All Things Flooring Blog Logo

Polished Concrete vs. Resin Floors

@alt

Polished Concrete vs. Resin Floors

Are you struggling to select the best flooring material for an upcoming project? Relax – help is at hand! Read our concise comparison of polished concrete and resin flooring systems to make an informed decision about which floor is right for you.

In the world of flooring, polished concrete is the new kid on the block, standing out from the crowd and moving up the popularity ladder and making friends quickly.

In recent years, polished concrete’s popularity has soared due to improved grinding techniques that allow for the creation of more attractive finishes. Not only is it popular, it’s also adaptable to new environments and suitable for commercial and industrial facilities.

Polished concrete has the ability to transform existing concrete slabs into visually appealing surfaces that are both durable and easily cleaned.

Although polished concrete has achieved recent accolades in the industry and provided architects and designers with alternative flooring options, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the best option for everyone – designers will need to weigh up the obvious attributes of polished concrete against the enhanced performing profile of A* student seamless resin.

Seamless, resin based flooring materials can provide commercial spaces with greater durability, as well as lifecycle cost savings. Epoxy, polyurethane and methyl methacrylate (MMA) are three of the most common seamless resin materials.

The seamless terrazzo range Mondéco, offers clients a wide variety of colourful and decorative aggregates to choose from, which are incorporated into the resin mix and later diamond ground, to deliver a smooth terrazzo floor finish.

Whether your project is for the industrial, retail, leisure or hospitality sector, it’s important to remember that the finished surface should meet the required criteria for appearance and functionality, as well as the project’s budget and construction constraints. Therefore, understanding the benefits and disadvantages of each type of flooring is key to finding a particular facility’s flooring solution.

Let’s begin with team – Polished Concrete

Polished concrete is a concrete floor that has been chemically treated and ground down to a smooth, shiny surface with progressively finer diamonds.

Polishing and grinding techniques are employed to achieve a super flat, super glossy finish that is durable, easy to clean and maintain alongside offering clients a lifecycle cost that is typically 60% less than traditional floor coverings.

Pros:

  • The hard-wearing properties of concrete mean that a polished concrete floor is robust and if well maintained can last for an extended period of time without getting scratched chipped, dented or otherwise deteriorating.
  • It’s easy to sustain a hygienic environment with polished concrete, as it does not support mould growth and its low maintenance finish means that weekly washes with warm soapy water are all that are required for cleaning purposes, saving time, energy and effort, compared to floors that need waxes and sealers.
  • Health associations have endorsed polished concrete floors, as they prevent the build up of allergens such as animal dander, dust and dust mites, all of which thrive in carpeting.
  • Polished concrete is the more sustainable option when compared to concrete as it avoids the extra carbon footprint incurred by manufacturing, transporting and installing additional materials. The LEED standard even includes guidelines on how using polished concrete flooring can help qualify for LEED credits.

Cons:

  • The condition of the existing concrete is the key consideration when determining if polished concrete is a viable option. Certain problems such as cracks, delamination and dusting can be repaired, but if the substrate is too far gone, the concrete will either need to be replaced or have a special concrete overlay applied.
  • If the concrete is of a good standard but with relatively poor level tolerances, then it will be more difficult to polish the surface, so additional labour and aggregate exposure would be required.
  • Polished concrete floors are susceptible to moisture and need to be properly sealed on both the top and the bottom. If liquid does infiltrate the pores of the concrete, this could cause mould and mildew to grow and if the liquid freezes, could lead to serious cracking in the slab.
  • Concrete expands and contracts during changes in temperature and these fluctuations are another potential cause of cracking. Cracks can be repaired with a waterproof sealant, resin application or cement overlay, however matching the colour and texture can prove very difficult.

Now let’s talk about team – Seamless Resin

Resin flooring can be manufactured from one of several formulations, with epoxy, polyurethane and MMA being three of the most common materials.

Epoxy based systems have traditionally been the most popular form of resin flooring and the widespread use of this material stems in large part from the variety of colours and formulations available.

Peran SL is a colourful and self smoothing epoxy resin floor finish ideal for a minimalist contemporary environment. This eye-catching, joint free system is suitable for use in areas subjected to foot traffic, such as retail stores and restaurants.

Epoxy Pros:

  • Epoxies boast a wide range of advantages that help to create a functional, hygienic and easy-to-maintain surface.
  • Epoxy systems can be installed that are vapour permeable, low odour and cost effective with excellent dustproofing qualities.
  • Epoxies offer a wide variety of colour options and decorative effects, which is best exemplified by the almost unlimited design potential of seamless resin terrazzo systems!

Epoxy Cons:

  • Water based epoxy coatings at the thinnest end of the scale have a limited life span of two or three years and will need to be recoated after this time to maintain a viable surface.
  • Epoxies generally have a slower cure rate compared to polyurethane and MMA floors.
  • An epoxy system may require one or two seal coats to remove porosity.

Polyurethanes tend to dominate the thicker, more robust end of the resin flooring spectrum. Depending on the system, polyurethanes can be installed as a flow applied, self-smoothing or trowel applied mortar.

Rustik UV was chosen for Siwilai City Club in Bangkok due to its decorative stone carpet system which consists of light coloured natural stones encapsulated in a clear aliphatic, UV stable polyurethane resin, in order to produce a natural looking, attractive floor finish suitable for outdoor environments.

Polyurethane Pro:

  • The true benefit of a polyurethane finish lies in the exceptionally robust nature of this material. They hybrid chemistry of polyurethane concrete makes them an extremely hard-wearing and robust flooring option.
  • Thanks to this durability, polyurethanes will maintain a seamless, impervious and easy to clean finish for an extended period of time.
  • Polyurethanes are great at resisting rapid and extreme changes in temperature as well as seasonal thermal cycling without cracking.

