FAQs

Q?

What are your service areas?

A.

We are located in San Jose and service the entire area including Santa Clara, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Campbell, Silver Creek, Evergreen, Cambrian, Willow Glen, Almaden Valley, The Ranch, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Atherton, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Fremont, Redwood City, Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz, and Half Moon Bay.

We have also done work in San Francisco and Sonoma. We have traveled as far as Annapolis, Maryland and Hartford, Conneticut to help teach and help an industry associate.

Q?

Should I seal my stone counter top?

A.

Yes. However, there are different types of sealers on the market. There are water based, solvent and silicone/siloxane sealers. We will determine, upon inspection of the stone, which one will work best in your situation. Most countertops WILL NOT be sealed by your fabricator, so always test to make sure. If it is already installed, no worries! If it is not showing any signs of darkening when wet, it may not need to be sealed. If you have your countertops sealed with a good quality impregnator, they should be stain resistant for years.

Q?

What is the difference between a topical acid stain and your “dyeing process?”

A.

We do both acid staining and dyeing. Both processes can be polished. Acid staining will be less expensive up front but will require more maintenance over time than concrete poishing where a dye has been applied to give color. Acid stains will require periodic waxing to maintain the shine that you desire where as a mechanical shine is acheived by closing the pores of the concrete with diamond abrasives in concrete polishing without the aid of a topical treatment.

Q?

What is the process to polish my concrete?

A.

The floor should be in place at least 21 days before polishing begins to ensure adequate curing. Some retail and warehouse facilities that plan to polish their floors after placement may specify the installation of as smooth a floor as possible to minimize the polishing steps required. Existing floors typically require some surface preparation prior to polishing to remove dirt, grease, coatings, or blemishes.

However, floors that are wavy, need extensive patching, or are extremely porous may not be good candidates for polishing. Simply put, polishing concrete is similar to sanding wood. Heavy-duty polishing machines equipped with progressively finer grits of diamond-impregnated segments or disks (akin to sandpaper) are used to gradually grind down, hone and polish surfaces to the desired degree of shine and smoothness. The process begins with the use of coarse diamond segments bonded in a “metallic” matrix. These segments are coarse enough to remove minor pits, blemishes, stains, or light coatings from the floor in preparation for final smoothing. Depending on the condition of the concrete, this “initial” rough grinding is generally a three- to four-step process.

The next steps involve fine grinding of the concrete surface using diamond abrasives embedded in a “plastic” or “resin” matrix. Crews use ever-finer grits of polishing disks (a process called “lapping”) until the floor has the desired sheen. For an extremely high-gloss finish, a final grit of 1500 or finer may be used. Experienced polishing crews know when to switch to the next-finer grit by observing the floor surface and the amount of material being removed. To help solidify and densify polished concrete surfaces an impregnating/penetrating hardener is added to the concrete. This is added during the process in between grits. The point at which this is added is dependent on the condition of the concrete. These products, work by reacting chemically with the concrete to form a hard, crystalline structure and will make the concrete up to 400% more abrasion resistant. They also prevent dusting of concrete and offer extra protection from water penetration and staining.

Q?

What type of warranty do you offer for concrete polishing?

A.

Our concrete polishing process is warranted never to peel, bubble or blister! The final appearance of the concrete will be determined by the original aggregates, material blends, and desired finish.

Q?

What are the maintenance requirements of polished concrete?

A.

Polished concrete is requires very little maintenance. Polished concrete has the lowest cleaning per foot cost of any flooring. Just dust mop, vacuum or sweep loose debris and then wet mop or use an auto scrubber with an acid free cleaner.

Q?

How long will my polished concrete last?

A.

Polished concrete depending on its use and maintenance can last over 15 years. One fact is for sure, it is going to last many, many years without the use of special cleaners, waxes or coatings.

Q?

Can all concrete be polished?

A.

Almost any structurally sound concrete floor, whether new or old, can be polished. But there are some exceptions. For new floors, no special mix design is required to achieve good results. However, the floor should be in place at least 21 days before polishing begins to ensure adequate curing. Some retail and warehouse facilities that plan to polish their floors after placement may specify the installation of as smooth a floor as possible to minimize the polishing steps required. Existing floors typically require some surface preparation prior to polishing to remove dirt, grease, coatings, or blemishes. However, floors that are wavy, need extensive patching, or are extremely porous may not be good candidates for polishing. An experienced contractor can usually determine a floor’s suitability. To help solidify and densify polished concrete surfaces, some contractors apply penetrating hardeners to the concrete, normally after the first step of the grinding process. These products, which can be applied to new or existing floors, work by reacting chemically with the concrete to form a hard, crystalline structure. They also prevent dusting of concrete and offer extra protection from water penetration and staining.
There are absolutely no problems in polishing the aggregate in concrete. Every one of the hard stones can be polished, from marble to diamonds. The difficulty in polishing concrete comes from the attempt to polish the cement binder because of the microporosity caused by the excess water required to make concrete workable. This bleedwater as it comes to the surface creates micropores. Since it is impossible to polish a void, this creates what is known as the eggshell or orange peel effect. In keeping this problem to a minimum the surface to be polished must be extremely dense. We will verify the suitability of your floor for polishing.

