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Polished Concrete Floors
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Polished concrete is concrete that has been treated with a chemical densifier and ground with progressively finer grinding tools.
Polished concrete is considered a good sustainable design flooring option because it makes use of the materials already present. Most modern buildings are built on a concrete slab; polishing the exposed concrete eliminates the energy and material consumed by applying a floor covering. It is something to consider when building or modernizing towards a more green solution. Polished concrete floors are low-maintenance, as they are more durable and easier to clean than many flooring options. Its relatively high coefficient of friction can make it non-slippery. Polished concrete reduces dust mite and allergen problems, and does not support mould growth. Anecdotal evidence suggests highly reflective polished concrete reduces lighting needs and improves natural lighting, but as yet there has not been a study to confirm this. Polished concrete flooring is hard wearing and will not chip or dent like softer surfaces such as timber. Mopping with warm soapy water once a week is the only maintenance required. A concrete floor that has been hardened and polished will have an extremely long life expectancy compared to other flooring. For example, tile that may only last 10–20 years, but a polished concrete floor that has been properly maintained may give 100+ years of service.
Polished concrete floor installation is categorized into two types: new floors, and retrofit floors.
1. New Floors: New floors require less work resulting in lower costs, but there are a few things to be aware of before a new concrete floor can be polished. Firstly the slab can contain a decorative aggregate. The three most common aggregates are river stone, granite, and black basalt mix, however the aggregate can be almost anything. The finished surface of the concrete will need to be finished to a high standard to facilitate the polishing process. During the finishing phase any decorative aggregates such as seashells, glass chips or even metal car parts can be dropped into the surface of the concrete. Builder needs to be aware as early as possible if the concrete is to be polished so that the final finish is of the best quality.
2. Retrofit Floors: The existing floor slab can be cut or sanded and the natural aggregate will be the feature or a topping slab with a minimum thickness of 50 mm can be added on top of the existing slab.