Polished concrete is relatively new in the world of floor coatings. It originated out of terrazzo and stone polishing technology. Since being introduced on the market, many manufacturers have produced topical-based products that can give concrete the polished look that the customer wants. The processes involved with these products can range from mechanical and densifier to topical polish with burnishing to give the floor the desired sheen.
Usually, the topical polish will need a wax, hardener, and other products rich in solids to be applied to the concrete floor. After that, it is burnished to create the desired sheen. Depending on what product is used, the floor may need less maintenance, have added abrasion resistance, and there are no VOCs released out into the air.
It is important commercial environments to know what the process entails so production can be planned around it. For instance, metal bond diamond grinding steps may be needed initially and then a densifier applied to harden the floor.
So this brings about the question of what type of flooring solution is the best.
One type is VCT and it has been a choice of retailers for quite some time. You can think of it as the “cheap tiling option.” The installation is affordable, but the life cycle is short and the maintenance is taxing. These tiles have to be waxed, stripped, and cleaned and that can sometimes outweigh the benefits of this flooring. Concrete polishing reduces the amount of maintenance that the flooring needs. There are many businesses throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul still using VCT flooring, so you are probably very familiar with it.
Epoxy and mortar systems are also used by many industries. They are especially seen in warehouses, factories, and similar facilities. They are affordable flooring systems, but they require re-application annually or at least every three years. Entire plants have to shut down in order to install this type of flooring so it can dry and cure correctly. Polished concrete gives the same abrasion resistance and gives the flooring a durable surface that doesn’t take as much time to dry and cure. Polished concrete also has a much longer life cycle.
When it comes to comparing polished concrete floors to hardwood or recycled fibered carpets, it hands down lasts longer. Many consumers have chosen hardwood and carpet in the past in order to have the texture and coloring they want. With colored and textured concrete floor polishes available, the desired color and texture can be achieved and with a much longer lifetime than cork, carpet, or bamboo flooring.
Overall, concrete polishing gives you durability and stain resistance. When achieving the desired color and texture, it is performed at a fraction of the cost and there is hardly any waste left over. The only waste that is produced is the small amount of concrete that is removed from the surface. This reduces your carbon footprint by producing very little landfill waste.