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In 2019, concrete polished floors accounted for approximately 53% of US concrete floor market share revenue and will hold fairly steady through 2027. It’s easy to see why, too.
Have you ever walked into a business with the shiniest floor you’ve ever seen? It leaves an impression. The reflectivity gives extra light, brightens up a place, and lends a very professional appearance. To achieve this dramatic effect, you need polished concrete flooring. But the cherries on top—yes, there is more than one cherry here—are concrete polished floors offer durability, low maintenance, moisture resistance, and more.
What Is Concrete Polishing?
Concrete polishing is the process of creating a reflective, finished gloss appearance on a normally dull concrete surface. Polishing concrete floors is a multi-step process, involving grinding, smoothing, and polishing of the concrete. Aside from giving concrete an intense shine, this process makes the concrete as dense and hard as possible.
The whole procedure is relatively affordable, and has low maintenance compared to other types of flooring. Businesses frequently use concrete polishing to bring light, a nonporous surface, easy cleaning, and even creativity into a commercial space. You can create beautiful logos by using certain color stains, using saw cuts, or embedding objects into the concrete prior to polishing.
How Concrete Polishing of Floors Works
The process of concrete polishing involves prepping, grinding, hardening, and polishing your concrete floor. At Painters USA, we recommend that you select a provider who has experience because, if not done precisely right, your finished floor will have noticeable flaws.
Step 1: Prepping the concrete floor
The first step to your new industrial polished concrete floors involves sealing cracks with an epoxy or other semi-rigid filler, and removing any existing coatings.
Step 2: Grinding a commercial concrete floor
Next, the concrete floor needs to be ground with several levels of an abrasive. This process removes any stains and blemishes. There are several methods of grinding.
One of the approaches that we use at Painters USA is abrasive blasting, a versatile industrial cleaning technique that can smooth out rough surfaces (or roughen smooth surfaces). Another method we use is sandblasting. Blasting highly-pressurized sand on the concrete can improve its overall quality, priming it for polishing.
Step 3: Applying a chemical hardener
At this point, a chemical hardener is applied to increase the concrete’s density and help provide extra protection from water and staining. Hard concrete also means a better polish in your end result.
Step 4: Concrete polishing
Now it’s time to polish the concrete with different grades of diamond for varying degrees of shine. We use diamond polishing equipment from Architectural Concrete Supplies, LLC. There are two forms of polishing: wet or dry.
- Wet polishing—This method uses water to cool diamond abrasives and eliminate grinding dust. Water reduces friction and acts as a lubricant, which increases the polish’s lifetime. That said, the clean up is messy, so crews must collect and dispose of the mess in an environmental-friendly manner.
- Dry polishing—Due to the messiness of wet polishing, dry polishing is more common, as it doesn’t require water. Dry polishers are hooked up to dust-containment systems that vacuum up the mess as you polish. Another benefit is dry polishing is less time intensive than wet polishing.
Benefits of Polished Concrete Floors
There are several benefits to having polished concrete floors—from aesthetics to safety. Here are some of the advantages that our Painters USA customers see with their commercial polished concrete floors.
- Easy to clean—Unlike traditional, untreated concrete, polished concrete doesn’t leave behind layers of dust. In addition, polished concrete doesn’t allow for microbial growth, which is perfect for food processing facilities. To clean a polished concrete floor, you need only a damp mop or neutral cleaner. You don’t need expensive waxes or coatings.
- Attractive—Perhaps one of the main benefits of polished concrete is that it’s aesthetically pleasing. When installed properly, polished concrete is bright and reflective. As a result, polished concrete gives a more pleasant atmosphere. Plus, you can produce a variety of visual effects by etching beautiful designs or staining the concrete with certain colors.
- Durable—Contrary to regular concrete floors, polished concrete doesn’t easily wear and chip. Polishing the concrete increases the floor’s hardness, making it more scratch resistant. It also doesn’t need repeat treatments to retain its long-term durability, making it perfect for businesses with high traffic, such as retail or manufacturing. Over time, this saves your business money.
- Not slippery—Many companies opt for concrete to avoid workplace accidents. Polished concrete is no more slippery than regular concrete, and is far less slick than typical linoleum or marble. To be extra safe, polished concrete can be coated with anti-slip conditioners.
- Versatile—The great thing about polished concrete is that it looks great anywhere, indoors or outdoors. Many companies use it for lobbies, production floors, warehouses, and hallways.
- Moisture resistant—Polished concrete “breathes”, making it more resistant to moisture issues than other flooring materials. Polished concrete floors can handle extreme temperatures.
- High light reflectivity—Any business appears more professional with a bright atmosphere. Polished concrete is popular in client-facing buildings due to its high light reflectivity. Because of this reflectivity, polished concrete decreases the need for artificial lighting.
- Sustainable flooring alternative—Concrete flooring doesn’t require hazardous coatings, cleaners, or adhesives. Polished concrete is a sustainable alternative to other flooring options.
Concrete Polishing vs Concrete Staining
Although concrete staining and concrete polishing are both ways to spruce up concrete flooring, they differ in terms of implementation and maintenance. Concrete stains can come in an array of colors, and are often used to create patterns with stencils or marbling techniques.
Staining is less expensive upfront than polishing, but it requires more upkeep. Staining is prone to scratching, especially in high-traffic areas, which eventually leads to discoloration.
The good news is that you can get the best of both worlds by staining and then polishing concrete. You’ll need to identify the staining method you want to use, which Painters USA can help you to choose. Acid staining burns color into concrete, so etching in the pre-polishing stage is unnecessary. Other stain products involve mechanical grinding before you polish. You can protect semi-transparent stains, acetone dye stains, or infusion acid stains by applying a clear coating on top.
Again, choose an experienced professional, as it’s important to know which grinding method to use and exactly how. If done improperly, you’ll be stuck with visible imperfections in your new floor.
Talk to a Concrete Polishing Expert
Polishing concrete floors is an investment into your business—from aesthetics to performance to safety. Turn your outdated floors into a stunning, easy-to-clean, environment-friendly surface that adds beauty and function to any business.
Painters USA offers industrial polished concrete and concrete staining solutions, and we have more than 40 years of experience. Our experts ensure that your business has the perfect floor for your needs in the years to come.