Published Tuesday 31st of December 2013 // Updated Friday 19th of May 2017
When properly mixed, poured, and cured, concrete theoretically has all of the necessary strength to last several lifetimes. However, in a world filled with manmade dangers to concrete, as well as the vicious nature of the elements if the concrete is exposed, concrete typically does not last as long as it could without some sort of protective treatment.
One of the steps some people choose to take is to polish concrete floors. Polishing concrete floors rids the surfaces of any surface imperfections and degradations, leaving behind a smooth surface unmarked by any damage. The process can be an excellent choice for places that need a smooth floor, rather than the pockmarked and rough surface that concrete naturally exhibits.
However, before polishing a concrete floor, you need to apply a concrete densifier. The concrete densifier will increase the strength and density of the concrete substrate, helping to prevent cracking and crumbling during the polishing process. Using a product like the Lithi-Tek 4500 is essential to the proper polishing process.
This product also helps if you decide to take the polishing process one step further. Burnishing concrete is something that many decide to do to their concrete after it has been polished. Polished concrete can still be gloomy and matte, though it will always be smoothed. If you have a home or business that requires a glossier floor finish, for aesthetic or structural reasons, you need to burnish your polished concrete floor to achieve the desired visual look.
Before you can burnish your concrete floor, you have to clear it of any debris by brushing with a broom and mopping. As the concrete is already polished, the dirt will not be able to sink into the concrete, rendering acid etching or other traditional concrete cleaning methods unnecessary. Once the concrete has been cleaned, you need to burnish the surface using a burnishing machine with a certain level of grit pad. If this is your first time burnishing, you need to begin with a 200-grit pad before moving up to a 1500- or 2000-grit pad. A higher grit count will ultimately result in a glossier concrete surface.
While the process is not difficult, be sure to proceed slowly and with caution. Over-burnishing your concrete surface can result in a nasty and unpleasant visual faade, as well as potential structural deficiencies. However, if you slowly run the burnishing machine over the concrete surface evenly, you will be fine. Ideally the burnishing process should happen three to four times per week to sustain a level of gloss. However, the number of times can depend on your own discretion, though the more frequent the burnishing, the more glossy the surface.