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Maximum refinement is a term that is often used within the Concrete Polishing Association of America (CPAA). It is probably the least understood aspect of the polishing process, yet it is crucial to creating a successful polished concrete floor.
Polished concrete, discovered roughly 14 years ago, has etched its way into history as a sustainable, low maintenance flooring option in just about every market segment. We have all walked across a polished concrete surface at some point within the past few years.
One of the issues I see in the concrete polishing industry is contractors not allowing an abrasive to fully refine the floor to its maximum potential before moving to the next grit in the processing sequence. The result is a floor that lacks overhead reflective clarity and durability.
Although the James M. Bennett High School in Salisbury, Md., will not be submitted for certification through LEED, the Wicomico County Board of Education knew that all future schools built in the district would have to earn LEED certification.
Abrasives are the most important tool for mechanically processing concrete to a polished finish. They come in many forms, shapes and sizes and are made out of various materials whose bonding varies in hardness.
Selecting equipment to grind, hone and polish can be a daunting task. There are several factors to take into consideration, among them the equipment's power requirements, weight, motor size, overall dimensional size, working dimensions and direction or directions the abrasives rotate.
The success of a polished concrete surface doesn't rest solely with the concrete processing steps. Careful planning of the project from mix design through final protection will help a contractor achieve a successful end.
The concrete polishing industry is still in its infancy, but it's growing very rapidly. Although concrete polishing and other concrete processing steps have been performed for about 10 years, it has only been in the last two to three that architects, engineers, property owners, interior designers and general contractors have taken increased notice.
A fantastic, well-done polished concrete floor or stained concrete floor speaks for itself, right? Not always. Concrete contractors should not rely only on possible clients seeing their work just by passing by.
When Shawn Wardall of Specialized Construction Services, Inc. took on an 11,000-square-foot polished concrete floor at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Belleville, Wis., he wanted to bring the congregation a beautiful, natural-looking floor to match the unique architecture of the building.
The Concrete Polishing Association's Resource Archive contains links to back issues of Polishing Contractor magazine.