Part of the design for your polished concrete floors will be choosing the edge finishing. There are different options based on your budget and needs. First we will discuss the limitations of polished concrete edges and then options and their price ranges.
Limitations of Polished Concrete Edges |Polished Concrete Expectations:
The edges of polished concrete do not always match the rest of the floor. This is especially true for edges at the perimeter of a building or around column where hand troweling was required. This is due to the way the concrete finisher troweled the edges and is not the fault of the concrete polisher. The hand troweled edges in the picture below do not match the power troweled area of rest of the floor. This floor would have to be ground possibly as much as 3 mm (1/8th inch) to make the edges and the field of the floor match. This would expose large aggregate and increase the cost of the floor polishing project three to five times (sometimes more).
In addition, the machinery used to polish concrete floors is very heavy and thus is able to cut through the hard cap on the concrete quickly so that the polishing process may begin. These machines are limited at the edges and either much lighter edge machines or hand tooling must be used to polish 4-6″ from any wall, column, or protrusion that touches the ground. Because it takes much longer to put the same pressure on hand tooling or small edger machines, the finish is not only difficult to match, but is labor intensive and thus more expensive.
It is important for the concrete polisher to provide the potential client with reasonable expectations of what each particular floor may look like when finished. In many instances, the client will opt for a painted boarder to keep the project within budget.
Partition Wall Edges
Polished concrete edges at partition walls (walls built on top of the slab) will match the field of the polished concrete floor. Typically these partition walls are built across a power troweled floor. See the picture below. This picture was taken on the same job and in the same room as the picture above. The only difference is the picture above is of a hand troweled perimeter wall and the picture below is of a power troweled partition wall.
This option of polished edges, whether at a perimeter wall or partition wall can be $3/lineal foot and higher depending on the condition of the concrete and how many edges are involved.
Much cheaper than hand polished edges, painting a perimeter border is a nice way to finish the edges and still give a complete look. Painting edges (depending on the color chosen) can run from $1.50 – $2.50/lineal foot.
Finally, the cheapest option is to leave the edges unfinished. This is mainly chosen with the edges of the walls will be covered with racking or equipment. Many times you may chose to paint these edges yourself to save money or leave them unfinished if they are going to eventually be covered.