Guide: Polished Concrete & Garage Flooring
Many years ago, concrete was mostly for sub-flooring & foundations, which would most likely be covered by tiles or carpeting. Now, times have changed, and people have shifted their preferences. Concrete has become the chic material for both homes and commercial properties.
There are various types of concrete flooring options. And one of the top favourites is polished concrete, especially in restaurants, warehouses, and retail stores. Homeowners prefer it as well, thanks to the unique mirror finish it creates. While it is typically used indoors, polished concrete is also an excellent choice for those looking to improve their garage floors.
Because of the beauty of polished concrete, it may be difficult to imagine how it can withstand heavy vehicle movements. Also, you do not want to see the shiny floor stained. But the good news is that this type of concrete product is resilient, durable, and easy to maintain.
The Polished Concrete Process
The multi-step procedure of polished concrete consists of mechanically grinding concrete. Then, it will be honed and polished with bonded abrasives for cutting the floor surface. Gloss is achieved depending on the refined cuts, which can give a glossy or satin-like finish. There is always a variety of colour and patterns to choose from, giving you endless options with polished concrete.
The process is vital, as well. You need to hire a professional team to make sure the result is what you want it to be. Since polished concrete will be for your garage floors, which already exist, the procedure may differ depending on the state of the floor. The contractor will also decide how to start and end the whole process. But usually, it will be like this:
- The first step is always to make sure the area to work on is targeted while the surrounding area is covered and protected. Old floor coatings should be removed.
- The concrete floors may obtain treatment using a chemical densifier. The purpose of the product is to ensure there are no gaps or pores in the material. It hardens and penetrates the open space, which creates a chemical reaction. The result is a hardened and durable surface. This step is crucial, but other floors may not require it. As long as cracks and joints are sealed, and there is no more damage to the existing floor, the next step will be performed.
- Progressive grinding will commence. You can think of this process as sanding wood because of the similarity. A polishing machine with finer grits of diamonds is often preferred and used. It’s what will bring out the smoothness and shine that you want for your garage floor. Essentially, the higher the grade, the bigger the aggregate. When it comes to grit, the finer the grit, the smoother the finished result.
- Patching divots will help create a much smoother surface. The diamond grinding process will keep going at this point where the grit will be increased gradually. The contractor will apply a hardener and densifier for reinforcing the surface.
- The next step is to polish the surface using resin discs. It’s the honing process, which starts with 200 to 800 grit. If you desire it, you can have concrete staining introduced at this point.
- Polishing is not done yet. In fact, this is where it all starts. True polishing is achieved when you use 1,500 or 3,000 grit diamond pads.
- Oil and water repellents will be applied. A stain guard may also be used to the surface. It is optional but highly recommended, mainly because you have polished concrete for your garage. The stain guard acts as a sealer that penetrates the concrete material using its ultra-thin coating, which will keep concrete from absorbing stains and chemicals.
Before any of the steps above, you, as the property owner, should already have made a few arrangements. The most important options are the gloss and aggregate levels of the floor. Your contractor can explain the details and your choices to you.
Why Choose Polished Concrete for Your Garage Floor
A polished concrete floor system can transform your garage floor into something unique, durable, and beautiful. From a porous concrete floor, you will have one with a tightened surface. It’s dense enough, so oil, water, and other chemicals and contaminants will not penetrate the surface.
Here are more reasons why polished concrete should be your garage flooring choice:
- It’s environmentally-friendly – Polished concrete is a green flooring solution, which means it does not negatively impact the environment. Concrete has been classified as a sustainable material, which is one of the reasons why consumers seek it out. You use the current concrete substrate, which eliminates the need to have additional elements. Plus, it also reduces the energy consumed during installation.
- It’s contemporary – Concrete is a classic, but updating your garage means you want something new and modern. Polished concrete keeps the minimalistic quality of concrete. While it offers an avant-garde display, it also complements the present-day architecture design. The industrial vibe also works in any space, including your garage.
- It is durable and lasts for a long time – The pristine look that you see after the installation and curing process is done may seem difficult to maintain. However, your new garage flooring has an extremely long lifespan, which is why it is one of the best choices out there. This hard-wearing surface can even outlast hardwood, which is definitely not suitable for garages. While other flooring choices get scratched, chipping, and dents, polished concrete remains in its top condition.
- It does not require a lot of maintenance – Like all other types of flooring solutions, polished concrete will wither and look worn out if you do not care for it properly. It can lose its shine quickly, especially because you plan to install it in your garage where there is not only high and heavy traffic. But fortunately for you, polished concrete does not need high maintenance. The regimen is actually quite basic, which includes dust mopping for removal of accumulated dirt and debris. Make sure you do this task daily to prevent build-up, which can erode the veneer. Wet mopping is also a routine requirement. Use clean water and a pH-balanced cleaner for preserving your polished concrete floor. You do not need to wax it, which can dull the finish.
While you may not spend a lot of time in your garage, you may also be prone to allergies. This flooring option is good for allergy sufferers because it protects the surface against allergens, such as dust, bacteria, and mould. It also repels moisture and is not as porous as other floors. This is one of the reasons why it is suitable for your garage. It stops oil from getting beneath the surface, which can destroy the floor and the overall look of your garage. You need to update the sealer every year, though. This way, it will continue to repel water and other contaminants.
If you are into customisation, polished concrete is a great option for you. You can have it dyed or stained, so you do not have to stick with the dull, grey concrete. Stains can be combined with cured concrete, which gives a variegated or antiquated result.
Exposed aggregate is also a superb choice, where you can opt for a wide number of variants, from coarse to medium-grained particulate material. The different types of materials used as aggregates, such as crushed stone, sand, and gravel, can also give the flooring a unique appearance.