Sealed vs. Polished Concrete


Two different finishing options are available when installing concrete for your facility: sealed and polished. When deciding on which option is best for your concrete floor, knowing the differences between sealed and polished concrete will help create a better customized space that will fit within your budget.

Sealed Concrete

What Is Sealed Concrete?

The easiest and most affordable option for a concrete finish is sealed concrete. Sealing concrete helps close any cracks and maintain a sturdy foundation for floors that may see some foot traffic throughout the day.

While sealed concrete is certainly the least expensive option, it’s not as aesthetically pleasing and shiny as polished concrete. This downside is usually not a concern for places that aren’t focused on a visually appealing atmosphere with highly visible floors.

How Is Sealed Concrete Installed?

Installing sealed concrete requires pouring, drying, and sealing the concrete with a thin layer of acrylic in order to fill any cracks. Specialty Flooring Inc. uses an odorless VOC-compliant sealer that is guaranteed to resist dusting for many years.

Why Choose Sealed Concrete?

Sealed concrete is often used where concrete is close to areas of water, such as pools or parking structures. Sealers essentially perform as water repellents, eliminating or reducing the penetration of water and soluble contaminants, such as chlorides. In places with lower foot traffic like large work facilities and areas with water exposure, sealed concrete is the best option. Sealed concrete is often used in spaces such as:

  • Warehouses
  • Distribution centers
  • Manufacturing plants
  • Stadiums and sports arenas
  • Parking decks
  • Data centers
  • Exhibit halls
  • Correctional facilities
  • Retail stores
  • Outdoor areas

Even though sealed concrete is durable and finished with a layer of acrylic before it is completed, it won’t have the same clarity or shine that polished concrete will have. Sealed concrete will also require more maintenance, as these surfaces need rewaxing and resealing regularly.

Polished Concrete

What Is Polished Concrete?

Polished concrete gives flooring a more glossy, shiny finish that appears waxed. Polished concrete can also be installed with dyes or stains in order to provide a more customized flooring option for certain aesthetics while appearing glass-like.

This concrete option calls for less maintenance than sealed concrete, and is a good thermal conductor for radiant floor heating.

How Is Polished Concrete Installed?

Polished concrete is installed by grinding the surface of the concrete with ever finer grits of diamond blades, until the surface is completely smooth and scratch-free. After pouring and polishing concrete, Specialty Flooring Inc. uses advanced diamond grinding equipment with a liquid chemical densifier in order to give it a glossy, captivating finish.

Why Choose Polished Concrete?

Polished concrete is most noticeable and sought after for its alluring and mirror-like finish. Though this option is more costly to install, it requires less maintenance and thus may be less expensive in the long run. Another important detail of polished concrete is that it has extreme durability which can last around 20 years to a whole lifetime. This is a significant factor to consider when deciding on sealed or polished concrete. Some examples of areas to install polished concrete are:

  • Garages
  • Sales areas
  • Automotive showrooms
  • Laboratories
  • Patios and driveways
  • Pool decks
  • Warehouses
  • Commercial/retail facilities
  • Industrial facilities

Overall, polished concrete is a better option for areas of high traffic, which ensures long-lasting durability and a beautiful finish.

When deciding on the pros and cons between polished and sealed concrete, each option offers  a unique set of functions which can be hard to differentiate. Specialty Flooring Inc. is home to specialized flooring services in California and can offer tips, advice, and consultations for concrete installation. If you need guidance for installing polished or sealed concrete, contact a professional consultant at Specialty Flooring Inc. for your free quote today!

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