No matter where you look, you are going to see concrete. As the world’s oldest, most-used, and widely ubiquitous building material, you can find concrete in sidewalks, buildings, walkways, pool decks, patios, driveways, garages, warehouse flooring, inside your favorite malls and stores, and more. It’s the builder’s first material of choice when it comes to outdoor jobs worldwide. There are many reasons why concrete has found its way into the residential arena, where it was once just used for industrial and manufacturing purposes. The main reason is that it is extremely durable and weatherproof, meaning that concrete can withstand incredible variations in weather, such as hurricanes, hail, heavy rains, and scorching UV rays. Concrete is also resistant to erosion, so it’ll last a lot longer than other building materials.
However, even concrete is prone to the wear-and-tear of daily life. Heavy foot-traffic, automobile traffic, weather, and other variables will eventually begin to degrade the quality of the surface. While this is usually just an aesthetic concern, no one likes to see a worn-out, degraded concrete floor when there are so many easy options to make it look better.
Concrete resurfacing and concrete polishing are two widely-used methods in the construction sector that help make concrete look its best. Shop floors, residential homes, office spaces, and galleries all rely on the effectiveness of these two techniques to keep their place of business/home looking great for potential visitors and clients. What’s the difference between concrete resurfacing & concrete polishing? In this blog post, we’ll be taking a look at what these two methods entail, and how they can make your concrete floor function and look its best.
Simply put, concrete resurfacing can turn a cracked and faded concrete surface – such as a driveway – into a dramatically improved worktop that will be aesthetically pleasing (rather than an eyesore). Common issues such as cracks, divots, discoloration, oil stains, and other damages can be resolved for a fraction of the cost of the traditional method, which involved completely removing large slabs of the previously installed concrete to replace it with fresh slabs.
Concrete resurfacing was born out of the need for a more cost and labor-effective way of remodeling concrete surfaces. The classic method proved to be an expensive, labor-intensive, and messy way when compared to its counterpart alternative. Removing large amounts of concrete debris was not environmentally kind and ramped up labor costs due to the disposal of the old concrete, and the hauling of new materials to the job site. Concrete pouring costs a lot of money, and many homeowners and business owners shy away from the cost of completely rebuilding an entire concrete floor space.
Resurfacing takes care of this problem by cutting the cost effectively in half. It’s a great method to restore concrete on a budget. The process is roughly as follows:
- Clean and repair the cracks and holes. This includes removing any old weeds and concrete debris, and power washing the surface to rid the concrete of grime. Cracks and holes in the concrete are then filled in with an epoxy mortar/polymer concrete mixture until the entire surface is filled in and level. Sometimes cracks and holes are reinforced with construction fabric based on the level of damage that the concrete sustained.
- Cover, color, seal, and cure. The surface is primed with a spray-on polymer concrete mixture after all of the repairs have been made to the surface. If the client requests any coloring options, such as concrete staining or decorative concrete, this is then added before the sealant. After that, the curing process (otherwise known as the drying process) takes about 48-72 hours before the surface can be used for its functional purpose.
Concrete resurfacing is a great option if your concrete floor has minor damage and needs a face lift. Not only can a reputable concrete resurfacing contractor fix the damage in the concrete, they can simultaneously dye and stain the new surface to create incredible, decorative patterns on the surface. This is what many business owners choose to do after resurfacing their floor; Decorative concrete adds value and appeal to the room by enhancing the overall color and feel of the room. Concrete staining can essentially make concrete look and feel like a marble, granite, slate, tile, wood, or brick floor at half the cost of these materials.
The best part of a resurfaced concrete floor is that it will be low-maintenance, cost-effective, and will have a long lifespan.
Polished concrete can be seen in your favorite grocery aisle, your neighbor’s brand new garage, modern homes, and industrial warehouses. It is very environmentally friendly when compared to other options such as granite, linoleum, coated concrete, marble, and tile, and also costs quite a bit less. Like we said above, concrete is an incredibly durable and reliable material, and it is also capable of becoming a beautiful addition to your home or office. This no-wax flooring option catches the eye due to its high-luster, smooth, and clean appearance.
Concrete polishing involves the use of diamond floor grinders that essentially “sand” the surface of the concrete. The size of the grit in the grinder will often determine how smooth and reflective a floor is. Concrete polishing is great when there is minor surface damage to the surface of the concrete. Instead of adding a new layer of concrete (concrete resurfacing), concrete polishing grinds the imperfections away to reveal a new, uniform surface. The finished product is often glossy, reflective, and smooth, and is a low-carbon, low-volatile organic compound surface that is a great option for people with allergies. Polished concrete also has thermal and energy-saving properties, which helps cut down on heating and cooling costs year round.
Many homeowners that prefer a minimalist aesthetic choose to go with polished concrete. It is also a great choice for department stores, as its sleek and reliable surface is able to handle a lot of foot traffic with a relatively low maintenance cost. Just like concrete resurfacing, colors can be designed for the newly polished concrete through the use of acids and dyes.
What’s the Difference?
Both methods are fantastic ways to help restore the luster of your concrete floors. While concrete resurfacing relies on a brand new concrete overlay to get the job done, concrete polishing grinds the old surface away with specialized heavy machinery.
There are quite a few factors that can affect your decision. One of these is the condition of the floor itself. If your floor has serious damage, such as sizeable holes/chunks of concrete missing, patchwork, or spalling, polishing the concrete may not remove these larger imperfections. A concrete overlay and decorative resurfacing will be your best bet. Resurfacing the concrete will help conceal and damaged spots and help level the surface of the floor.
Another factor to consider is the function of the floor and the desired appearance. Polished concrete has a much more reflective and high-gloss appearance when compared to a resurfacing job. However, the overlays that come with resurfacing allow more style versatility, such as stencils, stains and dyes, a plethora of finish options, decorative aggregates, and decorative saw cuts. We tend to do a lot of resurfacing jobs in places like courtyards and pool decks, while polishing jobs are often done in garages, industrial areas, and kitchens. This brings us to the function aspect of your floor.
Polished concrete offers more resilience and durability, making it a great option for areas that have a high amount of foot traffic (such as mechanics shops, kitchens, workspaces, and garages). Polished concrete will maintain its luster for years, despite wear-and-tear.
Concrete Flooring Contractors in New York City
To sum it up, concrete resurfacing is great for floors with large flaws that require more style options, while concrete polishing offers more durability and protection. Both options are eye-catching, so it really comes down to personal preference when you look at it from an aesthetic point of view. Southside Concrete Polishing has been in the business for years, and we offer both of these restorative options for a quality and price that can’t be beat. Click here to check out some of our finished concrete jobs to decide which method is right for you!