Thinking of elevating the interiors of your new home? Consider concrete polishing. Get to know about the different types and benefits of polished concrete within this article.
Photo by Rachel Claire from Pexels
Polished concrete is becoming increasingly popular for stylish yet minimal interiors. Due to its numerous benefits and sleek aesthetics, more New Zealanders and Aussies are opting for polishing their concrete floors. This material is very convenient as it requires low maintenance and is incredibly resistant to daily wear and tear.
Polished concrete floors are prevalent as there is a wide range of different finishes. You can choose from this diverse style range and make your new abode look stunning. Professional architects and home designers recommend concrete polishing as its upkeep is quite simple, and it effortlessly makes homes look terrific.
This article will give an overview of polished concrete, its benefits, and its different types.
What is Polished Concrete?
Polished concrete involves the addition of chemical densifiers to the general concrete. Concrete is a mixture of gravel, cement, sand, and water. The chemical densifiers fill the tiny holes and pores in the concrete. The poured concrete is mechanically ground and polished with abrasives to achieve a glossy and smooth finish.
Such a multistep process of ground and honing requires heavy-duty machines and expertise. You need professional concrete polishing solutions like concretepolishingauckland.co.nz
The Different Types of Polished Concrete
When it comes to concrete polishing, the varieties of different patterns, colors, and styles are limitless. There are mainly three types of polished concrete flooring: cream polished, salt and pepper, and aggregate exposed concrete.
All of these different finishes depend on the amount of concrete material removed from the concrete surface.
Cream Polished Concrete
The most reliable and smoothest finish is cream-polished concrete. It does not require the first cut in most cases since there is no need to remove the concrete from the surface. It has a higher consistency than other polishes and readily accepts different stains and dyes.
The surface of the concrete pour of this material is polished itself. Consequently, there are visible natural variations from the pour. The pattern will be organic and have a beautiful, marble-like appearance. Due to its convenience and sleek finish, this is the most common installation for new residences.
Salt and Pepper Polished Concrete
In salt and pepper polished concrete, the surface is lightly ground. The light grinding exposes the smallest aggregate in the concrete mixture, similar to salt and pepper. The best aspect of this finish is that any little cracks or other tiny imperfections will enhance the aesthetics. This is also another common polish option for many new homes in Australia and New Zealand.
Aggregate Exposed Polished Concrete
This is a premium polish and the most expensive one. Hence, it is quite uncommon and mostly installed in highly lavish residences. In this type of polish, the largest aggregate in the mixture is exposed by the heavy grinding of the concrete.
It is notable for its terrazzo-like or mosaic appearance. However, it must be kept in mind that not all concrete slabs will have the same aesthetic results after the polishing procedure. Hence, it is wise to get samples for all large aggregate exposed polish before beginning the installment.
How Concrete Polishing is Done
The whole process of concrete polishing depends on the type of finish you want. The technique mostly involves ensuring the floor is leveled and filled with a densifier.
The surface of the floor should be ground down to the desired finish. More grinding is involved if the aimed finish is an exposed aggregate. The steps involved in polishing concrete are delineated in the following sections.
The floor is prepared in the first cut for the remainder of the process. The professional will use a metal-bond diamond machine with abrasive grit to grind the floor surface and remove any coating. This step is the initial grinding process that opens the pores of the floors so that they can fully absorb the densifier.
If any air pockets or tiny cracks were formed in the first cut, the professional will then smooth them out with an acrylic-based grout. The concrete expert will then use a 100/120 grit metal diamond tool over the wet grout. After the grout dries, a squeegee will be used to wipe the floor clean.
The next step is the application of the densifier. This chemical prepares the surface for polishing by hardening the cement and grout. After the densifier dries completely, higher-grit diamond tools will be used to remove the scratches left behind by the previous metal-bond tools. The floor will appear even, flat, and smooth for the following step.
The first cut, grout, and densifier prepared the surface for the main polishing. The desired final finish, texture, and appeal will influence the levels of grit to be used.
The procedure usually begins with 400-grit abrasive resin. This level of abrasion is often used to achieve a lower glossy finish. 800-grit resin abrasive is used when the intended result is a higher glossy finish.
Sealer or Guard
A guard will be applied on the floor to protect it, and it needs to be soaked into the floor. The guard will be buffed once it gets cured, making the surface more durable.
A topical sealer can also be used as an alternative, but it will not penetrate the floor as much. It will rather sit on the surface, so reapplication will be necessary later. The sealer might also require a high-speed burnisher for curing.
Benefits of Concrete Polishing
The trend of concrete polishing is growing amongst homeowners in New Zealand and Australia as it is more eco-friendly and convenient. Due to the following benefits, more people are considering installing polished concrete in their new residence or for home improvements.
Carpets and other forms of flooring can be easily worn out. They are also quite tedious to clean and maintain. They generally do not have a long life and are considered to be short-term investments that are not worth it. Tiles are also quite difficult to maintain and can easily break down.
It is quite expensive to restore carpets, tiling, and other types of flooring. Hence, polished concrete is an affordable flooring option that also has very long durability. Polished concrete floors can last up to ten times longer than the regular tiled floors when properly maintained.
The surface is strong enough to withstand the daily wear and tear for years. People mainly go for this option as they are incredibly resistant to any form of abrasion. No matter how much foot traffic is present in the room, you do not have to stress over its longevity.
Polished concrete surfaces are very easy to maintain and clean. Regular wiping and sweeping are enough to keep the surfaces clean. It is also difficult for allergens and dust mites to settle on the surface. Moreover, molds cannot generally develop on polished surfaces. The surface can be buffed occasionally, around once after every six months.
Environmentally-Friendly and Safe
New Zealand and Australia are known for their environmental concerns and sustainability legislation. To abide by the laws and also for innate concern, more people are opting for polished concrete as it has a less negative impact on the environment. They are considered to be “green” and sustainable. It also has been acknowledged as an eco-friendly flooring by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
Moreover, the polished concrete floors are slip-resistant, making them safe for any form of mobility. The high COF (coefficient of friction) of the surface contributes to the slip resistance as well as resistance to scuffing and abrasion.
The finished look of polished concrete is quite remarkable. They add a kick to the contemporary aesthetics of the space. There is a variety of finishes and colour options for you to choose from.
You also have the freedom to select from a wide range of tantalizing textures and patterns. The reflective surface of the polished finish brightens the whole room and elevates the overall interiors.
Cost-Effective and Affordable
With polished concrete, you get to have gorgeous interiors that are durable, safe, and low maintenance at an affordable cost. If you already have concrete slab floors, you can get them polished for revamping the whole space. Polishing existing concrete slabs is cheaper and more effective than installing expensive tiles.
Since concrete floors have a long life, they do not require frequent resurfacing or renovation. Your cleaning and maintenance costs are drastically reduced when you have polished concrete flooring.
Moreover, polished concrete solutions are readily available and you can get appointments online at the comfort of your home or anywhere else with an internet connection.
Whether brainstorming designs for your bedroom or the whole house, polished concrete flooring is the way to go. With this material, you can effortlessly achieve a stunning living space that is easy to maintain and falls within your budget.