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Should you polish or resurface old concrete floors?

Polished old concrete floors in warehouse

Concrete floors are perfect for homes – they are easy to clean and require little maintenance. Sometimes, homeowners want to revamp their concrete floors after many years of use. What is the best way to give your concrete floors a fresh look? Polishing and resurfacing are the two best options for renewing old concrete floors.

Depending on your situation, one of these processes may be better than the other. It all depends on the condition of the concrete, the amount of use the floor will endure and what look you want to achieve when the job is done.

What is the condition of the concrete floors?

Most of the time, old concrete floors can simply be polished to renew their condition. Polishing should be done on smooth floors, not grainy or brushed concrete. The process is the quickest and easiest way to revive your old floors.

However, if the floor has cracks, unsightly patchwork or spalls (holes created by wear and tear), then resurfacing might be the only option. This means covering the damaged floor with a decorative concrete overlay, such as false tiles, or adding a new layer of concrete on the surface of the old floor.

How much use will the floor have to endure?

Polished concrete floors are extremely tough and durable. They are stronger and more resilient than concrete overlays. In high-traffic areas, such as doorways and the kitchen, polishing the old concrete floors will keep them in good shape.

Polished floors are also easier to maintain because they don’t require sealing. Resurfaced concrete floors should be protected by a sealer once the concrete has cured. This will help the resurfaced floor to endure foot traffic and abrasion more easily. Highly-used areas of your floor should be polished and cleaned regularly to prevent dirt from damaging the surface.

What look do you want to achieve?

If the look of your floors is important to you, then it may affect your decision to polish or resurface. By resurfacing the concrete, you can change the colour or appearance of your concrete floors. It will give you an opportunity to dye the floors a different colour, or use stenciled patterns to stamp the floor.

Polishing is more limited in that you cannot change the colour or decorate the concrete floor. If you are happy with the appearance of the floor, then polishing will renew its condition with little fuss and little money. Polishing is a cheap way to revive old concrete floors and give them a new shine.

Should you polish or resurface old floors?

The table below outlines the best solution for renewing concrete floors:

Floor variablesPolishResurface
The floor is in good condition, with no major damageYesNo
The floor has major flaws requiring extensive repairsNoYes
The floor is in a high-traffic area of the houseYesYes
You want the floor to have a smooth, shiny surfaceYesNo
You want the floor to have a textured or patterned finishNoYes
You want to minimise maintenance and costsYesNo
You want to colour your floor with stains and dyesNoYes

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.

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LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in the Mbeya Region in Southwest Tanzania.

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At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

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