multi-colored stained concrete floor

Which Is Better For You: Stained Concrete Or Polished Concrete?


Stained Concrete

So you’ve chosen to join the concrete flooring craze, and all you have to do now is choose between polished and stained concrete. Which option is best for you?

Concrete flooring is becoming more popular among homes and business owners. Concrete is a very robust and long-lasting material. After all, it supports foot traffic on bridges, highways, and other important infrastructure, so why can’t it sustain it in our homes and offices?

Don’t expect your flooring to appear like the dusty, plain concrete you find on the sidewalk at your neighborhood park. Concrete floors are stylish and sophisticated, and they look fantastic in any house or company.

There are two primary varieties of concrete flooring to consider when phoning contractors and shopping around for them: polished concrete and stained concrete. Which is the better option for your house?

We’ll look at the differences between the two and compare how they compare in six categories to assist you to pick the best, most cost-effective choice for your new flooring.


Durability is one of the most critical elements to consider when installing new flooring. You want to be sure that your flooring can handle your everyday lifestyle, whether you live alone or have a lot of traffic from kids, dogs, and house visitors.

Polished concrete is a long-lasting material. Polished concrete is meant to keep its brilliance even in high-traffic areas due to a more complicated installation procedure. This is why polished concrete is so popular in retail establishments, restaurants, and even busy homes.

Stained concrete is also extremely long-lasting. In high-traffic areas, however, stained concrete is more prone to scratches, fading hues, and worn coatings.

While stained concrete has a long lifespan, it does require extra upkeep – which we’ll go over later in this post – to keep it looking and working at its best.

Despite the fact that both forms of flooring are incredibly durable, polished concrete wins out. Polished concrete withstands abrasion in even the busiest areas because of the rigorous installation procedure.

Life Expectancy

Let’s speak about the lifespan of polished concrete and stained concrete now that we’ve spoken about durability.

Many polished concrete contractors may provide a warranty for a specific amount of time, such as 20 years. These flooring, on the other hand, may easily last a lifetime with adequate care and upkeep.

The concrete itself will survive for many years, maybe over a century, when discolored. The floors will need to be coated or waxed once or twice a year to keep the stain from wearing out. If the floor isn’t sealed or properly maintained, the stain may disappear within a few years, or even sooner in heavily used areas.

Concrete, both colored and sealed, has a very long lifespan. Each floor may last a lifetime if properly cared for and maintained. Polished concrete, on the other hand, has a longer lifespan and requires less care to maintain its appearance.

The Price

There are several elements to consider when evaluating the pricing of concrete. Do you want the concrete to be poured or do you want to work with an existing concrete floor? What is the scope of the project, and are there any obstacles that might cause it to take longer, thereby raising the cost?

Because there are so many variables to consider, we won’t dive into cost details because there is such a broad range. Rather, we’ll compare the two to find which is the most expensive in the long run.

If you compare a polished concrete floor to a stained concrete floor, you may expect to pay $5 to $8 more per square foot on average. This is because the job will necessitate extra equipment. The installation procedure is substantially more involved and time-consuming.

However, if you’re a company owner wanting to put new flooring in your business or office, you shouldn’t dismiss polished concrete just because of the cost. Polished concrete provides a substantially greater return on investment for many company owners.

Even while the original cost is higher, the lower maintenance costs over time and increased wear resistance make the extra cost worthwhile, especially in high-traffic places like warehouses.

However, tinted concrete is an excellent alternative for a more cost-effective solution for your house or company.

Stain concrete wins this round due to price discrepancies. It is far less expensive than polished concrete, yet company owners should compare the return on investment of the two to see which has the better long-term ROI.

Upkeep is Essential

We’ve previously touched on this briefly, but let’s go over it again. Which is the simpler floor to maintain: polished or stained concrete? Whether you don’t want to spend a fortune on floor maintenance over time or just don’t have the time, which is the simpler floor to maintain: polished or stained concrete?

Both floorings are exceptionally low-maintenance when it comes to everyday upkeep. A broom, dust mop, or even a vacuum intended for use on hard floors would do for everyday cleaning. A steam mop or a standard wet mop with water and a mild cleanser both work well for a deeper clean.

Polished concrete, on the other hand, is easier to maintain in the long run. The pores in concrete close when it is polished. This indicates that the floor is impervious to discoloration and damage caused by dampness.

A coating is put to the surface of dyed concrete before it is laid. While this covering may remain for several years, spots will eventually wear away. Particularly in high-traffic areas, this results in fading color and a loss of luster.

When this happens, you’ll need to apply fresh coatings and waxes to safeguard the surface. This takes time and increases your ongoing maintenance expenditures.

