For most projects Budget gets the final say on the finishes we choose. Regardless of how Green we want to be it's usually the green in the wallet that maters most. Doing a basic google search on polished concrete costs will give you anywhere between $1.50-$15.00 per sqft. Which is hardly helpful when trying to meet a budget. So let's take a look at what determines a price when it comes to polished concrete flooring.
When pricing polished concrete here are the factors that effect price:
-Accessability, Size & Edging
Depth: The depth of the grind directly corresponds to depth of the pockets...or at least a hire price. The deeper you grind a floor, the more the aggregate is exposed and the stronger the floor actually becomes. These floors are not "budget polished concrete" but are more for the architectural and interior design savvy. Deep grind polished concrete can have a granite or terrazzo like look and are very attractive.
The more superficial the grind or the the finer the grind the fewer steps required and the price will also be lower. These floors are called cream finished or fine ground polished concrete.
Gloss or sheen: The shine on polished concrete comes from actually refining (polishing and burnishing) the floor to a point where the surface becomes reflective. The higher the grit, or the more polishing passes the more you will spend. Keep in mind that polishing is much easier and faster than the grinding passes, so the polishing passes are less expensive than the initial grinding passes to achieve the required depth.
Accessibility, size and edging: This may be hard to hear but Size matters. The larger the job the lower the cost per square foot. This is because the cost in acquiring a contract is quite high when you take into consideration, advertising, consulting/estimating and onsite visits. Once the job is acquired you have the set up time and the breakdown time. All of this eats into profits and needs to be off set. So a job of 500 sqft could be charged $6.00 per sqft while a space that is $50,000 sqft would be charged $1.50 for the same polish. Unless that 50,000 sqft is made up of hallways divided over 6 stories. That is where accessibility comes into play. Edging and getting equipment up and down stairs all will effect the overall price.
Finally the last consideration that will be considered for your estimate is the floor condition. If you have new concrete that will play into your favor. Glue or coating removal require extra passes with the concrete grinders and will reflect the price.
Now you can see how it is really tricky to get a "ballpark" estimate for polished concrete. But lets do a quick price comparison using the guidelines we just broke down.
1000 sqft basement, new concrete, budget polish (eg: cream finish and 400 grit shine)
Price per sqft: $4.75
10,000 Sqft warehouse, New concrete budget polish (eg: cream finish and 400 grit shine)