Polished concrete is a popular floor finish that has been rapidly adopted in commercial applications like shopping centers, restaurants, and residential homes. It is no wonder homeowners want to know how to polish concrete because it has outstanding durability and looks fantastic, and is easy to maintain.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a contractor to polish concrete. With the right tools, the process isn’t complicated. If you’re lucky and happen to live in Australia, you might be surprised to know they have some of the best polished concrete Melbourne has to offer. Be ready to invest a good chunk of your time because polishing concrete takes a lot of time, depending on the level of gloss you want to achieve.
Like painting, polishing concrete needs proper preparation and a high-quality formwork because that determines the final outcome and finish. Polishing also makes cracks and repairs more visible, so you should keep this in mind and decide the best slab for the style of finish you want to accomplish.
How to Polish Concrete Yourself
We polish concrete to create a smooth surface achieving a gloss that makes light bounce off the surface. You will know that you have achieved the perfect reflection once you notice all the light reflecting off the surface. However, to accomplish this, you need to make sure the surface is smooth, flat, and with no imperfections.
It would be best if you considered polishing when you notice structural cracks in your floor, often caused by soil movement underneath. This is crucial because such cracks keep moving with reliable moisture content. In contrast, the concrete’s expansion and contraction will keep changing in temperature unless you stabilize the substrate.
Look out for small surface cracks that are caused when the concrete shrinks. Such cracks tend to be filled in the grouting process, making them go unnoticed. You can expect such issues when your floor is poorly laid. Here is how to do it yourself:
Test for Hardness
Before polishing your house slab, we recommend that you grind the slab early. Concrete hardens quickly, and so it is better to grind early; otherwise, it becomes more difficult to grind, fill, and set. Start the process by first determining the hardness of the concrete using a MOHS Concrete Hardness Tester.
Using the right metal bond diamond abrasive, use the highest to keep scratching the surface until the tip stops scratching the floor; that’s when you reach the hardness level of your concrete.
Prepare the Concrete Surface
If your floor is coated, use the appropriate tools to determine and remove the coating. Repair and feel holes or cracks in the surface. Using a grit metal bond tool, grind to achieve your desired exposure and floor flatness.
Remove Metal Tool Marks
Use transitional grit tools to remove metal tool scratches and make the surface ready for polishing. For a good polish, make sure that the floor is free of any visible tool marks.
Densify and Harden Your Concrete
Vacuum the floor, remove all tool marks, and then use a pore & crack filler to densify the concrete. By solidifying and densifying the surface, you will achieve extra protection from water staining and penetration.
Use appropriate grit resin bond tools. Make sure even the dust between passes is vacuumed. After you achieve the final grit level, use a 3000-grit burnishing pad to burnish the floor.
Seal and Protect the Polished Concrete
Once you achieve the look and polish you wanted, protect the concrete surface using a commercial stain-guard protector. This is especially crucial if the concrete will be exposed to oil, grease, or chemicals.