Deciding on the right material for your floor is a big decision. If chosen wisely, you’ll be smiling down on your floors for years to come. If, however, you make the wrong choice, you’ll be faced with an entirely new decision: move, renovate (again!) or suck it up for the foreseeable future.
For many, the decision often comes down to two materials: polished concrete or ceramic tiles. The two options are similar in that they both give you a certain aesthetic and feeling under your toes. But there are important differences between the two.
We may be a little biased, but here are four reasons to choose polished concrete over ceramic tiles for your next exciting project.
Polished concrete floors require less maintenance
When it comes to a low-maintenance floor, concrete rules supreme.
One of the major downsides of tiles is that the grout between the tiles requires a lot of maintenance to clean and keep mould at bay. This is especially true in environments where moisture is a concern, like a bathroom. Grout can discolour and get mouldy over time, which can result in a pretty nasty-looking space if not properly cleaned (flashback to our uni days).
On the other hand, concrete is known for being easy to clean and care for. A simple sweep and mop with a mild cleaner are enough to keep it looking great!
Concrete is also really easy to wipe down and is resistant to spills and stains. What’s more, polished concrete is resistant to the growth of bacteria, so no need to worry about that mouldy spot in the bathroom next time you have guests over.
Tiles are also notoriously easy to chip and crack and the cost of replacements can add up. In contrast, concrete is one of the hardiest materials on the market. It’s perfect for using in high-traffic and high-use areas like the living room or kitchen (that’s why supermarkets and restaurants use it!).
Concrete is very difficult to damage and, if properly installed, can last for hundreds of years. Concrete surfaces will outlast tiles by decades, and never needing to replace your surfaces means you save money in the long run.
Polished concrete floors are more versatile
You'd be surprised just how many different looks you can achieve with polished concrete. The techniques used to grind and polish concrete means designers, architects and homeowners have a heap of options when it comes to the aesthetic of their concrete floors.
You choose how much to grind the concrete slab: full aggregate exposure or nil, completely matte or as shiny as a mirror. Each design choice will be based on personal preference, but different options also have different functional advantages. For example, a high -gloss concrete is great for reflecting light, so is often used in spaces where it needs to be bright, such as a factory or supermarket. A matte choice with nil aggregate is the preferred choice for architects looking for the industrial chic look. Burnished concrete is a popular option for the unique variation of colour you can achieve, while honed or grind and seal concrete is great for using in outdoor spaces.
Then there’s the number of coatings and colours that can be added to the surface to give it a distinctive look and added functionality. Epoxy coatings increase the durability and chemical resistance of concrete floors, making them suitable for commercial kitchens and industrial spaces. Or add a stain or dye. The variety of looks you can achieve with polished concrete is endless.
If you need guidance on how to choose the right finish, check out our guide.
Polished concrete floors are better at keeping you warm
There’s nothing worse than getting out of a warm bath or shower and feeling the cold chill of a freezing tile underfoot!
While concrete is perceived by some as being a cold material, it’s a common misconception.
Concrete is actually a high thermal mass material. Unlike tiles, polished concrete floors, if exposed to sunlight, absorb and store heat and release it slowly throughout the day, making them a great option for keeping your home warm in the winter.
You can also pair concrete floors with an underground hydronic heating system (we work with dPP Hydronic Heating). The system heats water underneath your floors and slowly radiates heat throughout your home. Toasty floors all winter-long!
Polished concrete floors are more sustainable
Polished concrete is an eco-friendly and sustainable option. The high thermal mass properties of concrete make it more energy-efficient, allowing you to shut off the heating and cooling and saving you money on your bills.
This is why concrete is a popular choice in ‘passive solar building design’. This design trend takes advantage of local climates to maintain a comfortable temperature and eliminates the need for other heating and cooling systems.
And because polished concrete lasts longer and is harder to damage, your floors could last hundreds of years before they need to be replaced. Tiles, on the other hand, will need to be replaced regularly when they chip or damage. The overall impact of polished concrete on the environment is much lower. Guilt-free floors!
How to install high-quality polished concrete floors
If you’re looking for a hard-wearing, low-maintenance, versatile and eco-friendly floor for your home or business, polished concrete is a great option. Get in touch with the Policrete team to learn about using concrete to create a stunning space.