Polished Concrete: How to create the polished concrete look!

There are many different ways to achieve the polished concrete look. We are going to explore three different ways the traditional polished concrete, Hone and Seal and using floor toppings such as the Overcrete concrete resurfacing. First we will look at what the traditional polished concrete is and how it is achieved.

Traditional Polished Concrete

Polished concrete is traditionally created from mechanical means without the use of surface coatings. It is less prone to scratching because the high gloss finish is produced by the very hard concrete.

The process is achieved by the use of commercial concrete grinders and chemical hardeners known as a concrete densifier. There are three types of concrete densifiers, sodium, potassium and lithium which all vary in price related to their effectiveness. When the concrete densifiers are applied they react with the calcium hydroxide (CH) to form Calcium Silicate Hydrate (CSH) which basically means turning your porous concrete into hard dense concrete that can be polished.

During the preparation phase, the concrete is initially ground/cut to your desired look eg. (exposed stone, salt n pepper, rustic concrete). The concrete is hardened with a concrete densifier, most commonly a lithium based concrete densifier as they are more effective. Repair work is done to cracks and other imperfections and the floor is grouted to remove any pit holes in concrete by using the concrete that has previously been ground off. The grinding process is continued by using a finer diamond resin pad at each stage. The floor is normally ground at 100 grit then 200, 400, 800, 1500 and the finally at 3000. You are left with a new shiny polished concrete floor that is truly robust.

  • Exposed Stone

  • Salt n Pepper

  • Industrial Rustic

The traditional polished concrete can achieve amazing long lasting results and if your budget allows is definitely the way to go. However, you can receive the same look and style by using concrete sealers and concrete resurfacing products.

The next one we will explore is using concrete sealers to achieve the polished concrete look which is referred to as a Hone and Seal.

Hone and Seal

Hone and sealing your concrete is very similar to the previous method mentioned in the traditional polished concrete. The initial grind is done mechanically with a professional concrete grinder to achieve your desired look and repairs are done to help fix up any major pit holes or imperfections. The main difference is that you don’t have to harden you floor with a concrete densifier and grind/polish the floor numerous amounts of times to get your high gloss finish. The high gloss finish is achieved by applying a concrete sealer such as our SV45 Polyurethane. The trick to getting an even gloss level is to apply several coats until your coating is thick enough to sit above the concrete. Hone and sealing your concrete can be a cost-effective way of getting your polished concrete look, whilst giving you the additional flexibility of changing the gloss levels. If you don’t like the high gloss look you can alternatively use a matte concrete sealer.

Concrete Resurfacing

With the use of floor toppings such as concrete overlays and concrete resurfacing products, you can take control of the final colour and tone for your polished concrete floor. To the right is a photo where the Overcrete Resurfacing System is being used to create that industrial rustic polished concrete look. The Overcrete resurfacing compound is applied by hand using a trowel. When applied, the steel trowel is used to polish/burnish the floor. The floor has been sealed with two coats of low sheen polyurethane. This is only one example of using a floor topping to get the polished concrete look.