What You Need to Know About Prior to Polishing New Concrete Floor Installations

Posted on: 27 September 2021

While plain concrete creates highly functional and durable floors or pavements, it does not make for the most attractive look. The good news is that a wide variety of decorative finishing options, including concrete polishing, are available for turning ordinary-looking concrete into stunning surfaces. 

A polished finish not only increases the wear resistance and durability of concrete surfaces but also gives them the beautiful and shiny appearance they're known for. If you're thinking about installing polished concrete floors and want to understand how polished concrete is achieved, you've come to the right place.

Here's a general overview of what you need to know about polishing new concrete floor installations.

Surface preparation

The first step in upgrading plain concrete to polished concrete is proper preparation of the concrete surface to be polished. The amount of preparation to be performed depends on the condition of the surface and how much dirt and grime it has accumulated.

For new concrete floor installations, the prep work typically involves sweeping and mopping the surface to remove any built-up dirt. Older concrete floors, on the other hand, often require fixing any cracks or other forms of damage to the surface before cleaning the concrete for polishing.

Concrete polishing

When it comes to concrete polishing, proper grinding is required. Concrete grinding is the process of smoothing and levelling down concrete surfaces until the desired level of shine and smoothness are achieved. This process typically requires the use of a concrete grinder and various types of abrasive grit discs. 

To produce a high level of sheen or smoothness (polished concrete), the discs are gradually replaced during the concrete grinding process, moving from coarse grit to fine grit and extra-fine abrasives. This results in a smooth, glossy finish that looks aesthetically pleasing. 

Concrete grinding can either be performed using dry or wet techniques. Dry concrete grinding is generally favoured over wet concrete grinding because it is convenient, faster and much better for the environment.

When to apply densifier during concrete polishing

A concrete densifier is a chemical compound that's applied to the surface of ground concrete to help harden the concrete and increase its surface density and abrasion resistance. It accomplishes this by filling the concrete pores and making loose and weak concrete particles hold together more tightly. 

Concrete polishing specialists generally recommend that you get your concrete tested for hardness in order to determine when to apply a densifier. At what stage of polishing you should apply the densifier will depend on if your concrete is soft, medium or hard.

Although polished concrete is tough and durable, it's not completely maintenance-free. That said, you'll need to take proper care of your polished concrete to maximise its lifespan. Contact a concrete contractor near you for expert help with meeting all your polished concrete installation and maintenance needs.