Polished concrete is one of the newer choices many people make for their concrete surfaces. Concrete naturally is a very porous material made from the mixing of water, Portland cement, and some sort of aggregate, such as stones, gravel, or sand. The mixture, when properly completed, results in the formation of concrete that features a large amount of tiny pores and hairline cracks that extend, web-like, throughout the concrete. While these pores and cracks do not overly inhibit the concrete’s strength, they can be the cause of future damage.
To make sure your concrete is as strong as it possibly can be, as well as protected from potential future harm, you need to make sure you seal your concrete with the appropriate concrete sealer. However, the situation changes slightly if you decide to polish your concrete. Polishing concrete is a choice many people make because it grinds down the surface of the concrete to transform the pockmarked natural surface into a smooth, shiny expanse of concrete. These types of floors are typically found in large retail stores, such as Home Depot, as well as a number of other venues.
While the polishing process is as simple as renting a concrete grinder and following the instructions from there on, there is a crucial step that many people skip. Skipping this step, of course, can result in absolute disaster for the concrete, leading to excessive cracking, crumbling, and general degradation that can necessitate costly repairs.
Before you can polish concrete, you need to increase the strength and density of the slab. Polishing pushes the concrete’s structural integrity to the brink, which can be problematic for untreated concrete. In order to ensure a successful concrete polishing process, you need to treat the concrete slab with a concrete densifier. The best choice for this project would be a lithium silicate/siliconate. These types of sealer are the strongest densifiers on the market, featuring deep penetration and comprehensive chemical reactions that create more calcium silicate hydrate (or CSH) that gives concrete its noted strength. Once the lithium silicate sealer has been properly applied, the concrete can be polished without fear of damage caused by untreated concrete.