Polished Concrete

Polished concrete is a relatively recent market offering in flooring, gaining popularity in the past decade. The actual process of polishing concrete was brought to the United States in the late 1990’s from Europe. Simply speaking, polished concrete is a natural evolution of stone surfaces, such as marble and granite.

The high polishing of stone was developed after our ancestors in Europe noticed that the natural stone in many buildings, such as places of worship, started to gain a glossy shine after years of wear and foot traffic. This traffic mildly abraded the surfaces over time to create a semi-gloss affect. Polishing, as we know it today, is basically an accelerated mimicking of this natural process.

Rockerz Principals of Polished Concrete

Modern polished concrete is just like all grind and polish processes, be it wood, steel or stone. There are three basic mechanical processes involved in polishing.

Grinding

The process starts with a coarse grind, in which imperfections are removed with a very course tooling.

Honing Actions

The middle processes are considered honing actions; and in this step, the coarse scratch patterns remaining from the prior step are removed.

Polishing

The final step involves fine tool polishing in which the mechanical surface of the floor is made so smooth that the light reflects easily, with a high transference of energy or luminescence.

It’s also important to know that modern concrete is comprised of three basic parts: Portland cement, aggregate stone, and water. This mix produces “slurry” that can be poured, pumped and placed within forms or walls. Once poured for flooring use, it will then be screeded for consistent height, bull floated to pull cement to surface for smoother finish, and then hand or machined troweled for final surface finishing and left to cure. This curing process involves hydration, in which the lime molecules of the Portland cement react to the water molecules, creating a hard matrix.

There is one other major difference in polishing concrete as compared to other surfaces.  With concrete, it is imperative that the surface be extremely scratch resistant for longevity of the polish. To achieve this, products known as densifiers need to be added to the surface to reharden it. The active molecules are silicate and/or siliconate.  This substance reacts to “free” lime molecules within the Portland cement. During this process, some lime molecules are left unreactive.  These “free” lime radical molecules attract and attach to the densifying molecules.  The resulting chemical reaction effectively rehardens the concrete, allowing for the steps in polishing. 

The end result is a highly polished floor with an extremely hard-wear surface that can last forever if properly maintained.  This floor treatment is perfect for game rooms, formal living areas, or indoor/outdoor patios.  At Rockerz Residential, we understand the process and the science associated

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