What is Polished Concrete?
The demand for polished concrete floors is growing worldwide. The process of polishing concrete with a concrete floor grinder is similar to refinishing wood with a floor sander. Concrete grinders are used to gradually grind down the concrete surface using a combination of metal bond diamond abrasives followed by resin bond diamonds to achieve the desired shine and smoothness.
Like sandpaper that comes in different “grits or levels of abrasiveness or aggressiveness,” concrete diamond abrasives also come in different grits, starting as low as 16 grit and going as high as 3000 grit. The lower the grit, the coarser and more aggressive the tool will be. Conversely, if you want your polished concrete to have a high shine or high gloss look, finishing with a 3000 grit will usually provide the best results.
Steps to Polishing Concrete
Identify the condition of the concrete
If you plan to polish an existing concrete floor you must first evaluate the condition of the surface. You will need to determine the hardness of the concrete with a MOHS Concrete Hardness Tester.
Prepare the surface
Remove any existing sealers and coatings. Repair/fill any surface cracks. If the floor has only minor blemishes or a very light coating, you can move on to initial rough grinding. .
Now you’re ready for the initial rough grinding with metal bond diamond abrasives that prepares the concrete for final smoothing. This is generally a three-to four-step process, depending on the condition of the concrete.
Densify the concrete
After performing the initial grinding, it’s often beneficial to apply a liquid chemical hardener to the concrete to help solidify and densify the surface and to provide extra protection from water penetration and staining. Hard concrete also produces a better polish. To learn more, see our densifiers page.
With each successive pass, the goal is to buff out the scratch pattern from the previous pass (lapping). As you gain more experience, you’ll know when to switch to the next-finer grit level by observing the floor surface and the amount of material being removed.
Once you get the look and polish you’re striving for, you may want to protect the surface by applying a commercial stain-guard product, especially if the surface will be exposed to grease, oil, or chemicals. Similar to Scotchgard for fabric, these solutions penetrate the surface to make the floor more resistant to stain absorption and dirt. They are usually applied by pump sprayer or wax applicator.
The importance of densifying concrete
A concrete floor that has been hardened or densified and polished will have an extremely long life expectancy compared to other flooring. For example, tile may only last 10–20 years, but a polished concrete floor that has been properly maintained may give 100+ years of service.
Another obvious but often overlooked aspect of polished concrete and terrazzo flooring is that fact that you are utilizing the existing substrate. All other flooring goes on top of a substrate of some kind, and at some point will peel, flake, stain, chip, bubble, or fade.
WerkMaster has a machine and solution to fit your requirements, even on countertops, stairs, risers and walls!
From the Scarab to the COLOSSOS XT, from surface prep to polishing, pound for pound, no other machines can outperform a WerkMaster. All WerkMaster machines, get to within 1/8” (3mm) of the wall, so – No Edging. Their versatility, speed, maneuverability, productivity and results set them apart from all competitors.
Not only are WerkMaster machines the best built in the industry, as all components are manufactured in North America to rigid standards, but we are also the only machine offering a 3 Year Parts and Labor Warranty.
WerkMaster™ pioneered Octi-Disc™ Technology in 2005
WerkMaster™ floor refinishing machines were initially manufactured to polish Absolute Black granite, one of the hardest stones to polish. Realizing a need for a machine that could also grind and polish terrazzo and concrete, as well as being able to refinish hardwood and VCT tile floors, the original machine was completely redesigned. The result is the WerkMaster’s patented eight head Octi-Disc™ Technology with the ULTRA-Flex Plug ‘N Go Tooling System. Our machines grind, sand, strip, buff, burnish, polish and edge to within 1/8″ (3 mm) of the wall or cabinet kick. The advantage of a WerkMaster is that one machine can outperform the competition’s technology on any hard surface – floors, walls, ledges, countertops, stairs and risers.
What makes WerkMaster™ so unique? Octi-Disc™ Technology and SPEED. Our 8 counter rotating, self-balancing heads spin at disc speeds that are unheard of and are unavailable on today’s planetary, direct drive or drum machines, and it allow all our machines to get to within 1/8″ (3mm) of the wall.
ULTRA-FLEX Plug ‘N Go Tooling System
Our new patent pending ULTRA- FLEX Plug ‘N Go Tooling System is a major advancement in tooling design. The challenge was to develop a system that would allow the machines to not only flatten a floor, but to follow a very wavy, uneven floor using the same tools and drive plates. The result was an ingenious system that uses various hardness rubber grommets, bumpers and INDEXING. No need to add heavy weights, simply increase or reduce point pressure by easily adding or removing Plug ‘N Go segments.
You can vary the desired flexibility allowing you to flatten the floor or follow the floor better than any planetary grinder or hardwood belt sander. How wavy? Remove deep birdbaths or fishbowls up to ¾ inch deep! Grind and polish around drains. Plug ‘N Go technology also eliminates the frustration and pain of dealing with lippage, expansion joints, large cracks, and curled wood floors or decks.