Have you ever looked at a polished concrete floor and wondered how it came into existence?
When we think about concrete, the first image that comes to our mind is the gritty grey substance. Hence, it might be a little hard to associate it with the beautiful polished concrete floors that you may have seen in stores or at the mall.
Most people wouldn’t bother to get into the nitty-gritty of designing such a lustrous surface. However, if you are thinking about working with polished concrete, it’s crucial to know the how-tos of achieving these attractive results.
And, knowing about the preparation of polished concrete floors is the stepping stone to go ahead with this job. This part may seem uninteresting, but the entire surface may remain weak without following proper steps. Therefore, we have come up with this informative guide about the steps to prepare a polished concrete floor.
So, let’s begin!
Polished concrete floors can be made either by refurbishing old concrete floors or starting with a fresh pour. So, there can be different steps to prepare a surface based on specific projects.
This is the most time-consuming step as you will need to make sure that the beginning surface is ready to take the load of the concrete pouring.
To begin with, the very first thing that’s done is to remove any existing floorboards or other flooring materials from the surface. While doing this, the floor height is also marked to maintain the depth while finishing the flooring. At times, the floor is also raised based on the desired look.
Next, a grinder is used to even out the surface, and if required, the dust is compacted down. Many people also like to use sand at the very bottom to avoid moisture from seeping into the concrete. A plastic sheet is often placed on the floor to stop the moisture from getting to the concrete.
Alongside, wooden boards are fixed on the edges to contain the concrete mixture after it’s poured. After laying down the plastic sheet, fibre, or wire meshes are placed on it to reinforce the flooring.
As you can understand, this is a labour intensive and time-consuming job. Also, a lot goes into finding out the details about preparing the surface to get the flooring right. However, this step isn’t required if the place already has a concrete floor.
After preparing the surface and laying down the plastic sheets and wire meshes, it’s time to pour the concrete. Usually, the concrete mix contains cement, water, sand, and gravel or aggregate. Do note that the recipe of this mixture varies according to individual preference.
Carefully, the concrete mixture is poured and spread onto the surface, followed by a light misting of water. Once the water film evaporates, a metal or wooden hand float is used to even out the surface.
After the concrete can resist marring, regular misting is used to cure the surface to make it stronger. Some people also like to lay down wet burlap on the poured concrete to feed it enough moisture.
Following this, all you would need to do is to wait for the concrete to dry, and it may take up to 28 days for it to reach sufficient hardness.
In most cases, you will start by preparing an already poured concrete floor. However, these preparation techniques would also work to even out a recently poured concrete surface.
The most common things found on pre-existing concrete floors are blemishes, cracks, and remnants of epoxy, paint or other coating materials. To get rid of these, you will need to start by diamond grinding the surface to even it out.
If there are major cracks in the concrete, be sure to use proper remedies to remove them before grinding the surface. It’s usually done using fillers or epoxy, and you should wait for it to cure completely before resuming work.
Otherwise, rough grinding with 16 or 20 grit diamond abrasive pads will do the job. Most professionals also recommend metal bonded diamond grinding for preparing the concrete.
When it comes to bringing out the shine of concrete, it’s done by grinding the surface in multiple steps. Diamond abrasive bits of 25-3000 grit levels are used to make the concrete slab lustrous and appealing. Most jobs require three to four grinding stages to get the desired results for the flooring.
First, the coarse diamond grinding pads are used, followed by the finer pads to bring out the shine. Also, usually, each grinding pad is passed twice on the floor to obtain an even finish.
A walk-behind diamond disc grinder is commonly used to gradually polish the top layer of the concrete floor. There are interchangeable heads for the grinder to get the various results, and these are referred to as medium, high, or a very high gloss finish.
There are two ways to grind the floor, either wet or dry grinding. As wet grinding is messier because of its slurry, so most professionals prefer using dry grinding to polish concrete.
After grinding is over, the floor needs to be cleaned thoroughly so that no dust or debris is present. You can even use a non-abrasive cloth to cleanse the floor for removing any remnants from grinding.
The next step is to put a sealant or chemical hardener on the polished concrete floors to make them more durable. It’s usually done with the help of a sealer applicator spray, which helps to apply an even layer of the sealant.
While the sealant is drying, you need to ensure that nothing falls onto it, as even a small mistake can require you to redo the whole process. Shut any windows present in the areas to stop insects from getting into the drying sealant.
Adding tinted sealants may also give the floor a faint colour, but most people prefer to use stains or dyes for various designs. However, the bare polished concrete look is also an excellent option, especially for household floors.
You are almost ready to look with awe at the polished concrete floor, but adding an anti-stain layer and an anti-skid layer would make the floor lasting and safe for children and pets.
That’s everything we had to tell you about preparing polished concrete flooring. We have tried to keep the information comprehensive so that each step is easy to understand.
Having said that, you will still need to learn several techniques to create the perfect polished concrete floor, as having precision and experience matter a lot to achieve the desired glossy finish.
When done right, a polished concrete floor enhances the look of a space and adds durability to the floor. So, consult an expert before starting a project to know about the intricacies of working with polished concrete.
With that, we have come to the end of this informative guide about preparing polished concrete floors. Also, do let us know if you have any queries related to the topic.
Till then, goodbye and stay safe!