If you’re looking for concrete polishing services in Alexandria, VA, you’re probably thinking about making some dramatic changes to your home or business. Whether you’re pouring concrete floors or countertops, there are several steps a homeowner can take to elevate an otherwise matte and drab concrete floor to a polished, smooth, even more resistant material—all without the use of wax!
It’s no secret that concrete is one of the most popular materials for flooring and countertops. It’s durable, low-maintenance, and can be polished to a high sheen. In this blog post, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about concrete polishing. What is concrete polishing? Which kinds of concrete projects can I polish? What are the different methods of polishing? Read on to find out!
What Is Concrete Polishing?
Much like a woodworker will use sandpaper to wear wood’s rougher edges smooth, a concrete polisher will use machines to grind down the concrete until it shines, often starting with a coarser grit and working up to a very fine grit. A well-polished concrete floor will have a shiny, mirror-like finish, though the degree to which the floor shines can be altered by utilizing different polishing methods.
Typically, concrete is polished by using coarse fragments of diamonds bonded to a metallic matrix. Depending on the condition of the concrete and the desired finished effect, polishing a concrete floor with the coarsest setting will take between three and five passes. After the coarse grinding is complete, concrete polishers will move on to a diamond-studded plastic resin matrix, using continuously finer polishing disks until the floor is at the desired final grit.
Next, the concrete polisher will apply an impregnating sealer which further hardens and protects the concrete. This step also reduces the amount of labor involved when it comes time to maintain your concrete floors. Optionally, a contractor might apply a polishing compound as a final touch to offer the floor even more gloss. This also helps keep your floors dirt-resistant, which makes for easier cleanup in the long term.
What Kinds of Buildings Are Best for Concrete Floors?
Concrete floors are growing increasingly popular for their low-maintenance qualities, high durability, and long lifespan of the product. Concrete floors are easy to clean as well, which is why they are increasingly making their way from more industrial settings into modern home development as well. Here are some of the most common places to find concrete flooring:
· Car museums or showrooms
· Shopping centers or retail stores
· Warehouses or hangars
· Modern homes
Other Reasons to Go With Concrete
Aside from being incredibly durable, easy to clean, and long-lasting, polished concrete floors are lower maintenance than other flooring options that require constant reapplication of wax. They also reflect light well and contribute to an atmosphere’s overall brightness, and they do not require toxic chemicals to clean or coat their surface—meaning concrete floors are a better flooring alternative for the environment.
What Kinds of Concrete Projects Can I Polish?
Before you get all excited and start polishing concrete left and right, there are some considerations to keep in mind when it comes to proper polishing protocol. For example, concrete must be cured at least 28 days after pouring to ensure it has been fully set before polishing. The same goes for any kitchen countertops you may be planning to polish or cement furniture like a bench.
Additionally, it is important to note that not all concrete floors make viable candidates for polishing. Floors that have an unlevel top, are riddled with bubbles, or may be particularly porous are often better left unpolished. If you have any doubts about the status of your concrete floor, contact the concrete professionals at Concrete, Etc. for a consultation!
Are Polished Concrete Floors Dangerous to Walk On?
If you’ve seen concrete polishing taken to the extreme where the floors have a final, mirror-like finish, you know just how glossy concrete floors can be. Does this make concrete floors slippery or challenging to walk on?
In truth, unless your concrete floors have standing water, grease, or oil on the surface, they are unlikely to be any more slippery than other flooring—no matter how well-polished they are! In fact, they may even be less slippery than polished marble or waxed linoleum. Some manufacturers even supply an anti-slip conditioner that improves the traction of your concrete floor. Applying this conditioner is as simple as mopping it on after regular cleaning, though it must be reapplied continuously in order to be effective.
If you’re still concerned about your concrete floors becoming too slippery, there are a couple of other options for you. First, you can add an anti-slip grit to the polishing process to increase traction without altering the appearance of the finish. If you have a heavily trafficked area where you are concerned about slips and falls, you may also consider investing in rubber mats or throw rugs, which can also offer relief for those standing on concrete floors all day (as in a kitchen).
What Are the Different Kinds of Concrete Polishing?
Concrete lovers know that there’s more than one way to skin a cat—that’s why they’ve come up with two different ways of polishing your concrete floors or countertops to perfection. The three main types of concrete polishing are wet polishing, dry polishing, and combination polishing.
Wet polishing requires water as a means of dust mitigation, and it also acts to cool and lubricate the abrasive diamond matrices during the polishing process. One benefit to the wet polishing method is that it often increases the lifespan of the polishing materials themselves by protecting them from heat friction or other wear and tear. One downside to the wet polishing method is that it does create quite a mess. The floor will be covered with a slurry of ground concrete and water that will need to be disposed of as you make progress polishing your floor.
In contrast, dry polishing does not require water. The benefit of dry polishing is that most concrete flooring contractors have special dust collection devices to minimize the amount of mess as they work. The easier cleanup often makes this option preferable to contractors who aren’t concerned with replacing their polishing equipment.
And finally, some concrete floor polishers will opt for combination polishing, which starts with the dry method and eventually switches to the wet method when they get to some of the finer grits. This is to protect their resin-bonded abrasives without creating a large amount of mess, as more concrete is taken off in the first few passes with a coarser grit.
Concrete Polishing Alexandria, VA
Aside from looking clean and polished, concrete floors have a lot to offer; from their low-maintenance nature to their durability to even their eco-friendliness, concrete floors are becoming increasingly common in workspaces, industrial settings, and even renovated or newly constructed homes. We don’t foresee this trend reversing any time soon, especially with the supply chain being what it is and the cost of so many traditional flooring materials skyrocketing.
If you’re concrete curious and want to see if your space is a good candidate for these durable, water-resistant, mold-resistant concrete floors, contact Concrete, Etc. today for a consultation, or click here to browse our previous work!