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How is concrete polished?

The process of polishing just about anything is very simple - remove a thin layer from the surface leaving behind a perfectly smooth, glasslike surface. The polishing process is all about scratching the surface many millions of times until it results in a glasslike shine.  Just about any material can be polished, but here at Carpet World Flooring Center we have decades of experience in polishing concrete.  The first step in polishing concrete is to determine to wet or dry polish it.  Wet polishing uses water as a lubricant to cool the abrasive that is used when polishing the surface resulting in less wear on the polishing medium and requires the concrete slurry to be disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. 
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 Dry polishing generates a lot of dust, but the majority of the dust is collected by dust extractor (vacuum cleaner with a fancy filter) mounted on the polishing unit.    Dry polishing makes cleanup a lot easier because the crew polishing the floor only has to clean up what dust remains on the surface.  Whether you decide to Dry Polish or Wet Polish the next step is to use a low grit (10-20 grit) polishing wheel on the surface.  The lower the grit number the more material is removed and the less shine is generated - 20 grit is the consistency of beach sand while 4000 feels like a paper bag.  This low grit compound is used to remove all existing coatings that could interfere with the polishing process.  The next step is to level and fill imperfections in the concrete such as joints and cracks with a specialize epoxy (think Bondo but for concrete).  After that, we sand with a 30-40 grit polishing compound, then an 80 grit, then a 150 grit in preparation for a concrete hardener to help the surface stand up to the stresses that will be placed on it.  The hardener needs to be applied after the 150 grit sanding to allow for proper adhesion and penetration. If the surface is glossy smooth, the hardener will not absorb properly and hence, reduce the strength of the surface. If the hardener is applied first, a risk is taken where it may be removed during the initial sanding process.  Afterwards, we sand with either a 100 or 200 grit compound, or a combination of the two.
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We then move on to the polishing phase where the polishing compound then gets bumped up to a 400 grit, then 800 grit, the a 1500 grit.  If a further shine is desired, a 3000 grit polishing compound may be used.  This will result in a surface that you could easily see your reflection in, and may not be desirable in a working environment, such as a warehouse, but is perfect for a showroom with concrete floors.  Our experienced staff will ensure you get the right level of shine for your needs. So if you are interested in polishing concrete in your home or office, or have other questions about polished concrete flooring, come in and ask our professional flooring reps !

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