As more and more property owners are choosing modern style options for their homes, the growth of premium flooring options is also expanding. Once where hardwood floors were the sought after option, designer tiles took their place. Then as with tiles taking over from hardwood floors, polished concrete is slowly taking over from designer tiles. It was discovered in the late 90s that polished concrete could emulate a finish much like marble and has since been used in many settings where marble would have been previously used. Hotel lobbies, showroom floors and now even residential homes.
There are generally 3 different levels of grinding involved in the first stage of the process and which one you choose depends on budget and desired use.
Generally most concrete slabs will have a fairly rough finish and typically a grey powdery finish. The first process is grinding this back to expose the aggregate; exposing the stones added to the mix when pouring the concrete. The exposure of these stones or aggregate, are what makes the decorative look to the floor. Industrial applications will usually require enough of a cut to make the surface smooth however does not require the aggressive cut used for more decorative floors which expose more aggregate. This is most suited to industrial applications and will save on time and labour which will be a big benefit since warehouses usually cover a very large floor space.
Commercial applications may call for a deeper grind of the floor, exposing more aggregate but may not bring it up to 100% exposure. Fully exposed aggregate is a more intensive process but works exceptionally well for showrooms or feature areas. This is a premium finish as it is the most costly concrete flooring solution to produce however will provide the most visually appealing end product.
To either the industrial, commercial or premium grind there can be 3 finishes used to get to the final product; premium mechanical grind, acrylic sealer or honing for outdoor concrete.
Honing produces a very smooth finish yet still retaining its concrete traction. For these reasons it is typically used in outdoor areas, like around pool areas. Its finish in not a high gloss but more of a matte finish. It can still be very decorative and visually appealing.
Mechanical grinding produces one of the hardest wearing floors of all. By grinding down to the desired aggregate exposure and then polishing to the gloss level, finishes much alike marble can be achieved. This could be the most popular technique for the most visually appealing finish.
If budget does not allow for a full mechanical grind and polish, you can opt for an acrylic finish. Acrylic is laid over the top of the concrete and this provides the smooth finish to the flooring surface. It will not last as long as mechanically polished flooring however will still outlast most other options.
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