FAQ: Polished Concrete Floors

Epoxy Flooring • Concrete Polishing

FAQ: Polished Concrete Floors

Concrete floors can possess a range of characteristics. Polished concrete floors can be created with specific characteristics for different purposes. Understanding these characteristics and what is required to obtain them is vital for determining what you do with your polished concrete floors.

One of the characteristics of polished concrete floors is the visual texture of the concrete. The amount of grinding that is done through diamond grinding determines the visual texture of the concrete. If the floor goes through a high number of grinding steps it will expose a lot of aggregate. This produces a finish that is similar to a terrazzo floor. A floor with a medium amount of grinding will produce a medium level of aggregate exposure. The surface that is created is often referred to as a salt and pepper polish finish. A floor with a low amount of grinding will have little or no aggregate exposure. It needs to be remembered that the level of grinding will determine the price. The less grinding the less it will cost.

The next characteristic to consider is the amount of sheen. The sheen of the surface is a result of the grinding process. The amount of polishing steps that the floor goes through after grinding determines the natural sheen of the concrete surface.

To understand the role of polishing in the final characteristics of the concrete floor it is necessary to understand the nature of polished concrete. Polished concrete is usually produced using an 8 to 12 step process. These steps are part of a three part process. The process starts with grinding. They then move onto densifying the concrete slab. Finally the surface of the concrete slab is subjected to polishing. The better the quality of the concrete slab produced in the first two parts of the process the better the quality of the final polished concrete surface.

One of the concerns that is raised about concrete polishing is the possibility of dust. These concerns are not justified. The concrete polishing process is virtually dust free. This is because Hepa filter vacuum systems are used during the concrete polishing process. There will be some dust residue left of the floor but, it will be cleaned up using another Hepa filter vacuum system between steps.

Another benefit of concrete polishing is that it can be used to repair cracks and damage before the polishing part of the process is carried out. The dust from the grinding process can be used to fix most cracks and damage. The dust can be mixed with a special gel that is then be used to fill cracks, holes and repair minor imperfections in the concrete floor. The repair will be slightly visible but, it will end up looking like a natural part of the concrete floor and texture.

Another concern that arises with concrete polishing is whether it works on edges, corners and other obstacles. It is necessary to hand fix around fixed obstacles. However, this will be done by the polisher.

Another question that needs to be considered is the possibility of using a sealant. It is not absolutely necessary to use a sealant on concrete polished floors. Concrete polished floors are stain resistant. However, many chemicals and compounds can work their way into the pores of the polished concrete and create stains. A sealer will line the pores in the concrete and keep most stains suspended on the surface of the concrete. This prevents staining.

Another important question that needs to be considered is how long it will take before the floor is ready to use? There is no gap between when the floor is polished and when it can be used. In fact it is possible to walk on the floor during the grinding and polishing process. This is because both the grinding and the polishing process are mechanical and not chemical processes. If a sealer is used it usually requires 30 minutes to dry. The floor can be used immediately after this curing period. However, it should not be exposed to water for 72 hours.

Another important question that needs to be considered is how to maintain the polished concrete floor? In most cases regular mopping will remove abrasive materials that can cause scratching and the loss of gloss over time. There are a number of products that can be used to clean polished concrete floors without damaging the hardeners or densifiers used in the polishing process. Acidic products should never be used to clean polished concrete floors.

Another important question that needs to be answered is how long will a polished concrete floor last? The polished concrete floor has a density, hardness and appearance that are superior to other types of floors. With a little bit of maintenance polished concrete floors will last a lifetime.

Another important question concerning the shine of polished concrete floors is whether it can be brought back? The answer to this question is yes. The shine can be brought back if the polished concrete floor gets dull. In fact it usually only requires a few layers of resin to get the necessary results. Other processes like epoxy coating or VCT are much more expensive. This is because they require the removal of the original flooring material. The increased labour and materials involved drive up costs.
Another concern that arises with concrete polishing is whether it works on edges, corners and other obstacles. It is necessary to hand fix around fixed obstacles. However, this will be done by the polisher.
It must be noted at this point that polished concrete floors are not usable everywhere. They do no deal with acid well under normal conditions. As a result they should not be used in acidic environments. Food preparation and kitchen areas tend to have more acidic environments. If polished concrete floors are used in these environments unless a special sealant is used to prevent the concrete from absorbing the acid and damaging the surface or dulling the shine.
An important point that can be made at this point is that it is possible to customize the appearance of polished concrete floors. Concrete dyes can be added to polished concrete floors so that they can have a particular colour. There are 12 different colours that can be used to colour polished concrete. These concrete dyes need to be added to the floor after the grinding stage and before the polishing stage.

The final important questions that must be asked concerns the costs of polished concrete floors. The first question that needs to be considered is the cost of the floors? Polished concrete floors can cost anywhere from $1 a square foot to $20 a square foot. However, the fact that these floors are not mass manufactured means that it is difficult to calculate an exact price. Factors like the openness of the floor, the condition of the floor and the extent of the decoration options all effect the price of polished concrete floors.

The final question concerns warranties. Like the question of price it is difficult to provide a warranty. This is because there are a number of factors that can effect the condition of polished concrete floors. The dust free aspect of the floor is the only aspect of the floor that any type of warranty can be provided for. The shine of the floor can be significantly impacted by maintenance.

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Epoxy Flooring • Concrete Polishing

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