What is all the talk about “Polished Concrete Floors?” Polishing and grinding concrete floors has been a topic of discussion over the past few years, and I’ve been asked so many times what it’s all about, that I decided to write this article. Hard surface floors have been around since the time of the Roman Empire. It took an enormous amount of labor, and a lot of ingenuity to split large stones, and hone them down to make slabs suitable for flooring in buildings. To get more specific than that is mind boggling, kind of like, “How did they build the Pyramids in Egypt? ” My answer is, “I sort of know how they did it, but I’m glad I didn’t have to do the work”.
Fast forward a little, and we come to more recent times when people discovered that you could mix Portland (a clay substance) with sand, stone and water, to make the first concrete. Tile, Grout and Glass Restoration Products The mixtures have been tweaked over the years, but the process has virtually remained the same. Contractors have used different curing agents, have implemented the use of steel bar to hopefully prevent concrete from cracking, and have implemented different types of moisture barriers to improve on the finished product.
Building owners have wanted different types of flooring over the concrete to give a building a warmer, and cleaner feel. In industrial facilities they have used tile, rolled linoleum, floor paint, or epoxy to give a building a more desirable appearance, and make it easier to clean than bare concrete. That works for a while, but everyone of those products eventually wears out and requires replacement. That brings us up to the present time.
Since early in the twentieth century, scientist experimented with different compositions to come up with a flooring products that would last for a long period of time. Some tile products were made up of an asphalt base. Some were made more durable by adding asbestos to the mixture. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good product, and after 40 years in the business, I’ve seen some asbestos tile that goes back at least 60 years, and is still in nice condition. The problem is that asbestos is a Carcinogen, and once the tile is broken, or disturbed, you can very easily be exposing yourself to cancer causing agents, in the air. Guess who arrives on the seen when something like that is reported? You got it! The Guys with White Hats Riding on White Horses. Now it’s time for the asbestos abatement crews. Can you say, BIG BUCKS?
Abatement is a tedious, and time consuming process, but it has to be done, before you can begin the process of restoring the concrete floor underneath. You cannot do it yourself! Asbestos Abatement requires countless hours of training, certification, annual re-certification, special equipment, and people who are crazy enough to want to do it. Just kidding! Luckily, there are people who enjoy that type of work, and take pride in providing an excellent finished product.
I, much prefer coming in after the cleanup has been completed. Concrete grinding equipment has been in the development stage for over 70 years. Changes with some companies especially over the last 5-10 years have been dramatic. Why? Because, the government has determined that there are enough floors out there, that are wearing out or damaged, that they need to step in with some requirements for removal, since many of these floors are in public buildings. So what are my options as a facilities or building manager? First, you need to go on-line, and find a very reputable asbestos abatement firm, and get an estimate. Second, you need to find reputable Concrete Restoration firm to give you the options at their disposal. Next, you are going to have to put together a budget for the completion of the work, so that you, your board of directors, or your school board is not shocked by the cost of the completed project. And finally, you are going to have to schedule the work.