The process of polishing creates a long-lasting, maintenance-free, finish for new and existing concrete. It increases surface strength and wear resistance, with other benefits far exceeding conventional flooring applications like hardwood, carpet and tile:
• no waxes, strippers or cleaners to use or dispose of
• no harmful chemicals used in creation of the polished concrete
• no harmful urethane, waxes, volatile organic compounds (voc’s) or
topical coatings applied
• maximize efficiency of radiant heat systems
• save on electricity - the reflection from polished concrete will increase
lighting and as a result will reduce the required lighting level
• concrete is a fully sustainable product
• no material to purchase, replace and dispose of (hardwood, carpet, tile)
Our Mix Design - Quality Practices that make a Difference
When pouring a polished floor, we generally use a 4000 psi mix with fiber and wire reinforcements placed as we go. Some contractors lay wire and pour on top of it, but this method does not effectively reinforce the concrete, as the wire is just sitting on the bottom of the slab. Our concrete is always poured stiff and depths vary based on the specs of the project. We don’t recommend going less than 1.5” for a finished floor, to ensure adequate strength and to allow for reinforcement.
Depending on environmental factors, we may use non-chloride accelerators to speed up set, but we never use Calcium. Cal (poor man's accelerator) tends to compromise the integrity and overall finish and it also leaves a chalky residue. Cal will also wash out the overall color of the concrete, giving it that bright white look which will also produce unexpected results when using any type of dye to color the concrete. Real concrete is gray and that's how we prefer to keep it. If retarders are required to slow the set, we'll add newsome which is a cement-based product and therefore increases integrity with use.
Our Color Methods - Integral Dyes vs Penetrating Dyes
If the slab is to be colored, an integral dye will be mixed with the concrete before it’s poured. For new contruction, we prefer to use integral pigment dyes over penetrating spray dyes that are applied during the grinding process. We feel that we are able to achieve much more natural and appealing colors using pigment dyes. Penetrating spray dyes are an effective way to color old or existing concrete. They can also be used to achive more vibrant tones and/or multi-colored applications. Click here to see color charts.
Troweling, Curing & Cutting - The Critical Difference
Once the concrete has been laid, it’s carefully power troweled, making sure not to overfinish or burn the concrete. The finish of the concrete floor at this stage is extremely critical. We take care to make sure the slab is as flat and as evenly finished as possible, with a great deal of attention put into making sure the edges are also evenly finished and not left rough. Rough edges can be very unsightly on a finished floor, and generally the only remedy for a rough edge is a heavy grind, which may not be the desired aesthetic. Regardless, on finely ground floors even a well finished edge is troweled by hand, so they tend to have a slightly different appearance than the rest of the floor.
Control joints are cut the day after we pour – the minimum cuts are strategically placed at high stress points to reduce the possibility of stress cracks forming. We are sure to make our cuts straight and accurate and we always try to incorporate stress cuts into the design of the floor/room whenever possible. Wet-curing our concrete, which takes out the heat, also reduces the possibility of cracking.
Grinding & Polishing – Machines & Methods that Work
Our state-of-the-art grinding & polishing equipment is powerful and precise allowing us to efficiently finish any type of area, big or small. We have multiple machines and each has its own purpose: to grind and take concrete down, to polish concrete to a high sheen without gauging or scratching, and to finish edges tight to walls and partitions for a consistent, even finish.
All phases of grinding are done using water, which eliminates dust resulting in a scratch-free finish. Once the preliminary grind is complete, floors are slurried. Slurries can be colored to match the floors and are used to fill any voids or other inconsistencies in the surface that are revealed during the grinding process. After the slurry, a Lithium Densifier is applied to improve the overall integrity of the concrete and to make the surface less porous. Along with the slurry, densifiers allow us to achieve a much more consistent finish. Once concrete is polished it is washed, sealed using a penetrating, no VOC sealer (PentraGuard HP) and burnished to a high sheen. Click here to learn more about our Process.