Polished Concrete FAQs

What types of polished concrete do we offer?

Floortek offers four variations of polished concrete, consisting of mechanically polished concrete, topically polished concrete, honed concrete and polished concrete toppings. Each variation has its merits and the choice of finish is generally governed by aesthetic and fit-for-purpose factors.

What is Mechanically Polished Concrete?

Mechanically Polished Concrete is the result of a process which involves progressive grinding, densifying and polishing of the surface until you have a smooth, glossy, durable and attractive floor. Firstly the surface is ground down until the desired amount of aggregate has been exposed in the concrete mix, this is followed by the grouting process (if required) to fill the majority of pinholes and hairlines cracks that are visible, then begins the polishing which involves the use of a combination of densifiers (hardeners) and refining the surface with progressively finer grits until the desired gloss level if reached. Finally, the floor is sealed with an impregnating (penetrating) sealer and buffed.

The final product is a low-maintenance, seamless, strong, abrasion resistant, non-dusting and spill resistant long-term flooring solution.

What is Topically Polished Concrete?

Topically Polished Concrete is often selected when a client requires a solution to one of the below items:

  • To meet slip resistance requirements as a non-slip additive (grit) can be introduced into the sealer
  • A flooring solution for environments where spills and soiling may not be cleaned up immediately
  • A polished concrete solution for existing substrates that do not have the necessary surface strength properties required for Mechanically Polished Concrete
  • An economical alternative (in the short-term) to Mechanically Polished Concrete

Initially the process is identical to Mechanically Polished Concrete, as the surface is ground down until the desired amount of aggregate has been exposed in the concrete mix and then followed by the grouting process (if required) to fill the majority of pinholes and hairlines cracks that are visible. From here is when the process changes as no further mechanical polishing of the surface is undertaken as the floor is sealed with a either a gloss or matt finish topical coating and the process is complete.

While the final product looks similar to Mechanically Polished Concrete, topical coatings do not have the same wear resistance when compared to a mechanically polished surface. Therefore, over time and depending on traffic and conditions, the sealer will start to wear and eventually need to be sanded back and re-applied.

What is Honed Concrete?

Honed Concrete is most often used in external areas that required slip resistance. The surface is first ground down until the desired amount of aggregate has been exposed in the concrete mix. This is then followed up by another pass of finer abrasives to remove the coarse scratch patterns, resulting in a 50-grit metal bond diamond finish. Honed Concrete is generally not grouted and is sealed with an impregnating (penetrating) sealer that does not affect the surface profile nor slip resistance properties.

What is a Polished Concrete Topping?

Polished Concrete Topping systems are used when an existing concrete substrate isn’t suitable to achieve a clients desired Polished Concrete finish. The system consists of initially installing a 10mm to 15mm cementitious topping over the existing substrate which is followed by the Mechanically Polished Concrete process to finish it off.

Floortek are certified installers of Pangaea PCV and Ardex PC-T Polished Concrete Topping systems.

Is Mechanically Polished Concrete slippery?

Mechanically Polished Concrete is best suited to indoor and under-cover areas. This is because it is firstly polished to a smooth finish which means we have minimal surface profile remaining on the floor, and secondly, it is always sealed with an impregnating sealer which don’t have the capability to add non-slip additives.

Honed or Topically Polished Concrete finishes are often better suited for areas exposed to the weather and that require slip resistance. Always confirm your projects specific slip resistance requirements with your client, builder or design consultant prior to selecting flooring finishes.

What are the different levels of aggregate exposure available?

Surface Polish (also known as Burnished) – This is where zero (or very minimal) aggregates are visible. The concrete must be highly burnished (trowelled) by the concrete finisher during the pour. Once cured, Floortek will then mechanically polish the surface to refine it and achieve the desired gloss level.

Semi Exposure (also known as Salt & Pepper) – This is when the surface is ground to expose the fine and coarse aggregate particles randomly and inconsistently within the concrete mix. Approximate grind depth is 1mm to 3mm.

Full Exposure – This is when the surface is ground to fully expose the coarse aggregate particles consistently within the concrete mix. Approximate grind depth is 3mm to 5mm.

What colour concrete and aggregates are available?

Unfortunately, Floortek do not have the ability to alter the colour of existing concrete nor its aggregates.

For new concrete slabs, you must liaise with your builder and designer about your concrete selections and explore the wide variety of polished concrete options available from the appropriate concrete suppliers. The concrete suppliers often have finished samples of their polished concrete mixes in their showrooms for clients to inspect.

At what stage of the construction process do Floortek undertake the concrete polishing works?

Floortek commence and complete all works over one site visit. This is ideally done at the “lock-up” stage and must be completed prior to installation of internal linings, partitions, aluminium frames (where possible), joinery and second fix carpentry works. Work areas must be clean and clear from other trades for entire duration of our works.

Can Floortek polish existing or old concrete?

Yes we can, although it is impossible to guarantee an end result because we have had no control of the concrete supply, placement, colours or aggregates. Given these unknowns and variables, it would be difficult get a level of finish usually achieved when working with concrete that has been designed, engineered and installed specifically for polished concrete. In saying all of this, Floortek have achieved many amazing finishes on old and existing concrete slabs but it is vital that the customer understands and accepts the previously mentioned factors.

For works to be undertaken in existing buildings; all furniture, internal doors, architraves, skirting boards and joinery kick boards must be removed (by others) so we can have clear, unobstructed access to the entire work area. Please note all surfaces will need to be protected prior to, and possibly cleaned and made-good, on completion of our works (for which Floortek will not be held responsible for). This is due to the heavy-duty nature of our works and we thank you in advance for your understanding.