Ever heard someone talk about polished concrete and been tempted to make a search for “concrete polishing Seattle” to find out what everyone else is talking about in all the home decor magazines?
Many people have a perception of concrete as a dull and uninspiring material that is better suited for warehouses than the inside of their homes. But while it is true that concrete is a great flooring material for warehouses and other industrial spaces, it has also helped spark a new movement in home decor that is devoted to the understated beauty of concrete floors. If you’re wondering why that is, look no further than concrete’s incredible dependability, longevity, strength and durability, and versatility. Yes, you read that right – versatility.
Because while most people can only imagine concrete in its lifeless grey form, many techniques exist today to take concrete to the next level aesthetically. One of those techniques is a personal favorite of mine: concrete polishing. To understand what it is, how it’s done, and whether it’s right for you – keep on reading!
What is concrete polishing?
Concrete polishing is a decorative concrete technique that takes concrete from a matte flat surface to a glossy attractive surface that can elevate the look of the entire space and give a cohesive aesthetic across the room. The technique is suitable for people with old concrete floors or for those looking to install concrete floors for the first time.
When polishing concrete, a concrete densifier is used to coat the entire floor. They are used to fill in the pores of the concrete floors, which are famously porous (and thereby susceptible to staining when left unsealed). Once the densifier has settled into all the spaces on the surface and has dried, grinding tools of varying sizes are used to polish down the concrete until the desired finish is achieved.
With polished concrete, the process is defined by grades and finishes. The grade refers to the extent of exposed aggregates on the surface; while the grade refers to the level of shine and gloss of the polished floors.
Now that you understand what exactly concrete polishing is, knowing more about the process and the steps involved can help you make that decision.
What are the steps behind a polished concrete floor?
The first thing you need to know about the process of polishing a concrete floor is that no, you should not attempt to do it yourself. Polishing concrete involves extremely complicated tools, methods, and materials that should only be utilized by industry experts and licensed contractors. Even if you were to persist and purchase all the materials and tools needed for the project, the costs of some of the tools like diamond disks and polishing machines are far higher than the cost of hiring a good contractor to get the job done perfectly.
But even though it is not a job for you to do on your own, knowing how the process goes should help you decide if it’s best for you, negotiate a fair cost, and be able to follow along with the contractor to make sure it’s done properly.
The surface hardness is checked with specialized tools
Before a contractor can get all the tools needed for the actual polishing together, diagnostic tests are first made to the surface. This is to be able to correctly decide on the grinding tools that will be later used.
Any old coating or paint on the surface is removed
This step can be skipped if the polishing will directly follow the pouring of a new concrete floor. But if they’re working on an older floor, any old coating or paint will need to be removed with a 16 grit shark and straight bar.
The surface is prepped
Before a concrete floor can be polished, prep work will need to be done to the surface to make sure the polishing can proceed smoothly. That means any cracks or holes in the floor need to be filled and repaired and any unevenness in the floor should be corrected at this point as it will more easily show once the surface is shiny and smooth.
Once all the necessary prep work and cosmetic repairs are completed, any marks from the tools used will need to be removed with a 70/80 grit tooling. When that is done, the surface should be wiped down or vacuumed.
The surface is coated in a densifier
At this point, the concrete floor is ready for a densifier to be applied. Densifiers come in a variety of types depending on the needs of the floor as well as the desired finish. It can be applied with a microfiber towel to get an even coat.
Polishing can now commence
Polishing resins can now be used to polish the concrete floor. Most jobs start with a 200 grit resin and increase from there, depending on the hardness of the surface as well as the desired final gloss. The dust is vacuumed between each new grit resin. The higher the grit, the shinier the floor will become.
A sealer is applied
To protect your new floors, a sealer can be applied. Sealers can come in varying types for various uses (for example, you can use a stain-resistant sealer if you are worried about grease or oil stains).
Are polished concrete floors right for you?
If you’re looking for a way to elevate your concrete floors, concrete polishing is an attractive and cost-effective choice to make. It can bring minimalism, shine, and a sense of elegance to whichever space you choose to put it in. Not to mention they are very easily cleaned as well!
So if you’re looking for a new modern take on concrete floors, call a licensed contractor in your area today to discuss your options for concrete polishing.