Over the last decade, the concrete polishing industry has grown by leaps and bounds. While a number of concrete processing methods, such as concrete polishing and grinding, have been in use for over a decade, it is only in the last 2 or 3 years that they have been well-noted by professionals like:
Property Owners, and
General Contractors among others
Professionals who have taken the time to learn these methods and perfect their skills can expect huge rewards as the market is projected to expand faster than new experts can be trained.
Challenges Faced by Contractors
Every new industry must face a number of challenges. The success of the industry is pinned on the ability of industry players to overcome these challenges. One of the main challenges is that concrete polishers who are just getting into the industry think that concrete polishing simply entails laying some sort of abrasive on a concrete surface using a polishing machine. While this may be true to some extent, that’s not everything that is involved. Polishing methods are quite technical, so they require a great deal of skill and experience. Furthermore, there are many variables that concrete polishers must be aware of. To ensure they produce the desired results time and again, concrete polishers must take their time to learn the ins and out of this new civil engineering discipline.
Concrete Polishing Explained
Due to the infancy of this industry, a lot of the terminology is being misused. There is need to clearly define the terminology to avoid confusion. Concrete polishing is defined as a mechanical process entailing the cutting and smoothing of a concrete surface to attain a desired result. Multiple abrasive agents are normally used within the grits to create a polished concrete surface.
It is important to note that not all processing methods result in a polished concrete surface. Some methods, such as grinding and honing are different because they do not entail the same steps as concrete polishing processes.
Processing Methods and Categories
Ground Concrete – Among the categories or methods of processing concrete, this is the lowest category. Usually, grit abrasive of up to 50-grit resin is used to process the concrete surface. The end result is usually a flat polished surface with low sheen and no reflective quality.
Honed Concrete – In this category, contractors use grit abrasive ranging from 100 to 400-grit resin to process the concrete surface in a method commonly referred to as honing. Honed concrete surfaces can have low-high quality sheen and a slight reflection.
Polished Concrete – Among the categories of methods used in concrete polishing, this is the highest. Contractors normally use grit abrasive ranging from 1,500 to 3,000-grit resin. This process is normally referred to as the polished concrete method, and it produces a glass-like finish as well as a mirror-like reflection.
The Variables Involved in Polishing Concrete Surfaces
The quality of results obtained after the concrete polishing processes depends on several variables. Some of these variables are pre-existing, and cannot be controlled, but others are within the contractor’s control.
For instance, the contractor cannot do anything to control the concrete mix design, levelers and flatness of floors. However, they have complete control over things like; speed of steps taken, equipment quality, steps and actions, and the types of abrasives to use.
Since residential concrete surfaces are usually leveled with hand trowels, they have a low PSI (below 1,500). That is why REO bars designed by the best metal fabricators Melbourne has to offer must be used.
When it comes to commercial surfaces, the PSI of the concrete mix is usually high (over 3,500), so contractors are easily able to produce quality results since these surfaces polish up better due to high density.