Polished Concrete2018-01-18T21:52:18+00:00

Polished Concrete: The Complete Guide

More retail, warehouse, and office facilities are opting for polished concrete flooring as an alternative to marble, granite, tile, linoleum, or coated concrete. Even homeowners are catching on to the appeal of these smooth, high-luster floors, which can be stained to replicate the look of polished stone.


Polished Concrete Winter Haven Advance Industrial Coatings

Polished Concrete: The Complete Guide


1. Concrete Polishing Fundamentals
2. Why Polished Concrete
3. Polished Concrete Process
4. Polished Concrete Options & Choices
5. How Much Does Polished Concrete Cost
6. Expectations & Limitations
7. Frequently Asked Questions

1. Polished Concrete Fundamentals

Polished concrete is concrete that has been processed through a series of mechanically ground “polishing/grinding” steps utilizing professional equipment designed for concrete polishing. This process also includes the use of concrete densifier/hardener which penetrates into the concrete and creates a chemical reaction to help harden and dust proof the surface. During concrete polishing the surface is processed through a series of steps (in general a minimum of 6 grinding steps of processing is considered polished concrete) utilizing progressively finer grinding tools. The grinding tools are progressive grits of industrial diamonds in a bonded material such as metal/hybrid/resin often referred to as diamond polishing pads.

Polished Concrete is a “Green” flooring system and LEED approved.Concrete is not considered polished before 800 grit, and it is normally finished to either the 800, 1500, or 3000 grit level. Dyes designed for concrete polishing are often applied to add color to polished concrete as well as other options such as scoring, creating radial lines, grids, bands, borders, and other designs.

2. Why Polished Concrete

Simply put, a polished concrete floor system transforms a porous concrete floor into a tightened surface, dense enough to keep water, oil, and other contaminants from penetrating the surface.

Elegance and Attractive

Looks amazing & professional. It can be dyed to match any color scheme. Polished Concrete, much like marble, never goes out of style.

Very Strong and Durable

Extremely tough and resistant, and is able to withstand the pressure and weight from heavy equipment. Surface cannot be easily scratched.

Less Maintenance Requird

Polished Concrete requires minimal maintenance and is very easy to clean. No more extensive scrubbing or constant refinishing with wax.

Extended Long Life-Span

Properly maintained polished concrete floor can last years. Refurbish needs a fraction of the cost of other systems, extending the life much farther.

Highly Cost Effective

Most polished concrete floor installations are quite cost-effective. The savings are even more significant if you factor in maintenance costs over lifetime .

Clean & Hygiene Friendly

Properly polished concrete can be virtually resistant to fluids, providing waterproof barriers to prevent contaminants from getting to the concrete.

Minimum Downtime

Polished concrete areas can be put into service immediately after process is complete. It can also be installed while the facility is still in full production.

Ambient Lighting Increases

The High light reflectivity  is another important benefit, especially for office,  stores, restaurants etc., to project a bright, clean, professional image.

Ask Us about the Difference

Floor systems selection is complicated and often time consuming. CALL US TODAY for a FREE consultation so we can explain the Pros and Cons of each system and give suggestion based on our years of experiences.


3. Polished Concrete Process

polished concrete steps

Currently, the industry breaks down the process of polished concrete into grinding and polishing. Some simply use the word “polishing” for the whole process. Each phase is then broken down into multiple steps, consisting of consecutively finer grit abrasives. Every step is refined to its purest possible form on a microscopic level from one progressively finer abrasive to the next until the desired level of ‘polishing’ is achieved.

During the processes, densifier / hardener is applied that is absorbed into the concrete creating a chemical reaction that makes the concrete more dense and hard.

Recent advances in polishing equipment and techniques has allowed concrete to be ground, honed and polished to a high polish with clarity of reflection and depth. The process is performed with large planetary head machines where the main head rotates in one direction and smaller satellite heads spin in the opposite direction.

The result is a beautiful, durable and efficient surface which eliminates the need for carpets or tile that requires expensive replacement, maintenance and use of harsh cleaning chemicals.

