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Dry polishing concrete | Recovering industrial floors

In this short article we will discuss how one might recover industrial concrete flooring by dry polishing.

Dry concrete polishing machines

Concrete floors are widely used today for large concrete areas in both industrial and commercial situations. The main reasons for its popularity are its high strength, longevity and competitiveness in terms of costs.

However, the longevity will depend a lot on the quality of the materials used and the adherence to appropriate technical procedures during the installation. In reality, even where the installation has been performed to the highest standard, there will always come a time where something must be done to bring the concrete surface back to its best.

There are times when we can find ourselves in front of a seriously damaged concrete slab, with a really significant level of wear. In some cases it may be due to a lack of maintenance, in others simply the amount of wear and tear over time. If this deterioration becomes very severe it will be necessary to apply a new surface layer.

But if the problem has its origin directly in the poor quality of the materials and procedures used in its construction, it may be impossible to recover concrete pavements only by means of dry polishing and a complete new floor may be required.

What is concrete polishing?

Although concrete is a hard and durable substance it can be ground down using an industrial rotary grinder and a series of abrasive, diamond encrusted pads. The pads come in a series of progressively finer grade known as grits.  So a very rough pad would have a grade of 20 and the finest pads would be graded 3000.

The difference between wet and dry polishing

One can choose to polish a floor with a wet grinder or a dry grinder. A wet grinder uses water to cool the polishing pads and to minimise the production of dust. The grinder produces a slurry (the mix of dust and water) which must be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. The dry grinder is connected to a dust containment system which sucks away the dust produced in the grinding process.

The dry polishing process

Worker polishing dry concrete
  • The first step is the removal of any coating or fixings in the existing concrete. To do this we use a 20 grit abrasive pad.
  • Secondly we must fill any cracks or holes in the concrete surface using an epoxy filler.
  • Starting with a grit of 30, followed by 50, 100, then 200 we grind the surface to a smooth finish.
  • At this point we recommend using the BECOSAN® Concrete Densifier to bind with the free lime in the concrete to create a stronger and more abrasive resistant surface.
  • To enhance the aesthetic appeal of the surface we polish the floor with progressively finer grits from 200 to maybe 3000. The finer the grits the smoother the surface.
  • In order to reduce the absorption of liquid spillages on the concrete surface we apply the BECOSAN® Concrete Sealant which is simply sprayed onto the concrete.
  • Finally a diamond impregnated polishing pad is applied using a high speed burnisher – a specialist tool to buff up a bring the floor to its shiny, high gloss finish. Note that no waxes or polish are used in this finally stage.

Now you have an attractive, dust free floor that, depending on the amount of wear and tear it will experience, will last for many years to come.

Visit our page on Polished Concrete to learn more about this type of treatment.

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