Concrete polishing is the act of changing an existing concrete
surface by means of a mechanical process that involves cutting and/or refining
the surface to a desired finish. Polished concrete is one of many end results in
what is the processing of the concrete surface by mechanical refinement through
the use of multiple abrasives measured in grits.
Currently, the industry breaks down the process of concrete
polishing into grinding and polishing. Some within the industry simply use the
word "polishing" for the entire process. The process of polishing concrete
consists of three consecutive categories: grinding, honing, and polishing.
Each category is then broken down into multiple steps,
consisting of consecutively finer grit abrasives. During this process a
densifier or hardener is applied that is absorbed into the concrete creating a
chemical reaction that makes the polished concrete more dense and hard.
Not all processed concrete can be called polished concrete.
For example, the grinding and honing category of steps results in a matte to a
low, medium or high sheen appearance and does not go through the polishing
category of steps.
Steps Of Concrete
Ground concrete is the lowest category of steps of a
processed concrete surface. Any grit abrasive from approximately a 50-grit
resin and below is considered a grinding step. A ground concrete surface has
a flat appearance with no or very slight reflection and may at times have a
Honed concrete is the next category of steps above ground
concrete in the processing system. Any grit abrasive from approximately a
100-grit resin to a 400-grit resin is considered a honing step. A honed
concrete surface has a matte appearance and/or slight clarity of reflection
that has a low, medium or high sheen.
Polished concrete is the highest category of steps of
processed concrete. Any grit abrasive from approximately an 800-grit
resin and above, typically to a 1,500 or 3,000 grit, is considered a
polishing step. A polished concrete surface has clarity of reflection like a
mirror and has a glass-like finish.
The process of grinding, honing and polishing
concrete is more technical than most realize. There are many pre-existing
variables that can affect the end results of the process performed. Some of
these variables are within the contractor's control, such as the quality of your
equipment and abrasives and the motion and speed at which you operate your
equipment. Others are beyond a contractor's control, such as levelness and
flatness of the floor or the concrete mix design used.
Knowing how to contend with these variables is the difference between a
craftsman who is detailed and results-oriented and a contractor who simply goes
through the motions.
One of the main variables on a polishing job is the concrete
itself. Residential concrete is generally a low PSI concrete mix (2,500
psi and under) that has been hand troweled. Lower PSI concrete does not polish
as well because the surface is not as dense and hand troweling leaves the
surface with lots of highs and lows. On the other hand, commercial concrete is a
higher PSI concrete mix (3,500 psi and up) that is machine troweled in the open
areas and hand troweled in the corners and tight areas. Higher PSI concrete
polishes better because it is denser and the surface does not have many highs
If you know a slab will be polished before it is poured,
whether in a residential or commercial setting, suggest a polishing-friendly mix
design and floor flatness rating to the general contractor or owner. This will
result in a better polishing result and a lower cost to finish the floor.
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Vanguard Concrete Coating
3030 Hillcroft SW
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49548
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reserved by Vanguard Concrete Coating of Grand Rapids, MI. For residential epoxy
coating of floors our service area includes the West Michigan cities of Grand
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small cites in-between. For industrial & commercial floors we service a larger
area including the greater Detroit & Ann Arbor area, Northern Michigan
(including Traverse City, Cadillac, Big Rapids, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Grayling
and Gaylord) Southwest Michigan (including St Joseph, Benton Harbor, South
Haven,) Central Michigan (Including, Marshall, Battle Creek, Jackson, Lansing,
Charlotte, Eaton Rapids, Grand Ledge, Saint John’s, Ithaca, Owosso, and Mount
Pleasant) MI Thumb Area (including Flint, Saginaw, Lapeer, Bay City, and
Midland) as well as Northern Indiana.
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