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POLISHING BASICS

As is commonly known, the basic ingredients of concrete are the combination of water, Portland cement, fine and coarse aggregates. During the pouring of concrete, as the aggregates sink and settle, a thin layer (usually not more than 25mils) of cement paste pushes up to the surface. Within a few hours this top layer is troweled to reach a desired smoothness.

Simply put, polishing concrete is similar to sanding wood. Heavy-duty polishing machines equipped with progressively finer grits of diamond-impregnated segments or disks (akin to sandpaper) are used to gradually grind down surfaces to the desired degree of shine and smoothness.

Depending on the condition of existing concrete surface and the desired choice of finish. The process begins with the use of coarse diamonds bonded in a metallic or resin matrix. These diamonds are coarse enough to remove minor pits, blemishes or stains, to heavy coatings removal. This preparation process is critical for the final smoothing steps. Depending on the condition of the concrete and the desired finish required, the entire process can require from 4-9 steps.

The Three Basic finishes

Cream (industrial look)
Is the term used to describe concrete polishing on the top layer of the cement cream. Generally freshly poured and power troweled (helicopter) concrete floors have a thin layer of cement cream that floats to the top surface while the aggregates sink during the troweling process. This thin layer (approximately 4-25 mils) Is partially grinded along with dirt and whatever other contaminates is present in that particular construction site by our diamond grinding procedure, and then polished to the desired smoothness & sheen of the client. The final “Look” will render a smooth and industrial looking finish with choice of gloss from Satin, medium or high gloss.

High gloss  Satin Gloss

Exposed Terrazzo look
To achieve what we call an exposed finish, this top layer of cement must be removed to give that terrazzo look, Exposing the aggregates requires the removal of the top layer of cream, usually up to ¾ inch. This finish is the most complex of all the finishes simply because it requires 2-3 additional diamond steps. Furthermore this type of finish requires heavier machines and diamond tooling. Pricing for this finish is 25-40% higher than the cream finish. Choice of gloss as cream remains, satin, medium or high gloss.

High gloss Satin Gloss

Speckled look:
A speckled look can be achieved by grinding slightly below the cream yet before the exposure of the bigger aggregates.  Usually one extra diamond step required to achieve this look depending on thickness of cement paste.  This finish will yield a speckled look from small dots too ¼ inch exposure.  Again the Choice of gloss as cream & terrazzo remains, satin, medium or high gloss.

SatinHigh gloss Gloss High gloss

 

Other common services:

Surface Preparation:
Surface preparation is performed dry and dust free; however there are exceptions where a wet method is preferred. Our diamond tooling and equipment is designed to remove just about all types of coating and coverings. Some of the most common are curing compounds, sealers, epoxies, carpet glue, cement glue, and mastics. Removal rates from 4mils -200 mils. Various profiles of smoothness can be achieved for the following trades. Carpet, ceramic, vinyl, marble, terrazzo, granite and epoxy installers.

Repairs:
Damaged concrete from cold weather or poor construction can be levelled to a desired flatness.  Blisters and pop outs can be filled with cement replacements. Cracks can be filled with specialized joint fillers.

Cement Overlays:
Portland cement base topping can be installed. Toppings from Ardex, Mapei or Sika are often the popular choice. These topping are polish able if specified. Topping range from 25mils (Micro) to 200mils. All these topping can achieve a minimum of 4000psi within 3 days. A perfect choice for damaged surfaces, speed and design.

Designs:
Of all the facets of polished floors, this being the most developing and explored and growing In the past 5 years as the acid staining, integral color, decals, and patterns. Incorporating the 2 services (design and concrete polishing.) is far more complicated than the naked eyes see. We are proud of achieving such a feat.

Concrete treatment:
We have found that, a common error or neglect exist in the construction industry. That is, sometimes concrete floors are never properly treated. Unfortunately there are expensive consequences to such cases, whether it is moisture, dusting, flaking, corroding, or bond issues. As professionals we can apply the proper hardeners or sealer that carry a warranty of a minimum of 10 years.