxing)
Can radiate heat and store solar energy
More info: Radiant Floor Heating Systems
Yes No No No No Yes, depending on the material
Vulnerable to humidity and moisture damage No No Yes Yes Yes No
Can harbor mold, mildew, dust mites, and other allergens
Read more: Easier Breathing
No No Yes (mold and mildew, if the flooring becomes wet) Yes No No
Is a sustainable flooring alternative
Case Study: School Goes Green with Polished Concrete
Yes Yes Maybe (if using linoleum made from all natural materials) No Maybe (if using linoleum made from all natural materials) Yes

Related: Concrete Polishing vs. Resurfacing


Here is how polished concrete stacks up compared to other flooring materials like tile and hardwood:

  • In addition to adding color with dyes and integral pigments, you can use the polishing process to reveal colored aggregate and other decorative embedded objects. You also have a choice of sheen levels, from a subtle gloss to a brilliant, mirror-like shine.
  • Polishing produces an extremely dense, abrasion-resistant surface that will last a lifetime with proper care. Carpet, tile and even wood floors eventually need replacement, which uses up resources and creates disposal problems.
  • Not only are polished floors easy to clean, requiring only occasional damp mopping, they hold up well under heavy forklift and foot traffic. The glossy surface also eliminates the need for waxes or coatings while resisting stains.
  • Concrete flooring is often a central component of passive solar home designs, because the slab absorbs the heat of the sun during the day and releases the stored heat as neededat night. Concrete is also ideal for use with radiant floor heating.
  • Concrete is a great alternative to carpeting for people who are allergic to animal dander and dust mites. Concrete also is an inorganic material and won't support the growth of toxic mold.
  • In addition to using sustainable materials, polished concrete does not require the use hazardous chemicals, coatings, adhesives or cleaners. Another green advantage: Polished floors are highly reflective and can save energy by reducing artificial lighting requirements.
  • Cost depends on the level of finish, decorative options and complexity of the project. Polished concrete is an economical alternative for homeowners or businesses that can't afford marble or granite but want the same mirrorlike finish.
  • With low maintenance costs, savings in energy costs, and a super-long lifespan, polished concrete is one of the least costly floors you can own over time.

*Source: Old House Web

Marble Concrete Floors

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