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  Nationwide Industrial Concrete Flooring Contractors & Concrete Finishing Specialists

Back The ultimate guide to polished concrete

Polished concrete is a wax-free material that offers a smart, high-sheen finish. Recent advancement in technology and equipment has enabled contractors to give all different types of concrete floors a polished finished.

A huge number of warehouses and offices have started to make use of polished floors; they are far more durable and long lasting compared to granite, tile, or marble surfaces. Homeowners have also learned of this material's durability and have begun to make use of polished concrete; its smooth and professional appearance is extremely elegant in a domestic setting.

Polished concrete floors are highly versatile; they enable you to choose a specific finish varying from satin to high gloss.

If you’d like to learn more about this versatile material, and how it could benefit your next project, you’re in the right place. This is our ultimate guide to polished concrete flooring.


What is polished concrete?

Polished concrete is a type of concrete flooring that has been treated with a series of mechanical grinding and polishing steps to create a smooth and glossy surface. The process involves using progressively finer diamond abrasives to grind down the concrete surface until it becomes smooth and reflective.

How are polished concrete floors made?

The process of creating a polished concrete floor includes several precise steps. When carried out by experienced professionals, like the team at Nationwide Concreting, the results are impressive. Our process is as follows:

1. Clean and patch the surface

It’s essential to prepare the surface thoroughly - this is particularly true when polishing an old existing concrete floor, but still relevant when it’s newly laid.

We’ll clean the entire surface and remove any stains to ensure they don’t get preserved underneath the polish. Stubborn stains may need to be tackled with a high-strength solution, a process that demands good ventilation and requires our team to wear protective eyewear and clothing.

Once the floor has been cleaned, it will be easier to spot imperfections in the concrete. Any cracks will be filled with concrete crack filler, and any protruding pieces of metal must be chipped out.

2. Test the hardness of the concrete

Once we’re satisfied that any imperfections have been taken care of, we will measure the hardness of the concrete using Measurement of Hardness Scale (MOHS) picks. The result will determine which grinding discs are suitable for use on the concrete floor.

3. Treat the floor with a concrete grinder

Standard sanders aren’t tough enough to grind concrete. That’s why we use a specialised tool called a concrete grinder. During the polishing process, the concrete surface is first ground with coarse diamond buffer to remove any surface imperfections, such as cracks or stains. Then, progressively finer diamond abrasives are used to create a smooth and glossy finish. Finally, we’ll apply a spray-on densifier to make the surface less permeable, then make the final grinding pass.

After grinding, we thoroughly clean the concrete floor to remove all dust and debris.

4. Polish and seal the concrete floor

This step requires completely dry conditions. We attach a polishing pad to the grinder and use it to buff and smooth the concrete. The final stage is sealing the floor with a water or solvent-based sealer. This may either be applied with a roller or sprayed on. Sealers protect the concrete against grease, dirt and other stains and a glossy sealer will also add a high-sheen effect.

Polished concrete floors are available in a range of finishes, from a matte to high-gloss appearance, depending on the level of sheen desired. They can also be customised with various colours, stains, and patterns to create a unique and visually appealing flooring option.


Benefits of polished concrete floors

There are many benefits to polished concrete floors. These include:

Durability

Concrete floors are highly durable and can withstand heavy foot traffic, machinery, and other wear and tear. When polished, the surface becomes even harder and more resistant to damage.

Low maintenance

Polished concrete floors require minimal maintenance, as they do not need waxing or sealing. They are easy to clean and do not trap dirt or dust, making them an ideal option for people with allergies.

Cost-effective

Polished concrete floors are relatively affordable compared to other flooring options, especially when you consider the long-term durability and low maintenance requirements.

Aesthetic appeal

Polished concrete floors can be customised with different colours, stains, and finishes to create a unique and modern look. They can also enhance the natural beauty of the concrete by exposing the aggregate and creating a terrazzo-like effect. In addition to this, there are specific benefits for residential and commercial properties.


Residential benefits

  • Polished concrete is far more durable than most other materials - due to its robust nature, it is substantially less vulnerable to damage than other floor coverings – perfect for busy homes.

  • Polished concrete floors are simple and easy to clean - they don’t accumulate dirt, dust, or any kind of allergen – great for allergy sufferers and busy lifestyles.

  • Polished concrete has the widest range of colours and designs in the marketplace. No other floor covering has more variety, meaning plenty of home customisation options.

  • The use of polished concrete eliminates the need for floor covering materials - this could mean considerable savings when it comes to decorating in the home.

Commercial and retail benefits:

  • Using polished concrete floors in commercial or retail premises is a very cost-effective option compared to any other material that can be used as a floor covering. This is boosted by its significantly lower maintenance costs.

  • Commercial or retail polished concrete floors are far more resistant to regular use, for example in areas of high footfall and traffic.

  • Polished concrete floors have an extended lifespan when compared to most other materials used for floor coverings, meaning investments have longevity.

  • Commercial and retail polished concrete floors have the added benefit of being resistant to moisture transmission – a problem that can lead to damp in commercial premises if untreated.

  • Polished concrete floors have high reflectivity, a unique benefit which gives projects a clean, bright and professional image. This is great news for the owners of hotels, restaurants, airports etc.

How long does polished concrete last?

The lifespan of a polished concrete floor depends on a variety of factors, including the quality of the initial installation, the level of traffic and use the floor experiences, and how well it is maintained.

With proper maintenance, a polished concrete floor can last up to 20 years or more. Regular cleaning and periodic re-polishing can help extend the life of the floor and keep it looking its best. It is important to avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning methods that can damage the surface of the concrete.

In addition, the use of high-quality concrete, proper installation techniques, and the use of appropriate sealers and coatings can also help increase the lifespan of a polished concrete floor. Working with an experienced concrete contractor, like Nationwide Concreting, and following best practices for maintenance can help ensure the longevity of a polished concrete floor.

Can polished concrete be stained?

Yes, polished concrete can be stained to achieve a variety of colours and effects. Concrete staining is a process of applying acid-based or water-based stains to the concrete surface to create a translucent, variegated appearance. The staining process creates a chemical reaction with the minerals in the concrete, creating unique patterns and colour variations.


Improve your property with polished concrete

There’s no denying that polished concrete is a practical and attractive floor material – it's also grown in popularity in the past decade, featuring much more heavily in high-end design in recent years.

To find out more about using polished concrete at your premises, get in touch. We have amassed over 40 years of experience in the concrete industry, offering an efficient, streamlined service to a range of clients, both domestic and commercial.

Fill out our contact form or give us a call on 01590 676585.

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