In these modern times, everybody is looking for the best, and that is also evident in the construction industry. The demand for polished concrete is ever growing because people are starting to appreciate the numerous benefits it provides. Polished concrete is more durable, looks better, and doesn't need as much maintenance as plain concrete. If you are a contractor starting out, or you want to DYI your floor, then here are some basic guidelines to help you keep you smiling with polished concrete.
Test the concrete condition
Figuring out the condition of the floor should be your first step before polishing. Conduct the MOHS hardness test to figure out how hard the concrete surface is. This will enable you to gauge the hardness levels of the concrete, thereby giving you a pretty good idea what grinding tool you need to use. The harder the concrete is, the coarser the tool you need.
You need to prepare your surface for polishing. If you've got any sealers or paint on the floor, get rid of them. Such coatings may interfere with the polishing process when the layer is too thick. However, if the coat is light, you can simply ignore this step. Also, remember to repair any fills or cracks present in the concrete. Otherwise, the floor surface won't be as smooth as you intend it to be.
Begin the polishing
This is also known as the grinding process. At this stage, you want to start with the rougher grinding tools before using the finer polishing ones. The grinding process needs to be done in several passes for the best effect. When grinding, it's advisable to use the wet grinding technique. This technique uses water to reduce the dust and cool the machine. That means a longer lifespan for your grinders and less dust in your eyes.
Densifiers are liquid chemicals used to solidify and harden the concrete surface. This process ensures that your concrete reacts better to the final polishing process. Once the concrete is hard, the final polishing produces a much better product. Densification also provides an extra protection layer for the concrete, thereby limiting staining and water penetration. It's advisable to use lithium based densifiers because they react faster as opposed to sodium based ones.
This step uses very fine grinding tools as compared to the grinding process. The floor is continually refined to produce a spectacular shine. Watch out for any scratches left from the previous steps and carefully get rid of them. You'll need to do a number of passes and as your experience levels on, you'll know when to switch to a finer tool. The amount of material your tools are getting off the floor should guide you when switching to a finer tool. The catch is, as you finalize, less and less material needs to be removed.
For more information and assistance, talk with a concrete grinding and polishing company, such as Nova-Cut Concrete Sawing Pty Ltd.