Concrete Polishing - Getting Your Concrete Polished
What is concrete polishing or polished concrete?
Concrete polishing is a mechanical diamond grinding and polishing process that creates polished concrete. The result is a concrete floor surface with a smooth glossy finish that is easy to maintain and clean. The concrete polishing process has three key phases' diamond grinding, densification, and diamond polishing. The first phase of the process involves diamond grinding the concrete floor. Contractors use walk behind electric or propane engine powered floor grinding machines.
Grinding concrete is like sanding a hard wood floor. When sanding a hard wood floor you would use a different grit on sandpaper, similarly concrete grinders have different grit sizes of diamonds. In the grinding step that is where you would grind and remove any glue or coatings from floor coverings such as tile grout, paint or epoxy coating that is on the surface. The diamond grinding process is used by the contractor to remove maskings or coatings such as tile grout, carpet glue, sealers, floor epoxy or paint in order to prepare the floor for the concrete polishing process.
There are two methods for grinding concrete. Concrete grinding can be done wet or dry. Although the wet process is more labor intense because of the slurry, the diamond pads will not only last longer and cut better; it will also provide a faster grinding production rate for the grinder. Even though dry grinding involves the use of industrial concrete dust collection vacuums therefore it is less labor intensive but this will decrease the life span of the diamond pads due to more heat and friction.
Although there is cost and benefits to both it is based more on contractor preference and the conditions of the concrete floors on which method of grinding to use on the project. In the initial diamond grinding process the concrete surface is cut into a pre determined aggregate exposure level. This initial surface cut can be done in three different degrees the first level of aggregate exposure is surface crean which is where there is the least amount exposure, there is no grinding process involved only polishing.
The second level is fine aggregate also known as "salt and pepper" which is where a very thin amount of the surface is ground and the sand is exposed. The third level is the medium aggregate where the concrete surface is ground beyond the sand where the large rocks are partially exposed. The fourth level is full or large aggregate exposure which is where the concrete floor is ground beyond partial view of the large rocks to a full profile view of the large rocks and the concrete mix. Once the grit level has been determined and the concrete floor is diamond grind to the desired aggregate exposure level it is time to move on to the densification process.
The next step is applying the concrete densifier to the concrete floor. The concrete densifier allows for a better polish by making the concrete floor dense it makes the concrete floor more stain resistant. After densification the concrete floors are ready to be polished. The polishing concrete floor process begins by polishing resin which typical begins at a 100 grit. Contractors will polish up to the grit levels depending on the desired level of sheen.
During the polishing stages you can add some dyes and color to make the floor decorative which is the artistry of concrete floor polishing. By the end of this step you are left with beautiful polished concrete floors.
Definitions for glossary:
Denisifier is a Clear chemical that chemically reacts to unhydrated calcium hydrate to create calcium silicone hydrate.
The stone and the sand in the concrete mix are hard and hard things polish better to polish however the cement weak so we use the chemical to hard the cement to make it like sand and stone. Makes cements harder. Allows for a better polish. By making it more dense it makes the floor more stain resistance.
Sheen: A low sheen is generally around a 400-800 grit level. Medium sheen/gloss is a 800-1500 grit- see reflection of the light fixture. High sheen /gloss is a 1500-3000.
Aggregate: Diamond grind with a determined starting grit which will produce the desired aggregate exposure appearance. Sand, medium aggregate, or full large aggregate.
Concrete is 3 elements = Cement, sand, and stone.
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