Mechanical polished concrete is a process where the concrete is chemically hardened and then mechanically polished. Mechanical polished concrete differs from the topical sealed polished concrete process in that the “sheen” is not obtained by any kind of sealer, but by the concrete itself being “mechanically” polished to a flat and smooth reflective surface- just like a marble or granite countertop.
This surface is still protected, but with a high quality penetrating sealer, designed to stop or delay any penetration while still allowing the concrete to breath. This process gives the polished concrete floor a far greater appeal and durability than if coated with a topical sealer. Our skilled technicians at Ottawa Concrete Polishing are proud of there work and continue to learn and apply new techniques and attend ongoing education on a regular basis.
The Polishing Process:
Concrete grinding is the process by which the concrete floor is flattened and/or aggregates are exposed. A 6 to 80 grit diamond coarse abrasive tool is applied to the concrete with the purpose of either exposing diverse levels of aggregates, or simply flattening the surface. A deeper grind will result in greater aggregate exposure.
HONING & POLISHING
Concrete honing is the process in between grinding and polishing. An increment process ranging from 100 to 200 grit diamond medium abrasive tool is applied to the concrete with the purpose of either transitioning the deep grinding scratches into finer abrasions, ready for polishing, or, to be left honed, where a lower sheen and/or a non slip surface is required. Concrete honing can also be applied without previous grinding, when none or only some exposure of stones is requested.
Concrete polishing is the process following honing. An increment process ranging from 400 to 3000 or higher grit diamond fine abrasive tool is applied to the concrete after honing. The purpose is to create smaller scratches and therefore a smoother surface so enabling light to reflect. The higher, finer the polish, grit; the greater the light and sheen.
Concrete grouting is the process by which the concrete surface porosity is minimized. Concrete is by nature a porous product. When poured, concrete contains water particles that become trapped in the concrete and evaporate during curing time, leaving small pockets of air. During the grinding process these pockets create small holes creating a porous surface on the concrete. Grouting is the process by which these holes are closed.
Concrete Hardening is the process by which the concrete surface is solidified. Concrete hardening, also known as “densifying”, is obtained by a chemical reaction between a liquid concrete hardener the concrete surface. The porosity formed by the concrete water evaporation, as well as causing holes, as explained in the “GROUTING” process, compromises the concrete uniformity and therefore causes the surface to be more susceptible to scratching and staining. The additional cementitious material formed by the reaction between the concrete hardener and the free lime in the concrete, creates a tightening to minuscule pores, giving the concrete a greater density and hardness. Once the hardener is applied, the performance from this reaction can continue to improve for up to 2 months.
The outcome of this process results in diverse benefits: it hardens the surface, it minimizes pulverization and reduces penetration. Additionally, it enables the concrete surface to be polished at higher grits.
SEALING & BURNISHING
Concrete sealing is the process by which the concrete surface is protected with sealers, enhanced and/or darkened.
There are many types of concrete sealers that generally fall under two categories: topical and penetrating. The type of sealer will be determined by the area in which it is being applied – outdoor verses indoor, surface preparation, floor usage and desired look. A true Mechanical Polished Concrete floor is always sealed with a penetrating sealer.
Concrete burnishing is the final process. When the polished concrete floor is sealed with a penetrating sealer, the purpose of buffing is to remove any excess sealer. When sealed topically the purpose is to exfoliate and/or burnish the surface of the topcoat sealer.
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Flat / Matte Finish
400-800 Grit- Gloss
800-3000 Grit- High Gloss
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– Metal strips for aesthetic purposes
– Stained and exposed aggregate
– Imbedded recycled glass or other aggregates
– Integral coloring added to concrete
Patched cracks or filled expansion joints
Different mixes separated by a joint causing difference in color and aggregate exposure
Surface crazing created by improper curing or a mix with too much water
Debris imbedded in the concrete (ex. wood chunks, foam, etc.)
Exposed rebar from improper placement
Low Floor Flatness (low areas)
Other Possible Existing Characteristics:
– Improper floor protection
– Exposed foam on edges of slab
– Vapor barrier left on surface of concrete creating water discoloration
– Stains on surface caused by chemicals, paint, caulking, spray foam etc. during building process
– Improper curing and or mix