“Art is not a mirror to reflect the world, but a hammer with which to shape it”
The Supreme Way
Supreme Concrete Floors
Supreme Systems, Inc.
Polished Concrete or Processed Concrete?
When referring to polished concrete floors much of the terminology used is incorrect. Polished concrete is often used to describe an exposed concrete floor with a “shiny” finish. While a “shiny” exposed concrete floor may or may not be polished concrete a better and more precise definition would be mechanically processed & polished concrete.
A polished finish is one of the end results of a processed concrete floor. The act of producing a mechanically-processed polished-finish involves three stages: grinding, honing and polishing. Each step is broken down into multiple steps, consisting of consecutively finer grit abrasives. Not all mechanically processed concrete can be called polished concrete. Ground concrete consists of steps using 100 grit resins or below. A ground finish has a flat appearance with no or very little reflection. Honed concrete consists of steps using 100 grit, 200 grit or 400 grit resins. A honed finish has a matte appearance with a slight clarity of reflection.
Semi-polished or highly-polished concrete consists of steps using 800 grit, 1500 grit or 3000 grit diamond tooling. A polished finish has a gloss appearance with mirror-like clarity of reflection and is achieved by using one of three mechanically processed & polished concrete classifications; bonded abrasive, burnished or hybrid.
♦ Processed concrete is the act of changing a concrete floor surface by means of a multi-step mechanical operation that involves cutting and or refining the surface with an abrasive where each step cuts progressively finer microscopic peaks and valleys until the desired finish is achieved.
Mechanically Processed & Polished Concrete
Bonded Abrasive – A mechanical grinding process using large industrial equipment where each step is performed using bonded-abrasive diamond-tooling.
Burnished – A mechanical friction-rubbing process using high-speed burnishing equipment where each step is performed using abrasive pads which may or may not contain industrial diamonds.
Hybrid – An operation using large industrial equipment, lightweight equipment, high-speed burnishing equipment or a combination of where steps are performed using bonded diamond-abrasives, abrasive pads or a combination of.
♦ Of these classifications, bonded abrasive produces the most beautiful and durable mechanically processed & polished concrete floors. They are easier to maintain and have lower long term costs than the other classifications. It is the classification Supreme Systems almost always recommends to our customers and most often installs.
∗ Note – Mechanically ground/honed and clear-coated concrete does not conform to a classification of mechanically-processed & polished concrete. It is the operation of applying a film-forming coating to a concrete floor surface to achieve a level of finished gloss. Typical film formers are acrylics, epoxies, polyurethanes and polyuria.
The Supreme Way
A commitment to excellence
Processed & polished concrete using bonded abrasives is one of the best bargains in the flooring industry today and has been called the “greatest floor on earth”. However, proper installation is truly an artisan craft, not simply a formulaic procedure. Becoming a master concrete processor requires years of experience and extensive training in concrete characteristics, nuances and conditions. It involves paying attention to how the grinder sounds, vibrates and moves. Awareness of techniques such as looking behind the grinder to evaluate whether the diamonds are cutting, whether the diamonds are cutting a complete scratch pattern, and recognizing an incorrect tooling bond are keys to a quality floor. We must monitor how the hardness, flatness and finish of the concrete effects the grinding. We must use sight, sound and touch to determine how the concrete is reacting to the diamonds, and we must decide how to prevent glazing, random scratches or other surface blemishes. We must understand what the concrete is telling us and discern which diamonds, chemicals or methods to use next in order to produce a beautiful, functional and durable floor. Experience and a commitment to excellence make the difference between a mediocre floor and the “greatest floor on earth”.
There is no shortcut to a successfully installed mechanically processed & polished floor. Incorrect specifications, substandard equipment and insufficient or improper chemical protection will mean that the floors longevity and low maintenance benefits cannot be delivered.
HTC is the leading manufacturer and supplier of concrete grinding equipment in the world. We use HTC machines, HTC diamond tooling, Ameripolish colorants, Ameripolish protective treatments and our methods and specifications to produce three bonded-abrasive polished finish concepts. A fourth concept leaves a mechanically honed finish and is not considered polished concrete.