How To Polish Concrete

February 11, 2021

Are you considering polished concrete for your new or existing flooring system? If you are, this is the perfect post for you, we’ll list the basics of how to polish concrete and how it works in a concise step-by-step process. Understanding the installment process and the steps involved can help you make an informed decision based on your particular budget, timeframe, and space.

how to polish concrete floors

The Basics of Concrete Polishing

What does it mean to polish concrete? Polishing concrete is very similar to the process of sanding wood, albeit on a grander scale. The machines used to polish the concrete employ diamond abrasives (not dissimilar to sandpaper) in order to grind down the surface of the concrete. The final result is a smooth, glossy surface that is soft to the touch.

Like sanding wood, the abrasives go from course to fine in several stages until the floor has the desired finish. However, unlike sanding, concrete polishing can be done in dry or wet environments.

Each method has its up and downsides, but the most common method is dry polishing because of its speed, convenience, and the fact that it’s more environmentally friendly. Dry polishing does not require any water or additional cleanup as a dust-containment system is generally hooked up to the floor polisher to vacuum up the dust created.

Wet polishing, as the name suggests, requires a large quantity of water that is then wasted once the process is complete. The slurry created then must be cleaned up, adding additional costs and time to the overall process.

New Polished Concrete Floors

New polished concrete flooring is a slightly more efficient process than polishing older existing concrete flooring. Also, new flooring can sometimes cost less to polish because there is less preparation involved in the polishing process and fewer variables to plan for.

The first step in the process is to pour the concrete with a mix design of 3500 psi or higher. The concrete is then finished with power trowels and cured. Once the concrete is fully cured, the polishing process can begin. During the finishing process, decorative aggregates can be added to the concrete such as glass, shells, metallic pieces, etc. The concrete is then polished in stages, starting with course diamond grits and getting finer and finer with each stage.

The final result is a glossy and unique finish equal in beauty to any costly marble or granite flooring. 

Retrofitting Existing Concrete Floors

Retrofitting existing can be an excellent way to spruce up an older or worn concrete floor and get it looking new and professional. However, it’s important to note that the result will ultimately depend on the condition of the existing concrete.

If it’s in good condition it can be polished to nearly any standard. If the condition is poor or very poor (i.e. crack, deeply stained, etc.) then a topping slab can be added cover and repair the blemishes before the polishing process is begun.

We hope that this information has helped you to better understand the concrete polishing process and evaluate the best option for your space. If you’d like more information or you’d like to get started on your concrete polishing project, feel free to give us a call!

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