Polished concrete has rapidly become a popular choice for residential, commercial, and industrial flooring, offering an elegant and durable solution for various needs. This comprehensive guide will provide you with a detailed overview of polished concrete, including its benefits, the best floors for it, aggregate exposure classes, and sheen levels.
Polished concrete is a versatile and visually appealing flooring option made by grinding and polishing concrete to achieve a smooth, high-gloss finish. This process utilizes industrial-grade diamonds and specialized machinery to refine the concrete surface, ultimately creating a glossy, mirror-like finish. Polished concrete can be customized to suit various design preferences and can be tailored to the specific requirements of a project.
The polishing process begins with a coarse diamond abrasive to remove any surface imperfections and continues with progressively finer grits until the desired level of shine is achieved. The floor may also be treated with a densifier during the process, which helps to harden the concrete and protect it from damage.
Benefits of Polished Concrete
Durability: Polished concrete is highly durable and can withstand heavy foot traffic, machinery, and daily wear and tear. Its resilience makes it an ideal choice for both residential and commercial spaces.
Low Maintenance: Polished concrete requires minimal maintenance compared to other flooring options. Regular sweeping, mopping, and occasional use of a neutral pH cleaner are sufficient to keep the floor looking great for years. Unlike other flooring materials, polished concrete does not require waxing, stripping, or frequent refinishing.
Cost-effective: Polished concrete is an affordable alternative to traditional flooring materials like hardwood, tile, or carpet. Although the initial investment may be higher than some other options, its longevity and low maintenance costs make it a cost-effective solution in the long run.
Environmentally Friendly: Polished concrete is a sustainable flooring choice as it utilizes the existing concrete slab, reducing the need for additional materials. Additionally, it does not require the use of harsh chemicals for cleaning or maintenance, and the reflective surface can help to reduce lighting costs.
Aesthetic Appeal: With various design options, polished concrete can be customized to achieve a range of looks, from sleek and modern to rustic and industrial. The process can incorporate colors, patterns, and textures to create a unique and visually appealing floor.
Aggregate Exposure Classes
The look of your concrete is bound only by your imagination. There are only two decisions that absolutely have to be made: the level of aggregate exposure and the finished sheen.
A Cream Finish, the most industrial finish, reveals no sand or other aggregate. It is a subtle finish of textures and colours derived from a predominantly cement-based surface. The process behind achieving Salt and Pepper and Full Aggregate finishes is very different and involves layers of the concrete surface being progressively removed, initially revealing the finer sands and stones (for Salt and Pepper), before reaching the larger stone below (for a Full Aggregate finish).
Class A: Cream Polish
Little aggregate exposure.
Salt and Pepper
Fine and random or no medium aggregate exposure.
Class C: Medium Aggregate
Medium and random or no large aggregate exposure.
Class D: Large Aggregate
Large aggregate with little or no fine aggregate exposure.
Level 1: Matte/No Sheen
Floor has little if any reflectivity.
Level 2: Satin/Low Sheen
Satin appearance with or without slight diffused reflection.
Level 3: Semi Polished/Satin+
Semi-polished. Disffused reflection but objects can be easily identified.
Level 4: High Gloss Polish
Highly polished. Reflections are sharp and crisp with mirror-like clarity.
Want Some Colour? You Have A Rainbow of Options
Best Floors for Polished Concrete:
Retail Spaces: Polished concrete is ideal for retail stores and shopping centers due to its durability and low maintenance requirements. It can handle high foot traffic and is easy to clean, making it an excellent choice for businesses looking to minimize downtime.
Offices: Polished concrete provides a modern and clean aesthetic, perfect for office spaces. Its durability and low maintenance make it a practical choice for busy work environments. It also helps create a professional atmosphere that can impress clients and visitors.
Warehouses and Industrial Spaces: Due to its ability to withstand heavy machinery, polished concrete is an excellent option for warehouses and industrial spaces. It is resistant to abrasions and can handle the rigors of daily operations, providing a safe and functional work environment.
Residential Spaces: Polished concrete is becoming increasingly popular in residential settings, offering a stylish and low-maintenance flooring option for living rooms, kitchens, and basements. Its durability makes it suitable for high-traffic areas and its stain resistance is perfect for families with young children or pets.
Restaurants and Cafes: Polished concrete is perfect for restaurants and cafes, providing a durable and easy-to-clean surface that can handle spills, stains, and high foot traffic. Its customizable appearance allows for the creation of unique and inviting spaces that enhance the dining experience.
Why Polished Concrete?
Concrete is densified, hardening the top layer for additional strength and scratch/damage resistance.
Beautiful and practical finish: light reflection, dust-proofed, scratch and water resistant.
Polished concrete has the lowest lifetime cost of any flooring option in both installation and maintenance costs.
Whether you have a garage, warehouse or commercial space, Polished concrete is a fantastic option.
Polished concrete is extremely environmentally friendly to both the natural environment and to the health of your customers and employees.
After completion, floors can be cleaned with simply water and burnishing is unnecessary for long periods of time.