Concrete floors are often dull, but they don’t have to be. You can create a stunning conversation piece in your home by polishing these floors. Below, we provide how to achieve concrete floors that make a statement.
Rent a grinder
Unless you’re a professional flooring contractor, you’ll need to rent a floor grinder. The upright, walk behind type is the best and easiest to use. A dry grinder uses suction to keep the dust down, and a wet one uses water. A wet grinder creates more of a mess, but either style does the job.
Buy diamond pads or a belt
Depending on what style grinder you use, you will also need to get diamond abrasive pads or belt, which is essentially diamond coated sand paper. Get both coarse-grit and fine-grit pads to properly smooth the concrete. The lower the number on the pad, the coarser it is, and the higher numbers have a finer grit that are better suited to create a nice, smooth finish. Since, according to USGS, “Manufactured diamond accounts for more than 90% of the industrial diamond used in the U.S.,” the cost for these isn’t outrageous.
Wear safety equipment
This is often a messy process, so wear old clothes. Long sleeves and pants will keep your skin free of dust or water. If using a dry grinder, get a face mask as well, so you don’t breathe in the concrete dust. The vacuum will get most, but not all, of it.
Strip any coating from floor
Use the coarse grit to strip any residual wax, polish, or coatings from the floor. This will also smooth out any high points or imperfections in the floor. You want to start with as clean a surface as possible.
Fill any cracks
Inspect the floor closely for any cracks or holes. Get an epoxy and fill them all as close to level as possible. You just sanded to get things smooth, so don’t undo the work you’ve already done. Let the epoxy sit and harden fully before grinding and polishing.
Put a coarse grit pad (a 30 should work) on the grinder, then start in one corner and grind the entire floor. Take your time and be methodical as you move across the floor—you don’t want to miss a spot. It will show up in the end if you do and you’ll have to start over.
Apply hardener and polish the floor
A chemical hardener will get that shiny, polished look you want. Spread it evenly across the floor and let it do its thing. Once it’s dry, put on a finer grit pad and polish the entire floor to really make it pop.