How to Polish Concrete Floors



Concrete floors are often found in garages, warehouses, and other large buildings. These floors are starting to gain popularity in residential properties too. Concrete floors are low maintenance; however, they do require a certain amount of care. Each time you polish a concrete floor, you should follow the same basic steps.

Polishing Basics

When you polish a concrete floor, it is like sanding wood. The concrete polisher has an abrasive surface that is much like sandpaper and is used to grind the surface down to achieve shine and a smooth surface. The initial stage utilizes a coarser abrasive and then progresses to a finer grit product and once completed, the surface of the concrete has a glossy finish.

Wet or Dry Polish

There are certain advantages to wet or dry polish methods. Dry polish is faster, better for the environment and more convenient with less mess. Wet polishing utilizes water to cool the abrasives used to grind the surface of the concrete and the process does not result in grinding dust. The main disadvantage of wet polish is the clean up because the process creates slurry which needs to be disposed of in a way that is not harmful to the environment. The dry polishing process utilizes a dust containment system which collects all the dust created during the polishing process.

The Steps to Polish Concrete Floors

The first step you will complete is to remove any existing coatings with an aggressive tool designed for the removal of coatings. This process can take some time, especially if you want to ensure that you do a good job and remove every trace of the coating that is in place. Sometimes adhesive materials are on the concrete including tack strips, mastic, or glue and these need to be removed completely. If any traces have been left behind, it can become difficult to sand the flooring properly.

Next, you will seal any joints or cracks with a specially formulated filler or an epoxy. Once the filler or epoxy has had time to set up and cure, you will grind the surface of the floor once again with several stages of diamond grit. Once that has been completed, the next step is to apply a chemical hardener which will cause the concrete to become denser.

Once the chemical hardener has densified the concrete, the next step is to polish the floor. Once the polishing is done, then the surface can be finished and then an optional stain guard can be applied. If you do not own a machine to complete all these steps, you can rent one at a local supply store, but there is a large learning curve on using this equipment. Professional concrete finishing companies can take care of this maintenance for you if you cannot do the work or have concerns about doing the work properly.

Invest in Your Concrete Floor

Once you have completed the process of polishing your concrete floor, it will be the most durable and beautiful floor that will last longer than any other type of flooring. Many business owners and residential homeowners do not consider this when they are faced with the steep upfront costs. Tile is less costly overall, but there is the labour cost for the installation of them. Tile can become easily damaged if heavy objects are dropped, causing the tile to chip or crack. Tile can also stain and wear out more quickly than wood. The grout in the tile can become dirty and lighter grout colours show more dirt, so the stain can show up earlier on tile. If tiles and grout are not sealed properly, they can look dirty quickly and unattractive. This can be disappointing, particularly since tile can be quite expensive to purchase and to install from start to finish.

If you have concrete flooring, you need to take care of it with a certain amount of maintenance. The work that is put into the maintenance of concrete flooring can seem overwhelming at times, but it is worth the time and the effort because these floors last for a long time. The process of polishing concrete floors can take quite some time, but the payoff is the results that you will get with beautiful floors that are durable and stand up to rough treatment and stains. Polished concrete stands up to all these problems and looks good for the long term. The maintenance can be quite labour intensive, but the result is beautiful and worth the work once completed.

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