Refinishing options for older concrete floors

Posted by Jeremy Gillespie on Jul 19, 2017 4:38:54 PM
Concrete refinishing with urethane before and after

If you’re remodeling an existing facility or renovating an older building, chances are you have a concrete floor in need of refinishing. Perhaps it’s badly stained or cracked, or maybe it’s just lackluster and needs an upgrade to fit into your company’s updated look.

Instead of covering the concrete with carpeting or expensive hardwood, consider refinishing the concrete itself for a cost-effective and fashionable effect. Below are several methods for beautifying your existing concrete floor:

Filling joints and cracks

Before you do any other work, the first step is to repair any damage to the floor. Cracks, pits, and areas of spalling should be filled in and/or sealed to prevent further damage. Existing concrete joints should be examined and, if needed, be filled in with a flexible filler. These steps will extend the longevity of your floor and may help reduce worker fatigue and wear on vehicles.

Also keep in mind that if you polish or stain your concrete, these marks will show up in the final version. If aesthetics are important, you’ll want to hire a professional who can not only fill the cracks, but blend the colors and textures in to match the rest of the floor.

Staining

concrete floor stain refinishing

If you’d like to change the color of your floor, consider applying an acid-based or acrylic stain. Concrete staining is a multi-step process that must be done on a thoroughly cleaned and repaired surface to prevent splotches to ensure smooth application.

Stains may be sprayed or brushed on (or a combination of both) and may include steps to neutralize the acid and remove residue when finished. Skilled contractors may also be able to apply certain patterns, such as marbling.

A stained concrete floor can stand on its own, or can then be sealed with a urethane coating or even polished to a shine, as in this photo.

Polishing

industrial polished concreteBring your old concrete surface to a high-gloss shine and make a great impression on customers and employees by polishing your floor. There are two main methods for concrete polishing—wet and dry polishing—but both are multi-step physical process that involve sanding the surface with increasingly fine grits.

Polishing actually densifies the concrete on a molecular level, making it stronger and harder, though still slightly porous. Despite its glassy surface, polished concrete is not slippery, making it a great choice for high-traffic lobbies and foyers.

True concrete polishing does not rely on waxes or sealants to make it the surface shine, though sometimes a clear urethane coat is applied for extra strength.

Urethane

A urethane coating can be applied over untreated concrete, polished concrete, or even other floor coatings for an extra layer of protection that will help the floor last for many years. Clear varieties allow the existing colors and patterns to show through while providing high levels of scratch and scuff resistance. Learn more about the advantages of urethane for concrete.

Epoxy and other specialty coatings

If your floor needs additional protection from chemicals or moisture, or if you’re looking for flooring that will avoid staining from grease or oils, you’ll probably want to select an epoxy coating. This two-part coating comes in a limitless array of colors and can be tailored for all sorts of environments, from food processing facilities to electronics manufacturing. You can learn more about epoxy’s many benefits on our main epoxy page.

Need an expert opinion?

If you’re not sure which method (or combination of methods) of concrete floor refinishing is right for your facility, our flooring experts would be happy to help. We’ve served the Southeastern U.S. for nearly 40 years, and we offer free consultations. Give us a call at (864) 855-0600 or contact us online.

If you’d like to learn more about the different types of floor coatings available, click the banner below:

specialty concrete floor coatings

Topics: Industrial Floor Coatings, Urethane Coatings, Epoxy Coatings, Concrete Polishing