Q?

Are there any difficulties that you may encounter?

A.

Yes. No two concrete slabs are laid the same way. Concrete that has been laid at 3200 PSI or higher typically will take a much better shine. Variations in the amount of water in the mix to the amount and type of sand mixed with the concrete can be just a few factors that affect the outcome of your flooring or countertops.

Concrete that has been installed at lower PSI’s may have problems with the concrete binders being brittle. Most slabs will have cracks and minor imperfections in them before this process is started so expect them to still be there once the process is done. Because grinding of the concrete is required, blending in to the edges of walls can sometimes prove difficult. We will always do the best we can and treat each situation as a unique.

Q?

What options do I have for polishing my concrete?

A.

Right now, our company is currently polishing concrete to a naturally high sheen. You will have the option of having the aggregate (stone) exposed or not. We also offer color staining with 12 different color options to choose from. Once the stain has set, we then polish up to a high sheen.

Q?

What is required to maintain the shine?

A.

Although keeping polished concrete shiny requires minimal effort and expense, some regular care is necessary. I recommend a simple maintenance program of occasional dusting to remove grit and damp mopping with a neutral cleaner to enhance the shine. Some manufacturers sell special cleaners and conditioners for polished concrete that not only clean the surface, but also leave behind a dirt-resistant film. These products can be applied with a mop or auto scrubber and do not require buffing. With basic cleaning, polished concrete should keep its luster for years. Eventually, though, the shine can dull, especially in high-traffic areas. Fortunately, it’s easy to restore the gleam. Sometimes simply buffing the floor with a commercial polishing compound will do the trick. If more touch-up is necessary, the floors can be lightly repolished with a fine-grit abrasive.

Q?

Is polished concrete slippery?

A.

Kept clean and dry, polished concrete floors are generally no slicker than plain concrete surfaces and they tend to be less slippery than waxed linoleum or polished marble. But public facilities that want to provide extra protection against slip-and-fall accidents can treat polished floors with anti-slip conditioners.

These products contain special additives designed to improve traction and make wet surfaces safer. They must be reapplied periodically, but they can simply be mopped on during routine cleaning. Give us a call if you need this service.

Q?

What are the benefits of polishing concrete?

A.

Polished concrete is: Decorative and Aesthetically Pleasing, Economical, Very Low Maintenance, Stain Resistant, Abrasion Resistant, Permanent and Long Lasting.
Coating Free – No More Waxing, Coating or Stripping. No Peeling or Flaking. Increases existing light up to 30% at the highest polish. – Electricity Savings. Eliminates Dusting, Ecologically Sound and Environmentally Friendly. Greater Strength and Durability, More Impact Resistance, Old Worn Concrete Looks Better Than New. Not Effected by Ultraviolet Light, Little or No Down Time or Loss of Business While The Process is Completed. Concrete polishing is less than the cost of other concrete coating systems! Although, that’s not where the savings end, it’s really the beginning. Concrete coatings can potentially fail due to delaminating, cracking, fading, staining, yellowing, and wear. The true value of a polished concrete is measured by its’ durability, beauty and long term cost savings in maintenance. Polished concrete gives you permanent long lasting results that require no costly maintenance because there are no coatings.

Q?

What is this infamous “lemon juice” test you speak of for granite countertops?

A.

Take a piece of the scrap “granite” you wish to test and spill a few drops of lemon juice onto it. If you see that under the drops of lemon it develops very quickly dark spots, it means that it’s a very absorbent stone and I would advise you (and anybody else, for that matter) against it. If it takes, say, a minute or so to be absorbed, then you’re dealing with a degree of absorbency that’s easily manageable with the application of a good-quality impregnator-type sealer. If it doesn’t absorb at all, then you have a winner right there!

Why lemon juice and not simply water? – Because lemon juice is highly acidic, and, if for any chance, the “granite” you’re considering is a mixed stone (with some calcite in it), it would etch. That is, it would have a permanent dull spot where the lemon was sitting, after you clean it up. If that’s the case, you do NOT want that stone in your kitchen.

Q?

What is Certi Shine, Bomanite, Retro Plate, Diamond Crete, Perfect Polish or Natural Wonder and how it relates to concrete polishing?

A.

Bomanite, Retro Plate, Certi Shine, Perfect Polish, Natural Wonder as well as Diamond Crete are systems and that is it. Each one of these systems uses a densifier. As per Concrete Construction, September 2004 issue, no matter which product you use, they all have one thing in common: They chemically react with calcium hydroxide (also referred to as “portlandite”) to produce calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H), the same material that results from the reaction between portland cement and water, giving concrete much of its strength.

Sodium silicate, the most common liquid hardener, is the least expensive. It also goes by the old name “water glass.” Potassium silicate is probably next in terms of popularity. Lithium silicates are beginning to be marketed more because they can counter the effects of reactive aggregates when they are present in concrete. (Remember, for surface applications they affect only the surface regions of the concrete.) It’s claimed that potassium and lithium products produce less “bloom” or whitening than does sodium.