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Real Craftsmanship

Maximum “clarity of reflection” and “durability” of the surface is achieved by strictly following the procedures, with which a contractor executes the grit sequence. Even if the desired result is not clarity of reflection or a glass like finish, each grit must be fully refined to obtain the maximum durability and a clean crisp look of the finished surface. It is imperative not to skip grits in the processing sequence.

The processes of concrete polishing is very technical in nature and requires real craftsmanship.

AIC uses the latest grinding and polishing equipment, strictly follows the grit sequence and always ensures the maximum refinement of each grit is performed.

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4. Polished Concrete Options & Choices

There are many options available for different Polished Concrete designs. Different Aggregate Exposure, different Clarity of Reflection, and different dyed Color will change the visual aspects and physical characteristics of you polished concrete floor significantly. So know your options and potential outcomes before you make choices.

4.1 Aggregate Exposure

The Aggregate Exposure of the floor represents the amount of aggregate that will be exposed at the surface. Below are the three most common aggregate exposures for polished concrete floors. Consider the needs and functions of your building when deciding whether aggregate exposure is appropriate. Grinding the concrete to expose aggregate may be considered attractive for a commercial space, but it can be unsuitable for a manufacturing space where dropped fasteners need to be easily spotted on the floor.

polished concrete aggregate exposure

Light Sand / Cream Finish
The light sand exposure is a ground and polished surface, typically exposing only the sand particles in the concrete floor. This finish is considered a “creamy looking” surface and is the most popular choice for Architectural Ground & Polished floors.

Salt & Pepper Finish
The Salt & Pepper exposure is a ground and polished surface, typically exposing a spattering of fine aggregate in the concrete floor. This finish is most often chosen to give the appearance of an aged surface. Approximate surface cut depth 1/16 inch.

Medium Aggregate Finish
Medium Aggregate exposure typically exposes the greatest amount of medium aggregate in the concrete floor with little or no large aggregate exposure at random locations. Approximate surface cut depth 1/8 inch.

Large Aggregate Finish
Large Aggregate exposure is a more heavily “cut” surface, typically exposing the greatest amount of larger aggregate in the concrete floor. The finish is the most often chosen when the substrate has been seeded with custom aggregate. On some floors including restoration of older concrete there may be limitations to how deeply the floor can be cut. Approximate surface cut depth 1/4 inch.

polished concrete aggregate exposure level

We Can Help

Some property owners prefer a flat gray finish, and others would like to see some exposed aggregate in their finished concrete floors. Informing your contractor as to your expectations is the best first step toward achieving the polished concrete floors you desire for your facility. Keep in mind that there will virtually always be unpredictable variations that can only be uncovered by grinding and polishing the slab. Advance Industrial Coatings hopes that our expertise will help you make the right selection and will eventually give you the results you expect. CALL US TODAY at 904-425-7307

4.2 Gloss Level

Depending on the diamond grit used to polish a concrete floor, you can achieve different levels of sheen, from matte to a glassy mirror-like finish. Here are the four levels of polishing and the degree of shine you can expect to achieve at each level.

Level 1 (Flat / Ground)
A level 1 ground polish usually can be obtained by stopping below the 100-grit resin bond. When you look directly down at the floor, it will appear somewhat hazy with little if any clarity or reflection.

Level 2 (Satin / Honed)
A level 2 honed polish is obtained by stopping at the 400-grit resin bond, producing a low-sheen finish. When you look directly down at the finished floor and at a distance of roughly 100 feet, you can start to see a slight overhead reflection. This grit level produces a low-luster matte finish.

Level 3 (Semi-polished)
A level 3 polish is achieved by going up to an 800-grit or higher diamond abrasive. The surface will have a much higher sheen than that of level 2 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.

Level 4 (Highly Polished)
This level of polish produces a high degree of shine, so that when standing directly over the surface, you can see your reflection with total clarity. Also, the floor appears to be wet when viewed from different vantage points. A level 4 polish is obtained by going up to a 3,000-grit resin-bond diamond or by burnishing the floor with a high-speed burnisher outfitted with specialty buffing pads.

