Polished cement floors

Suelo cemento pulido

Many curious people who hear the term “polished cement floor” for the first time ask themselves: How is it possible that such a floor exists if polished concrete floors already exist? Also, they will ask themselves: How is it possible to polish cement?

Similar doubts to the previous ones arise because the term can be interpreted ambiguously. That is why we have created this article, we want to eliminate any doubts about one of the most historically important materials in the field of industrial construction.

What is polished cement?

Although the term “polished cement” suggests that the hydraulic binder particles have undergone a polishing process, this is not the case.

Polished cement is a finish based on the same composition as a mortar; it is made up of sand, cement, water, and a fraction of stone particles. After being placed as a coating on the surface, it then goes through a polishing process.

Generally, polished cement is classified as an aesthetic coating, however, it is an additional layer that provides greater protection, durability, and resistance to traditional flooring.

polish cement

This finish needs to be polished to achieve aesthetic standards related to gloss and uniformity. However, another purpose for polishing the surface is to close the microscopic pores, making it impermeable.

Difference between polished cement and microcement

Polished cement and microcement are historically linked. This is because microcement was created to replace polished cement, producing greater aesthetics for surfaces and simplifying the pouring process, since microcement doesn’t need to be polished.

The most important differences between polished cement and microcement are the following:

  • Regarding their composition, microcement is a mortar that contains, in addition to the conventional components, resins and quartz which provide a shine of its own to the coating’s mixture.
  • In contrast to polished cement, microcement has agglomerating particles that divide when reacting to water, creating smaller particles.
  • The minimum thickness of polished cement coatings is 5 centimeters, whilst the thickness of microcement finish is between 3 and 5 millimeters.
  • Concrete floors with polished cement require joints. However, microcement allows for continuous surfaces.

Polished cement finishes are more useful in industrial environments, for both internal and external. Meanwhile, microcement finishes are ideal in internal domestic environments or any other that is undemanding and has a low-traffic.

Microcemento Soil
Indoor microcement flooring.

What are the characteristics of a concrete floor with polished cement?

A concrete floor with polished cement meets the basic requirements of a traditional floor, adding new aspects that improve the behavior and performance of its surface.

Amongst the main characteristics of a polished cement floor are:

  • High resistance to compression and traction.
  • Good humidity resistance.
  • High waterproof rating.
  • It is a long-lasting material.
  • Levels and eliminates imperfections on the concrete slab’s surface.
  • Low thermal and acoustic insulation.
  • Aesthetic surface, with a shiny appearance.
  • Polished surface is susceptible to losing its gloss, so it requires periodic maintenance.
  • Vulnerable to scratches.
  • Non-slip, safe, and eco-friendly surface.
  • It can increase lighting in spaces.

Use of concrete floors with polished cement finish

As we mentioned previously, concrete slabs with polished cement finish have been used for flooring industrial buildings. However, it has also been used for other types of spaces.

Polished cement coatings are used in logistics centres, airports, shopping centers, parking lots, amongst other facilities.

A few years ago there was a trend to pigment polished cement finishes to make floors more attractive. This trend is typically used in shopping malls, parking lots, etc., where appearance is important.

In industrial buildings and other industrial facilities, polished cement finish can reduce the consumption of electrical energy, since this type of floor is capable of reflecting a high percentage of light.

The BECOSAN® treatment for the industrial sector offers a floor that is resistant to any activity, it’s economical and easy to clean, it doesn’t slip, and it’s also attractive. The BECOSAN® system can be used indoors as well as outdoors and is based on environmentally-friendly solutions.

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