Polyurethane Con:

  • Some managers and architects can be put off by the cost of a polyurethane floor, however it is important to note that choosing a cheaper solution will usually mean installing a thinner or more aggregate filled system that won’t provide the same long-lasting properties.

MMA systems get their name from the methyl methacrylate catalyst that is central to their formulation and which gives this material the following key benefits. The application versatility of this type of resin flooring has seen it become popular in a wide variety of market sectors.

NASA used Flowcrete’s ‘two-hour flooring concept’ by installing Fast Cure MMA. This rapid curing system uses the latest resin technology to deliver a finished surface ready for use just two hours after application.

MMA Pros:

  • MMA resin floors can fully cure in less than an hour and can be installed at extremely low temperatures. Both of these factors make it ideal for speeding up a construction schedule or for a flooring refurbishment project that needs a fast turn around.
  • This type of floor can be installed on top of a wide variety of substrates including concrete, steel, tiles, marine ply and other resin materials.
  • MMA systems exhibit incredible bond strength and high compressive strengths as well as a wide temperature range.
  • Like the other resin materials, it can evoke a luxurious aesthetic and be installed in bright, intricate patterns (just check out this project at Perth train station if you don’t believe us!)

MMA Cons:

  • The flooring exhibits a strong odour during installation, though it is harmless and disappears quickly.

So – which team do you support – Popular Polished Concrete or Super Seamless Resin?

Decision time!

To sum up: choosing polished concrete will remove the need to source and install extra material, however it also results in the site being subject to the quality of the substrate for the look, longevity and effectiveness of the flooring. In contrast, the type of material, thickness and functionality of a resin system can be adjusted to fully optimise the area.

If you’d like to find out more about this topic, click here to download the whitepaper Comparing Polished Concrete and Resin Floor Options for Commercial Environments.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy this post? Click below to share it with your network:

Kate Hassall

Kate Hassall is the Social Media Executive at the global resin flooring manufacturer Flowcrete Group Ltd. Kate's role includes creating press releases, blogs, and case studies as well as monitor, manage and populate social media platforms to encourage growth and marketing messages.

8 thoughts on “Polished Concrete vs. Resin Floors”

  1. Burt Silver says:

    It’s interesting that there are so many different types of concrete that go unnoticed in our everyday lives. Even without realizing it, there’s a lot of work that goes into the floors that we walk and stand on every day. I like that you list the pros and cons of each different type. I really like the more modern look of the vibrant resin flooring. Very cool information!

    1. Rebekah Jones says:

      Thank you Burt for your kind comments.
      We are pleased that you enjoyed the article and agree that resin flooring offers a number of different pros and cons – and can indeed look fabulous on the floor!
      Thanks for commenting!
      Best wishes,
      Rebekah

  2. Fran T. says:

    Would polished concrete or a resin covered floor be best in a home basement that has had water problems?
    Thanks so much…..

    1. Dan Ash says:

      Hi Fran, thanks for your comment.
      Both resin flooring and polished concrete are susceptible to moisture issues unless the proper precautions are taken prior to installation so it’s difficult to recommend one over the other without knowing the specifics of the case. I’d recommend that you discuss both options with an applicator experienced with resin and polished concrete floors and make sure that the floor’s moisture level is thoroughly tested and that it conforms to the manufacturer’s recommended tolerance levels before anything is applied.
      Best wishes,
      Dan

  3. Margarita says:

    I have heard of micro cement as an option for flooring and walls… but it seems to be more popular in Europe than here. Is it comparable to any resin system?

    1. Rebekah Jones says:

      Hi Margarita,

      Many thanks for your comments and enquiry. Yes, microcement is certainly becoming more and more popular, particularly in the residential market, with those looking for an industrial polished concrete aesthetic.

      Microcement is usually a thin coating (typically 2 – 3 mm) and has excellent bond strength so can be applied to almost any kind of stable substrate, including existing tiled floors.

      However, as the name would suggest, the product is cementitious rather than resin based.

      There are resin equivalents that offer the same kind of aesthetics, these are typically referred to as ‘comfort floors’ and offer a silky experience underfoot.

      These are aliphatic polyurethane coatings that are completely UV stable and will not yellow over time. These systems offer a durable, seamless and easy to clean surface that will withstand intensive foot traffic, rigorous cleaning as well as the scuffs, stains and scratches that the floor will face on a daily basis.

      These are used more often in commercial properties subject to a much higher footfall or traffic conditions.

      I hope this helps, but if you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to drop me a private email and I’ll put you in contact with one of our of Technical Advisors.

      Many thanks,

      Rebekah

  4. Matt says:

    Hi Great article, they all look like great flooring options, working in the concrete flooring industry myself its great to see some other really great options on the market

    1. Dan Ash says:

      Hi Matt.
      Many thanks for your kind comment, great to hear that this post is of interest.
      Cheers,
      Dan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get in Touch…





Recent Posts

all-things-flooring-sidebar-instagram

all-things-flooring-sidebar-facilities-managment

all-things-flooring-sidebar-application

all-things-flooring-sidebar-architecture

Archive

This website uses cookies and other tracking technologies (also known as pixels or beacons) to aid your experience (such as viewing videos), as well as “performance cookies” to analyze your use of this website and to assist with marketing efforts.  If you click the "Accept All Cookies" button or continue navigating the website, you agree to having those first and third-party cookies set on your device.  If you do not wish to accept cookies from this website, you can choose to not allow cookies from this website by updating your browser preferences.  For more information on how we use Cookies, please read our privacy policy.

Accept All Cookies

Stay Connected