Polishing a concrete floor can cost $2 to $16 per square foot, depending on the level of polishing, type of finish, intricacy of the design, and other factors. This can go to as high as $18 if you choose an intricate stamped design.
To help you plan your budget better, we’ll provide a breakdown of each of the factors that can affect the total cost of a polished concrete floor. We’ll also provide some strategies that you can use to lower the cost.
What are the factors that can influence the cost of a polished concrete floor?
Size of the Area
|200 square foot||$400 to $3,200|
|500 square foot||$1,000 to $8,000|
|1,000 square foot||$2,000 to $16,000|
|1,500 square foot||$3,000 to $24,000|
|2,000 square foot||$4,000 to $32,000|
The size of the area to be polished is one of the most significant factors that can influence the cost of a polished concrete flooring project. Generally, a bigger area will cost more than a smaller one, as it will need more materials.
The size also directly affects the labor cost, so it is among the biggest cost determinants. Larger projects will generally need more time to finish, which can drive up the labor cost and the overall project cost.
Installing a new polished concrete floor typically costs $2 to $16 per square foot, depending on the type of finish, concrete grade, labor, materials, and more.
Type of Polish Finish
|Stamping||$3 to $18 per square foot|
|Staining||$2 to $15 per square foot|
|Painting||$2 to $4 per square foot|
|Sealing||$1 to $2 per square foot|
Stamping uses different patterns, textures, and designs to provide the polished concrete floor a more decorative and aesthetically pleasing appearance. More often than not, homeowners ask for a hardwood-like look.
Stamping typically costs the most out of the different types of polish finish, as it requires additional materials and can only be done by those who are experienced in stamping.
Stamped concrete typically costs around $3 to $18 per square foot, depending on the complexity of the design. However, most homeowners don’t usually pay more than $12 per square foot.
Staining uses either acid-based or water-based stains to create a unique and permanent color variation in the concrete floor. This is often done to create a look that’s similar to natural stone, but there are also other looks to choose from.
This is sometimes done before they polish the concrete floor to make sure that the stains remain on the floor for as long as possible.
You can expect to pay anywhere between $2 and $15 per square foot if you want your floors to be stained.
Painting is a cost-effective way to improve the polished concrete floor’s aesthetic appeal. You can use different paint colors, design elements, and patterns to enhance the floor’s overall visual effect.
Paint, though, typically doesn’t last as long as stain, so it will likely chip away over time.
Painting typically costs $2 to $4 per square foot, making it one of the cheapest options for concrete floors.
Sealing is often done, whatever the decorative style of the concrete is. This is because sealing provides a protective coating on the surface of the polished concrete floor to shield it from moisture, chemicals, and wear.
Sealing also helps maintain the stamp, stain, or paint on the floor by reducing surface abrasion.
To seal a polished concrete floor, you can expect to pay around $1 to $2 per square foot.
Polishing a concrete floor is no easy task, and if you want a good result, you should hire a professional with a lot of experience in the polishing process. However, hiring someone to do the work comes with a hefty price.
You won’t just be paying for the material or their time, you’re also paying for their experience and expertise in the area. As such, labor often accounts for about two-thirds of the total cost of a polished concrete floor.
Material and Equipment
The choice of materials can significantly impact the cost of installing a polished concrete floor. High-quality, specialized concrete mixes designed for polishing generally cost more than standard concrete mixes.
Additionally, the equipment the laborers will use will also typically be considered when giving you a final quote. The type, grade, and quality of floor grinders they use will all have an effect on the total cost.
Even when you choose to do the polishing on your own, you won’t be able to eliminate the cost of material and equipment. You’ll still have to rent the equipment, which can be quite costly.
Intricate designs typically take longer to complete. The extra time required for precise detailing, pattern work, or customization can extend the duration of the project, potentially leading to higher labor costs.
Additionally, some designs require highly skilled professionals, so the labor cost will naturally increase.
They may also need to use specialized tools, like a smaller grinder for tighter spaces and newer stamping mats. These tools will naturally drive up the total cost.
If you want to save as much money as possible, go for designs that have repeating patterns or motifs. These designs usually cost less compared to when the laborer has to create a completely unique design.
When polishing a concrete floor, you can’t just grind the floor without preparing it. Doing so would result in an unsatisfactory floor.
If there’s a different flooring like tiles or vinyl, you have to remove them first to get to the concrete floor. This alone can take up a lot of time, so if you can, you should do it before the laborer arrives.
Concrete surfaces can accumulate dirt, dust, oil, grease, adhesives, or coatings over time. You should remove these first before polishing to ensure that they don’t interfere with the polishing process or affect the final appearance of the floor.
Surface imperfections like unevenness and cracks should also be repaired first before the polishing process begins.
All these extra processes will need extra materials, tools, and time, so they can all significantly impact the overall cost.
Grade levels are used to describe the different levels or floors within a building. The first floor is considered on-grade, and any floor below or above that is considered below-grade or above grade, respectively.
Above-grade concrete polishing is typically the most expensive to do. This is because the contractor has to take into consideration a lot of things, including the structural integrity of the floor, the possible access route, and more.
Level of Polishing
There are different levels of polishing for concrete floors, each of which results in varying degrees of glossiness and reflectivity. Typically, the cost increases the glossier the floor gets.
Shinier floors need to be grounded multiple times using finer diamond abrasives, so they require more specialized tools, material, time, and effort, resulting in a higher price.
Residential homes typically require a higher finish, especially for entryways. For commercial and industrial spaces, though, a 200-grit finish is usually good enough.
Location of the Building
Labor rates can vary significantly depending on the location of the building. If you live in an affluent neighborhood or an urban area, the cost is likely higher due to the higher cost of living.
Materials may also not be readily available in certain areas, forcing contractors to source them elsewhere. This will result in additional transportation fees and possibly higher retail prices for the materials.
Additionally, building codes and regulations can vary from one location to another. Permits needed will likely cost you some dollars, driving up the project’s total cost.
Can you polish a concrete floor by yourself?
It’s not recommended to DIY your concrete floor polishing. The project requires specialized equipment and expertise and can be very labor-intensive, making it challenging for those without a construction background.
Moreover, if you factor in the time spent on doing the polishing on your own and the money spent on materials and tool rental, it’s usually more cost-effective to hire a professional contractor.
Contractors generally get discounts from suppliers for the materials, so they can be more expensive when you buy them on your own. Tool rental can also be expensive, ranging from $105 to $1,280, depending on the type of grinder and rental time.
How can I save money when doing a polished concrete floor project?
Meet with multiple contractors
Obtain multiple quotes from experienced contractors to ensure competitive pricing. Compare the estimates carefully to understand the scope of work and included services.
Consider doing the site preparation and floor sealing on your own
You don’t have to ask the contractor to do everything for you. Doing some of the work, like cleaning the surface, preparing the concrete for polishing, and sealing the floor, can greatly reduce costs.
Choose a more minimalistic design
Elaborate designs, patterns, and decorative elements can add to the cost. Opt for simpler designs or skip decorative elements if they’re not necessary and won’t affect the overall aesthetic of the house.
For example, an elaborate design isn’t necessary for the basement, as you rarely welcome guests there. You can just paint the floor instead of stamping or staining it, so save a lot.
Maintain your floor properly
Regular cleaning and maintenance can extend the life of your concrete and reduce the need for major repairs. A properly maintained floor will also need less preparation when it’s time for polishing again.