Polished concrete is fast overtaking traditional concrete coatings in popularity due to its distinctive look and its superior durability. A professionally polished concrete floor is more than just a concrete slab that is made smooth and shiny. If a concrete floor is professionally polished it should have increased durability as well as beauty. New advancements in technology now allow a concrete polishing contractor to densify a concrete floor through a process of diamond grinding and application of chemicals to hardness much greater than that of a common concrete slab.
In conjunction with grinding the floor, chemicals are often used called concrete densifiers or hardeners. These products react with the soluble calcium compounds in the cement to create insoluble calcium silicates. This process fills in many of the pores in the concrete creating a surface with much greater hardness.
One of the best features of any of Polished Concrete is that it is not a coating. Coatings have significant limitations and are prone to failure. Even industrial coatings such as epoxy that are properly applied will often chip or flake under heavy traffic and often require re-coating in 3-5 years. Below is a chart comparing the performance of concrete polishing to epoxy coating.
Yes if a more decorative finish is desired the concrete can be dyed as part of the grinding process. Decorative patterns can also be cut into the surface to create tile effects. Another popular and beautiful look is that of exposed aggregate. If the concrete is ground more aggressively the aggregate stone in the concrete can be exposed. This is a look similar to terrazzo.