Concrete Floor Polishing in Toronto
For Industrial & Commercial Projects
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What are Polished Concrete Floors?
A polished concrete floor is a regular concrete floor where the surface has been ground by a series of diamond tools designed to mechanically refine the concrete surface so that it produces consistent gloss, clarity, and shine. The polishing process is similar to the one used for granite and marble.
A concrete floor typically needs to be ground 7-10 times, reaching at least an 800-grit finish, to achieve a polished surface. The surface appearance of a polished concrete floor is created through the diamond polishing process and not by the use of a surface coating or sealer. There is no surface material to peel, chip or crack. This allows the concrete slab to breathe and maintain a healthy state.
Polishing concrete creates a surface with a Teflon-like resistance to marking and dirt which makes them easy to maintain and keep clean. This is one of the primary advantages over other concrete flooring options.
A self-leveling polished concrete topping is another type of polished concrete flooring. Ardex PC-T is a well-known concrete topping that is designed to be polished. Concrete toppings, otherwise known as polishable overlays are typically used when a concrete floor has been damaged too badly to be polished. It may also be poured onto wood floors to create a concrete floor. Once the topping has been poured and reached the minimum curing time, it will be diamond-polished like regular concrete.
Polished concrete floors are available in different levels of sheen. The first level is an 800-grit finish, it has the lowest level of gloss, clarity, and shine. It’s commonly used for industrial floors because it has the lowest cost while still providing a like-new appearance.
The 1500-grit finish is the mid-level and can be found everywhere from industrial floors to art galleries. It provides improved gloss, clarity and shine over the 800 grit for a nicer aesthetic appearance.
The 3000-grit finish is the highest polish level providing excellent gloss, clarity, and shine. It is excellent for high-traffic applications like retail stores, offices, universities, and other institutions that need to maintain a professional image.
Can any Concrete Floor be Polished?
Any existing concrete floor where the cementitious portion (cement paste/gel) of the concrete retains its integrity can be polished. If the concrete slab has been compromised by chemical contamination or other factors, the floor will not retain its polished surface for an acceptable length of time.
Concrete floors that have integrity but have been physically damaged may also be unsuitable for polishing because the final finish may be blotchy and inconsistent. The expectations of the customers would determine whether or not this second scenario would be suitable for polished concrete flooring.
The general rule for determining if a concrete floor can be polished:
- It should be free of oil and other chemical contamination
- There should be minimal surface damage
- The floor should not have a large number of repairs or trenches
Concrete floors that were covered with carpet, tile, or wood floors can normally be polished without issue, after an adhesive removal grinding process. Concrete floors that have VCT tile will retain a checkered board pattern in the floor but may be polished if the customer deems it acceptable.
A professional concrete polishing process begins with an aggressive diamond tool that removes the surface concrete and exposes a clean, new layer. It’s important to remove any surface contamination or soiled concrete.
All of the proceeding grinding steps are finer grits that progressively hone and polish the surface. It is a best practice to use a lithium silicate densifier with the polishing process to enhance the durability of the surface.
The hardness or MPa of the concrete surface will predominantly determine the durability and life of the floor.
What is the cost of a Polished Concrete Floor?
The cost of a polished concrete floor will vary based on the following criteria:
- The size of the project
- The condition of the concrete floor
- If the area is one open space or multiple spaces
- Access to job site (weekdays, nights, weekends)
- The level of polish (800 grit – 3000 grit)
- The amount of repair work and joints to fill
- Standard or terrazzo look
- Edge polishing
A general cost guideline for polished concrete floors:
- Industrial floors $1.95 to $3.50 per square foot
- Commercial floors $2.50 to $8.50 per square foot
Every concrete surface needs to be individually assessed to receive an accurate quote.
Are Polished Concrete Floors Slippery?
No, polished concrete floors are not slippery. They exceed the minimum dynamic coefficient of friction level (ANSI A137.1) at all grits (800, 1500, and 3000 grit). Architects, designers, and plant managers can find detailed information about slip resistance (DCOF) on the Concrete Polishing Council’s website. Slip resistance problems for a polished concrete flooring system will primarily be caused by poor maintenance of the floor. Poor maintenance can cause any flooring type to become unsafe so it’s important to have a structured program in place. Stain guards and floor coatings can decrease the slip resistance of a polished concrete floor so test data should be consulted before use.
What is the Best Finish for a Concrete Floor?
The best finish for a concrete floor is determined by the requirements of the business or organization. Here are some general guidelines when considering flooring options:
- Polished concrete is best for high-traffic offices, retail, warehouses and dry manufacturing. It provides a low-maintenance, durable surface with the lowest cost.
- A resinous floor coating like epoxy, polyurethane or polyaspartic is best for businesses that handle chemicals, oils, or liquids.
Concrete floors need to be completed sealed off from chemical contamination because they will absorb chemicals. Once they are absorbed they cannot be removed and may leach into the environment.
What are the Advantages of Polished Concrete Floors?
- a beautiful but understated appearance allows merchandise or other elements in the room to remain the focus
- extremely durable, will stand up to high-traffic environments
- existing concrete floors can be polished negating the need to bring in new flooring
- teflon-like polished surface resists marking and dirt making it easy to clean and maintain
- exceeds the slip resistance minimum dynamic coefficient of friction (ANSI A137.1)
- environmentally friendly and VOC-free
- low cost to install and maintain
- increases ambient light up to 30% through reflection
- no coating to scratch, chip, or peel
What are the Disadvantages of Polished Concrete?
- Concrete is porous and will absorb liquids which may stain or damage the floor. It is not suitable for environments that are regularly exposed to liquids.
