The four basic polished concrete finishes
Bespoke mixes, colours and additives aside, the final finish of your floor will depend on how deep you grind and what level of shine you like. There are four main finishes for polished concrete:
1) Bronze polished concrete floor
If you want a very industrial looking floor, showing all the variations in colour and texture, the bronze finish is for you. It is achieved by simply grinding off the surface paste of your concrete floor, exposing no aggregate, just a sandy and often uneven finish. It is still smooth to touch and hardeners are applied, however it will be more susceptible to staining. In our experience, a lot of people feel they would like this finish but when they actually see it in their home they change their minds. The bronze concrete floor can be brought up to a matte or high gloss finish and is more suited, in our opinion, to an industrial or commercial setting.
Bronze finish polished concrete floor (Facebook, Dublin)
2) Silver polished concrete floor
You may wish to reveal the variations in your sand, gravel and aggregate underneath your sandy layer. This is achieved by an initial deep grind into the concrete, using large metallic disks. The first grind is the deepest, and it is at this stage you can decide how much sand, gravel and aggregate you want to expose. The silver finish gives you the characteristics of a well-ground floor with a matte finish. After the first grind, progressively smaller diamond disks are used to remove the scratches made by the previous grind… and so on. The silver finish is left with a matte or satin look.
Concrete polished to a silver finish (residential)
3) Gold polished concrete floor
If you like the smooth stone free-polished concrete look, you should consider the gold finish. The gold finish gives you a highly reflective surface. The first deep grind is avoided when grinding, as you don’t want to expose the aggregate. This method involves grinding away the concrete skin and exposing the underlying, stronger concrete, in the form of fine material. Normally, 1 mm of the surface is ground away. It is imperative for this finish that your concrete has been power floated and is completely smooth before the grinding can commence. As you are only taking 1 mm off your surface, there is no room for error or variations in levels.
Polished concrete with a gold finish (residential)
4) Platinum polished concrete floor
The platinum finish is generally considered to be the ‘Rolls Royce’ of polished concrete floors. The platinum concept gives the floor the best characteristics and is the one we recommend in most situations. It involves more grinding steps than the other options, bringing the floor up to a 3000 grit. The result is an unbeatably durable floor, with a highly reflective finish. You can expect to grind off 2 – 3 mm from your original floor when opting for the platinum finish. The polishing process closes the pores in the concrete, facilitating its resistance to staining. The more you polish, the more pores you close.
Concrete floor polished to a platinum finish (residential)
The beauty of the different polished concrete finishes is that they are achieved in stages, which means that you can monitor the process and make your decision on site, in real time! Once the aggregate is exposed, this is the ideal time for you to inspect the floor, which – whilst clean and wet – gives a close indication of the finished surface.