The online proliferation of information about any number of subjects means that anybody who is not already knowledgeable about the topic of concrete would need some guidance in getting started. Not all information on the internet can be trusted, but the information in this article can, and the writers hope that it will help anybody who needs to learn about concrete polishing and how to go about it, along with what products are best to buy and use from a complete range of concrete products.
Every concrete floor is different, so it is best – at least when starting out – to speak to your suppliers regularly just to make sure that you are not making any mistakes
The Basics of Polishing
Polishing concrete is supposed to be something like sanding wood in the approach that can be taken to it. The main way of polishing a concrete floor is to use a machine which is attached to an abrasive diamond-coated surface – the similarity to sanding wood comes when the machines are gradually switched through a series of finer and finer-graded diamond surfaces, just as woodworkers gradually use smoother and smoother sandpaper to refine their work. The beauty of this approach is that (to continue the metaphor), just as sandpaper can be used on all woods, so can these machines be used on all concrete surfaces.
There is both a wet and a dry method of concrete polishing: wet polishing uses water as a way of keeping the abrasive surface cool during the polishing process, and is good for lessening the friction between the concrete and the abrasive surfaces (which prolongs the life of the cleaning machines); dry polishing eliminates the need for water by essentially turning the equipment into an abrasive vacuum cleaner.
As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods – the dry method, for example, is preferred by commercial enterprises because it is both faster and more environmentally friendly; the wet method has no means to dispose of the used water and other debris, which must then be cleaned up and properly disposed of.
There is of course polished concrete, but caring for that is more in-depth, and so will not be covered here.
A Summary of Basic Polishing
- Take a look at the overall condition of the floor – before beginning to polish a floor, it is important to look at the condition of it, and see how hard it is, because this will determine the way in which it should be polished.
- Strip off the existing coat, if one exists
- Thick coats can require up to a twenty grit diamond abrasive
- Any cracks or joins which appear in the concrete should be filled with a semi-rigid filler
- Once that is dry, the first polish should be done with metal-bonded diamond which is, at least thirty grit
- Follow this up with a polish using bonded diamond of at least eighty grit
- Finally, follow this polish up with another polish using either one hundred and fifty grit metal-bonded diamond, or something finer if that is what your personal preference is
- At this point, the concrete needs to be densified – this can be done with a chemical hardener
- Once the hardener has dried and hardened, polish the floor again, this time with some combination of one hundred and two hundred grit diamond, taking care that it is resin-bonded and not metal-bonded, as that might damage the floor.
- Repolish several times, each time with a finer density of resin-bonded diamond 400>800>3000.
At this point, the floor is finished. You can, if you so choose, apply a concrete stain at this point. Stains are made to help protect the polished surface – they also make it easier to keep it clean and free of damage.