How long does it take for a concrete stain to fade? There is no way to know for sure how long it will survive, but you can be assured that it is a long-lasting investment. The pigments permeate the surface of the concrete floor during the staining process, giving a permanent finish.

If everything is done correctly, it will last you decades. The coating, which might exhibit symptoms of surface deterioration, is the only item to keep an eye on. Choose a clear sealer or floor wax to bring your concrete floors back to life.

Although the everyday care of polished concrete and stained concrete floors is comparable, the long-term maintenance of polished concrete is far less expensive and time-consuming.


You may pick from a number of stain colors when using stained concrete. You may even make your own unique stain for a really one-of-a-kind floor. You may use a variety of colors to create beautiful patterns on your new floor.

You may obtain a highly polished look with polished concrete. Polished concrete is becoming a popular choice in high-end dwellings, despite the fact that it is typically seen in industrial locations or even showrooms.

Concrete flooring can also be customized in appearance. However, you’ll need to use a stain to modify the hue. This might raise the cost of your installation depending on the colors and designs you choose.

The winner in this category is tinted concrete. Polished concrete has a lovely sheen to it. Your concrete floors, on the other hand, will not be completely individualized unless they are done in a style that is distinctly yours.

Use Both Inside and Outside

The type of concrete flooring you choose may be impacted by the location where it will be installed. Which concrete is best to pick, whether you want to use this sort of flooring indoors or outdoors?

Indoors, stained concrete can be utilized in every room. However, as previously indicated, pigmented concrete in high-traffic areas can wear out over time.

Stained concrete can also be utilized outside, such as on patios or around swimming pools. However, to avoid premature wear and fading, be sure to apply an outdoor stain.

Polished concrete is a fantastic option for your company or house. Polished concrete foyers, hallways, dining rooms, and living rooms may be seen in many high-end homes.

Polished concrete has the disadvantage of being extremely slippery. This means you should avoid pouring them in places where moisture may leak on the floor, such as kitchens or bathrooms.

Because highly-polished concrete can become extremely slippery when exposed to water, it is not recommended for use in outdoor settings. You should select a low-sheen or matte polished concrete floor if you wish to utilize polished concrete outside.

Because polished concrete floors might cause slippage, discolored concrete is a preferable alternative for both indoor and outdoor use.

Is Polished Concrete Susceptible to Stains?

Although polished concrete is stain-resistant, you must respond swiftly in the event of a spill. The reality is that if you leave a spill on your floor for an extended period of time, it will create an ugly stain. As a result, the key to stain-free concrete is to act quickly.

The reason you should be quick when cleaning accidents is because most liquids have a very high pH, which may be destructive and leave a lasting stain that is difficult to remove. They end up eroding the surface, which necessitates an expensive repair later.

Liquid detergents, fizzy beverages, fruit juices, pet stains, nail paint, alcohol, vinegar, and other liquids commonly wind up on the floor.

Another thing to remember is that an acid stain that isn’t treated right away might cause serious harm to your floor. Although concrete is stain-resistant, the acid causes a chemical reaction when it comes into touch with it.

Acid etching is the name for this process, which results in a porous floor surface. When the acid reaches the floor’s surface, it might react with the calcite in the concrete, gradually disintegrating it.

Yes, there are a variety of solutions that may be used to cover the surface of polished concrete floors to provide additional protection. They do not, however, give 100 percent protection and will not preserve it if an acidic reaction begins.

Lemon juice, vinegar, alcohol, cat urine, and other acidic liquids can come into contact with your floor. These are all ordinary items that you most likely have in your home, and accidents may happen at any time.

Because both acidic and alkaline materials can cause floor burns, my honest advice is to wipe them up as soon as possible. You will not only keep your concrete floor looking great, but you will also save money on repairs.

How Do You Clean A Stained Concrete Or Polished Concrete Floor After A Spill?

As I previously stated, the key to clearing spills is to respond quickly. Accidents happen to everyone; it’s vital to remember that you must clean them up straight immediately or they may result in stains.

Concrete floors, in general, are easy to clean and do not necessitate the use of special cleaning products.

Make sure you have a mop in your home to absorb the majority of the spill. If you don’t have a mop, use any cleaning rag, towel, paper towel, or other absorbent items to absorb the liquid on your floor. Because they are soft, microfiber rags are one of the finest solutions for cleaning wet or dry accidents.

When you’re certain that the floor is clean and the spill has been cleaned, mix a pail of warm water with a light detergent or a concrete floor cleaner. Remember to use gentle items that will just remove the spill while causing no damage to the floor.

