Guide To Polished Concrete Floors
Polished Concrete Flooring Process
Heavy-duty polishing machines equipped with diamond-impregnated disks create polished concrete floors through a multistep process. Polishing machines gradually grind down concrete surfaces with increasingly minor cuts to the desired shine and smoothness. ArmourFlo expert floor installers offer options to choose the desired level of sheen – from satin to high-gloss — that meets your maintenance and aesthetic requirements. You have limitless possibilities with a polished concrete floor due to the combination of color varieties, patterns, and styles.
Before polishing a floor, ArmourFlo specialists will remove old floor coatings, properly seal cracks and joints, and repair any damage to the existing floor. ArmourFlo specialists can install a new concrete floor if specified. Then, we treat the floor with a chemical densifier. Our concrete floor densifier fills any gaps or natural holes in the material. The densifier chemically reacts with the surface, simultaneously penetrating any open areas while hardening the surface. Once the chemical densifier has been applied and dry, ArmourFlo installers begin the polishing and vacuuming process, similar to sanding wood. One starts with a lower grit and progresses to a higher grit for smoothness. In the end, applying a polish guard can increase the stain and chemical resistance to nearly 100%.
Polished Concrete Environmental Advantages
Polished concrete floors will improve your house’s air quality and increase your health in general. Indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental dangers experienced by people due to an average of ninety percent of our time spent indoors. Polished concrete helps eliminate allergens, dust, and more.
Many flooring products can give off harsh chemical odors and dramatically affect people sensitive to chemicals. Some flooring, such as synthetic carpeting, contains VOCs, also known as volatile organic compounds. These dangerous materials often are accompanied by the adhesives or padding used in the carpet installation process. Even if you do not have carpet, some of the adhesives used under linoleum or vinyl sheets can also house volatile organic compounds.
Polished concrete is a natural green flooring alternative that uses material fundamental to every construction project and that gives off no VOCs, and any chemicals used in the process are VOC compliant. Adding extra flooring material to a project results in more significant expenditures and environmental concerns. Polishing existing concrete reduces the environmental impact and costs associated with flooring.
Polished concrete also lowers energy costs long-term. Reflective concrete brightens interior spaces, which reduces the need for artificial lighting. The thermal mass of concrete also stays cooler, reducing energy use. In addition, easy maintenance eliminates the need for costly cleaning, repair, or replacement, further decreasing the environmental footprint.
Types of Concrete Floor Polishes
Polishing can expose more or less aggregate in the concrete, enhancing its natural beauty. The term aggregate refers to a “broad category of coarse to medium-grained particulate material used in construction, including sand, gravel, crushed stone, slag, recycled concrete, and geosynthetic aggregates.” For example, a Cream Polish affects the topmost layer of the concrete. As a result, it is the smoothest and most reliable concrete polish finish as it readily accepts dyes and stains with higher consistency than other polishes to produce the best coloring. A Salt and Pepper Polish further exposes sand or fine aggregates in the concrete, presenting more variation in the floor’s appearance. Finally, an Aggregate Polish goes further and exposes larger aggregates in the concrete for a more dramatic design effect.
Staining Polished Concrete
Stained concrete offers a visual impact in any space. So often, businesses and institutions choose to color stain a concrete floor to demarcate an area and have it stand out. Professionally installed stains can produce antiqued or varied effects or resemble the look of earthy elements like tanned leather and natural stone. Stains never peel, fade, or chip once the chemical reaction is complete. Stained concrete is a long-lasting color solution that is also low maintenance, safe, hygienic, cost-saving, and beautiful.
Polished Concrete that is Scored
Scored polished concrete floors display distinctive designs and patterns made by cutting a series of grooves into the concrete. Scoring concrete is done on a structurally stable slab indoors or outdoors and new or old concrete.
Scoring options include radial lines, diamonds, stars, borders, rectangles, and other shapes. Once the scoring is complete, the floor can be stained with different colors. Our most common design in scored concrete is a grid pattern, but custom designs like company logos or intricate, hand-scored configurations are growing in popularity.
Benefits of Polishing Your Concrete Floor
1. Cost savings: Using the slab on grade as the finished floor surface is more cost-effective, maintenance costs are lower
2. More resistant to high foot traffic: Polished concrete surfaces are tightly compacted, eliminating the labor to maintain sheen.
3. Increased slip resistance: Polished concrete, though very shiny, does not create a slippery floor. The coefficient of friction increases compared to ordinary concrete by the mechanical grinding and flattening on the floor.
4. Meet or exceed OSHA standards for floors
5. Less maintenance and longer service life: Polished floors are easy to clean, requiring only occasional damp mopping. They also eliminate the need for messy waxes or coatings and the associated labor, time, and expense to apply them. The glossy surface of polished concrete resists the marks of forklift truck tires and staining from oil and chemical spills.
6. Resistant to moisture transmission issues: Polished concrete allows the floor to breathe and eliminates issues that arise with other flooring materials that seal off the concrete, such as tile, etc.
7. High light reflectivity: Important for office building floors, hotels, restaurants, and other public facilities that want to project a bright, clean, professional image. It also saves energy by reducing artificial lighting requirements
8. A sustainable flooring alternative: Polished concrete does not require hazardous coatings, cleaners, or adhesives and typically contains no VOCs, making it friendly for USBG LEED projects.
9. Reduced tire wear: Natural concrete’s uneven, abrasive texture causes tires to wear. ArmourFlo polished concrete floors make the entire surface smooth without abrasion.
10. Minimal production shutdown: Dry-mechanically polished concrete can be used immediately after the process is complete. It is a clean process without toxic or hazardous chemicals, and floors can often be serviced while a plant is in full production.
11. No dusting: Unpolished concrete experiences particles of dust pushed to the surface through hydrostatic pressure, which can cause high maintenance costs. Polished concrete flooring eliminates maintenance costs.
Ready for a polished concrete floor in your home, business, or institution?
Give us a call to speak with an ArmourFlo Specialist at (502) 208-4067.