Polished Concrete Glossary

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Aggregate

Rock and other composites mixed into cement to provide strength to the concrete. Larger rock settles in bottom, while fine rock stays toward the middle-to-top, with only a fine paste of cement (or cream) remaining at the surface.

Aggregate Exposure

The process of grinding down into the floor to expose cream (little to no aggregate), small aggregate, or large aggregate.

Burnishing

Polishing by friction: enhances the smoothness or shininess of a surface using a revolving motion at high speeds.  Often burnishing is used to provide a sheen in Topical Polish scopes.

Coatings

Any type of topical, chemical or products used as a finish on the surface of a concrete floor (such as epoxy, paint, or tile).

Cream

The surface of concrete which contains no noticeable aggregate.

Densify

The process of chemically solidifying and adding mass to the concrete to improve strength and abrasion resistance.

Dry Polish

A popular mechanical polishing process that does not require the use of water, resulting in a slurry-free process. This process creates airborne dust particulates that must be captured with a vacuum system.

Grinding Machine (or Grinder)

A tool used in conjunction with diamond metal-bond or resin-bond pads to remove the top layer of a concrete surface, using progressively finer and finer grits, until a flat, highly reflective surface results.

Mechanical Polishing

A system of grinding & polishing that utilizes industrial diamonds impregnating hardeners to level, densify, polish finally seal the floor from within the interior of the floor surface.

Polished Concrete

A process which enhances the natural beauty of existing concrete by hardening and polishing the concrete to create a glassy finish. There are two primary methods to creating this shine: Topical or Mechanical.  (Definition provided by the International Polished Concrete Institute)

Scarifying

A grinding process which aggressively removes coatings from the surface of a concrete floor.

Shotblasting

A process which blows dense material balls, mainly of steel, against a concrete floor to remove any surface coatings and results in a profiled surface.

Topical Polishing (chemical)

A process of accruing densifyers and sealers that are applied to the surface of the concrete. Once they soak in, they will react with the concrete, creating a hardened, less porous surface.

Wet Polish

A mechanical polishing process which extends the life of diamond tooling by using water to cool them, however, creates a slurry waste which requires disposal.