Concrete – Howto convert old basement slab into finished concrete floor


Doing a complete remodel, after Boulder flooding, of my basement. After demoing and floodcutting, all that's left is framing and concrete slab. I'd like to turn this into a nice concrete finished floor; see links below for sample of what I'd like.

What I'm looking for is advice on how to proceed in the general sense. Browsing the internet for pics of floors, I think I'm looking for a stained or polished floor. Probably nothing fancy. Don't need inlays or multiple colors. Something subdued, light in color, low maintenance.

What I'm concerned about in particular are things like:

1) Can my existing slab be used?

2) Can I do it myself and expect decent results?

I'm looking to achieve results similar to this…

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Best Answer

From your images it appears you're looking for a polished concrete floor. The process isn't very complicated, but it can be messy and time consuming. It's not unlike refinishing hardwood floors.

Ensure floor is suitable for polishing

Sources I've seen state that nearly any concrete floor can be polished, so long as it is structurally sound. Floors that are very porous, need extensive patching, or are wavy are probably not good candidates. New slabs need to cure for 28 days before polishing.

Grind floor flat

grinding machine griding heads on machine

The actual polishing consists of a series of progressively finer grinding and polishing steps. They can possibly all be performed using the same piece of rented equipment. The first, coarsest grinds (typically performed with metal-bonded cutters) flatten the floor and open up the concrete's pores.

metal cutters

Densify, and maybe stain

Then a chemical densifer is applied, which seeps into the concrete, hardening its surface and filling voids, while preparing for the final polish. Around this time is when a colored stain could be applied if desired.

apply densifier


Next a series of progressively finer polishing grits (typically abrasive grit in a resin binder) is used until the desired level of shine is reached.

resin polishers