Can Any Concrete Slab Be Polished?

We often get asked: “Can any concrete slab be polished”. 

If you’ve seen pictures of polished concrete floors, you’ll know that they can be jaw-droppingly beautiful floors – when done right!

And, you might be wondering if that old slab underneath your carpet or your plain looking ordinary concrete alfresco area can be polished to look like that…

The short answer is “yes.”

This polished concrete floor in a Brisbane home used be a plain old slab covered in worn out floor boards.

Your concrete slab – old or new, good condition or bad – with the right equipment and know-how can be honed and polished into a brilliant looking low maintenance polished concrete floor.

All concrete slabs are made from a mixture of aggregate (small stones), which build the structure and cement powder, which binds it all together and sets.

How Concrete Polishing Works

During the concrete polishing process, the top 2-3 millimetres of cement is “ground back” to reveal the aggregate within the slab.

The depth of grinding will determine how much of the aggregate is exposed, which will come come down to taste, or necessity – if the top layer is old or badly damaged, it may require a deep grind.

Following this, a series of hardening and polishing processes are carried out, before sealing it and burnishing to leave a fantastic looking polished floor.

Below is a picture of one of our high tech concrete grinding and polishing machines about to go to work on an old shop floor, currently covered in epoxy paint.

Elite Concrete Floors - concrete polishing machine ready to grind a floor

This next gallery is that very same old concrete floor 3 days later after an intense grinding and polishing process!


Badly Damaged Concrete Floors

Many old concrete slabs, have significant levels of damage and cracks from rain, wear and tear, accidental knocks or maybe the concrete was just laid badly in the first place…

Whilst many of these imperfections may be taken away by the initial grind, it will also be necessary to carry out a grouting process over the entire slab to fill in the holes, smooth over cracks and create a nice even surface for the polishing process.

These photos below show an extremely old concrete slab we worked on in Brisbane after grinding it back to the aggregate – before and after grouting.

Dealing With Soft Concrete Slabs

Different concrete slabs have different MPA ratings or “hardness”.

Although softer concrete slabs are more difficult polish to a high level of gloss, with the specialised chemicals that increase the density of the concrete, it can still be achieved.

The photos below are of an outdoor concrete patio that had previously been bare cement with slight rain damage.

In addition to the concrete being worn, the MPA of the concrete was extremely soft, meaning it had to undergo significant chemical hardening in order to polish to a high gloss.

What Will The Aggregate Look Like?

The aggregate you can see in the previous pictures above is blue chip stone, which typical of many modern concrete slabs.

The colour and type of aggregate or “stone” found inside the cement can vary widely however, such as the different examples of polished concrete in the pictures below.

Sometimes different aggregate is put into the cement on purpose in order to create the desired looks once it’s polished, however many slabs – especially older ones – can conceal a great variety of aggregate – such as the example above on the left.

So…

Can any concrete slab be polished?

The truth is… Almost!

There’s always exceptions, but the odds of being able to polish your concrete slab into something amazing are massively in your favour!

No matter the job, we’ve turned concrete polishing into an art-form. Our work is our passion and concrete is at the heart of it all.

If you want to turn a concrete slab into a polished concrete masterpiece, give us a call today on 13ELITE!

Your concrete slab is a diamond in the rough, waiting to be revealed and when done right, can be a beautiful shiny concrete floor that can last a lifetime!

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