Polished Concrete is the ultimate sustainable flooring solution because no coverings or coatings are required for the finished floor. Most ordinary concrete slabs can be ground, polished and optionally dyed to create a beautiful solid surface, easy to maintain floor that exceeds OSHA slip resistance standards.
The popularity of polished-concrete can be seen around the world, from big-box retailers and industrial facilities to cafes, salons and homes. Polished Concrete is an extremely durable floor that maintains its beautiful appearance much longer than concrete sealed with epoxy or other coatings.
Reduced maintenance costs are just one benefit of polished-concrete. Polished-concrete does not require the use of messy topical coatings that need periodic replacement. Polishing is done mechanically and can be isolated to specific areas requiring attention. Floor maintenance on polished-concrete can resume without disrupting the surrounding area because it is done dry, using dust collection systems to eliminate dust.
Moreover, the sleek look of polished-concrete creates a dramatic impression that cannot be imitated. It can be highly customized to make a statement or compliment any decor.
Summary of Benefits
- Eliminates need for floor material, reducing flooring cost to nothing.
- Reduces manufacturing and disposal of synthetic floor covering.
- No messy or hazardous materials such as epoxy, wax or urethane required.
- Reduced electric consumption due to significant light reflection.
- Isolated repair work eliminated need to recoat entire floor area.
- Exceeds OSHA and ADA slip standards.
- Endless options for enhanced artwork and design attributes; score lines, colors, etc.
- Can be ground to reveal aggregate, making it look similar to terrazzo.
- Qualifies for LEED points.
Summary of Services
- Full service ground and polished concrete contracting services.
- Project management and consulting.
- Gloss and slip resistance testing.
- Maintenance and after-care.
- Training and instruction.
Polishing a concrete floor is a multi-phase operation that consists of refining the surface of a concrete slab with progressively finer diamond grit. The diamond grit is contained in special polishing discs and buttons made of metallic, ceramic or resin matrix. The diamonds, being the hardest material in nature will abrade the concrete, producing a smooth and reflective surface.
Although polished concrete is very smooth, the diamond abrasion leaves an invisible "scratch pattern", A 800 grit scratch pattern (medium-high gloss) gives the surface a better grip then most coated concrete and makes the polished finish much safer than any epoxy coating on the market.
When restoring old concrete (or when achieving a particular look, for example a "terrazzo" finish) the first step is grinding the surface to remove the top layer of concrete called "cream". This operation exposes the small cobbles of which the concrete slab is made of. The more the surface is ground, the larger is the size of the exposed cobbles. The grinding is performed with 30 grit diamond buttons, which leave a quite heavy and visible scratch pattern. The grinding marks are removed with two final grinding steps, the 70 and the 120 grit. The 120 grit scratch pattern is so fine that is barely visible and is usually the final pass on outdoor polished concrete.
The next step, called "honing" further refines the surface. The final honing grit (200) leaves a smooth surface on which only a trained eye can see the scratch pattern. After honing the surface the floor can be colored and sealed, or polished to a higher grit.
The last phase is the actual "polishing", when the surface is brought to the highest smoothness and reflectivity (3500 grit). During this phase water based fortifying product called "densifier" is sprayed on the surface to increase the superficial strength of the floor slab. The added strength will allow the concrete surface to withstand the diamonds' abrasion without crumbling and wearing away. During the polishing phase is possible to apply a color dye for added aesthetical appeal. Articulated images, like logos and graphics can also be created during this phase. As the polishing is completed, a lithium silicates sealer is applied to enhance the sheen and protect the floor. The sealer can be buffed/burnisher with 6000 grit diamond pads to achieve the highest gloss and reflectivity.
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