Polished concrete is becoming a more and more popular flooring option in various facilities, including retail, hotels, and even schools. More facilities are turning to polished concrete for their floors because of its many benefits. Polished concrete is tougher and more durable than many other flooring options, it is low maintenance compared to many other flooring options, and it has a much longer life than most other flooring options.
When thinking about installing or maintaining a polished concrete floor, it is important to understand what polished concrete is, how it becomes polished, and how to properly maintain polished concrete.
Concrete goes from a dull, rough surface to a shiny, smooth, polished surface through a series of grinding steps. This grinding is done with a series of diamond impregnated floor pads. These pads contain millions of microscopic diamonds that are used to grind the concrete and make it smoother. This grinding process is done in a step-wise manner: a low grit diamond pad is used first, then higher and higher grits are used until the concrete has a brilliant polished shine. Often times, a chemical hardener is also applied during the grinding process to make the finished polished concrete floor even tougher and more durable.
It is also important to note that this grinding and polishing process is usually done by trained professionals, as it is very expensive and labor-intensive and should be done correctly the first time.
Many facilities want to put a coating over the polished concrete to protect it. It is important to know that this is not required and not beneficial to the floor. Polished concrete is an alternative to coating a floor, and applying a coating will change how the floor should be treated and maintained.
While polished concrete does have many benefits, it also has some obstacles or pitfalls that need to be understood and dealt with when installing and maintaining a polished concrete floor.
1. Low Maintenance – It is important to differentiate between the terms “low maintenance” and “maintenance-free.” Polished concrete is not maintenance-free. It still needs to be cared for and maintained properly in order to sustain its polished appearance. The maintenance program is just different than that of different flooring options.
2. Acid Sensitivity – Polished concrete is very sensitive to any acidic material. It is very important to never expose polished concrete to any acids, as this will etch the surface of the concrete, making it become dull and more susceptible to wear and tear.
3. Porosity – Concrete is a very porous material, which means that any liquids that come into contact with it will be more likely to penetrate and soak into it. This means that concrete is more prone to staining. For this reason, stain protection is of utmost importance for polished concrete flooring. Products can be applied to polished concrete that will help repel water and oils and prevent them from penetrating and forming stains.
4. Cost – Installing polished concrete is very labor-intensive and expensive. If not properly maintained, the concrete will need to be re-polished, adding more cost to the already high-cost flooring option.
- Since concrete is porous, stain protection is vital. Seal the concrete with a stain protectant product.
- Never use an acid cleaner on concrete. Degreasers or neutral cleaners can be used.
- Special diamond floor pads can be used in conjunction with cleaning chemicals to maintain the polish of the concrete.
- Look for cleaners that are specifically designed for use with polished concrete. They can often include special additives that harden or densify the concrete, making it more durable.
- Remember that polished concrete is a low maintenance flooring option, not a maintenance-free option. Concrete flooring needs to be properly maintained just as any other floor would need to be.
With the proper knowledge and products, polished concrete maintenance can be simple and can yield great rewards in the form of a great looking, long lasting floor.
For more information on polished concrete care products, see Multi-Clean’s Concrete Care webpage.