When you polish concrete floors, you may or may not know that it isn’t as easy as many people assume. Polishing concrete is an art that takes some practice in order to gradually get better and better. The act of polishing concrete floors is actually the same as how the floor itself was produced. In both cases, the use of successive grits of a diamond tool scratches the surface of the granite, producing a solid gloss. Eventually, when done right, it creates a mirror-like appearance that people love.
Polishing concrete is a process. Concrete flooring is damaged in the same that it is polished, by getting scratched. The difference is that a random scratch or scratches that result from foot traffic results in a look that isn’t particularly pleasing to look at. These scratches aren’t necessarily viewable to the naked eye, but as they build up, they result in a floor that has lost its shine. And that is no good.
Here are a few general rules of thumb for trying to get those scratches out, as well as taking proper care so that you are doing things more efficiently.
Use a diamond pad, but use the right type. Most manufacturers of diamond pads have a series of diamond pads. Each one is used for different purposes. For smaller scratches there is the 800 grit pad. This can provide a uniform and clean surface that you can then apply larger grits for maximum effectiveness. The next higher one, a 1,500 grit, is specifically designed for a more maintained floor, which prepares it for high polishing. It can actually remove tiny scratches and begins to give it that nice shiny finish. Finally, there is the 3,000 grit pad, which truly helps to give the floor that full luster and shine that you are going for.
There is also a 400 grit pad, which is primarily used for damaged floors. This is beyond the damage that is seen with normal foot traffic. It can remove much deeper scratches and actual discoloration of the concrete.
Believe it or not, pads can also be cleaned and reused. You should rinse them in hot water and hang them until they are fully dry. If the pads are particularly dirty, you can soak them in a mix of water and stripper mixture for several hours (use an 8 to 1 ratio). Once that is done, rinse again and allow to dry. Some manufacturers actually have a color indicator that helps you know when a pad is too worn and should be replaced.
[June 23, 2014]