When it comes to durable and beautiful concrete floors, our customers ask many of the same questions, like:
What is the difference between a polished floor and a sealed floor?
Which application do floor specialists recommend?
Which type of floor finishing is the best choice for your business or home and fulfills your needs?
ACT Restoration’s concrete flooring experts are here to help with answers! Concrete floors are a great addition to any space, but deciding which finishing process to use can be challenging. That’s why it’s so beneficial to work with our flooring restoration experts.
Polished concrete and grind and seal concrete floors both look great and are economical flooring solutions for many types of spaces. But what’s the difference between polished concrete and grind and seal concrete floors?
Let us walk you through these two concrete floor finishing options.
What Is Polished Concrete?
Polished concrete is a popular choice for commercial and residential buildings because it’s a renewable resource and green flooring finishing.
A polished concrete floor is achieved by mechanically grinding down an existing concrete floor with abrasive pads to remove the concrete’s surface, then refining it to shine to your specifications.
Advantages of Polished Concrete
Floor polishing can be an inexpensive alternative to other flooring options for many business owners and homeowners because it utilizes a floor surface that already exists – in many cases, as a subfloor. Using floor staining or floor dye can create a visually stunning variegated look for your floors.
Floor polishing creates a surface that’s low maintenance as well. Polished concrete is easy to clean, doesn’t require stripping or waxing like other floors, and can be cleaned by water or a low pH cleaner.
Floor polishing specialists agree that polished concrete is an excellent choice for allergy sufferers because it doesn’t accumulate dust like other types of flooring, and it resists mold and dust mites. Polished concrete floors are also non-slip because of a high friction coefficient, meaning people are less likely to slip if the floor is wet.
Polished concrete floors can be left the original gray color or can be colored by floor dying or concrete floor staining. Many exciting looks can be achieved with floor staining and can be used to imitate natural stone, such as marble.
Polished concrete even helps improve natural lighting in the room, which can help brighten up a dark space!
Potential Disadvantages of Polished Concrete
One possible disadvantage of polished concrete floors is that they are prone to damage in high-usage areas. If your floors are regularly exposed to heavy machinery, you will need regular maintenance, which means additional floor polishing over time.
What’s the Process for Concrete Polishing?
Polished concrete is a mechanical process of honing and polishing the surface of an existing slab of concrete. Technicians use engineered floor grinders fitted with industrial diamond abrasives.
The entire process involves grinding, honing, and polishing the floor using finer grits of diamond abrasives until the floor reaches your desired level of shine. Polished concrete is more labor-intensive than grind and seal concrete floors.
4 Levels of Shine for Polished Concrete
You can choose from four levels of shine for your polished concrete floor.
● Level 1: Soft Matte Finish polished concrete has a soft finish with minimal reflection.
● Level 2: Low Sheen Finish has a low-luster sheen that is the most popular with our customers.
● Level 3: Medium Gloss Finish clearly reflects objects and is popular in restaurants, breweries, and retail.
● Level 4: High Gloss Finish is the highest level of shine and reflects the most light. It can appear wet from some vantage points.
What Is Sealed Concrete?
If you desire a highly glossy finish for your concrete floor that effectively repels oil and other liquids, choose sealed concrete. It involves grinding down the floor and sealing with a topical sealer, and the result is similar to that of polished concrete.
The difference is the concrete floor resurfacing process goes one step further by applying a sealant to the surface, thus sealing the concrete.
Advantages of Sealed Concrete
Sealed concrete is highly effective in high-moisture commercial areas, such as restaurants or breweries. In fact, our floor specialists at ACT Restoration recommend sealed concrete to business and residential customers alike, because it is a perfect choice for areas of high moisture.
Grind and seal concrete floors are also sometimes cheaper than polished concrete, as well as very durable. Its highly polished surface resists heavy foot traffic and retains its brilliant shine.
Sealing your concrete floor can help extend the life of the concrete, so you won’t have to replace it as often as you might think. Sealed concrete repels harsh environmental stressors such as sunlight and weather.
The best part of sealed concrete is its easy maintenance. You need a pH-neutral cleaner, water to clean the floors, and a dust mop to clean up debris.
Potential Disadvantages of Sealed Concrete
The cost of sealed concrete can be a deterrent for some people, despite its advantages. It also requires regular reapplication every 2-5 years.
Sealed concrete can also be slipperier than polished concrete, so you have to be careful of leaving wet spots on the floor while there is foot traffic.
What’s the Process to Grind & Seal Concrete Floors?
The surface of a sealed concrete floor is ground using special equipment as in floor polishing, but the concrete floor resurfacing process goes one step further by applying a sealant to the surface, thus sealing the concrete.
Grind and seal concrete floors have a specific order of steps, which involves grinding the floor, patching cracks, cleaning, and, if chosen, a particular color stain is applied. Last, a topical sealer is applied to the floor to protect it.
More porous floors may require additional layers of sealer to help prevent the floor from absorbing water.
So What’s the Difference Between Polished vs. Sealed Concrete?
Though both methods produce similar results, they have several significant differences. Call us with any questions you may have about concrete floor restoration! The professional floor specialists at ACT Restoration have over 20 years of combined experience and know how to provide our customers with the perfect floor.
Here are some key differences between polished concrete and (grind and) sealed concrete.
The benefit of either floor finish type is a glossy concrete floor. Both polished concrete and grind and seal produce different levels of shine that are almost indistinguishable.
The main difference is that polished concrete achieves the look through many levels of diamond grinding, while grind and seal are finished with a sealer.
In addition, grind and seal concrete floors are more consistent from room to room. The applied sealer is consistent and does not rely on the concrete’s original look, which helps create a seamless look between your home or business rooms.
Polished concrete will maintain its original appearance even through the grinding steps.
The chosen method for your floors will depend on the type of traffic and wear-and-tear your floor will experience. You should work with your contractor to determine the durability your floor needs.
Polished concrete is the way to go if your space is prone to scratches. The polishing method helps protect the floor from incidental damage and can last a very long time when maintained properly.
Grind and seal floors are at a disadvantage in high-traffic areas and may need to be resealed more frequently, which can be costly in larger spaces. However, if your space is prone to stains, oil, grease, or animal urine, grind and seal is the best choice.
The grind and seal method uses a chemical-resistant polyurethane sealer, preventing liquids from penetrating the floor. Grind and seal is recommended for bathrooms, garages, or basement floors.
Cost is a factor when choosing between grind and seal or polished concrete. Grind and seal floors are cheaper in most cases than polished concrete, due to polished concrete’s labor-intensive process.
However, the cost will vary depending on the traffic and use of your floor.
Need Help Deciding How to Finish Your Concrete Floor?
ACT Restoration experts are available to discuss your concrete floor needs. We will advise you on the best solution for your concrete floors and provide you with personalized, efficient results. We are proud to have served our community in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota since 2012 and look forward to serving your flooring needs in the future.
Small or large-scale projects involving floor dying, concrete floor resurfacing, floor polishing, and concrete floor staining are what we do best. Our extended knowledge allows us to work with commercial floor restoration as well as service residential homes with concrete floors, typically in basements or garages.
We are also a terrazzo and natural stone cleaner and restorer, as well as experts in concrete floor finishing. Call us today at 763-432-3966, or send us a message on our website!