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Concrete Polishing: Unveiling Surprising Facts & Techniques

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What You Probably Didn’t Know about Concrete Polishing

What you don’t know about concrete polishing may surprise you, and you may be much more inclined to opt for concrete in your own home or business after learning more about the process and its advantages.

It turns out that creating polished and stained concrete surfaces is a technique gaining popularity in homes and retail establishments everywhere for a variety of reasons.  In terms of visual appeal, polishing concrete can provide a unique look to just about any space, and the shiny, almost reflective surface is a nice alternative to other types of materials.

In addition to being a nice alternative to other design choices, concrete polishing allows much more creativity when it comes to design than many people know.  There are actually a wide variety of ways to make polished concrete even more interesting by using concrete stain to achieve different colors, creating unique patterns with saw cuts, and even adding other elements to the concrete to create a one-of-a-kind look.

There are almost endless ways to customize your look with concrete, and even those who wish to tone down the glossiness of their polished concrete surfaces can do so by simply choosing the level of polish they prefer.

Although concrete polishing has many design benefits, many professionals in the New York area are also endorsing the technique to their residential and commercial clients because it is generally accepted as being easier to keep up than many other choices.  In fact, most of the time simply using a dust mop or cloth on your polished concrete as part of your regular cleaning routine is enough to maintain the surface and keep it looking great.

Concrete Polishing Process Overview

The process of concrete polishing can be compared with techniques used to polish other material surfaces, such as natural stone.  Essentially, the job generally requires a professional-duty machine, called a concrete floor grinder, that uses a range of sandpaper-like discs to smooth the concrete surface to the level of polish desired.

During the initial stages of concrete polishing, the concrete is polished using coarse grinding discs that are capable of removing many of the surface imperfections found in the concrete, such as shallow pits and stains.  The level of work required for this step depends on the overall condition of the concrete itself.

After the concrete has been prepared through the rough grinding process, the next step in cement polishing requires a technique known as “lapping.”  This technique involves using finer and finer polishing discs to increase the luster of the concrete, similar to the way one would use different grits of sandpaper when sanding a piece of wood to gain different levels of smoothness.

To ensure you end up with the results you want from concrete polishing, New York polishing experts will be able to closely monitor your concrete throughout the lapping process and verify you will be getting the look you expected.

A sealer is also used throughout the process to create a nice concrete finish.  Although the sealer used cannot be seen, it is important because it will penetrate the concrete and ultimately provide protection for the concrete surface.

Depending on the situation, the sealant used may remove the need for a finishing polish on the concrete, although some professionals use topical polishing agents to reach a higher level of shine and further protect the surface from dirt.

Two Polishing Methods: Wet Vs. Dry

There are actually two different methods that can be used during concrete floor polishing: wet and dry.  Each one can offer its own unique benefits, but you will probably find that most professionals today are using a dry technique for concrete polishing.  New York professionals would likely tell you that this method is generally more timely and convenient for those involved.

When a wet polishing method is used, water acts as a coolant for the grinding discs during use and provides a way to reduce the amount of dust usually created from the grinding machine.  This lubricating effect may also lengthen the life of the abrasive discs used during polishing.

In terms of any disadvantages, the wet method can become difficult to clean up due to the amount of waste that is created from the mix of water and dust, which also has to be collected and then disposed of properly.  This is one of the main reasons wet polishing tends to be much more time consuming and less convenient.

In contrast, dry polishing does not require the use of water, and a vacuum system is used to eliminate the dust created from polishing.

If you are looking for a professional to do your concrete polishing in the greater New York area, you may also find there are many that like to use both polishing methods.  For instance, some professionals use the dry polishing method during the initial stages of polishing, when there is more dust being produced, and then switch to wet polishing once they are using finer abrasives on the concrete.

Consider These Factors before You Decide on Concrete

Concrete polishing is a popular option among homeowners and commercial builders for many reasons, including the appeal of a polished concrete finish, the ease of maintaining concrete surfaces, and the strength and durability of the material.  In fact, many people are now choosing polished concrete surfaces over natural stone and opting to stain their concrete to achieve the stone look they want for much less money.

If you are interested in using polished concrete in your home or business, it is a good idea to make sure you understand the process and the options available to you.  Some additional factors that may interest you include:

+ The difference between polished concrete and other types of natural and synthetic surfaces and the advantages it can offer you

+ The cost of installing stained concrete floors or other concrete features in comparison with other options as well as factors that influence cost

+ Factors that may make some types of concrete easier to polish than others 

+ Your options in terms of the level of shine of your concrete and designs that can be achieved using things like concrete stain, engraving and other techniques that create patterns and faux finishes

+ Additional factors that make concrete beneficial, including its maintenance and the ease of cleaning concrete floors

+ The versatility of concrete, along with the emergence of new technology that is making the process of polishing concrete easier and less expensive, makes it a great option for dozens of unique applications in homes and businesses, including both indoor and outdoor surfaces.

Understanding the process and achieving the look you want from concrete polishing is much easier with the help of a qualified expert, who is experienced using polishing equipment and can bring your design ideas to life.

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