Polished concrete is a term that describes the end product after a treatment process applied to concrete slabs. The process used to deliver the outcome depends upon the style of finish. In most instances, there is a grinding and honing process, using a variety of specialist mechanical machine tools with diamond abrasives attached to them. The work tends to be progressive in nature, working with increasingly fine abrasives, depending upon the desired finish.
Despite appearances, polished concrete flooring tends to offer slip-resistant surfacing.
Your polished concrete floor should be comparable in price to any other premium flooring option.
If there was a million dollar question in the world of polished concrete, then is probably the one.
One of the big selling points with polished concrete is that a unique finish is guaranteed with every job we do. This includes the colours that emerge during the polishing process. The colour of finish is determined by a number of variables before the concrete is laid and is a matter over which your concrete polisher has no influence. If you have not done any planning before the concrete is laid then you have you have already lost any control over what colours will emerge when the polishing process is carried out. That said, even in the rare instance you are fortunate enough to select all the materials that go into your concrete base, the reality is you still have a limited influence over the precise colours that emerge during polishing.
It really is one of those infamous chicken-and-egg scenarios, but the plain truth is that the only way to discover the colour of your concrete after polishing, is to have your concrete polished. You need to understand and accept this before taking on a contractor. If you are the sort of person who requires an entirely predictable outcome, then a full polished concrete process is probably not for you and you should probably be exploring other flooring options. In the field of concrete surfaces, micro toppings offer a greater degree of control over the finished look than with unplanned conventional concrete.
To understand more about this subject and the variables that can affect the colour of your polished concrete floor read our article: 50 Shades of Grey – The Concrete Matrix.
All concrete floors are capable of being polished, although the quality of finish is dependent upon the quality of the concrete mix, the workmanship when it’s laid and whether or not it has been properly cured (or in other words, that it has been given the best environment and length of time to set properly).
As we place a huge emphasis on achieving quality outcomes for our clients, we introduced a minimum specification for concrete installations as a requirement before we will take on most jobs.
Whilst we may take on work on lesser quality concrete slabs, we do so at our own discretion, but are unable to guarantee the quality of outcome, or the amount of work required to achieve the best results. The worse the concrete base the more time, expense and machine tooling is required to rescue the concrete and generally speaking, the more inconsistent the finish too.
In those instances where the quality of the concrete base is unknown, we offer a sample service which allows both parties to discover the nature of the concrete base, to reduce the risks to everybody involved and to help us agree pricing, terms and conditions.
Concrete can crack no matter how much preventative strengthening work is carried out on it. So yes, it is possible for a polished concrete floor to develop cracks. The pre-existing quality of the concrete base can be a big factor. There is work which can be done during the concrete installation, such as reinforcing and control joints to mitigate the risk of cracking. Your polished concrete specialist can fill the cracks during the polishing process. They can also use chemical densifiers to harden the surface, but there is nothing which can totally eliminate the risks. Funny as it sounds, cracking can, on occasion, be an attractive feature within a polished concrete finish.
The main point to bear in mind is that polished concrete is low maintenance, not no maintenance. All floors must be cared for and polished concrete is no different. Maintenance is reasonably straightforward. One thing to note is that as with other surfaces, spills should be dealt with swiftly to prevent lasting damage. We also issue a Polished Concrete Maintenance Guide with all our quotations, which also forms part of our contract terms and conditions.
All flooring options carry the risk of staining and it would be wrong to suggest your polished concrete floor would be any different. As with other surfaces in the home, spills need to be treated quickly if the risk of staining is to be avoided.
Ones to watch are reactive spills such as orange juice, which will etch the surface if not cleaned in a timely manner, as well as penetrating spills such as oils or red wines. The chemicals we use during our polishing process will help produce a window of time when dealing with spills, but they must still be attended to quickly. Polished concrete floors are not immune to staining, or general wear and tear. They are low maintenance, not zero maintenance.
Underfloor heating can work well with concrete floors, whether polished or not, as concrete stores heat very well, thanks to its high thermal mass.
That said, there are important points to understand before ordering underfloor heating for your concrete floor to eliminate the risk of damage to your floor:
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