A polished concrete floor is a beautiful, cost effective, and resilient floor. It has the hardness and strength of concrete, but with improved durability since the polishing process makes it nonporous. Polished concrete is also extremely attractive with a smooth surface and various levels of gloss.
The sheen of a polished concrete floor is one of the options you are able to customize, as well as the aggregate exposure. These features are responsible for the final appearance of a polished concrete floor. As you are planning for a new flooring installation, you can consider the options available.
Polished Concrete Gloss Levels and Aggregate Exposure Classes
Polishing concrete requires grinding the surface with fine grit diamond sanding pads. The grit on pads can range from below 100 to over 800, with grits between 400 and 800 being the most common for polished concrete floors.
The polishing process grinds away a small amount of the surface. This creates a shine and removes the top layer of the concrete. Based on the fineness of the grit, the amount of concrete removed, and the application methods, you can customize the look of a polished concrete floor by gloss level:
- Gloss Level 1 – This is unpolished concrete or concrete that has been polished with a grit below 100. As standard concrete, these floors will not reflect any light.
- Gloss Level 2 – This floor will have a satin or matte finish. It is the least glossy of the polished concrete floor options and will have a gentle, diffused reflection of light.
- Gloss Level 3 – Many properties choose this gloss level for their flooring. It has a semi-polished look that will reflect lights and surrounding objects with only slight diffusion.
- Gloss Level 4 – The highest possible gloss for polished concrete creates a high sheen and almost mirror-like finish. This can be a distinctive look for a property, but does require more upkeep than other gloss levels to preserve and restore the finish.
Aggregate exposure is the other design feature of polished concrete. This affects the appearance of the concrete by giving it visual texture as part of the interior stones and sand are cut away, although the surface remains physically smooth. You can choose from aggregate exposure levels including:
- Original/Cream Surface – This is a minimal surface cut that does not expose much if any aggregate. The surface will mostly resemble unfinished concrete.
- Fine Aggregate – With this finish, the contractor cuts away approximately 1/16 inch of the concrete surface. It exposes fine aggregate for a salt and pepper type look and may have a few large aggregate pieces exposed throughout.
- Large Aggregate – A contractor will cut away ⅛ inch or more from the surface of the concrete slab. This exposes the larger aggregate far beneath the surface. In many cases, this can resemble terrazzo flooring, but is much more affordable.
The final appearance of aggregate exposure will also depend on the types of aggregate and their distribution in the original concrete slab, meaning appearances will often vary from floor to floor even on those with similar exposure levels.
Colorado Concrete Repair specializes in polished concrete floors in Denver. We install commercial flooring, working with property types such as warehouses, manufacturing facilities, storage centers, gyms, and more. Send us a message to discuss polished concrete flooring at your commercial facility.