Polished concrete flooring is the fastest growing flooring system
What is polished concrete
Concrete polishing is the process of grinding and leveling concrete floors, usually with diamond tooling, to remove the top surface of the concrete, "cream coat". Concrete polishing is derived from the same methods implemented with terrazzo flooring. While terrazzo has been around for hundreds of years, polished concrete flooring is a rather new method of flooring.
What makes polished concrete floors possible is the creation of a product called LS densifier. Densifier is applied to the floor after the first stage of grinding, hardening the floor and allowing it to be polished. After densifying, the floor is now polished with resin pads, creating an overall smoother floor and desired level of sheen.
There are three different types of polished concrete: cream finish, salt and pepper, and exposed aggregate. Cream finish requires the least amount of grinding, as only a bit of the cream coat is removed. Salt and pepper is a fine grind, with the floor polished enough to expose smaller aggregate in the floor. Exposed aggregate is the deepest grind, with substantial polishing and a good amount of the aggregate exposed. All of these types can be finished at any level of sheen- from matte to high gloss.
Concrete isn't considered polished until it has been ground to the 400 grit level, but can be finished all the way up to a 3000 grit level, which makes the floor extremely reflective, almost mirror-like. All aspects of polishing can be customized to suit the needs and desires of the customer, from color, aggregate, sheen, and more.
Benifits of polished concrete
Polished concrete is a great flooring option simply for it's customizable nature and modern look, but it also has many other benefits, spanning from it's ease of maintenance to environmental perks.
The main ingredient in concrete is limestone, a readily available and abundant resource that requires no harm to the environment to extract. The mix can be made up of various waste byproducts from power plants or other manufacturing facilities, and aggregate included in the floor could be made up from recycled products like glass, plastics, metals, or marble. Concrete will already be required on the project as a sub-floor, so no excessive waste will be created by bringing in outside limited resources (e.g. hardwoods, marble, slate) or hazardous materials such as carpet glue.
Concrete is extremely durable and has one of the longest life cycles of any other building material; it will last as long as the property does. Once concrete has been polished, it will require very little upkeep and maintenance.
Concrete itself is extremely energy efficient. It is a great conductor of energy, therefore will stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter just through absorbing the temperature of your heating/AC unit and radiating that out, allowing you to save on heating/cooling costs. Also, you could take a look at our radiant flooring option. Because it is more reflective than most other flooring options, spaces with polished concrete require lower wattage for lights, even can reduce electrical costs by up to 15%. This makes it a great option for warehouse spaces.
Concrete naturally resists mold, is hypoallergenic, and won't hold dust and dirt. It is extremely easy and quick to clean, as well as versatile and customizable. Additionally, it tends to be more affordable, especially in large places, than other flooring options, without sacrificing quality or aesthetic. Polished concrete finds a balance between beauty, sustainability, and economy.