Polished concrete dates back to 7000 BC in the city of Jericho. It was discovered when a bulldozer was digging up the ground to add a motor speedway. An Israeli archeologist took a sample of the concrete in 1886/1887 to his laboratory to be analyzed. He determined it was a lime concrete that was a light brown and polished.
In 2011, Virgil Visuco founded The Global Concrete Polishing Institute. He has his own company that has installed and polished decorative concrete globally. With over twenty-seven years of experience, he has worked nearly every position possible regarding concrete polishing.
He found that classes were not productive because the presenters were selling goods and services. His other realization was concrete is different in different countries and climates. The Global Concrete Polishing Institute actually goes to the business to train the installers in a five-day course, in order to become certified in concrete polishing.
There is also The Decorative Concrete Institute, founded by Bob Harris. They can provide the education, consulting, training, and installation for decorative concrete for general contractors, architects, concrete finishers, interior designers, and more.
The art of decorative concrete is growing and can be very beautiful. From putting in a company logo or the mascot of a favorite sports team, many people have found that it is creative and very easy to clean.
Most installers who do decorative concrete will use an applied dye. This dye is more predictable and less mottled than other dyes. and is easier to control during application. It is recommended by most manufacturers that the dye is applied just before the final polishing step. Once that is done, the densifier is applied — always go by the recommendations of the dye manufacturer.
Amazingly, the process of dry polishing concrete was not discovered until the 1990s. Polishing granite and marble were commonplace for decades. When a contractor hired a team of workers to polish a concrete floor, he left them to do their work and was shocked when he returned to see they were dry polishing the concrete. After they removed the dust, he was then shocked to see how beautiful the floor turned out.
Today, wet polishing and dry polishing can both be used when performing concrete polishing. The process requires several passes over the concrete using a different grit metal-bonded diamond each time. Wet polishing causes a lot of slurry that has to be collected and disposed of environmentally. Dry polishing is much easier to clean, as there is a vacuum that is attached to the floor polisher that cleans as it goes.
While concrete polishing can be done on concrete slab, it is best to have it done when the concrete is new. When done on newer floors, the cost is less because there is less work. It is recommended the concrete is mixed to 3500 psi or higher. Pouring the concrete to its full depth takes advantage of its structural strength and can prevent cracks. The concrete must dry for at least twenty-eight days before it is considered completely cured.
Concrete polishing older floors can be a bit trickier. The condition of the floor may determine if it can be sanded or a two-inch topping on the existing slab needs to be installed.
It is not recommended that an individual who has no experience in concrete polishing tries to do it on their own. On one hand, the process can be very time consuming because it can take six to twelve steps to get the desired finish. Plus, the cost of the equipment needed would make it too expensive.
Typically, the first grind would start with a course 30/60-grit diamond, and then increase to finish with a 1600- or 3000+ grid diamond. This process will eventually get the level of gloss and aggregate desired. A densifier is added throughout the process to harden the concrete, which allows it to be polished. A grouting chemical may be used to fill any imperfections, cracks, or holes that were exposed while grinding. The last step is to put on a layer of an impregnating polish guard. This will penetrate the pores of the concrete about 2-5mm and help to prevent staining from spills and oils.
Concrete polishing is starting to gain in popularity as the ultimate no-wax flooring. Using professional installers is highly recommended as the process can be time consuming and the equipment is heavy. The durability of the flooring stands up to heavy use and never needs to be waxed or coated with harmful chemicals.
For the most part, any concrete that is structurally sound can be polished. It takes less time for new concrete as there is not a special mix design required to get good results. Existing floors will need more work because coatings, grease, dirt, and blemishes need to be removed. There may also be patching and fixing of cracks. If the concrete is extremely porous and is severely damaged, then it is not a good candidate for concrete polishing. You can always visit our About page to know more about our company and other services.
All Around Surfaces has been installing polished concrete in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota area for years. They have put it in commercial buildings, restaurants and commercial kitchens, auto showroom floors, residential garages, and more. They have technicians that have been professionally trained in concrete polishing. They also offer Epoxy Garage floor installation and many more. When you’re ready to install polished concrete in Sioux Falls, reach out to our qualified team to request a quote.