The greatest piece of advice is to use a pH-neutral cleanser. Alkaline or acidic pH can cause etching, resulting in more damage than previously. Dish soap, castile soap, and any other gentle store-bought cleaner are some basic cleansers you may obtain at home.

Avoid harsh compounds like vinegar, bleach, ammonia, citrus, and store-bought items containing these substances.

Now you may combine the cleaner of your choice with warm water in the bucket, and your solution is ready to use. After this procedure, the stain should be totally gone. If it’s still there, the best course of action is to get expert help.

You may select from a variety of treatments and colors for both stained and polished concrete floors. It all relies on your personal preferences as well as the sites where the flooring will be laid. Some of the most common concrete finishing options are as follows:

A Stain that is Water-Base

Water-based stains come in a variety of colors and have a low VOC content (volatile organic compounds). This is a long-lasting alternative with a more opaque finish. It’s an excellent solution for anyone who wishes to prevent acidic stains and severe chemical responses.

This staining is safer because it doesn’t utilize volatile substances or only employs a small amount of them. Colors come in a broad range of shades, and you may even mix and match them to get the look you want.

Stain using an Acid-Base

This is another popular concrete finishing option that gives the surface a bright appearance. When chemicals are added to the surface, they react with the floor, resulting in a completely different hue. Acid stains have a semi-transparent gloss that gives the floor a rich, luxurious appearance.

You may pick from a broad range of colors to suit your preferences. You should be aware that this stain does not produce a uniform appearance throughout the full surface of the floor. If this is something that troubles you, you should absolutely look into alternative options.

An acid-based stain is a long-lasting option that will not change look over time. The fundamental distinction between acid and water-based stains is that the former is more clear, whilst the latter is opaque. Another distinction is that this approach employs VOCs.

Most people believe this to be a riskier alternative because it may involve the use of stronger chemicals. If you like the way it appears, though, you should absolutely use this type of stain.

Polished Surface

The name is rather self-explanatory. Concrete polishing will give you beautiful flooring with a high-shine polished finish that retains its natural beauty.

Because it makes your concrete floors more resistant to harm, this finish will help them last longer. It will also make your job easier because it is easy to maintain. Let’s not forget that it’s a very low-cost option that’s well worth the investment.

The polished finish gives your flooring a rich, gleaming appearance. One of the biggest advantages is that it seldom needs to be waxed. Concrete floors may be polished on almost any surface.

Many individuals also ask if polishing is one of the concrete jobs they can tackle on their own. The polished finish, in reality, necessitates skill, specialized equipment, and time. Yes, you may do it; nevertheless, it is recommended that you hire specialists to complete the task.

Decorative Concrete Overlays Decorative concrete overlays are a great way to give your concrete flooring a new lease on life. This is the treatment to choose if they are old, damaged, discolored, or have various defects on the surface.

Although overlay is a cost-effective solution, it is not appropriate for all floors. Your original flooring must be free of cracks and serious damage in order for overlays to operate. It’s a good idea to get expert advice before deciding on overlays.

The ornamental overlays come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as a variety of mounting methods. The end result is a visually appealing floor that is free of surface damage, scratches, and stains. Decorative concrete overlays are often created from a polymer resin mixture.

Overlays do not detract from the natural appearance of concrete and help it last longer.

Is Stained Concrete Easy to Scratch?

People are typically concerned about scratches on their floors, so this is one of the first concerns they ask when deciding between stained and polished concrete.

As previously stated, discolored concrete is more prone to scratches than polished concrete. As a result, polished concrete should be used in high-traffic areas of your home to ensure that it is as durable and scratch-resistant as possible.

If you have a large family with numerous children and dogs, polished concrete is a better option than tinted concrete. A high-quality sealer or wax can increase the scratch resistance of pigmented concrete floors.

Adding padding to the bottoms of your furniture’s legs is another way to avoid scratches. Rugs or carpets can also be used in high-traffic areas or placed directly beneath the furniture. These two tips will keep your furniture in one place and protect your flooring from damages.

The Final Word

Concrete flooring is ideal for both residential and commercial uses due to its durability and aesthetic appeal. If you can’t decide between polished and stained concrete, think about what you want in your flooring to help you make a decision.

Some individuals prefer a very adjustable floor that can be used both indoors and outdoors and is less expensive in the short run. In such a situation, colored concrete is the way to go.

Choose a polished concrete floor if you want a floor that has a highly polished appearance, looks excellent in companies and residences and requires less care over time.

Whatever sort of flooring you choose, you can be confident that you will have a robust, long-lasting floor to enjoy for many years.

KSG Concrete delivers excellent results with all of our concrete flatwork. Call us today and set up an appointment so we can discover if stained concrete is the right solution for you!