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3 main things to know about polished concrete finishes

Many people make the mistake of thinking that all polished concrete on the Mornington Peninsula looks the same. We’re sure you’re picturing a grey, dull-looking floor and we’re afraid to say that you are mistaken. Polished concrete is an extremely versatile flooring solution because it can come in a number of assorted colours, textured appearances and gloss levels. That is why professional concrete polishing isn’t an easy decision because it involves careful planning and the right choice of concrete mix, grind level and surface finish. This short guide is meant to help you choose the right colour, aggregate exposure, and glossy finish to achieve the perfect polished concrete floors for your home or business. These are the three main aspects involved in the final look of your application, but you can mix and match different elements to achieve very unique results.

1.   Choosing the colour

There are a few main ingredients in the colouring agent that is used to colour your polished concrete. They can include things like oxide additions or polishable objects which can be added to the concrete mix which will determine the colour of your polished concrete. There are standard mixes that come with set colours but your technician, and the manufacturer of the materials, can custom make a mixture to fit your desired colour palette. The colours can range from marble, in the lighter shades, to black if you are after darker applications. Some aggregates include gold, pink and even green tinges of colour to achieve that desired look. Give us a call and we can discuss what we have on offer to you.

2.   Choosing the aggregate exposure level

Aggregate exposure refers to the amount of sand and small stones visible underneath the concrete surface after it has been polished. Every concrete mix has this aggregate mixed into it, but they can vary in the colour, density, size, and spaces between the distribution of these stones. For pristine and beautiful aggregate exposure finishes, it all depends on how well the concrete has been installed and finished. That requires the expertise of experienced polished concrete installers because they can ensure the best consistency of exposure which gives you more choice on the exposure level. Aggregate can be exposed from as little as 1mm below the surface and in most cases by the time 5mm has been removed you have reached a more consistent distribution and what is known as full exposure of aggregate. Here are the levels you can choose from:

●       Nil or zero exposure

This level of aggregate finish can be achieved with very light grinding on the surface, and it results in very little to no stones showing on the surface of the concrete.

●       Partial or minimal exposure

Partial exposure is achieved, similarly to nil exposure, by applying a light grind to the surface but to shave slightly more millimetres. This is an effort to expose lesser amounts of stones and it results in what we typically call the salt and pepper look in polished concrete. It offers an uneven look with some areas of the surface having no exposure and some having heavy exposure. Partial exposure is more cost-effective than nil or premium exposure.

●       Full or premium exposure

Full exposure requires the heavy grinding down of the surface by more than 5mm off the surface. This look results in a concrete floor that shows all the stones on the surface. This is quickly becoming the most popular choice in commercial and residential properties because it gives a unique decorative look. It isn’t the cheapest finish option because it is more labour intensive as it requires heavier grinding.

3.   Choosing the gloss level

Now that the grinding is complete, the concrete floors have to be honed and polished using different degrees of grit (in diamond pads) to achieve a level of gloss. The finer the grit of the diamond used on the pads used to polish the surface, the higher the degree of shine. Here you have three options to choose from and we explain them below:

●       Matte or basic finish

Matte finishing on polished concrete is still a very popular choice because they offer a timeless industrial chic or rustic look. Clients that choose this gloss-less option are usually after a raw or natural look that resembles stones in natural forests. Matte finishes are less reflective, so they are less likely to show dust or any other build up easily.

●       Semi-gloss or standard finish

Some of us want some gloss but not too much and they fall into the semi-gloss category. Semi-gloss floors still achieve good light reflectivity and sheen.

●       High-gloss or premium finish

This is the most stunning level of gloss finish and basically imitates the reflective nature of a mirror. Glossy floors of this nature do tend to give the feel of luxury and opulence. This level of gloss needs more maintenance than the other options and they’ll require more frequent cleaning to keep that sheen looking flawless.

Is polished concrete more expensive? 

Polished concrete is growing in popularity across Australia because people are realizing that it is often less expensive than other flooring options. It is cheaper to install but also requires much less long-term costs for maintenance. Polished concrete needs some mopping now and then and a touch-up every 4 years, but it is sure to last a lifetime. There are more detailed cleaning and maintenance steps to take but it is nothing too complicated.

Versatile polished concrete finishing

We’re not just polished concrete experts here at Premier Polished Concrete & Grinding, we’re also perfectionists when it comes to grind & seal. From the options we’ve given you above, you can see that there is so much more to explore in the world of polished concrete design. Premier Polished Concrete & Grinding is a multi-talented concrete floor solutions company and that means we can do it all. We are based on the Mornington Peninsula but we service all of the S.E suburbs and many more locations nearby.