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What is polished concrete?
Polished concrete is achieved by treating concrete with chemical hardeners and grinding concrete with progressively finer diamond grit tooling. Concrete is typically considered ground and honed until reaching the 400grit level. Once the concrete has been ground with 800 and above tooling, it is considered polished.
- Polished concrete is one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly options available today because it uses existing materials that are already present. And a vast majority of modern buildings are built witch concrete slabs for flooring.
- Polished concrete floors are low-maintenance, as they are more durable and easier to clean than many flooring options.
- Polished Concrete is non-slippery, despite the high gloss achieved with polished concrete.
- Polished concrete reduces dust mite and allergen problems, and does not support mold growth.
- Highly reflective polished concrete reduces lighting needs and improves natural lighting.
- Polished concrete flooring is hard wearing and will not chip or dent like softer surfaces such as timber.
- A concrete floor that has been hardened and polished will have an extremely long life expectancy compared to other flooring. For example, tile that may only last 10–20 years(tile is a vague term. porcelain will last hundreds of years with no maintenance), but a polished concrete floor that has been properly maintained may give 100+ years of service.
CLICK HERE for a list of Pros and Cons of Polished Concrete.
CLICK HERE for a list of what to look for in a polished concrete contractor.
Can my floor be polished?
The short answer is yes, just about any concrete floor can be polished. This is not to say that all existing concrete is a suitable candidate for polishing. Work arounds for bad concrete exist in the form of overlayments and complete removal and replacement of the existing slab.
New concrete is an EXCELENT candidate for polishing and actually results in lower installation costs that older remodel floors. This is due to the fact that years of neglect and damage have not taken place so the repair work that may be present on a remodel job is not needed. Even with brand new concrete, some degree of repair work SHOULD BE expected. To minimize the amount of repair work and improve the quality of your floor, it is important to have the entire job site treat the bare concrete floor as finished product. Although grinding will be taking place, it is much easier to avoid spills and gouges in the floor than to try to clean them or remove them later on.
How does it work?
Polishing concrete correctly is a very time consuming process. Beware of contractors claiming to produce a polished floor in only Process involved in polishing concrete:
The general rule is to start the initial grinding with a coarse 16- or 30-grit diamond and finish with a 1500- or 3000-grit diamond, depending on the gloss level required. These diamonds are impregnated inside a metal- or resin-bonded segment. Typically the diamonds' grit size will double once the first grind has been carried out. The use of 16- or 30-grit size diamonds, then use 60/80-grit diamonds followed by the 120-grit metal bond segments. The polishing process begins with a 50-grit diamond resin pad instead of a metal segment. When using the resin pads the steps may be 100, then 200, 400, 800, 1500 and finally 3000 grit. Throughout the process a densifier is used to harden the concrete surface, which allows the concrete to be polished. A number of densifiers can be used; these consist of a lithium, potassium sodium silicates. A grouting chemical is also used throughout the process to fill in any holes, cracks or imperfections that were exposed from the initial coarse grinding step. The concrete is then sealed with a natural-look impregnating sealer; this sealer penetrates 2–5 mm inside the pores of the concrete preventing any deep staining from oils and spills.
A quick note on
Densifying the floor properly is one of the biggest things that extend your floors life. Under application of densifier is an extremely common problem. This problem exists because properly densifying a floor requires sometimes up to double the estimated about of chemicals. We densify our floors to the point of rejection. What this means is that we apply densifier until the slab has taken every bit that it can, and is no longer accepting any more. With this application method, your floor will last MUCH longer and develop a better gloss. Many contractors will simply spray a small amount of densifier on the floor, then microfiber mop it around and call that good. Simply put, this is not sufficient. If the densifier is not staying wet for at LEAST 15 minutes, it does not have enough time to fully react with the concrete, leading to under densification.