FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ANSWERS ABOUT POLISHED CONCRETE
- Can any concrete floor be polished? Almost any concrete floor. Floors which are saturated with oil, or are in environments where they will constantly be exposed to acids, are probably not ideal for a polished concrete floor system. Whether new construction or a 100 year old slab, most concrete floors can benefit greatly from the aesthetic, durability, and longevity of polishing.
- Can you polish floors with radiant heat? Radiant heat is usually 4" below the surface of the concrete, therefore, should be fine for a polished concrete installation as long as quality control is done to ensure the depth.
- Is polishing concrete messy? Mechanical, dry-grind polished concrete is a pretty clean process. grinding will create a slurry, and can get a bit messy. But with the dry-grind process, a vacuum system is used in conjunction with the grinder to contain 98% of the airborne particulates. The remainder of the dust is easily swept up. It also does not have the odor that is present from some coatings, like epoxy, or glues used in some other flooring applications.
- Is polished concrete good for the environment? Polished concrete is one of the most sustainable flooring options today. Though concrete itself is a bit controversial, polishing the structural slab of the building, instead of harvesting resources to cover it, prevents waste, is extremely long lasting, and is incredibly LEED compliant.
- How does the floor become so shiny? Just as in the traditional polished stone applications applied to marble and granite, the surface of the concrete floor is ground using progressively finer grits to smooth and seal the surface. Instead of having a pitted surface that refracts light, the light reflects from off of the floor - THAT is what creates the shine of the surface. It is not a product, or sealer that makes the floor shine. It is the concrete itself reflecting light.
With a topical polish, where there is no grinding step, and the polishing steps are applied by burnishing a wax or coating, it is the product that shines, not the concrete. It can be a very affordable option, but imperfections in the surface of the concrete will remain visible. The topping chemical must also be reapplied more frequently to maintain the shine.
- Do you apply sealer to the floor? Polished concrete on its own is stain resistant, but many solutions can seep into the pores to create a stain, or even etch the floor. A sealer will line the pores to keep most stains suspended at the surface of the concrete, not allowing the stain to penetrate the floor and further preventing the likelihood of staining.
- How do I maintain polished concrete? Polished concrete is one of the easiest systems to maintain, and does not require aggressive cleaners or brushes to lift dirt away. The best daily maintenance is simply using a dust mop with some gritless sweeping compound to remove dirt and debris.
If polished concrete is used in a public building, an autoscrubber can be used with super soft brushes and a gentle cleaner designed for polished concrete, to suspend dirt off the floor and squeegee it up.
There is no stripping or waxing needed.
- How soon can I use the floor after the polishing? A polished concrete floor can be walked on during the grind and polish process. There is no 'cure' time since it is a mechanical process. If a sealer is used, generally it takes less than 30 minutes to dry and the floor is ready for use.
- How much does polished concrete cost? Polished concrete can cost anywhere from a dollar a square foot to twenty dollars a square foot. There are too many variables to answer. It is not a mass-manufactured product that is simply installed, it is a process of grinding and polishing the floor. Factors include how open the floor plan is (so grinder and equipment can reach all areas), the condition of the floor, and how elaborate any decorative options might be. To get a better idea of how much polished concrete will cost on your floor, call a certified IPCI member.
- Can I use polished concrete outdoors? A matte (up to 100 grit) or even low sheen (400 grit) can be used outdoors, but polished concrete with a high sheen is not recommended. However, there are numerous decorative concrete applications that are ideal for indoor or outdoor applications, such as exposed aggregates, saw cuts, and engraved techniques.
- Why would I polish concrete instead of epoxy or another coating? Unless a slab is going to be continually exposed to acid, oils, or corrosive materials, polished concrete will often save a company in the long-run on its flooring costs. Coatings wear away from the surface and must be reapplied frequently to be maintained. Polished concrete has nothing on the surface so is unsurpassed in its ability to hold up to fork lifts, foot traffic, and wheeled carts. Its lifecycle exceeds almost all coatings, and has no VOCs. Also, operations do not need to be shut down for the installation of polished concrete, whereas coatings must be restricted from traffic until they have properly dried and cured.
