Concrete polishing finish samples

See what different styles can look like

Not all concrete polishing techniques are the same

The best way to describe the finishing choices for concrete is to think of it like an onion that has layers, as you peel each layer back more and more is revealed. 

The same applies to a concrete floor where doing a surface polish will visually look like a grey floor while a mechanical polish can expose the rocks and stones that form the concrete mix with full aggregate, honed or pavilion finish methods.


You can choose how much or how little you want to expose, each finish has its own unique appearance and characteristics and we refer to them as;

  • Surface Polish Finish or Nil Exposure
  • Salt & Pepper Finish
  • Random Exposure Finish
  • Full Aggregate Exposure Finish
  • Pavillion or Honed Finish used in Outdoor applications
Haynes Polished Concrete floor sample in Melbourne random grind floor finish grey


The final choice you make is the level of shine and this is normally split into 3 x levels of matte, satin & gloss;

  • Matte finish floors are typically finished at 100 to 200 grit ploish stage. This will still give a nice low diffused sheen to the floor with very little too no reflection from down lights. 

  • Satin finish is normally 200 to 400 grit polish stage. This will give a slightly more reactive floor with more reflection from down lights and light from windows. 

  • Gloss finished floors are typically finished between 1500 to 3000 grit these are highly reflective floors that have a sharp reflection from down lights and so provide the most durable scratch resistant floors available.  They will also provide the most energy efficient floor as far as lighting goes. .
Haynes Polished Concrete floor sample in Melbourne full stone exposure gloss polish brown


If you are doing a brand new build and pouring a new concrete slab you can select colours that can be used in the mix to then be polished later. The cement colour and different types of stone can be mixed during the construction process, lightly grinded, polished and sealed to create the look you want.


We can discuss and provide the information required to help get the best result for the type of finish you are after, this includes advice on;

  • What concrete to order from your supplier or builder
  • Placement and curing methods in preparation for polishing

Believe it or not weather conditions, traffic conditions when the concrete is in transit, and other factors all influence the finishing process. 

Please remember that surface polishing is the hardest form of all concrete polishing finishes to obtain uniformity with, so the outcome may differ slightly to your initial expectations.

Haynes Polished Concrete floor sample in Melbourne nil exposure light

Indoor polished concrete floor photo samples

Surface polish finish

Surface polished slabs are concrete floors where only the finished product left behind by the concrete contractor is polished. There is no rock (aggregate) exposed during the polishing process.

Surface polishing is the preferred choice of finish for clients that are after an industrial look. These are the hardest floors to polish consistently, as the floor must be screeded completely flat and burnished to a high level that leaves no blade marks, inconsistencies or imperfections in the finish.

Careful consideration must be taken when choosing the surface polish finish, as many factors can affect the outcome of the final product. These floors are entirely achievable, but all variables must be considered for consistent colour and polish on this type of floor.


Haynes Polished Concrete floor sample in Melbourne surface polish burnished concrete finish

Salt and pepper finish

Salt and pepper finish floors are achieved by grinding 1-2mm off the top of the floor to reveal only the sands and least amount of rock (aggregate) possible.

When looking for a salt and pepper finish you get a floor that is distinctly subtle and full of character? The subtlety of salt and pepper finish polished concrete floors add interest to your floors without being too ‘busy’

Haynes Polished Concrete floor sample in Melbourne Salt and Pepper

Random exposure finish

The random exposure finish is achieved by grinding 2-3mm of concrete off the floor. This look is more easily achievable on pre-existing slabs that may not have been poured for polishing purposes.

 Slabs that are more uneven and have high and low spots will achieve a better random exposure finish; due to the floor grinder being able to grind more into the higher spots and less into the lower spots. 

New slabs that have been designed for polished concrete can also achieve a random exposure finish; however, there are no guarantees on how little or how much exposure is achieved on these floors.


Haynes Polished Concrete floor sample in Melbourne random grind floor finish grey

Full exposure finish

A full aggregate exposure finish is where we grind up to 5mm of concrete off the top of the floor to expose as much of the rock (aggregate) in the slab as possible.

With the vast amounts of different coloured aggregates and coloured cement available on the market, your options for a tailored and unique floor are virtually limitless.


Haynes Polished Concrete floor sample in Melbourne full exposure

Pavilion or honed finish

The pavilion finish is used externally around pools, in al-fresco areas, driveways and pathways. The concrete is ground to reveal the rock, and then acid washed to etch the concrete paste. The acid wash process is to provide a non-slip surface on the floor. 

The pavilion finish resembles the traditional exposed aggregate look; only the finish is smooth and far more pleasant underfoot. You can transform your old concrete into a polished outdoor living space. 

Polished concrete isn’t just about looks. It’s about functionality too, that’s why polished concrete is perfect for driveways, pool surrounds and outdoor rooms. Not only does it look good, but its natural make-up also makes it slip-resistant and durable as well.

Haynes Polished Concrete floor sample in Melbourne Pavilion grind for outdoor areas or pool surround

Polished concrete floor photo samples

As you can see there are lots of colour and finish variations available for concrete floors that are either sealed or polished. A lot depends on the original mix in the slab, level of polishing and the sealant used. 

View more real life examples on our social media profiles

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