Concrete polishing is a mechanical diamond grinding and polishing process that can be applied to mundane concrete floors to achieve a glossy finish. Polished concrete is considered a great, sustainable flooring because it makes use of the materials already present. It is also very easy to clean and maintain, making it the ideal surface. Other benefits include its tendency to be hard-wearing and extremely durable, as well as the fact that it reduces the chances of having issues with dust mites, allergens, and mold. Concrete polishing is an effective flooring solution with a long life-expectancy, and the experts at Extreme Floor Works have what it takes you give you exactly that.
There is a 3-step process to achieve hybrid polished concrete.
1) Diamond grinding
Diamond grinding is a similar process to sanding a hardwood floor. Contractors use electric or propane-powered floor grinding machines with different grit sizes of diamonds. These machines are used to grind and remove glue, coatings, and maskings such as tile grout, carpet glue, sealers, paint, and epoxy coating from floor coverings to prepare the floor for the concrete polishing process.
There two methods, wet and dry, to grind the floor. Wet concrete grinding has recently become more popular because the diamond pads last longer and are able to cut the concrete better. This process also renders a faster grinding production rate for the grinder, however, it is more labor-intensive because of the slurry. Dry concrete grinding is a bit more complicated because it involves the use of industrial concrete dust collection vacuums. It also decreases the lifespan of the diamond pads because of the high level of heat and friction they endure. The decision of which method to use ultimately depends on the contractor’s preference and the condition of the floor.
Before the floor is ready to be polished, it must be grinded to the desired aggregate exposure level. The first level, known as surface crean, requires no grinding and involves the least exposure. The second level, which is also referred to as “salt & pepper” or “fine aggregate”, requires a very thin layer of surface being ground. Only sand is exposed in this level of exposure. The third level, medium aggregate, involves the surface being ground beyond the sand, where the large rocks are partially exposed. Lastly, the fourth level, or full/large aggregate exposure, involves grinding the floor beyond the partial view of the large rocks, and to the full profile view of the large rocks and concrete mix. Once the target aggregate exposure level is reached, the floor is ready to be polished.
2) Concrete Densifier
To ensure a better finish, the professionals at Extreme Floor Works use a concrete densifier to harden the concrete. A densifier is a clear chemical that reacts to unhydrated calcium hydrate to create a calcium silicone hydrate. Once the concrete is opened up and ready to accept the chemical, applying concrete densifier allows for a better polish, resulting in a more stain-resistant flooring.
Once the densifier is allowed to properly dry and cure, the polishing process begins. Typically, the polishing of resin begins at a 100 grit. Contractors polish up to the grit level that will produce the desired level of sheen. A low-level sheen is usually around a 400-800 grit level, medium-level sheen is a 800-1500 grit level, and a high-level sheen is a 1500-3000 grit level. There is even some artistry to concrete floor polishing; dyes may be added to create infinite variations of designs.
At the end of the process, you are left with a glossy, decorative finish, making polished concrete the ideal flooring. At Extreme Floor Works, we never settle for anything less than perfection.