Micro concrete, smoothed concrete, polished concrete, poured concrete, floated concrete, brushed concrete, deactivated concrete: what are the differences?

Between all the adjectives that can be associated with concrete – waxed, smoothed, polished, poured, trowelled, spatulated – it’s hard for the public to make sense of it all, and in fact, even some professionals sometimes get their brushes mixed up.

Here’s an article to help you make sense of it all.

What is concrete?

The building material known as concrete is a mixture of cement, sand and water.

Additives are often added to this base to enrich the material’s properties:

  • pigments for coloring
  • quartz or silica on the surface to make it non-slip
  • resin to make it more resistant
  • etc

Micro concrete

The name micro concrete covers a wide range of decorative concretes, most of which are not waxed but varnished.

Absurd, you may ask? But there’s a logic to it, and that’s historical: the Marius Aurenti company originally marketed the first forms of micro concrete, using wax to protect concrete against various types of aggression.

Originally micro concrete, which has become popular and the darling of interior design magazines, has gradually been replaced by varnished or surface-glazed concrete, and in a number of cases, mixed with resin in the mass – in other words, varnished resin concrete.

In addition, what we now call micro concrete most often consists of a coating just a few millimeters thick, also known as millimetric concrete.

A truly micro concrete finish is still possible, using carnauba wax for example.

Smooth concrete

Smoothed concrete is decorative concrete whose surface has been smoothed and compacted by hand or helicopter troweling. Smoothing is carried out on fresh concrete, a few hours after laying.

Polished concrete

Polished concrete is synonymous with smooth concrete.

Trowelled concrete

Trowelled concrete is concrete compacted and smoothed with a float, a flat tool with rounded edges, or with a helicopter, a mechanical float rotating at high speed.

Spatulated concrete

Spatulated concrete is decorative concrete applied by hand, using a spatula. With this tool, the craftsman creates a beautiful textured effect, which also makes the floor non-slip.

Mineral concrete


Cast concrete

Poured concrete is a liquid, self-levelling mortar that is poured onto the floor to a thickness of just a few millimetres. It is difficult to install because it requires a single pour. Once dry, protect with a coat of varnish or wax.

Brushed concrete

Brushed concrete is concrete that has been textured while still fresh, using a broom, brush, rake or specialized machine. As it dries, it retains a ridged texture that makes it ideal for outdoor use, as it is less prone to slipping in rain or frost.

Deactivated concrete

Deactivated concrete consists of concrete to which an acid deactivator has been applied, eroding part of the material and then removed by high-pressure washing or brushing, leaving a grainy surface. It is used in particular on floors that are likely to be frequently damp, to make them slip-resistant.

Other terms?

What other terms would you like to cover? Concrete this, mortar that, plaster etc.