Polished concrete floors are basically exposed decorative concrete surfaces. They are achieved by removing the top layer of a concrete slab. Once the desired amount of aggregate is exposed they are honed and polished to the desired finish.
Despite their shiny and smooth appearance polished concrete floors have good slip resistance properties in dry conditions. They have similar slip resistance values to that of a stone floor.
Slip Resistance can be increased on Polished concrete Floors
A polished concrete surface can be left with sufficient micro roughness to provide grip and render the floor safe depending on the resistance required for that particular environment. Read here about the different finishes that can be achieved
Polished concrete floors suitable for the Domestic Environment
In the domestic environment Polished concrete floors can be left with up to a 3000 grit which is a highly polished finish. This leaves the floor with sufficient grip in dry conditions but can be slippery when wet.
This is deemed safe in the domestic environment where spills are less likely to happen and if so are usually wiped up swiftly. Perfect for living areas, hallways and bedrooms. As previously stated, the same resistance as a stone floor.
Where a higher resistance is required the surface can be honed giving added grip. This finish would be more appropriate in a bathroom or kitchen where water or oil is more likely to come in contact with the floor.
For a wet room environment we can only recommend an external polished concrete finish or the application of an anti-slip coating.
Polished concrete floors for Commercial and Industrial Settings
For commercial or industrial settings a much higher resistance is required to reduce the risk of falls. 50% of falls and slips occur due to the floor surface and it is important to try and prevent risk by ensuring your finished floor is safe and offers maximum traction in wet conditions.
We advise leaving all internal polished concrete surfaces in these settings with a silver finish. Aggregate is exposed but then honed to a 140 grit given enough micro roughness to give traction.
There is a compromise between Safety and Aesthetics
Of course rendering a floor more resistant to slips leads to a slight compromise on appearance. These floors will not have that super shiny appearance that is possible in the domestic environment where a platinum finish is more sought after. This finish however does leave your floor with a higher slip resistance even in wet conditions.
Where an R11 plus rating is called for the only way to achieve this is by either leaving the surface with an external finish or by applying an anti-slip coating.
External Finish Polished Concrete
An external finish is where the concrete is ground to expose the aggregate, not polished so left with a rough to touch surface. This is ideal for external areas and gives high slip resistance in wet conditions. However, this rough finish does make for more difficult maintenance in internal settings.
Slip resistance can be further improved by the addition of decorative stamps, grooves and beads.
Anti-slip Coatings for Polished concrete
For the industrial or commercial setting where an R11 rating is stipulated an anti-slip coating can be applied. This coating comes with embedded micro beads that add roughness to the surface. Again there will be a slight compromise on appearance. The coating does not change the appearance of the surface but it will be left with a matt finish and slightly rough to touch.
The presence of a coating also affects the maintenance, as now you are maintaining the coating and not the concrete surface. These coatings are super resistant but can be broken by sharp objects delaminating the seal. Once the coating is damaged it needs to be re-applied.
Preventing the risk of slips
Any floor rated R10 or below is deemed to be slippery in wet conditions and preventative measures must be put in place to reduce the risk of slips or falls. The best way to prevent slips is to always use appropriate entrance mats and ensure the mats themselves are not a slip hazard. Spills should be wiped up immediately and area cordoned off until fully dry.
For more information on any of our services please get in touch at 01 473 3666 or email us Here For further information on the maintenance of Polished Concrete Floors please refer to our blog on Care and maintenance of Polished Concrete Floors