What is Polished Concrete?

Looking to enhance the allure and durability of your industrial or commercial floor? Consider the transformative process of polishing concrete. This method not only elevates the visual appeal of your space but also fortifies your floors for long-lasting performance.
Let’s clarify what we mean by polished concrete. This isn’t about merely applying a superficial polish or coating. Concrete polishing resembles the treatment given to granite or marble – it involves finely grinding down the concrete’s surface using specialized equipment, often incorporating diamond grit. The shine achieved reflects the inherent qualities of the concrete itself, not a superficial liquid coating.

The polishing process not only yields a smooth surface, which can vary from a subtle gleam to a brilliant shine based on the level of intensity applied but also compresses the concrete’s molecules, making it as dense and hard as possible.


Benefits of Polished Concrete

Polished concrete offers numerous advantages over untreated concrete floors:

  • Aesthetic Value : Concrete can be polished to a degree that it reflects like glass. Furthermore, you can customize its appearance to match your decor or make a bold statement by adding dyes during the polishing process. Polished concrete creates a strong impression in commercial spaces, from hospital lobbies to automotive dealerships, grocery stores, and beyond. In industrial settings, it not only enhances the surface but also elevates worker morale.
  • Durability : Polishing intensifies the concrete’s molecular density, elevating its surface hardness to nearly double. With a rating of 7 on the Mohs scale, polished concrete is exceptionally resistant to scratches and damages, even under the constant pressure of heavy equipment.
  • Economy : Polished concrete offers a cost-effective flooring solution that’s easy to maintain. It maximizes your existing concrete slab, eliminating the need for new materials. Maintenance is a breeze thanks to its smooth surface, which simplifies sweeping and mopping. Unlike regular concrete, it doesn’t generate dust over time. Although the shine may dim with high traffic, it’s easily restored through affordable touch-up polishing.
  • Safety : Contrary to its sleek appearance, polished concrete often provides better traction than unpolished floors. It can even offer improved grip when wet, although prompt spill cleanup is always recommended for safety.
  • Cleanliness : Polished concrete’s physical transformation eliminates the release of dust. This not only enhances aesthetics but also prevents product contamination and elevates your facility’s air quality.

True Concrete Polishing vs. Shortcuts

It’s important to note that proper concrete polishing involves approximately 10 stages, including “wet” and “dry” methods. Unfortunately, shortcuts are prevalent in the industry, where some claim to provide concrete polishing but employ only a fraction of these essential steps. They might apply a clear sealer to create a temporary shine, which quickly fades. To fully harness the benefits of concrete polishing, including longevity and durability, ensure your contractor doesn’t take shortcuts.


Is Concrete Polishing Right for Your Industry?

Concrete polishing serves various applications, including:

  • Commercial retail spaces
  • School common areas
  • Grocery stores
  • Warehouses
  • New construction projects
  • Customer or patient lobbies
  • Churches and community spaces
  • Coffee shops and retail areas with an “industrial” ambiance

However, concrete polishing isn’t suitable for every situation. Next, we’ll explore instances where alternative options are more appropriate.

Limitations of Concrete Polishing

While concrete polishing is an ideal solution for many scenarios, it may not be the best fit for every facility. Situations that require different approaches include:

  • Ceramic Labs or Dusty Environments: Polished concrete becomes slippery in the presence of dry, loose powder. For such environments, we recommend slip-resistant floor coatings.
  • Food Processing Facilities: While suitable for retail, polished concrete remains slightly porous despite its extra-dense surface. For food and beverage processing, a USDA-approved floor coating is essential to prevent bacteria infiltration.
  • Environments Dealing with Chemicals: Polished concrete isn’t inherently chemical resistant. Spills of oils or chemicals can lead to discoloration. For stain-resistant surfaces, we suggest epoxy or urethane floor coatings. In cases involving harsh substances, we recommend extreme chemical-resistant coatings.