Can You Use Polished Concrete Outside?

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

As the name implies, polished concrete is concrete polished with an abrasive. It is a very common type of flooring material used for both indoor and outdoor spaces. Due to the smooth surface, you might wonder if it is safe to install polished concrete outdoors. To answer your question, we have taken the time to consult experts on the matter.

Polished concrete can be used outside, but it comes with a caveat. This kind of concrete has a smooth surface, making it easier to maintain than other types of flooring. However, the smooth surface can also cause slip and fall accidents.

Concrete is a durable flooring material for outdoors, but you have to take precautions while installing polished concrete. Keep reading as we will discuss how to use polished concrete safely and other alternative concrete finishing options for your outdoors.

A concrete polishing machine, Can You Use Polished Concrete Outside?

Using Polished Concrete Outdoors

Outdoor flooring is a great way to make your home stylish and expand your living space. The importance of having a comfortable outdoor space can not be overstated. Whether you are looking for a place to entertain guests, enjoy time with the family, or relax, there is no better place than your backyard. Outdoor flooring can make the difference in creating this type of space you need.

But the downside is that it can be slippery when wet due to the smooth surface. There are ways to make polished concrete less slippery when wet such as adding textured coatings or using different patterns in the concrete slab.

A mason using concrete polisher for the house flooring

If you live in an area with a lot of rain, polished concrete may not be the best option for your outdoor space. Sealing the concrete will help protect it from moisture damage, but the sealant will need to be reapplied every few years.

Outdoor polished concrete surfaces are also susceptible to rain stains and other discoloration from elements like bird droppings. To avoid these problems, you should use different materials like stone or tile for your outdoor space instead of polished concrete.

Pros and Cons of Using Polished Concrete Outdoors

Worker using a trowel to polish the concrete

Polished concrete is a popular flooring option for residential and commercial establishments. It is aesthetically pleasing and easy to clean. However, there are pros and cons to using this as a flooring option that need to be considered before installation.



Polished concrete is not just a decorative surface. It is a solid and durable material used in many house areas, including outdoors. The look and feel of polished concrete are unique and aesthetically pleasing, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas.

The polishing process takes away all the rough edges of the concrete and creates a smooth, glossy surface that can hardly get scratched. Polished concrete is also resistant to wear and can withstand heavy foot traffic without cracking.

Ease of Maintenance

Polished concrete is easy to maintain. The surface can be cleaned with a rag making it ideal for use in areas where spills and other accidents are common. This can save time and money for homeowners.

The floors are also be coated with sealants. Some coatings have anti-microbial properties that reduce the growth of bacteria on the surface of polished concrete. This can help maintain a clean surface for your children and pets.

Variety of Designs

There are different colors, textures, and patterns of polished concrete. This makes it easy for homeowners to design their homes according to taste. The polishing process is done with a machine with a circular head that rotates and moves back and forth over the surface.

It removes some of the surface material, making it glossy and smooth. Some people prefer their polished concrete floors to have a matte finish, which doesn’t involve any polishing process.


Cold to Walk on

A drawback of using polished concrete is that it does not retain heat. When the temperature drops during winter, polished concrete can be cold to walk on, especially if installed outside.

Radiant heating cables are a great option to reduce the coldness of polished concrete floors. They are a newer type of heating system that’s more efficient and easier to install than traditional heaters.

The radiant heating cables are installed under the polished concrete floor, and they emit heat that warms up the floor. The installation process is relatively simple as well, particularly for new builds. You just need to wire it to your breaker box or an electrical outlet.

Hard Surface

The hardness of polished concrete can make it difficult to walk on, especially if you are wearing shoes with a thin sole or have sensitive feet. This can lead to discomfort or even pain in your feet, ankles, or lower back.

The hardness makes it difficult to stand on the surface for an extended period without shoes and socks. So this type of flooring is not recommended for leisure areas where people intend to lounge.

Alternative Concrete Finishing Options

Honed Concrete (Grind and Seal)

Gorgeous polished concrete

Honed concrete is a type of concrete that has a rough, unfinished surface. It is an alternative to polished concrete, and it is excellent for flooring surfaces. Honed concrete is made with the same components as any other type of concrete. The only difference is that it has a rougher finish covered by a sealant.

This makes honed concrete more durable and less prone to scratches and dents. Honed concrete also has lower gloss than other types of concrete, which means it looks more natural and blends in better with the surroundings. If you are looking for an equally durable alternative to polished concrete, then honed concrete should be your go-to option.

Epoxy Coating

Polishing the concrete using a paint roller. Epoxy coating on flooring

Epoxy flooring is a type of surface coating applied on the cement floor. It is a polymer with epoxy resin and polyurethane and it gives a glossy finish compared to the cement floors. This type of flooring has different variety of colors to choose from, like black, gray, brown, white, etc.

The epoxy coating can be applied on any cement floor irrespective of its age or condition. The installation process is easy, durable, and it has a long shelf life.

Terrazzo Finishing

Polish concrete inside the living room

Terrazzo floor finishing involves spreading marble, granite, or other stone chips over a liquid epoxy. The color and pattern of the chips vary depending on the type of stone used.

The floor finish can be applied to new or existing floors. It is an attractive and durable finish that can last for many years. The process to install a terrazzo floor is a multi-step process. First, the floor is prepped by cleaning and removing any debris.

Next, the surface is roughened with an acid wash. This helps the epoxy adhere better to the surface and gives it more of an aged appearance. The epoxy is then applied in two coats, followed by color chips sprinkled across the top of it while still wet.

Acid or Water Based Staining

Acid staining is a process that can be done with either an acid or water-based solution. It is also known as "acid washing" and "acid etching." This process typically involves applying an acidic solution to the surface of the concrete, which then reacts with the material in the concrete to create a chemical reaction that colors it. The color will depend on what type of acid was used in the process.

Water-based stains are made from a variety of natural materials like plant extracts and minerals. While acid stains are made of inorganic salts. They are typically applied by spraying them onto the surface using paint sprayers.

What is The Right Concrete For Your Outdoors?

Outdoor flooring is the material used to cover and protect the ground outside your home. It can be made of many different materials, but wood, stone, and concrete are the most common. Outdoor flooring is more expensive than other types of flooring because it has to be more durable and less prone to damage.

When choosing outdoor flooring, you should consider different factors. Start by checking what level of maintenance it will require. Some types of outdoor flooring are easier to maintain than others, while some require very little upkeep.

You should also consider what kind of weather your region has to make sure you choose a type that will work well with those conditions. Finally, you should think about how much money you want to spend on outdoor flooring when deciding which type to buy.

Key Takeaway

A concrete polishing machine

Choosing the right flooring for your home is a difficult decision. There are many factors to consider, and it can be hard to know where to start. Polished concrete is often used for outdoor flooring because it looks great, durable, and easy to maintain.

The process of polishing concrete is not complicated and can be done by any professional contractor. It can be added on new or old surfaces as well. To understand more about surface options for your yards, also check out these two articles:

Can Concrete Be Power Washed? [Best Cleaning Method]

Is Crushed Concrete Better Than a Gravel Driveway? [Pros and Cons of Recycled Concrete]