The Differences Between Polished Concrete Floors

You may not be aware that there are two different types of “polished concrete” floors.

There is a process that is a topical coating and there is a process that is a mechanical polishing.

Let me explain the differences between polished concrete floors and why you want a true mechanical polished floor.

A Topical Coating is a Poor Mans Polish

While a concrete polishing with a topical coating may seem like the way to go because of the original price comparison with a true mechanical polish, but you really need to take a closer look.

A topical coating seems so easy and there are many salesman who will paint a pretty picture, but you will begin a maintenance nightmare. It works out well for the salesman because you will have to continue buying his equipment and product to maintain it.

Topical Clear Coat
This method applies a chemical or coating to the surface of the concrete. Then, it’s sealed or buffed to produce a sheen. While this method can be cost-effective, it lasts only a year or two; eventually, the Topical Sealer will chip, crack, or peel. Remember, nothing you can put on your concrete floor is harder than the concrete itself.

You will continually have to re-coat the high traffic areas while trying not to overload the rest of your floor. Saving a few dollars on the original outlay may be tempting, but you will pay for it for years.

concrete topical coatings failure
Topical coating failure

Why Mechanical Polishing is Superior

When you install a true mechanical polish you will have the lowest maintenance floor possible. You can polish it to 800 grit and just auto scrub or mop it for years (imagine the floors you see in chain stores like Lowes and Home Depot).

Polished Concrete Chase Service Bay

You may never have to touch it with a polisher again – NO JOKE!

If you want a high sheen you can polish it to a 3000 grit and get a very high sheen that actually comes from the sand in the concrete. When the sand is polished with diamonds it makes it shine like glass because the sand is actually melted (think of a glass blower making a vase).  The true shine is not from a chemical, it is inherent in the concrete, so it will never wear off.

Concrete Floor Polishing Industrial

If you have any questions about how the process works, come by our Design Workshop full of examples of the various options.

Stain Samples

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