The polished concrete industry has its own jargon, making communicating desired outcomes difficult, especially when some words are interchangeable like, guard coat and seal coat and others are not such as grind and polish. When setting specifications for a job or comparing competing bids for your concrete flooring; having a good working definition on a few crucial terms is key to getting the results you want. So here are some quick terms that will help you ask for what your really want and help decipher estimates.
Not all plain grey concrete that has been "finished" is polished concrete, there are lots of durable and economical ways to finish a concrete surface. Hone, Grind and Polish are the terms that we hear being misused or used interchangeably in our industry. Read on to get them sorted out once and for all.
1. Grind: Grinding concrete is considered a "concrete prep" step and is usually followed up by honing and polishing, or a coating system like epoxy, stains or urethane. We offer what we call a "grind and seal" which is a super economic choice when you need to get a project under budget or if the space is rented temporarily. The concrete is Ground then we apply a heavy seal coating. It is important to note when comparing bids that this floor is not a Polished concrete surface. The finished results may look like a polished concrete floor to the untrained eye but it will not wear like one and maintenance will look different.
Grind ≠ Polished concrete
2. Honed Concrete:Honed concrete is essentially the steps in between grinding concrete and polishing the concrete. These floors are usually in industrial settings or where a medium to high sheen is not desired. These floors have been refined enough to stop dusting and have some reflection, but they are not a polished surface. The refinement (honing) process usually stops between the 100 grit and 200 grit. No heavy coating is needed to protect the floor and maintenance will be similar to a polished concrete floor.
Honed concrete ≠ Polished concrete
3. Polished concrete:After the concrete is ground, honed now it will be polished. Polished concrete floors can have different levels of refinement and reflection. 400 grit is the lowest level of polish and 3000 grit the highest level of a polished concrete surface. Levels of polish are important to keep in mind when deciding what to ask for. It is not uncommon for some flooring contractors to grind to a lower grit and have a heavy "top coat" or sealer placed on top to fill in scratches that have not been worked out, and give the appearance of a higher shine. Being specific to what type of finish you want will help ensure proper steps are taken to complete the project.
Now you know, so get asking for the concrete floor you want.