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The smooth, reflective surface of polished concrete invites a stunning array of options for coloring, scoring, and creating radial lines, grids, bands, borders and other designs. Stains and dyes are the most popular application for enhancing already existing polished concrete. Check out the design ideas below as well as the project profiles from around the country to get ideas for your own polished concrete floor.

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Stained Polished Concrete

Concrete stains are one of the ways to add color to existing concrete floors. In the image above, the floors in a supermarket in Sitka, Alaska were rehabilitated by polishing and staining. The reflective polish and color provide a remarkable new look to the state’s largest and oldest existing retailer. Learn more about staining concrete.

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Dyed Polished Concrete

Concrete dyes offer more vibrancy of color (which can be more intense than chemical stains). Dyes are often used in conjunction with polished concrete because they are easy to use and the application process is quick. Learn more about dyed concrete .

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Plain Gray Polished Concrete

In some instances, a plain uncolored polished concrete floor is preferred. In the image above, a vintage car collector preferred simply polished concrete that would shine and show the beauty of his cars. When polished, the natural gray color of concrete is often chosen for its simplistic and somewhat industrial feel.

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Scored and Patterned Polished Concrete

Engraving, scoring, cutting, stenciling are just a few of the ways that polished concrete can be customized in addition to coloring. For the project above, multiple colors and various application techniques create a stunning and intricate pattern on a polished floor. Learn more about engraving concrete. Learn more about creating special effects by scoring concrete.

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Polished Concrete Overlays

To meet the demand for an aesthetically pleasing solution for polishing imperfect concrete floors, more and more contractors are now installing polished overlays as an economical alternative. The Concrete Network talked with three contractors who specialize in these projects to get their viewpoints about the applications for polished overlays.

Polishing Concrete -- Get Design Options
Time: 04:24

  • Colored aggregate can be applied to the concrete mix or seeded into the top layer of the mix. The polishing process will reveal these aggregate.
  • Integrally colored concrete can be used.
  • Glass can be seeded into the mix. The polishing process will reveal the glass pieces.
  • Nails, bolts, computer chips, or any other objects can be seeded into the mix and then polished smooth.
  • Of course, any of these options can be combined together or into a pattern

Polished concrete can also be enhanced through engraving or scoring lines and patterns.

Not Polished, but Still AwesomePolishing concrete requires a series of polishing steps culminating with the use of 1800-3500 grit diamonds. Each step in the process increases the shine and reflectivity of the concrete. There are other options, which though they stop short of 1800-3500 grit diamonds, are still beautiful.

Decorative Ideas for Polished Concrete Floors
Time: 03:14
See what decorative looks can be achieved with polished concrete and get ideas for incorporating saw cuts, exotic aggregates, custom colors and more.

Two steps of grinding to expose the aggregate, then applying a topical sealer, might be called the exposed aggregate, sealed look. While still taking on a polished look, the polish is a result of a topical coating (still beautiful, but requiring more maintenance).

Demmert and Associates in Los Angeles produces a finish they call a honed finish where they stop at 220 grit diamonds. This honed finish has some surface shine, but is still smooth and easy to clean.

Demmert and Associates also lets customers review the floor at the 400-800-and 1800-grit diamond level of shine if the customer is unsure if they want a fully polished look (though most clients do want the floor fully polished). Learn more about the levels of polished concrete.

Clearly, there are many levels of floors that stop short of truly being polished concrete, but are beautiful in their own right.

Related Information:

What is polished concrete

Reflective Floors

Artistic Concrete Pictures

Polished Concrete Floors Reflect Home’s Modern Architecture Project submitted by Jon Millner, Perfection Plus Inc., Kernersville, N.C.
Polished Floors Show Off Team Spirit Project submitted by Rick Stone, K-Stone, San Antonio, Texas.
Natural Concrete Floors and Walls Express Understated Elegance Project submitted by Andy Espinoza, Envision Concrete, Escondido, Calif.
Microsoft Brightens its Floors with Polished, Dyed Concrete Jim and Jeze Harvey, Harvey Construction & Deco-Pour, Snohomish, Wash.
Art-Deco Concrete Floor Enhances Classic Car Museum Nick Dancer, Dancer Concrete Design, Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Polished Floors Revitalize a Mid-Century Modern Home Liquid Stone Concrete Designs, Warminster, Pa.
Polished Floor Shows Off Classic Cars DreamKrete, Richmond, Va.
Jumping for Joy Over Polished Concrete Progressive Concrete Coatings, Wilmington, N.C.
Polishing and Dye Give Brewery Floor Historic Character Tyler Reed, Perfection Plus Concrete Polishing, Kernersville, N.C.
In the Fast Lane Youri Semakov, Concrete Polishing & Sealing Ltd., Ottawa, Ontario
Polished Concrete Floor Becomes a Painter’s Canvas Nick Dancer, Dancer Concrete Design, Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Smoothing Out the Rough Spots Nick Dancer, Dancer Concrete Design, Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Flooring ‘Mess’ Is Fixed By Polishing Jeff Wolcott, Wolcott Concrete, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Motorcycle Floor Gets a Low-Maintenance Makeover Jeremy Wilkerson, Mid Atlantic Floor Care / Dreamkrete, Richmond, Va.
Concrete Floors Replicate a Riverbed Abner Peachey, Rosebud Concrete, Myerstown, Pa.
Concrete Polishing to the Rescue Jeremy Redig, Floor Rescue, Dallas
Polished Concrete Floor Is a Lesson in Indian Folklore Carolina Concrete Floor Polishing in Spartanburg, S.C.
Polished Concrete Floor Chosen Instead of VCT Tile Dimensions Concrete Design in Marietta, GA
Old Commercial Floor Rejuvenated with Concrete Polishing Concrete Polishing & Artistic Staining of AK
Polished Floors Done Right Concrete Treatments Inc. in Albertville, MN
Divine Intervention in Concrete Overlay Design Hyde Concrete in Annapolis, MD
Polishing and Dye Enhance Cracks in Existing Floor Concrete Concepts Inc. in Hackensack, NJ
Glossy Polished Floor Guides Customers Through Showroom Custom Concrete Solutions in West Hartford, CT.
Using Concrete's Natural Color to Reflect Light in a Polished Floor Custom Concrete Solutions, LLC in West Hartford, CT.
Polishing Concrete to Look like Granite Innovative Concrete Systems in Little Rock, AR
Showroom Floor That Shines Stephens and Smith Construction