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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



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?

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 .