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Polished concrete is a multi-step process where a concrete floor is mechanically ground, honed and polished with bonded abrasives in order to cut a concrete floor's surface. It is then refined with each cut in order to achieve a specified level of appearance.
The mechanical grinding of concrete that is environmentally friendly as well as economical.
This process also includes the use of a penetrant chemical known as a hardener. The concrete densifier/hardener penetrates into the concrete and creates a chemical reaction to help harden and dust-proof the surface. During concrete polishing, the surface is processed through a series of steps (in general a minimum of 4 grinding steps of processing is considered polished concrete) utilizing progressively finer grinding tools.
Polished concrete is a "green" flooring system and LEED approved.
A great solution for: Retail, Industrial plants, Warehouses, Commercial/Business Facilities, Galleries, Museums, Schools, Government Buildings as well as Residential.
Sustainable: Concrete Polishing offers a unique opportunity to owners to earn points towards LEED Certification.
Eliminates dusting which is not only unhealthy but can damage equipment and disrupt business
Cost savings: Traditional floor covering materials are not necessary when the slab on grade is used as the finished floor surface.
Longer life-cycle savings: Polished floors are not as vulnerable to damage as other materials and do not need replacing
Easy to clean: Won't harbor dust, dirt, allergens
Design Variety: Available in wide variety of colors and designs
Single application: often referred to as lifetime floors outlasting vinyl, epoxy and coatings
Easy maintenance: requires no waxing or stripping
Slip-resistant: meets OSHA and ADA standards for slip resistance
You can polish concrete using wet or dry methods. Although each has its advantages, many polishing contractors prefer the dry method because it’s faster, more convenient, and environmentally friendly.
Wet polishing uses water to cool the diamond abrasives and eli minate grinding dust. Because the water re d uces friction and acts as a lubricant, it increases the life of the polishing abrasives. Wet cutting is also more aggressive than cutting dry and may be more effective at exposing the aggregate, if a terrazzo look is desired.
Dry polishing requires no water. Instead, the floor polish er is hooked up to a dustcontainment system that vacuums up virtually all of the mess. Today’s dust-collection equipment extracts about 99% of the dust from polishing, keeping the worksite clean and the air quality safe.
If you plan to polish an existing concrete floor, we must first evaluate the condition of the surface we're dealing with. Here’s what we look for:
It's important to remove any existing sealers and coatings. If the floor has only minor blemishes or a very light coating, we can move on to initial rough grinding (Step 3).
For thick elastomeric membranes, mastics, epoxies, and urethanes (about 8 to 20 mils), it will be necessary to go over the surface with coarse 16- or 20-grit diamond tooling or a more aggressive grinding head specifically designed for removing heavy coatings and mastics. This tool achieves high removal rates, often completing the job after one pass.
At this stage we'll also fill any cracks and control joints in the floor with an epoxy or other semi-rigid joint filler, making sure to level the filler at the surface.
Now we’re ready for initial rough grinding of the concrete surface, which will prepare it for final smoothing. This is generally a three- to four-step process, depending on the condition of the concrete.
In most cases, you’ll start with a coarse 40-grit diamond segment bonded in a metallic matrix. After a few passes over the surface with the 40 grit, we repeat the process with the finer 80-grit and 150-grit metalbonded abrasives, continuing all the way up to a 300-grit grind.
Each diamond grit step requires an average of two passes, depending on the density of the concrete.
After performing initial coarse grinding with the metal-bonded diamond abrasives, we apply a liquid chemical hardener to the concrete to help solidify and densify the surface and provide extra protection from water penetration and staining. Hard concrete also produces a better polish.
Chemical hardeners, which can be applied to new or existing floors, work by reacting chemically with the calcium hydroxide in the concrete to form a hard, crystalline structure.
We’re now ready to give the concrete surface a fine polish using diamond abrasives embedded in a resin matrix.
Typically, this step will follow your last pass with the 150-grit metal-bonded abrasive. We start by polishing with a 100-grit resin bond. Then switch to ever-finer grits (200, 400, 800, etc.) until the floor attains the desired sheen. For an extremely high-gloss finish, we go up to a final grit of 3000.
With each successive pass, the goal is to buff out the scratch pattern from the previous pass (a process called lapping).
Once we obtain the look and polish we’re striving for, we'll protect the surface by applying an industrial stain-guard product, especially if it will be exposed to grease, oil, or chemicals.
Similar to Scotchgard for fabric, these solutions penetrate the surface to make the floor more resistant to stain absorption and dirt.
They are usually applied by pump sprayer or wax applicator, but must be reapplied every few months to maintain their effectiveness.
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