- Concrete is susceptible to acidic substances. It should not be used in areas with regular exposure to any type of acidic substances including fruits and vegetables, beer and wine, chemicals, oils, and acidic cleaners.
- It does not have a consistent, homogenous finish. You will see variations in the amount of fine and large aggregate on the surface. The color may also vary from region to region.
What Makes Our Polished Concrete Floors Special
A wealth of knowledge from 20+ years in the industry that informs our standards and procedures. We maintain the highest standards in the industry and continuously improve our quality and cost.
We utilize the most advanced diamond tools because they deliver fast grinding and better surface finishes. This means lower costs and better quality polished concrete floors.
We only use diamond polishing systems that mechanically polish the concrete surface and don’t use resin transfer to create the finish. This results in better quality, longer lasting floors.
We use advanced, planetary floor grinders paired with the heavy-duty vacuums. This means flat floors and an almost dust-free job site.
We use best-in-class sealers/densifiers to maximize the durability of our polished concrete floors. High-quality densifiers, joint fillers, and repair materials are important parts of the process.
We Offer Four Levels of Polished Concrete
400 Grit: Low-sheen polished concrete. Excellent for industrial floors like factories and warehouses. Also, used in retail and offices preferring low sheen floors.
800 Grit: Mid-level polished concrete with good shine, clarity, and gloss. Commonly used in manufacturing and logistics when appearance is important or in offices and retail when a mid-level shine is desirable.
1500 Grit: High shine, clarity, and gloss. When you want a high-end appearance for commercial, institutional, or retail spaces.
3000 Grit: Best of the best. Highest shine, clarity, and gloss. Suitable for high-end and luxury environments.
Here are the specifications for our floors:
800 Grit Polish (6 Grind)
- 35 grit
- 80 grit
- 100 grit
- 200 grit
- 400 grit
- 800 grit
1500 Grit Polish (7 Grind)
- 35 grit
- 80 grit
- 100 grit
- 200 grit
- 400 grit
- 800 grit
- 1500 grit
How to Choose the Right Polished Concrete Floor
The key to choosing the right polished concrete floor is understanding the difference between the 4 levels.
All the levels will perform similarly in terms of life and durability, the primary difference is the aesthetic appearance.
If the floor is being used for utility purposes, the 400 or 800-grit polished concrete levels are sufficient. The low to medium sheen and clean appearance are great for commercial and industrial spaces that value utility without sacrificing aesthetics.
The 1500 grit provides an improvement in gloss, clarity, and shine over the 800 grit providing a high gloss finish. It is excellent for environments where an upscale, refined appearance is required. High light reflectivity will also noticeably brighten the space.
A 3000-grit polish provides the highest level of shine, clarity, and gloss with substantial light reflectivity that improves ambient light by up to 30%. It elevates concrete flooring to a sophisticated level for luxury or high-end environments.
The terrazzo look can be used with all levels of polished concrete, it is a great alternative when you want a more organic appearance.
Terrazzo Look Polished Concrete
Terrazzo look, also known as aggregate exposed polished concrete, is an additional feature that may be added to any level of polished concrete. This process uses very aggressive grinding tools to remove approximately 1/4” of surface concrete to expose the stones below the surface. The floor is typically ground 6-8 times in perpendicular directions. Then a standard polishing process is used to polish the concrete floor.
A homogenous exposure of aggregate is not typical with this type of polished concrete but you can expect about 90% consistency.
When a concrete slab is poured, multiple factors like mix design, finishing techniques, etc. may affect where the large aggregate settles. Some aggregate may settle well below the 1/4” depth level which will result in patches with no exposed aggregate. A customer must be comfortable with this possibility before going ahead with a terrazzo-looking polished concrete floor.
Any existing concrete floor can have the terrazzo look, providing it meets the requirements outlined in the “Can Any Concrete Floor be Polished section”.
The type of traffic will affect the life of the floor as well. Light pedestrian traffic has little wear on a floor while high pedestrian volume arriving from outside the building can cause high wear.
Forklifts and vehicles are moderate to heavy traffic depending on the type. They will demand more from the floor.
Volume is often overlooked when specifying flooring. A low traffic area poses few problems but a shopping mall or high volume industrial space requires a highly durable floor. Traffic volume is a critical consideration.
Exposure to substances is the wildcard. Certain chemicals or substances can damage polished concrete on contact and need to be limited. Exposed concrete floors are particularly susceptible to acidic liquids.
Other substances like deicing salts can also damage the surface. Salt-proof densifiers can minimize salt damage if applied during the installation. Oils and solvents should be kept away from the surface.
Stained Concrete Floor
Polished concrete floors may be stained in a wide range of colors and patterns to achieve a specific look. Concrete is a porous material and liquid stains can be applied to alter the color of the surface.
To achieve a vibrant-colored floor, a stained concrete floor will need to be coated with a clear polyaspartic coating. To create a concrete floor with muted colors, it can simply be polished once the concrete surface has been stained. Whether the floor is coated or polished, stains add another design option to polished concrete flooring.
Call us for a free concrete polishing quote at (647) 544-4143.
How Long Do Polished Concrete Floors Last?
A polished concrete floor should last between 3-10 years depending on these primary four factors:
- hardness of concrete (MPa)
- type of traffic
- traffic volume
- exposure to substances.
High-strength concrete (35, 40, 45MPa) will have the longest-lasting polished concrete. It’s more difficult and expensive to polish these floors but it is worth the effort due to their extreme durability. These floors are suitable for high-volume environments.
Low to moderate-strength concrete (25-30MPa) is suitable for low-volume traffic.
Polished Concrete 1 Inc. is a concrete polishing and epoxy flooring contractor serving the greater Toronto area and Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, Oakville, Burlington and more.