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Guide » Polishing concrete

Polishing concrete - That's how it's done!

Difficulty: Easy | Costs: approx. 100 euros / 20m² | Workload: approx. 8h / 20m²

Polishing concrete is a process that is becoming increasingly popular in both commercial and residential settings. Polishing gives the concrete a smooth, shiny and durable surface that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also offers excellent durability and easy maintenance. Perfect for floors, countertops and even outdoor areas, polished concrete can help increase the life and value of concrete structures. In this article we will look at the various aspects of concrete polishing including the tools needed, techniques and care instructions.

Table of contents

1. Can concrete be polished?

Yes, concrete can be polished. In order to permanently protect concrete and give it an attractive appearance, it is advisable to polish and seal it. This process results in a smooth, glossy finish that not only looks good, but is also resistant to wear and stains.

2. Polishing concrete - possible applications

2.1 Polishing concrete with an angle grinder

An angle grinder is a versatile tool that is often used to polish concrete. To polish concrete with an angle grinder, you need special grinding wheels and polishing pads that are designed for the purpose. The use of an extraction hood is also a great help, as the grinding dust can be removed directly during polishing. Start with a coarser grit and gradually work your way up to finer grit for an even and smooth finish.

2.2 concrete polishing machine

A concrete polisher can be used for larger areas and professional results. These machines are fitted with sanding pads that are run across the concrete surface to smooth and polish it. Depending on the desired result, different grits and polishes can be used.

2.3 Polishing concrete by hand

If you don't have access to a polishing machine or only want to work on small areas, you can also polish concrete by hand. Use sandpaper or sanding sponges of different grits to smooth the concrete surface step by step. You can then apply a polishing compound and polish with a soft cloth to achieve a shiny effect.

3. Polish exposed concrete

Exposed concrete is an architectural design option that uses the concrete as a visible surface. In order to obtain an attractive appearance and a durable surface, the fair-faced concrete can be polished. Similar to other concrete surfaces, the concrete is ground and polished to achieve a smooth, shiny surface. This gives the fair-faced concrete a special aesthetics and improves its resistance to environmental influences.

4. Guide - How to polish concrete?

Concrete polishing is a method to achieve a smooth, shiny and durable surface. By following the steps below, you can achieve an attractive, durable, and low-maintenance polished concrete finish. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a professional, polishing concrete is an effective way to get the most out of this versatile building material. In this detailed guide you will learn how to polish concrete step by step.

Polishing concrete with an angle grinder

4.1 Concrete surface preparation

Before you start polishing, it's important to thoroughly clean the concrete surface. Remove dirt, dust, and other debris that may interfere with polishing. If necessary, cracks and holes can be repaired with concrete filler.

4.2 Sand concrete smooth before polishing

  1. Put on your goggles, gloves, and hearing protection.
  2. Start with a coarse grit (e.g. 30) and work your way up to finer grit later. Select a suitable diamond grinding disc for the concrete grinder or angle grinder.
  3. Sand the concrete surface evenly. Be careful not to leave the grinder or angle grinder in one spot for too long to avoid uneven grinding.
  4. Change to a medium grit (e.g. 60) and repeat the sanding process.
  5. Finally, sand the surface with a fine grit (e.g. 120).

4.3 Cleaning the smoothly ground concrete surface

After sanding, thoroughly remove the resulting dust and dirt. Use a broom or vacuum to clean the surface. A clean surface is important for subsequent polishing.

4.4 Polishing concrete

  1. Choose a suitable polishing machine or polishing pads for the angle grinder .
  2. Start with a coarser grit (e.g. 100) and later work your way up to finer grit (e.g. 200, 400, 800, 1500 and 3000).
  3. Buff the concrete surface in circular motions, making sure to evenly coat the entire area.
  4. Swap buffing pads to achieve desired smoothness and shine.

4.5 Seal concrete

  1. Apply a suitable concrete sealer to the polished surface to protect it from wear, stains and moisture.
  2. Read the sealant manufacturer's instructions carefully and follow their recommendations for drying time and the number of coats to apply.
  1. Apply the sealer evenly to the concrete surface with a roller or brush. Make sure there are no air bubbles or streaks.
  2. Allow the sealant to dry completely before re-entering or placing items on the surface.

4.6 Care and Maintenance

To maintain the aesthetics and longevity of your polished concrete surface, regular care and maintenance is important. Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Periodically clean the surface with a broom or vacuum to remove dirt and debris.
  2. Use mild detergents and avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the seal or the concrete.
  3. Check the sealer regularly for signs of wear or damage and apply a new coat if necessary.
  4. Polish the surface again if the shine fades or the surface appears worn.

5. Conclusion - polishing concrete

Polishing concrete is an effective way to achieve an aesthetically pleasing and durable finish. Grinding and polishing gives the concrete a smooth, shiny surface that is resistant to wear and stains. There are various tools and techniques that can be used for polishing concrete, such as angle grinders, polishing machines, or sanding by hand with sandpaper. Choosing the right tool and technique depends on the size of the project and the desired results.

6. Frequently Asked Questions

6.1 How long does concrete grinding and polishing take?

The time it takes to grind and polish concrete depends on the size of the area and the method chosen. For smaller areas, hand sanding and buffing can take several hours, while machine buffing can be faster. For larger areas, grinding and polishing can take several days.

6.2 How often should concrete be polished?

The frequency of polishing concrete depends on the wear and tear on the surface and the environmental conditions. In heavy traffic or in high traffic areas, concrete should be polished every few years to maintain its appearance and strength.

6.3 Is polishing concrete expensive?

The cost of polishing concrete depends on the size of the area, the method chosen and the amount of work required. Basically, polishing concrete can be considered a cost-effective way to improve the aesthetics and durability of concrete surfaces.

6.4 Can you polish concrete yourself or should you hire a professional?

Polishing concrete can be done by both DIYers and professionals. For smaller projects and simple requirements, you can certainly polish concrete yourself. However, for larger areas or more complex requirements, it is advisable to hire a professional for best results.

6.5 Can polished concrete be slippery?

Polished concrete can be slippery, especially when the surface is wet. However, there are special sealers and surface treatments that can increase the slip resistance of polished concrete. When planning a project, one should take this into account and, if necessary, take appropriate measures to ensure safety.

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