- Why would I use polished concrete instead of VCT? Polished concrete is one of the most durable flooring system when compared with typical flooring finishes. VCT requires continuous stripping, waxing, and buffing to maintain its appearance. It also wears more quickly than polished concrete, and must be reinstalled at the same price than the initial installation. VCT also ends up in landfills and requires additional materials to be harvested and transported upon replacement. Polished concrete will retain its sheen with minimal maintenance, and should a repolish ever become necessary, it can be done at a fraction of the original installation price, with very little waste - just a bag or two of dust.
- Are Concrete Floors Slippery? No, it only looks slippery due to the honed surface. It is less slippery than a VCT tile floor or even a hard steel troweled concrete floor. The reason is because of by mechanically grinding the floor it reduces high spots and low spots. Also it closes the surface of the floor so that the concrete is no longer porous so there is more surface contact with the concrete which increases the COF (coefficient of friction).Just because polished concrete is shiny doesn't mean it is slippery. Testing has shown that polished concrete usually meets or exceeds OSHA standards (.50) for slip resistance on surfaces.
- How long will my floor last? Your new Polished Solution Polished Floor has a density, hardness, and appearance like no other floor of its kind. While many people try to copy our floor, it is never duplicated. With the proper care, your floor will last a lifetime. But like anything else, your Polished Solution Polished Floor will need a little attention from time to time to make sure it’s holding up against the demands you place on it.
- How long does the shine last? It all depends on the process that is performed. If the floor is polished with a true polish system without skipping steps and the floor is maintained properly I have seen floors that have lasted 15 years so far without having anything done to them.
- Is it like Home Depot and Lowe's floors? Yes and No. Home Depot and Lowes floors are polished with a surface polish and a topical product to enhance shine that will last about 1 year at best. However the kitchen and appliance centers of some Home Depots were done with a true 7-10 step polish system.
- Can we just use plain water? Yes, however it is always best to use a neutral PH cleaner to suspend the dirt so it can be cleaned off the floor instead of just spread around on the floor and leaving a hazy film on the surface.
- Can the floor be brought back up if it gets dull? Yes and the best thing about it is that it will never be as involved as the initial process. Normally it will only take a couple resin steps to reach the end result required. Which also means that it never costs as much as the original job, unlike epoxy coating or VCT which always cost the same if not more than the original project due to materials going up or more labor involved by having to remove the old flooring material originally installed.
- What kind of warranty comes with your service? The only thing that I would ever put a warranty on would be the dust free aspect of the floor. I will never warrant a floors shine because there are many variables that come into play to keep the shine. Most chemical companies offer a ten year warranty on their product for dust proofing if applied properly.
- How dusty is the process? The process is virtually dust free. There is no airborne dust due to the use of Hepa filter vacuum systems. There will be some residual dust left on the floor but it will be vacuumed up between steps by another heap filtered vacuum.
- How long do we have to stay off the floor after treatment? That is another thing nice about PC is that when we are done the customer can be on the floor immediately. There is nothing to cure or dry unless you use a stain blocker or color sealer then they may be back on the floor immediately they just should not introduce water to the floor for approximately 72 hours.
- Is a polished concrete floor stain proof? No, the floor is not stain proof. It is more stain resistant than a regular concrete floor because the pores in the floor are closed up so tight that it keeps liquids on the surface longer looking for a way to penetrate, allowing for a longer time to respond in getting spills cleaned up. However if a liquid is left long enough on the surface stains may result.
- Is polished concretae chemical resistant? No, it is resistant to some chemicals, although anything acidic will etch the surface or stain the floor.
- Can polished concreate be stain & chemical resistant? Yes and no, it can be mostly stain and chemical resistant. However there are some instances that it will never be stain and chemical resistant. A stain blocker, sealer, or shine enhancer can be added to the surface of polished concrete to aide in helping with stains and chemicals. Depending on which product is used will depend on how much the floor will be stain and chemical resistant.
- Will the process polish around edges, corners and other obsticles? It will be necessary to "hand" finish against fixed obstacles. Your polisher
will do this during the process.