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6 Stunning Examples of Polished Concrete Floors

polished_concretePolished concrete has many uses in roads and buildings. Chances are, you've already walked on it without noticing that the underlying material was actually concrete. When polished, it gives a smooth, glossy appearance that reflects light from room's end-to-end. In addition, stains of varying colors can enhance or drastically change the natural hue of the material. Concrete floors come in different mixes, that change the overall look of the finished product. Also noted, concrete ages differently, so no two floors will be exactly alike.

From functional to beautiful

Hand-painted concrete by local artisans

Hand-painted concrete done by local artisans

The Wassenburg Community Art Center overhauled the former National Guard Armory to be a welcoming, encouraging space for creativity. Although the concrete floor was not replaced, local artists collaborated to bring life into an otherwise functional, industrial building. The artists redesigned almost 8,000 square feet of concrete. Part of the job included hand-drawn staining. Much like water-color, water-based stains were used to let colors flow fluidly across the surface with swirls of slate blue and caramel.

Bringing nature indoors

The Damgaard floors were designed to resemble a riverbed

The Damgaard floors were designed to resemble a riverbed

Concrete may seem like a commercial choice, opposite to the aesthetics of nature, but private home owners in Harrisburg, the Damgaards, saw it differently. Instead of a cold, artificial material, their vision was to incorporate the textures of rock and stone into their home. Expertly applied, the floor resembles a riverbed where individual stones were embedded into the cement. Typically, concrete flooring with texture will have some random but consistent effect, much like patterned wallpaper but these designers boldly stamped the concrete with textures of varying sizes. The effect was so desirable that it extended to the patio, front walkway, and driveway.

The floors speak to tell a story

Beaver prints at one of the entrances

Beaver prints at one of the entrances

In a school in South Carolina, the floors hold symbols from the rich Cherokee culture. There are animal footprints of all types along the halls of the school, but the most prominent features are a large water beetle and compass in the middle of the school. The overall effect was achieved by applying colors in layers. In the case of the footprints, stencils made it possible for the steps to appear regular and controlled. The beetle itself was made from 29 stencils.

Turning a flaw into a feature

Accentuated cracks

Accentuated cracks

Typically, any changes in the appearance that indicates age are undesirable from a design point-of-view. However, to accentuate the unique quality of concrete floors, a corporate office in New Jersey chose to bring attention to the deep veins that have developed from changes in moisture and temperature over time. Small lines expand and shrink repeatedly, leading to superficial cracks. The owners were informed that there was no structural damage to the flooring and chose to draw attention to what others might consider flaws. With the use of stains and polishes, the concrete stands confidently as it accepts the random but amazing pattern from the naturally developed cracks.

Cut like marble

Concrete cut overlays

Concrete cut overlays

In the Wallace Presbyterian Church of Maryland, there is a large centerpiece that is meant to inspire unity and faith. Although stencils can create shapes, they don't always do the trick, especially if the design calls for a change in texture. The church floor uses a solid but thin overlay to create geometric shapes, giving the appearance of distinct pieces with different textures. Choice materials were used to create this opulent design, such as Mother of Pearl and white marble. Because of the thinness of the materials, cutting, transportation, and placing the overlay had to be done carefully so as not to damage them.

Exposing the concrete underneath

Replacing flooring is an expensive and necessary renovation to facilities with use or damage. Instead of replacing one flooring material with another, it's possible to simply treat the concrete underneath. The concrete from pavement may not seem very appealing, but as with the examples above, concrete has its own beauty. Once polished, the floors are safe, beautiful, and easy to clean.  These being the biggest advantages of concrete floor polishing.

A Harley Davidson dealership in Virginia chose to work with the exposed concrete. A high gloss finish was chosen for the ideal showroom setting. In addition to the reflective quality, the owner benefited from the easy maintenance that comes with polished concrete floor.

Author Bio:
Mark Clair is a 46 year old interior designer, decorator and planner. He is a prolific writer and enjoys putting his thoughts into words on pretty much anything around that evokes an interest in him. Happily married and the father of a new born girl, Mark is now exploring the many little joys and challenges of parenthood. For more information, follow him on twitter.