There are three main styles of polished concrete flooring.
Please keep in mind that we can not guarantee what the final polished concrete will look like when we polish your pre-laid concrete flooring as we have no way of knowing what the floor is composed of.
We also lay concrete floors so if you are looking for a brand new floor to be poured and have a specific look in mind, get in touch with us and we will help you plan your perfect floor from start to finish.
This look involves grinding and then polishing the top layer of concrete on the floor leaving a smooth glossy look. This is the quickest of the polished concrete looks to achieve and requires less grinding which makes this a very popular choice. The final color depends on the color of the concrete that was laid, but in some instances a stain can be added to modify or improve the final color of the polished concrete. Keep in mind that the top layer of concrete is fairly brittle and may not last as long as a deeper polish.
Salt N Pepper Finish
The Salt n Pepper polished concrete look is achieved by grinding down through the top layer of your concrete floor to the first layer of aggregate which usually contains small stones and sand. It is this stone and sand that gives this level of polishing the salt and pepper look that so many love.
Exposed Aggregate Finish
Finally, there is the exposed aggregate concrete floor that is achieved by grinding all the way down to the larger aggregate used in the concrete mix. This is the look that builders go for when they are looking to make a statement with their floor as it creates a
striking and reflective floor once the concrete is polished.
How Do We Do It?
There are two main methods of polishing a concrete floor. The first involves mechanical polishing, while the other is achieved through the addition of a glossy sealer to the floor.
Mechanical Concrete Floor Polishing
In this process a grinder is used to grind off the top layer of the concrete floor. Various grinders are used depending on how deep you want to go. The rougher
grinds leave deep marks on the floor and expose more of the aggregate which is then polished later on, while a less aggressive grinding can lead to the smooth polished look much sooner. Usually the process begins with the rough grinder before moving onto a much finer grinding process to enhance the gloss effect. This is usually a three to four step process but for some floors can involve even more grinding and polishing steps. At this point a densifier is usually added to the concrete to help solidify the floor and also to protect the floor from water damage. The densifier coating also helps the polishing of the floor and can add brilliant glossy finish to the floor.
After this the floor is polished and buffed repeatedly until the right level is achieved. At this point, your concrete floor will have a beautiful gloss and just the right amount of reflection. Many people leave the floors at this point, but an additional protective layer can be applied to the concrete floor to further protect it from stains, spillage and general wear and tear. As polished concrete floors are naturally very hard wearing, this step is not always necessary but can help add a little extra protection to your floor if you’re willing to maintain the floor regularly.
Creating Polished Concrete Floors Using A Sealer
This process starts off the same as mechanical floor polishing, the top layer of concrete is ground and polished until the desired look is achieved. Then, instead of densifying and polishing, a sealer coating is applied to the concrete floor finishing the process. The sealer comes in a matt or glossy finish and looks just as good as a polished floor. The main difference between this approach and mechanical polishing is cost and durability.
Using a sealer is cheaper than polishing concrete but will need to be replaced fairly regularly over time. Generally the top layer will last up to 5 years, but keep in mind that the coating will eventually need to be replaced. Mechanical polishing will last a lifetime and despite costing more, unless you plan to maintain your polished concrete floor regularly, is also a much better long term option.
It is also possible to polish the top layer of concrete without grinding and then sealing with a top coat of special concrete polish. This is very cost effective method of achieving the polished concrete look, but does not last nearly as long as polishing the concrete through grinding, and will need to be maintained every few years as the polish will wear away. This also does not modify the concrete top layer so any blemishes and marks will be visible. Advised only if very frequent maintenance is planned for the floor.