In the previous post (Design Not Default) we started our polished concrete series by challenging the wisdom of the “go to” flooring option. In the case of polished concrete, the biggest danger with this thinking is the fact that not all concrete slabs can be polished to begin with.
As we said at the time, if everything is designed from scratch with careful selection of aggregates and expert installation, the result can be marvellous. The big mistake many people make is assuming any old existing concrete slab can be polished to the same standard. Unfortunately you cannot control what’s already in place and, in reality, not everyone will be so lucky!
It’s not you, it’s your concrete
There are a number of stumbling blocks that can make a concrete slab unsuitable for polishing. For instance, some slabs will be too soft and won’t respond well to the grinding process. Others may not be entirely level, with high and low spots that can show through as patchy and inconsistent when polished. The same can be said if the concrete has poor, uneven or just plain ugly aggregate mixed throughout. In some cases, foreign matter like sticks, plastic and/or their imprints can cause headaches. Finally, cracks and previous repairs will be visible in the finish, which might seem obvious but is very easy to overlook.
Some character with you floor, perhaps?
For those into quirks and idiosyncrasies on a floor, all the talk above may be music to your ears because they “add character”. For the majority, however, the “magazine cover” look is what they imagine polished concrete will deliver and they won’t accept anything less.
With the strong possibility of at least one of these issues affecting any concrete slab, you can see why we we’re not advocates of the “go to” flooring policy. There are just too many variables from project to project and no flooring is a perfect fit for all situations.
If you have any questions about the suitability of polished concrete, please don’t hesitate to contact me.