Simply put, polishing concrete is similar to sanding wood. Heavy-duty polishing machines equipped with progressively finer grits of diamond-impregnated segments or disks (kinda like sandpaper but exponentially stronger) are used to gradually grind down surfaces to the smoothness the customer desires; then, a polishing compound is added for shine.
The process begins with the use of coarse diamond segments bonded in a metallic matrix. These segments are coarse enough to remove minor pits, blemishes, stains, or light coatings from the floor in preparation for final smoothing. Depending on the condition of the concrete, this initial rough grinding is generally a three- to four-step process.
The next steps involve fine grinding of the concrete surface using diamond abrasives embedded in a plastic or resin matrix. Crews use ever-finer grits of polishing disks (a process called lapping) until the floor has the desired sheen. For an extremely high-gloss finish, a final grit of 1500 or finer may be used.
As with all floor treatments, the floor should be in place at least 28 days before polishing begins to ensure adequate curing.
Floors that are wavy, need extensive patching, or are extremely porous may not be good candidates for polishing.
Kept clean and dry, polished concrete floors are generally no slicker than plain concrete surfaces. And they tend to be less slippery than waxed linoleum or polished marble. However, a wet polished floor does not provide the texture needed for a perfectly slip resistant surface.
Although keeping polished concrete shiny requires minimal effort and expense, some regular care is necessary. We recommend a simple maintenance program of occasional dusting to remove grit and damp mopping to enhance the shine. These products can be applied with a mop or auto scrubber and do not require buffing. With basic cleaning, polished concrete should keep its luster for many years. Eventually, though, the shine can dull, especially in high-traffic areas. Fortunately, its easy to restore the gleam. Simply buffing the floor with a commercial polishing compound will do the trick.