To polish concrete, you have to grind down a concrete surface until it reaches a desired shine and smoothness. It is typically used in commercial and industrial settings like warehouses and retail stores as polished concrete is incredibly durable and long-lasting, while still looking as presentable as other options. It is easy to maintain, clean and is cost-effective in the long run and these are just some of the added benefits that every business can reap.
If you’re thinking about polishing the concrete in your space, you may be wondering if the concrete in your space can be polished, well throughout this article we are going to tackle that very question.
Can You Polish Any Kind of Concrete Flooring?
For the most part, concrete is not a uniform product. Each concrete will need to have different preparation done before polishing begins. There will be different obstacles and conditions that need to be met in order to finish the polishing. Just about any concrete that is structurally sound can be polished, regardless of the age. However, there are a few exceptions.
New Floors – If you have just recently had your concrete installed it won’t require a special mix design to achieve favourable results. You should, however, wait at least 28 days before you start polishing so the curing process elapses.
Existing Floors – If your concrete has been installed for some time before polishing it will require some surface preparation before the polishing begins to remove any dirt, debris, coating, grease or blemishes in the concrete.
When Shouldn’t You Polish Concrete
Some times when concrete is very aged or damaged it is best to not polish it. Some of the things that would prevent polishing would be:
- If your concrete is not entirely flat and has a lot of waves.
- If your concrete requires extensive patching.
- If your concrete is very porous
Experienced contractors can usually determine if your concrete floor is suitable for polishing.
Getting the substrate preparation correct is a very large aspect that accompanies all polished concrete projects. If the existing concrete is not capable of retailing the polish, the finish will never look or function as it should.
Concrete needs to be cleaned, flatted and given a new texture for the polishing to work properly, especially if you have very old or weathered concrete. This is normally achieved by grinding the concrete as the grinding will remove any paint, epoxy, carpet adhesive or self-levelling compounds. This will also level out the underlying concrete surface, making an ideal surface for future floor treatment.
However, it is best to retain some substrate rather than destroying it along with the existing floor coating. This will allow you to avoid the need for a self-levelling compound and prevent any extra expenditure on the cost of materials like extra coverings that will be needed to fill out any inconsistency in the concrete.
To make polished concrete more solid and dense, a penetrating hardener is applied to the concrete following the first step of the grinding process. This is done to form a hard, crystalline structure which occurs when the penetrating hardener meets the concrete, creating a chemical reaction – this is applied to both new and existing concrete floors. This also prevents any dusting of concrete and offers extra protection from liquid penetrating and staining the concrete.
Back to the main question. Can you polish any kind of concrete floor? The answer is yes, as long as the concrete is in good condition and doesn’t have waves, large patches or is very porous. If your concrete has none of these issues, it should be fine for polishing. However, prior preparation will be required after working on the finish.
If your concrete is applicable, polishing is a fantastic idea. There are numerous benefits that come along with polishing concrete, many of which we have gone over in a previous post on What Are the Benefits of Concrete Polishing. Through that post we touch upon the many of the benefits of polishing concrete, making it the perfect guide to deciding if it is right for you!