Anyone who has ever seriously considered polished concrete probably would’ve discovered somewhere along the line that an alternative is possible using resins – the so-called polished concrete “look”.
Horses for courses
The million dollar question is obviously, “which one should I use?” The short and perhaps frustratingly vague answer is – whatever suits you best. As we’ve already discussed, genuine polished concrete uses mechanical grinders to successively remove finer and finer layers until it reaches the desired level of sheen. The resin option, on the other hand, uses a grinder to expose the aggregate and the application of a clear resin instead to bring out the lustre. While they both produce a smooth, hard surface with that classic exposed aggregate look, there are significant differences in key areas and you have to consider what these mean for you.
Let’s weigh it up
For genuine polished concrete it’s very hard to determine beforehand whether a concrete slab is suitable to grind, how much concrete will need to be removed and how readily it will take on sheen (Suitability). It will also take longer, cost more (about twice as much) and gloss levels won’t be as predictable as the resin alternative. On the other hand, if it all goes to plan, it will provide a lower maintenance surface that’s more resistant to scratching, scuffing, yellowing etc. You need to ask yourself – do I go the cheaper, perhaps more controllable resin option and put up with more maintenance, or, do I invest more in the hope my concrete slab responds well and behaves like a textbook polished concrete surface should? That’s about the crux of it.
Look out for the polished concrete “look”
If you decide to go with the resin-based alternative, there are a couple of things you should know. Firstly, choice of resin and applicator is crucial (Right Applicator). Not all are capable of delivering a quality finish. Secondly, you need to know what to expect heading into it. You will be required to maintain the floor regularly, especially if it’s high gloss, and small imperfections, like bugs and dust, can cause headaches with resin-based floors if installation isn’t meticulous.
If you have any questions about the resin-based polished concrete “look”, please don’t hesitate to contact me.