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Guide To Concrete Grinding, Honing & Polishing

Guide To Concrete Grinding, Honing & Polishing

Concrete polishing has expanded quickly. Although concrete polishing and other masonry processing procedures have been used for over a decade, architects, engineers, property owners, interior designers, and general contractors have only recently begun to pay more attention. Contractors will be rewarded as market demands increase if they participate now and comprehend the details and nuances of the process.

Contractors face challenges, just like any other young or developing industry. Some brand-new business owners in the processing sector think polishing concrete is as easy as sprinkling abrasives on and off a machine's base. The process is highly complex, and when combined with various factors outside of a contractor's control, performance could suffer significantly if a contractor lacks the expertise and knowledge to overcome these challenges. Contractors must also learn to manage a variety of factors under their control.

Contractors who base their pricing on what other concrete processors charge rather than expenditures plus profit are another issue. Additionally, buyers are profoundly ignorant of what concrete polishing comprises and that contractors lack rigorous technical training.

Contractors must seek the proper training and educate themselves about concrete processing. They must also inform their clients about what appropriate processing comprises, how long it takes, and how much adequate work should cost to see business development.


The term "concrete polishing" is widely misused. The most common phrase for this procedure is "concrete processing," which isn't all that dissimilar to other businesses that process materials like stone, metal, and optical lenses.

Concrete processing refers to the mechanical alteration of an existing concrete surface, which may involve cutting and polishing the cover to the desired finish. One of the many results of mechanically polishing the concrete surface using various high quality abrasives measured in grits is polished concrete.

Currently, the industry separates the concrete polishing process into grinding and polishing. However, others simply refer to the entire procedure as polishing. Concrete polishing is divided into three categories that follow:

  • Grinding
  • Honing
  • Polishing

Each category is divided into several phases, each using fine-grit abrasives. A densifier or hardener is applied during this process and absorbed into the concrete. This causes a chemical reaction that increases concrete density and hardness.



The lowest level of concrete surface processing is ground concrete. If the abrasive medium is categorized according to grit, any grit abrasive below around 50-grit resin is regarded as a grinding stage. A ground concrete surface has a flat look, no reflection or minimal reflection, and occasionally has a low gloss.


The following category of above-ground concrete in the processing system is honed concrete. Honing is defined as any grit abrasive between 100-grit resin and 400-grit resin. A honed concrete surface will appear matte and have a low, medium, or high gloss.


The highest level of processed masonry stage is polished concrete. Polishing is any grit abrasive above an 800-grit resin and generally up to 1,500 or 3,000 grit. Polished concrete surfaces have a glass-like sheen and mirror-like clarity.


Few people realize how technically complex concrete grinding, honing, and polishing processes are. Numerous antecedent circumstances may affect how the procedure turns out. Some factors, including the caliber of your tools and abrasives and the speed you use your devices, are under the contractor's control. The level and flatness of the floor or the concrete mix design are beyond a contractor's control. A craftsman who is meticulous and results-oriented and a contractor who merely passes through the motions differ in their ability to manage these factors.

Concrete itself is one of the critical factors in polishing. Residential concrete is often a hand-troweled, low-PSI concrete mix (2,500 PSI and lower). Because the surface is less dense and hand troweling leaves the surface with more highs and lows, lower PSI concrete does not polish as well. Commercial concrete, on the other hand, is a higher PSI concrete mix (3,500 psi and up) that is hand-troweled in the corners and small spaces and machine-troweled in the open areas. Because it is denser and has fewer highs and lows, higher PSI concrete polishes better.


Processed concrete has three distinct visual characteristics:

  • How deeply the surface has been cut.
  • The degree of clarity of the reflection of the sliced surface.
  • Decorative upgrades.

Contractors have various surface-cutting options, including surface cream, fine aggregate, medium aggregate, and big aggregate. When processing concrete, these layers are crucial. The objective is to get to and remain in the appropriate layer while maintaining consistency. The thickness of these layers varies across the slab's surface.

Concrete must be polished to the correct reflection level after grinding to the desired layer. Honed concrete ends typically at a resin grit of 200 or 400, semi-finished concrete ends at a resin grit of 400 or 800, and highly polished concrete ends at a resin grit of 1,500 or 3,000.

The procedure may include additional decorative additions, including engraving, saw-cut designs, integral, acid-stained, and water- or solvent-based stains and dyes.


Clarity, sheen, shine, depth, regularity, and reflection color differ. A proper grit sequence must be used to allow for complete refinement of the concrete surface with each grit abrasive. This is done before moving on to the next finer grit abrasive. This is even if the desired result is not profound reflection clarity. This will provide the maximum "clarity of reflection" and "durability" for the concrete surface. Each grit must be used and honed to the fullest extent possible to get a clean, crisp look for the concrete surface at 200-, 400-, and 800-grit resin.

Beyond replacing the scratch pattern left by the previous grit abrasive with the following successively finer grit abrasives, the concrete surface has been thoroughly refined. To polish concrete, it is necessary to remove the old grit scratch pattern. The most effective results won't be achieved, the floor won't have its optimum durability, and the surface will prematurely deteriorate. This is if thorough refinement is not carried out from one increasingly finer grit to the next.

It is strongly advised against skipping grit in the processing order. When switching from metal to resin-bonded abrasives, the first resin-bonded abrasive grit used must be one grit lower than the previous metal grit used. You might be allowed to omit a grit or not to drop back a grit under exceptional circumstances. However, it would help if you never used this as a general guideline. To establish what kind of quality you are giving up by skipping a grit or not dropping back a grit, you should undertake comparison testing in numerous regions of the slab before cutting a stage in the polishing process.

What grit level a densifier applies to is determined by the concrete. The most commonly used densifiers are lithium, potassium, and sodium. Each manufacturer provides application instructions that must be followed.

The results that two contractors get while polishing the same concrete can differ even though they have identical grit series specified. To achieve the most outstanding results, remember all the factors a contractor can influence.


On a polished concrete project, a contractor must consider many factors. A polishing contractor with experience managing these variables will succeed in their position. Variables the concrete polisher can influence include:


  • Weight, RPMs, and the pace at which the machine lines up on the surface.
  • Planetary motion, whether active or inert.
  • Movement of the planets in that direction.


  • Face/tread configuration of diamonds.
  • Diamond grit saturated bonding.
  • Bonding of diamonds' hardness.
  • The moment you change abrasives,


  • Once you've applied.
  • What kind do you employ?


  • How deeply the concrete surface has been hacked.
  • The cut surface's degree of clarity.
  • The polishing of the concrete as it moves from one grit to another.
  • How thoroughly the floor is scrubbed after each abrasive grit.



  • Imperfections that need to be fixed or PSI.
  • Levelness and flatness of the surface.
  • Finish: mechanically or manually troweled.
  • Existence of glues, coatings, or mastics.


  • Utilized admixture types.
  • Polymers and threads are used.
  • Aggregate.
  • Whether to vibrate to remove air.

This article will go a long way towards assisting contractors and property owners in making the right choice about the results they want to obtain with their project for grinding, honing, or polishing.

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