The Hard Numbers on Polished Concrete Floor Costs

by Team HomeServe
Natural light shines in from windows into a white room with a polished gray concreted floor

Polished concrete flooring is an easy and timeless way to give your home a modern, industrial look. It doesn’t just look great; polished concrete is practically impossible to damage, and it’s also easy to clean. Best of all, polished concrete floors cost less than most other popular flooring options.

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Love the look of polished concrete but not sure what you’re getting yourself into as far as price? Here’s a breakdown of the costs involved — plus some price comparisons to help you make an informed decision.

Is a Polished Concrete Floor Expensive?

Although residential polished concrete floors can vary significantly in price, it’s actually an economical option compared to other types of flooring.

How Much Does It Cost to Polish Existing Concrete Floors?

The easiest and cheapest way to achieve this modern look is by using existing concrete floors. Whatever your current flooring situation is, chances are that concrete lies beneath it. Most subflooring is concrete, and polishing this existing material is much cheaper than having to lay a new slab. On average, the cost per square foot to polish existing concrete floors is anywhere between $3 and $15 (CAD 4 to CAD 20), based on data from HomeGuide.

If you don’t have an existing concrete subfloor or it’s not in workable condition, you’ll have to pour a new slab. According to HomeGuide, most homeowners pay between $5.35 and $6.17 (CAD 7.04 and CAD 8.12) per square foot on average.

Factors Influencing Cost

The most economical choice for polished concrete flooring is to go with a moderate shine in just one color. Add-ons like these will bump up the price:

Quality of the Subflooring

The quality of your concrete underlay or subflooring will determine the amount of grinding and filling required to prepare the surface for polishing.

Size of Area and Number of Rooms

The larger the job, the less you’ll pay per square foot. However, if you’re putting polished concrete floors in multiple rooms, this can increase the price because the contractor has to use smaller tools to maneuver around edges and doorways.

Finish and Design Elements

The glossier you want your concrete floors to be, the higher the cost. Glossier floors require additional steps to achieve the perfect finish. Polished concrete floor costs are also much higher if you want an elaborate design that incorporates multiple colors.

Is Polished Concrete Cheaper Than Hardwood?

The short answer is yes, especially when utilizing existing concrete subflooring. Generally, installing a hardwood floor costs between $8 and $15 (CAD 10 and CAD 20) per square foot, but you could spend up to $23 (CAD 30) per square foot for premium materials.

The upkeep of concrete floors is also easier and cheaper than hardwood. Hardwood flooring is durable, but it requires refinishing every seven to 10 years, which can cost thousands of dollars — unless you’re prepared to invest your time in a lengthy DIY job.

In comparison, concrete flooring is designed to last, especially when it has a quality polished finish. A good mopping every few days to clear up any grime when it appears should keep your polished concrete floors looking fresh for years.

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Is Polished Concrete Cheaper Than Bamboo Flooring?

Bamboo floorboards have become a popular and cheaper alternative to hardwood, and the costs are comparable to polishing an existing concrete floor. Typically, bamboo flooring costs between $5 and $10 (CAD 6.50 and CAD 13) per square foot, including installation.

Is Polished Concrete Cheaper Than Laminate?

Pricewise, the cost to install laminate flooring is comparable to polishing concrete, with most homeowners spending between $3 and $8 (CAD 4 and CAD 10) per square foot. However, to eliminate the chance of an uneven floor in the future, many contractors choose to replace the subflooring before laying the laminate. As you tend to pay per day for someone to remove the subfloor, the costs soon mount up, with most people paying an additional $3 to $12 (CAD 4 to CAD 16) per square foot.

Is Polished Concrete Cheaper Than Tile?

Polishing existing concrete floors costs about the same as installing a tile floor. If you lay them yourself, tiles are an economical flooring option at between $2 and $6 (CAD 2.50 and CAD 8) per square foot for materials — depending on the tiles you choose. However, because it can be a tricky process, most people choose to hire a contractor to lay them, which increases the cost significantly to between $7 and $14 (CAD 9 and CAD 18) per square foot.

If you need newly poured concrete floors, tiles could be the cheaper option, especially if you lay them yourself. But if your subfloor is already concrete, getting it ground and polished will be the quicker and more economical choice.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.