How to polish concrete floors properly.
By: Anthony Zamora
Polishing concrete is a process that involves using specialized equipment and diamond impregnated metal, resin, or other ceramic materials to mechanically densify the the surface of a concrete floor to essentially seal it onto itself. This process is typically used to create a gloss finish on concrete surfaces, which improve the appearance and durability of the floor. A maintained concrete floor is essentially a lifetime floor and will always be ready for use, both light and heavy traffic. Polishing concrete can be performed on both new and existing concrete surfaces, and it is often used in commercial, industrial, and residential settings.
To polish concrete properly, it is important to follow a specific set of steps and use the appropriate equipment and materials. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to polish concrete:
Prep the concrete surface. Before beginning the polishing process, it is important to properly prepare the concrete surface. This typically involves grinding the surface with metal bonded diamonds to "open up" the concretes surface and remove any imperfections or surface contaminants. A concrete grinder/polisher hooked up to a HEPA vacuum are essential for this process.
2. Using progressively finer diamonds over the course of roughly 7-15 passes to mechnically densify the substrate. Once the surface has been prepared, the polisher will begin the actual polishing process using diamond impregrnated resin pads, most likely. All concrete slabs are somewhat unique and require different tooling at times. The grinder/polisher will work in a quadrent like fashion, using overlapping passes to ensure an even finish. As the polisher moves over the surface of the concrete the concrete is becoming more and more dense as the surface tightens smaller and smaller, also increasing the light reflection aspect of the surface which is why it will start to gloss as well.
3. Use of a densifier. In some cases, it may be necessary to use a densifier during the polishing process. A densifier is a chemical compound that is applied to the surface of the concrete to improve its density and hardness, usually water based, this solution is made up of mostly lithium silicates which lock together with the lyme in the concretes composition, creating an even more molecularly strong structure. Densifiers can help to improve the durability and resistance of the concrete surface, making it less prone to staining and wear, and improve overall gloss after polishing.
4. Finish with a sealer. Once the desired level of polish has been achieved, it is important to apply a sealer to the surface of the concrete. A sealer will help to protect the polished concrete surface from wear and tear, as well as increase it's overall lifetime between maintenance cleaning and sealing, and it will also help to preserve the shine of the floor. There are several types of sealers available, including water-based and solvent-based options. It is important to choose a sealer that is appropriate for the specific needs of the concrete surface. Such as if you need a oil or chemical resistance for the floor as well.
5. Maintaining a polished concrete floor. Proper maintenance is crucial to preserving the shine of a polished concrete surface. This typically involves regularly wiping the floor with very mild, specific to concrete, detergents and water, and avoiding the use of harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners. It is also important to avoid using sharp objects or heavy machinery on the polished surface, as this can cause damage to the floor.
By following these steps, you can properly polish concrete and create a sleek, polished finish that will improve the appearance and durability of the floor. It is important to note that polishing concrete can be a labor-intensive process, and it may require the use of specialized equipment and materials. Which is why C*Rock Finishing is here to help!!! Please reach out to us on our contact page and we will be happy to discuss your project today and get you to the great concrete polished floor you deserve!