How to Polish Concrete for Beginners
It is amazing how a single word can change people's perspectives.
For example, let's look at the word 'concrete.' When we hear the word concrete, we think of sidewalks, roads, and building foundations. It is a strong and dependable material, but it is also rough and not too pleasing to look at.
This is the reason why we don't normally think of regular concrete as a flooring material.
But when you add the word 'polished' to concrete, it becomes 2018's next big thingin interior design. It is still strong and dependable but is also now smooth and beautiful.
If you want that modern, industrial look for your home, you need to learn how to polish concrete. Here is a beginner's guide to help kick things off.
Planning and Preparation
All successful ventures start with planning and preparation. As a beginner, you'll make some mistakes. But if you plan well, you'll limit those mistakes or avoid them completely.
First, you have to check the hardness of your concrete. Use a hardness tester to determine if your concrete is soft, medium, or hard. You'll be able to fine-tune the polishing based on the hardness category.
Next is cleaning the concrete surface. Sweep away any dirt or debris and follow-up by mopping or scrubbing the surface with water and detergent. Completely rinse the suds away and allow the floor to dry.
Once the concrete is clean and dry, inspect it for cracks. If you found some, you can repair the cracks with a specialized concrete filler.
How to Polish Concrete the Right Way
Polishing concrete operates on the same principle as sanding wood. Both use abrasion as the means to smooth out the surface. Of course, the big difference is that concrete is several times harder than wood.
For this reason, you use a floor grinder equipped with a diamond grinding disc or polishing pad for sanding concrete. You also need to make more passes with the concrete polisher than you would with a sander on a wood floor.
As you do when sanding wood, you progress through several grit sizes, from coarse to fine. Start with the coarsest disc (usually 30 to 50-grit size) to remove contaminants such as sealers and stains. Use circular motions to work over the floor surface and work systematically to cover the whole area.
From there, switch to a finer disc (higher grit size) and pass over the entire floor again. The exact grit sizes and the number of passes you make will depend on the hardness of your concrete. In general, after the initial pass, you can use the 80-grit size, then 150, 200, and possibly 400.
After every pass, vacuum any debris produced. You'll also need to apply a densifierin the middle of your passes. Spray the chemical after using the 80-grit disc for soft concrete or after using the 200-grit for medium to hard concrete.
For the final grind, use a 1500 or 3000-grit polishing pad to achieve your desired gloss appearance. You can then apply a sealer to maintain the gloss and protect your shiny new floor from stains.