Diamond polishing is unlike most decorative concrete flooring in that there is no topical sealer applied to the surface to make it shine. Most concrete flooring that you have seen is probably a surface that has a topical film forming sealer applied to it to add shine and reflectivity. The Diamond polishing process is very similar to the diamond polishing process used to polish natural stones such as marble and granite. We start with a coarse grit diamond disk and move to finer grits as the process continues. There is a certain level of shine and clarity that can be accomplished through this process. The higher the grit the more clarity there is in the surface. Unlike most natural stones, concrete can give you a monolithic flooring solution. This surface is very smooth and easy to maintain. Unfortunately nothing is maintenance free and neither is diamond polished concrete. However it is more maintenance friendly than most floor covering options. Diamond polishing provides a very hard and durable concrete finish that will last for a long time.
Diamond polishing entered the US market approximately 20-30 years ago in the industrial setting. The attraction of polished concrete was because of its durability to high traffic and heavy equipment. As technology has improved, the process has moved into the commercial and residential markets over the last 5-10 years. Diamond polished concrete can be stained and can offer a wide variety of color patterns. This process can be applied in conjunction with the engraving process to accomplish design patterns.
Diamond polished concrete provides you with an economic and eco-friendly alternative to traditional floor coverings including traditional sealed decorative concrete, carpet, wood, tile, and other textile materials. The installation of this surface is usually less expensive than traditional floor coverings to install and is definitely more economic in terms of maintenance. Most applications of this process are indoors. This flooring design is a true NO-WAX flooring type because the shine comes from the polishing process rather than a topical sealer. This fact makes diamond polished concrete the most maintenance friendly surface available.
Kept clean and dry, polished concrete floors are generally no slicker than plain concrete surfaces. And they tend to be less slippery than waxed linoleum or polished marble. But public facilities that want to provide extra protection against slip-and-fall accidents can treat polished floors with anti-slip conditioners. These products contain special additives designed to improve traction and make wet surfaces safer. They must be reapplied periodically, but they can simply be mopped on during routine cleaning.
Because polishing is a multi-step process, customers can choose the level of sheen from satin to high-gloss that meets their maintenance and aesthetic requirements. This versatility makes polished concrete an ideal flooring material for a variety of applications. Polishing contractors say their primary customers include:
Almost any structurally sound concrete floor, whether new or old, can be polished. But there are some exceptions.
For new floors, no special mix design is required to achieve good results. However, the floor should be in place at least 28 days before polishing begins to ensure adequate curing. Some retail and warehouse facilities that plan to polish their floors after placement may specify the installation of as smooth a floor as possible to minimize the polishing steps required.
Existing floors typically require some surface preparation prior to polishing to remove dirt, grease, coatings, or blemishes. However, floors that are wavy, need extensive patching, or are extremely porous may not be good candidates for polishing. An experienced contractor can usually determine a floor’s suitability.
To help solidify and densify polished concrete surfaces, some contractors apply penetrating hardeners to the concrete, normally after the first step of the grinding process. These products, which can be applied to new or existing floors, work by reacting chemically with the concrete to form a hard, crystalline structure. They also prevent dusting of concrete and offer extra protection from water penetration and staining.