Monday, November 30, 2009

The poop on polish...

There is a new floor treatment among us. It's called floor polishing. Yes, they really have found a way to polish concrete floors. Only, it's much more complex than polishing your car.

Why polish?

End-users (participants in industry) have levels of cleanliness that need to be met inside the plants that they operate in. Food and beverage plants have a higher level than let's say a paper-mill. Pharma-plants have an even higher obligation called CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices). Well, for years and years the standard answer to maintaining these floors was painting or better yet applying a seamless polymer floor. This type of treatment is still in demand and is installed by professionals and do-it-yourselfers today.

Another way to achieve a "clean floor" is to polish. Polishing is really a vague way of describing a very complex process. Polishing starts with an 850lb grinding machine(pictured) and the removal process. Coatings from years gone by need to be scraped or ground off the floor. Next, a trained operator will run a grinding machine over the floor with a very coarse and aggressive "diamond wheel". This initial treatment helps to level the substrate. Any high areas will take away from the finished product.

Once the concrete floor has been leveled, further grinding continues, contstantly changing the diamond wheels for a less aggressive pattern. This process is similar to sanding a piece of wood. Once the floor is smooth and beginning to develop a sheen, a densifier is added to increase the floor's strength and resistance to liquids, including gas and oil. This densifier is similar to the material sprayed on "green" concrete called hardener.

Lastly, a burnish is put on the floor. Burnishing consists of running a 1500 RPM buffer wheel over the floor. This really increases the sheen and adds that mirror like finish many people are trying to achieve. Further burnish will be needed later on to refresh the sheen.

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