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Measuring the Gloss Level

Once you have completed the entire polishing process, you’ll be left with a beautiful, shiny surface. But how do you accurately assess the degree of shine, other than by simply visually inspecting the amount of light reflectivity or clarity of the polished surface? Today, specifications for polished concrete are now including specified gloss readings, determined using gloss meters. Gloss values express the degree of reflection when light hits the concrete floor surface, and range from 20 to 30 (low gloss) to 70 to 80 (high gloss).

As a professional floor concrete polishing contractor, AIC always seeks new technologies, equipment and QA/QC systems to improve our job quality. On February 2nd 2016, Advance Industrial Coatings (Randy Baird Sr.) becomes the first CSDA ST-115 Certified Operator in the State of Florida. With the capability of “measuring concrete micro surface texture” using the right instruments and procedures, AIC can now control the quality to a quantifiable level, which for sure will greatly improve our work flow efficiency and final finish result.

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4.3 Coloring

There are 6 ways concrete is colored:

  • Integral – Performed at the time of pour and is considered environmentally friendly.
  • Integral by seeding a cement/pigment mixture in the top region during power trowel finishing
  • Penetrating Water Based Dyes – Performed during the polishing process and is considered environmentally friendly.
  • Penetrating Solvent Based Dyes – Performed during the polishing process and is not considered environmentally friendly.
  • Penetrating Acid Stain – Performed during the polishing process and is not considered environmentally friendly.
  • Colored penetrating surface sealers which are also filmforming and thus produce a more solid color – Considered environmentally friendly

Different manufacturers offers different coloring choices to polished concrete customers. Here is the 24 stock colors covering the most common color choices seen in floors today offered by Ameripolish. Custom colors are available upon request. AIC is a certified installer for Ameripolish.

polished concrete coloring

5. How Much Does Polished Concrete Cost

For a fairly smooth floor, that requires only a few levels of grinding, $3 sq. ft. is the basic cost for a polished concrete floor. If the floor requires more in-depth grinding or includes coloring with stains and dyes or other special finish designs, then the price ranges between $3-$8 sq. ft.

Smaller residential floors tend to be a bit higher in price because of the requirement for smaller equipment which will relatively lower work efficiency and special design requirement.

Polished Concrete project cost can vary widely based on factors including concrete condition, job size and location, aggregate exposure, gross level and coloring selection etc. To get an accurate quote for your project, please just CALL US at 904-425-7307 to discuss your project, or schedule an on-site inspection.

6. Expectations and Limitations

Not all concrete is a good candidate for processing and polishing. When working on existing concrete, results are largely dependent on the quality of concrete a contractor is given to work with.

Most existing commercial concrete that is of sufficient strength and finished will allow for excellent results.

Variables such as aggregate, color variations, miscellaneous contaminates, cracks, patterns left by previous floor covering, existing stains, nail holes, patched areas and flatness can affect the final appearance and results.

A slab newly poured based on specifications designed for polished concrete finish will eliminate a significant number of variables and provide improved finish results over an existing finished concrete slab.

7. Frequently Asked Questions

Is Polished Concrete Slippery?

Because of polished concrete’s unique shine and high reflectivity, many people question if it is slippery. Generally speaking, when the concrete is clean and dry, it is generally no more slippery than plain concrete surfaces. In fact, polished concrete tends to be less slippery than waxed linoleum or polished marble.

There are also anti-slip conditioners that can be applied to a polished concrete floor for extra protection against accidents. The special additives in these products are designed to improve traction and make wet surfaces safer. No additional cleaning is required, but normally it needs to be reapplied periodically.

How Do I Maintain Polished Concrete?

Maintenance for polished concrete is very minimal, however, regular cleaning is still needed. Regular care includes occasional damp mopping to remove dust or grit. You may also consider use some neutral cleaner and conditioner that cleans the surface, and leaves behind a dirt-resistant film.

Except for high traffic areas, polished concrete will keep its shine for years. If it should ever dull, it is easy to restore. Sometimes simply buffing the floor with a commercial polishing compound will do the trick. If more touch-up is necessary, the floors can be lightly re-polished with a fine-grit abrasive.


Floor systems selection is complicated and often time consuming. CALL US TODAY for a FREE Consultation, Inspection and Cost Estimate. Respected Expert, Trusted Contractor – Advance Industrial Coatings