The flooring industry has undergone several changes in the recent past. Polished concrete floors are a rapidly growing phenomenon that has taken the industry by storm. The use of polished concrete in retail, wholesale, warehouses, malls, and decorative facilities has made the world sit up and take notice. And that’s not all.
Here’s a quick rundown on how this residential and commercial flooring type has created its mark in the architectural as well as the retail world.
Polished Concrete – the Go-to Flooring Option in 2020
New standards and benchmarks are making their presence felt in the flooring industry in 2020. Polished floors in concrete are getting raving reviews for their functionality and features. Experts in commercial and industrial floors recommend such floors for their reduced construction costs, high aesthetic appeal, and durability. Another vital point that makes these floors the go-to solution is their low maintenance costs and negligible impacts on the environment.
In comparison to other flooring options such as terrazzo, the costs of polished concrete are not so prohibitive. Of late, the advent of diamond-impregnated discs and diamond dust has brought about a reduction in the time taken for polishing concrete. They have also enhanced the quality of the completed task tremendously. Besides, it’s possible to produce polished tiles and slabs in huge quantities, thereby reducing their overall cost of production.
Polished concrete tiles and floors are no longer for the privileged few or only those establishments with large-enough budgets. These days, polished floors made of concrete are found everywhere because of their many benefits and affordability. The flooring industry has not looked away from polished concrete floors ever since they have attained the same aesthetic values and attributes imparted by polished stone and terrazzo.
The Process of Polishing Concrete
There are several steps of grinding and polishing that have to performed by professional contractors and flooring experts before the finishing phase. The initial phase involves grinding through metal bond tooling. Concrete floors are diamond ground before undergoing treatment with chemical densifiers. Thereafter, finer diamond polishing equipment is used for more grinding and polishing. It is common to find diamond grinding tools being sequenced as per their grit levels. They contain diverse kinds of polishing pads that are designed for the purpose of polishing concrete. The grits are applied in line with the desired shine and reflection, and as specified by the client.
The polished floors resulting after multiple turns of grinding, honing, polishing and other processes are a result of high-speed planetary equipment and a densifier. The latter is applied either during the polishing or honing process as per the type of concrete in place. The most popular densifiers are those that are put to use for mixtures related to sodium, lithium, potassium silicate, etc. When researched properly, you find details on this blog about professionals applying silicate to the surface of concrete to react with the Calcium Hydroxide present in the concrete. Calcium silicate, which is a crystalline/glassy compound, is formed as a result of the reaction. The calcium silicate developed near the surface of the pores present in the concrete is responsible for increasing the abrasion resistance and surface hardness of the floor. An increase in surface hardness eliminates the need for surface coatings in several applications.
Different sealing guards and penetrating products can be applied at a later stage for increasing the polished concrete’s resistance to acids, water, oils, and fats. The coloration and stains of the concrete floors can be enriched through advanced coating jobs. Colors enhance the reflectivity and beauty of the floors in more ways than one and are a welcome addition. Experienced craftsmen in the world of polished concrete have the skills to incorporate diverse levels of polish to suit the requirements of their clients – from high to low reflectivity and every level in between, they can do it all.
Dry & Wet Polishing of Concrete
Modern-age contractors have the capabilities of performing wet and dry polishing on concrete. In general, they use the dry polishing techniques during the initial grinding steps; this effectively means that dry polishing is useful for removing any extra concrete. With the surface becoming smoother and shinier, professional floor layers gravitate from metal-bonded resin-bonded abrasives made of diamond. The transformation of the polishing made from dry to wet is gradual and consistent.
In the wet polishing process, water is applied for cooling off the diamond abrasives. The grinding dust is also removed with the help of water. Water is used for polishing as it serves as a lubricant that reduces friction. The lifespan of resin-bonded disks and other polishing abrasives is increased because of water; else, they may melt under extremely high-temperature conditions. Wet polishing of concrete causes slurry that has to be disposed of in an environment-friendly manner after proper collection. On the other hand, dry polishing of concrete involves a dust-containment system to vacuum the dust and grime that remains.
Polished Concrete Floors are the Latest Trend
The cost-effectiveness of polished concrete is one of the most trending benefits of this flooring solution. Penetrating hardeners is applied by certain contractors once the initial phase of grinding is over; this is to densify and solidify the polished surfaces of concrete. The products can be used for existing and new floors; they react with the concrete to create hard, crystalline structures. These substances are also responsible for eliminating the concerns of dusting concrete while offering additional protection to staining and water penetration. Resin-bonded disks are also in use by contractors for withstanding the friction caused by dry polishing, thus helping the full process to go dry.
There is a lot of buzz with regards to the goodness of polished floors in other commercial setups, industries, factory outlets, and domestic environments as well. The changes brought about in the flooring industry by polished concrete are wide-ranged and aplenty. Undoubtedly, these flooring solutions have changed the way contractors suggest different floor options, especially across the last decade or so. Reach out to your preferred flooring contractors and flooring experts to get your dream polished concrete floors installed – right away!