There are 2 different finishing processes / methods that are commonly called Polished Concrete, they are very different so it is important that you know the difference & which process/method you want and which is being used on your concrete
During this process the concrete is ground to the desired level of stone exposure.
After grinding the concrete surface, the Polished Concrete process begins.
This process has a densifier applied in multiple stages that is absorbed into the concrete which hardens and strengthens the concrete.
A Polished Concrete Floor is Polished in Multiple stages in a Refining Process using diamond tooling & resin pads. A penetrating sealer is applied in the final buffing stage to complete the process
The “Polished Concrete” process has “NO TOP COAT SEALER” applied therefore there is no drying or curing time required so your space can be used as soon as the process is completed
Grind & Seal is often referred to as Polished Concrete, this is the cheaper substitute that gives a “Polished Concrete Look”. However, you can feel a oil
With the Grind & Seal method the concrete is ground to the desired level of stone exposure and a TOP Coat Sealer is applied such as water based, solvent based, urethane, acrylic or epoxy requiring 5-7 days to dry & cure
Basically the mechanically polished concrete or MPC is a more high end finish and is for indoors only. In this process it is the actual concrete itself that shines. There is no topical coating that is applied, and therefore the finish will last you a lifetime if cared for and maintained properly. The grind and seal method is a more cost effective option of getting a similar finish. The process however involves a clear coating to be applied to the top of the concrete which will wear away over time. With polished concrete, the finished look can vary from concrete to concrete because a different canvas is presented and extraneous factors can affect the final finish, such as the level of hardness or imperfections.
With both methods of polished concrete, you are able to choose your level of stone exposure (how much aggregate you want to see coming through the floor), and you can choose the gloss level – matte, semi-gloss or high gloss.
2. Stone Exposure Level
There are three different levels of exposure to choose from, Nil/Minimum, Minimal/Random, and Full Exposure
This form of polished concrete is high in demand and is a finish which is also the hardest to achieve. Generally, we are only able to offer this service for newly poured concrete slabs that have been poured with a high MPa number, a leveled floor and properly power trowelled floor with the helicopter-like tool. If the concrete is soft and is not level then Nil Exposure polished concrete may not be an achievable finish, the alternative would be minimal exposure polished concrete.
In this minimal exposure process, we grind the top layer off the surface throughout the entire floor. We usually grind 1-3mm. The whole idea of this service is that you get the best of both worlds, which is a bit of aggregate and a bit of cement. Usually our clients best describe the unique feature as a floor that has character. There is often no stone exposure in some areas, while other areas have a little or a lot depending on how the slab was poured. We offer this service in both Mechanically Polished Concrete (MPC) and Grind & Seal.
Full Exposure polished concrete is the fan favourite. This popular polished concrete choice is for the aggregate/stone lovers. In this grinding and polishing procedure, we try to show as much aggregate/stone as possible throughout the entire floor. We aim to achieve full exposure provided the concrete has been poured with the right specifications and has an evenly distributed amount of aggregate/stones. The process is more labour intensive than the minimal as we have to grind over the floor usually 2-3 times to get all the stone showing and therefore it is more expensive We offer the full exposure finish in both the Mechanically Polished Concrete (MPC) and the Grind & Seal service.
3. Gloss Level
Once you have chosen your procedure (Grind and Seal or a Mechanically Polished Concrete) and you have decided how much stone you want to see (Nil, Minimum or full exposure) the last thing to decide on is what gloss level you like.
If you’re after an industrial chic or rustic look, a matte finish could be the right choice for your home or business. It creates a raw or natural look that is popular in restaurants, cafes and homes.
It’s also a good option for commercial floors and warehouses because it’s easy to maintain and won’t show dirt as easily. Because it’s less reflective, matte finishes can hide imperfections in your floor.
A popular option, semi-gloss has a lustrous shine, but is easier to keep clean than high-gloss finishes. Some imperfections may still visible, but semi-gloss floors still achieve good light reflectivity and sheen.
At this level, the surface will have a much higher sheen than that of matt finish, and you’ll start to see good light reflectivity. At a distance of 30 to 50 feet, the floor will clearly reflect side and overhead lighting.
Favoured in high-end homes and businesses, a stunning high-gloss finish gives polished floors the ‘wow factor’. High-gloss floors do require more maintenance than the other options, and dirty floors are more obvious, so regular cleaning is required to keep them looking great.
Due to how deep the polish is, high-gloss finishes will have the least amount of imperfections and the highest level of light reflectivity. This makes these mirror-like floors a great option when you want to create a bright space.
AUS POLISHED CONCRETE: GROUNDED IN SUCCESS
APC has been working with homeowners, shopfitters, architects, and commercial builders since the company formed in 2015.
Thanks to a background in construction, industry leading Husqvarna machinery — as well as a dedication to continually upskilling and conducting research and development — APC has rapidly become a trusted polished concrete flooring specialist.
You can see examples of our beautiful concrete floor finishes in one of our showrooms. Or, get in touch with our friendly team and we’ll give you advice on the most cost effective solution for your project.