Concrete has always been a very popular building material, due to its strength and ease of use, and polished concrete offers the Australian homeowner unique finishes that simply tick all the boxes. Mechanically polished concrete really does bring up the surface to give an amazing finish, and while the concrete is mechanically polished, it is also chemically hardened which is very different from concrete that offers a shiny surface that is created with a sealant. Rather than getting a shine from the sealant, mechanically polished concrete actually turns the surface into a shiny surface, which is then sealed to prevent penetration of any kind.
Topical Concrete Sealers
These are very different, as they do not actually polish the concrete surface, rather the sheen is created by polishing the sealant, and there are many advantages to mechanically polished concrete as opposed to topical concrete sealing. Talk to a few polished concrete specialists and they will happily point out the differences between mechanically polished concrete and topical sealed options, which are many.
The Process of Mechanical Concrete Polishing
- Grinding – The process begins with grinding, which flattens the concrete and exposes the aggregate, using a special diamond coarse abrasive tool, and the deeper the grind, the more aggregate is exposed.
- Honing – Honing is the process between grinding and polishing, and a medium grade diamond abrasive tool is used, which transforms the deep grinding abrasions into finer levels.
- Polishing – A very fine diamond abrasive tool is used for polishing, and the finer the polish grit, the more light that is reflected from the surface. The level of polishing is something to discuss with the provider, as different levels offer a range of different finishes.
- Hardening – Concrete hardening allows the surface to be polished to a finer finish, and it isn’t always required.
- Sealing and Buffing – The sealer not only protects from penetration, it also darkens the surface, and there are two types of concrete sealer; topical and penetrating, with the latter used by professional concrete polishers. The buffing is the final process, which removes any excess sealer, leaving the surface ready for use.
The concrete polishing experts regard each project as unique, and while they have many solutions, a lot depends on what the customer is looking for in the finish. The only way to determine the best approach is to invite the specialist into your home, where you can both sit down and discuss the many options.
You might, for example, wish to have the concrete darkened, or the floor surface might not be completely level, and by asking for the opinion of a polishing expert, you can make an informed decision on the best solution for your specific needs.