Concrete is known as a hard material, used in almost every construction project. So why would you need to polish a concrete floor? Concrete is not going to be damaged by people walking over it, is it? In fact, there are a number of reasons why bare concrete is a poor choice, especially in an industrial environment. We have compiled a list of the problems that unpolished concrete can cause.
Increased Risk of Damage
Concrete is a strong material, but it can be damaged by impacts or the stress of repeated heavy weights. As it dries out, a process that can take a very long time on a large slab, there is the risk of cracks forming. These cracks represent weak points which can develop into more serious problems. A large slab will have expansion joints cut into it to control cracking. These can also fail, with the edges breaking down and spalling. Once concrete is damaged, the affected area is likely to grow.
Vulnerable to Liquids
Concrete is naturally porous, which is to say that is has a large number of microscopic holes within its structure. These will absorb liquids quickly. This causes staining and marks which look unsightly. More seriously, in very cold conditions liquids within the concrete can freeze, causing deep cracks which severely weaken the structure. Toxic or hazardous substances can also transit through concrete to the soil outside, posing an environmental risk.
Remember those microscopic holes? They are filled with a substance called calcium hydroxide, which is a byproduct of the initial hydration when the concrete is mixed. Over time this is ejected from the floor as dust. This problem is made worse when mechanical or other heavy traffic moves over the floor, as it will release more dust. This dust needs to be cleaned up regularly and can pose a risk to health.
Low Reflection Levels
A factory, warehouse or other workplace with an unpolished concrete floor will look dull. This is due to the low light reflection of the surface. This can reduce staff productivity and must be offset with additional electric lighting, adding to a building’s running costs.
What these problems add up to is an unsightly floor which will likely degrade over time, risking slips and accidents. By having the concrete polished you can resolve these problems. The polishing process strengthens the concrete, making it better able to withstand heavy and mechanical traffic. Once sealed it will resist liquids, so they can be mopped up quickly. The calcium hydroxide which is released as dust is transformed into C-S-H, a crystalline substance which improves the floor strength. Polished concrete is also far more reflective and attractive, returning light back to the surroundings.
Most existing industrial concrete floors can be polished. Where there is existing damage, repairs can be made. Contact us today to see how an industrial or other large space can be improved by concrete polishing.