Video showing results of polishing a 4 day old concrete slab to a 1500 Grit mechanical finish without using sealers or “juicing” the floor to achieve the high shine. Floor represents a typical salt & pepper look, is flat and has excellent clarity and shine. Entire project was done using a WerkMaster Propane COLOSSOS XT, including edging.
What is Polished Concrete?
The popularity of polished concrete is growing worldwide. The idea of using an existing concrete substrate that has already been included into the cost of construction of a home, condo, commercial, industrial, retail or institutional facility is gaining global acceptance.
Many large “Big Box Store” chains have elected to go with a form of polished concrete resulting in people being more aware of the look, feel and durability of polished concrete as an alternative to conventional flooring options.
There is some confusion as to what “Polished Concrete” actually is. The “Polished Shiny Look” can be achieved using one of two processes.
1) Mechanical polish – cream – salt and pepper – full aggregate
2) Chemical finishes – acrylic sealers, urethanes, epoxy coatings, paint, etc
Mechanical Polish Process
The mechanical process for polishing or abrading a concrete surface involves the use of a concrete floor grinder combined with various grits of diamond abrasive tooling. Similar to sanding hardwood or polishing marble, the process involves using progressive grits of metal bond abrasives followed with resin bond diamond polishing pads. During the polishing process the floor will need to be densified.
Diamond abrasives come in various grits or levels of aggressiveness with 16 Grit being very aggressive leaving deep scratches in the floor to 3000 Grit that produces a very high “Wet Look” shine.
Depending on the finished look you are trying to achieve; Cream – Salt & Pepper – Full Aggregate Exposure and what level of shine or reflection; Matt, Satin, Semi-Gloss or High Gloss you will need to determine which grit and diamond abrasive (metal bond or resin bond) to begin and finish with. Also, if there is an existing coating (mastic, epoxy, glue, paint, etc.) it will have to be removed. An impregnating or topical sealer may be applied to help protect the surface from staining and spalling.
Chemical Finish Process:
Quite often a floor that has an epoxy paint or polyaspartic coating applied to it giving it a “finished smooth shiny look” is considered polished concrete. The smooth satin or matt finish look that is found in many “Big Box” stores is achieved by applying acrylic or urethane sealers on concrete that has been washed, burnished with a diamond impregnated polishing pad on a high speed propane floor burnisher and accepted and viewed as being polished concrete. These finishes have a limited life expectancy and will eventually have to be replaced or refinished. Epoxy paints have a typical life span of three to five years and acrylics and urethanes from one to five years. Wear ability and life expectancy depends on foot and vehicle traffic, the elements, salt, corrosive materials that the floor may be exposed to as well as UV sun exposure.
Advantages of Mechanical Process:
Like the beautiful long lasting shine of a diamond or sapphire gem that started its journey as a dull rough piece of stone; concrete if properly abraded, can also deliver a beautiful shine that will endure for many years. The advantage of mechanical polished concrete floors over the chemical process is the shine that has been achieved by following the appropriate sequential steps will outlast a chemically induced shine.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.
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.
- Great in small spaces
- Removes lippage on Terrazo & Stone
- Use on concrete, stone, terrazzo & hardwood
- Edge to within 1/8” (3mm) of the wall
- Disassembles for ease of mobilization
- 220V or 110V with suitable adapter
- Auto Sensing Variable Frequency Drive
- Runs on 230V 1 phase or 3 phase power
- Use on concrete, stone, terrazzo & hardwood