The popularity of decorative concrete is evident in modern construction and it is clear that the use of processed concrete has come a long way. To ensure that a polished concrete surface maintains its great appearance, it is important to follow the right steps. Correct concrete processing is essential, but it is also important to ensure proper planning of the project. Every step, from choosing the mix design to creating the final protection has a huge effect on the project’s success.
An increasing number of projects have received the green light for concrete processing and it is becoming more acceptable by the day. That being said, there are still some problems that arise when it comes to the installation process. Failing to consider all the important factors during the installation can affect the results. Following the right processing procedure will mean that the floor turns out much better than when the process is not followed in detail.
Specifying the polished floor
Determining the desired finish is the first step when specifying a processed floor. It is important to consider factors such as the surface cut, decorative applications and clarity of reflection. Only after determining the desired look can the specifications for completion be written. Before the project begins, it is important to understand the specifications for the finishing, mix design, curing, protection and control joint placement.
• Getting the mix design
When you want mini mix concrete, the mix design will vary from one geographical location to another and it depends on the weather conditions and available aggregates. Understanding how the aggregates appear when polished will help to determine the overall results.
• The floor finishing
The flatness of the floor will reduce the appearance of waves when the floor is finished. The troweling technique that is used will determine how the concrete will appear. The type of aggregate finish specified will also affect how the finishing is done.
• Curing the surface
Where a curing agent is required to bond the cement with the aggregate, it is important to make sure that it is UV dissipative and water based. For successful installation, the stains and the hardener have to penetrate the surface. Water curing helps to reduce joint and edge curling. Concrete needs to be cured for at least 28 days before the processing.
• Placing control joints
Control joints need to be placed strategically to ensure that they are not in the highly visible areas such as down the middle of open spaces or along hallways. The placement affects the appearance of the finished surface and it needs to be done correctly.
• The installation process
It is important to ensure that all consecutive grits are followed after the initial grit abrasive. The installer needs to move from one abrasive grit level to the next finer grit without skipping any level. Applying the densifier will depend on the concrete but ideally, it should not be applied later than the 200-grit resin. The surface needs to be clean and free from random scratches throughout the process.
It is important to ensure that the newly processed floor is protected. This means keeping away any heavy equipment and ensuring that any materials that can cause damage are kept away. This means keeping away acids and items that can cause etching, staining or scratching.