Concrete floors have long been known for their durability and cost saving features. Polished concrete has become a popular alternative to other flooring materials because of those benefits as well as being aesthetically appealing to the eye. Many retailers, warehouses and homeowners are turning to polished concrete floors that imitate the look of polished stone because it is harder and stronger than other floor finishes. A polished concrete floor has a glossy, mirror-like finish attained by using heavy duty polishing machines fitted with diamond embedded abrasive disks to grind down surfaces to the desired degree of shine and smoothness. These segments are course enough to remove minor pits, blemishes, stains or light coatings from the floor in preparation for final smoothing. Depending on the diamond grit you use to polish a concrete floor, you can achieve different ranges of polish and different levels of sheen, from matte to glossy.
There are several levels you can achieve using a concrete diamond polish to create the degree of sheen you are looking for. A level 1 concrete polish will generally look more hazy and have little clarity or reflection. A level 2 concrete polish produces a low luster matte finish with a slight overhead reflection. A level 3 concrete polish uses a higher diamond abrasive and will have a much higher sheen and good light reflectivity. A level 4 concrete produces a high level of sheen and you can see your reflection with total clarity. Depending on the condition of the concrete, this initial rough grinding is generally a three- to four-step process. During the polishing process, a sealer is applied, which sinks into the concrete. It protects the concrete from the inside out as well as hardens and densifies the concrete. Concrete polishing eliminates the need for waxes or other materials to be applied to your floor.
The design options for polished concrete are vast. You can finish your concrete look with coloring, scoring, patterns, and other designs. Stained polished concrete is one way to add color to an existing concrete floor and is one of the most popular applications for transforming concrete slabs. Colored concrete achieves a unique outcome through combining colors, applications, techniques, etc. Also of note are concrete dyes. They are often used with polished concrete because they are easy to use and offer a more vibrant color.
There are many benefits to choosing a polished concrete floor. There is a lower lifetime cost to polished concrete. These floors are easy to clean and maintain and eliminate the need for messy waxes or coatings. Polished concrete only needs to be refinished once every five to ten years. Polished concrete is also aesthetically appealing because it is shiny and provides a design that has a natural stone appeal and appears expensive and elegant. Because of its high light reflectivity, polished concrete projects a bright, clean and professional image that is important to many retailers and other public facilities. It is also environmentally friendly! Polished concrete has no volatile organic compounds and since no coatings are applied, such as waxes, urethanes or epoxies, there is no hazardous waste.
In today's world, concrete is no longer a boring gray slab of cement. The possibilities are endless to achieve smooth, high luster floors.