Polished Concrete and Decorative Finishes

Polished Concrete has quickly become one of the favored floor covering finishes in many industrial, commercial facilities. This is because of the low environmental impact of polished concrete and the additional low cost of its maintenance. NSTCSS is capable of providing you with comprehensive technical support when you are considering specifying or using polished concrete as a finished floor in your new or existing facility.

Polished Concrete represents a spectrum of various finishes and “looks”.  It can be matte or high gloss in appearance. It can enhance the top of the cream of the slab or it can bring out and polish the aggregate within the slab.  There are industry standards for polished concrete flooring to help the specifier determine the best approach for their client.  Concrete Polishing is a skill learned thru years of hands on application.  The polishing professional can read the concrete.  They study how hard it is, if there are sealers requiring removal and are the hands behind the controls of specialty grinding equipment.  Polished Concrete floor contractors are tradesmen and not day labor.  These professionals know how fast or slow their machines need to be coaxed in order to achieve a desired end finish.  Only through professional hands are professional results achieved.

The process of polishing concrete begins with a grinding of the slab with a low grit diamond tool.  The machines which have these tools applied to them are generally quite heavy.  This is so the pressure between the diamond tools and the slab is sufficient for the tools to cut the surface properly and efficiently.  The machines which polish concrete are generally quite heavy.  The exceptions are new, lightweight systems which are designed for polishing just the top cream surface of the concrete.  To fully refine the slab, the larger machines cut past the cream to the salt and pepper fine aggregates near the top of the slab, just below the cream surface.

Densifiers are liquids which are applied to the surface of the slab once the grinders have opened up the slab with their metal bonded low grit tooling.  This allows these liquids to soak into the slab.  As they flow into the tiny holes and capillaries within the slab, a reaction occurs.  This reaction creates a mineral which is harder than the slab and allows for better polishing results.  The key result of the application of these densifiers is to dustproof the slab.  Once these reactive materials have completed their reactions, the floor can no longer micro abraid . It becomes functionally dustproof.

Depending upon how far the polishing process goes, will depend on how much gloss will be achieved.  Generally, this is the case.  However, when the floor is exceptionally porous, the tiny holes will refract the light and the shine will be less than on a floor where these holes do not exist.  In this case, the professional will recommend an optional grouting coat to the floor.  These grout coats are designed to be applied tightly to the floor.  Once dried, the professional will hone the floor with his grinder and diamonds.  This honing will remove the excess materials.  From this point, the remaining polishing process will provide much more shine and durability.  Without the grout coat, some floors will simply get dull quickly.  Think of it like this,  These tiny holes are similar to potholes in the road.  What happens to a pothole when it is not repaired?  That’s right! It grows larger and more problematic. Grouting the floor, should a situation like this appear, is the best way to alleviate future issues and provide an end result with the longest duration.

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