Not all “shiny” concrete floors are equal. A gloss finish on concrete can be obtained in three different ways, only one of which delivers the full benefit of a polished concrete floor:
- Guard Assisted Polishing
- Natural Polishing
Wax is the worst offender. This is a coating that is so soft it has to be rebuffed occasionally, and because to traps dirt will need to be stripped off completely and re-applied periodically creating a lot of unnecessary waste. This is a very labor intensive process. The good news is that one can eliminate this wasteful treatment and convert easily to a polished concrete.
Coatings can be applied to enhance gloss, but when damaged or worn typically require the entire coating to be removed and reapplied, or one will see the difference in sheen between the newly applied coating and the old areas. There are some anti-graffiti, anti-mold coatings that MARBLELIFE will install when appropriate, but here again polished concrete is generally the lower cost alternative.
Guard assisted Polishing is where the floor is honed flat to a 200 grit finish, and an acrylic coating is applied that replicates the gloss of a 1500 or 1800 grit finish where one has good clarity and shine. While inexpensive this finish only last a few years at which point it must be either re-applied or the floor needs to be properly ground up mechanically to achieve the longterm low cost benefits of a polished concrete floor. If spec’d into a project MARBLELIFE will deliver a beautiful result, but the best approach for the building owner’s longterm maintenance cost of the building is generally a polished concrete floor (unassisted).
A naturally polished floor has a mechanical shine that derives from the fact that the floor is so flat that it will reflect light true. This requires the concrete to be densified to reinforce the concrete which can otherwise be porous and brittle with a liquid glass like material that allows the concrete to now be ground up to a mirror finish concrete surface. A coating being softer than concrete cannot provide the wear resistance of a properly polished concrete floor. When it comes to wear resistance, and low cost building maintenance this is the best option.