Concrete Grinding Vs. Concrete Polishing: The Best Option For Smoothing Your Surfaces

Concrete is lauded the world over for its durability. But that doesn’t mean that concrete floors don’t take a beating and start to lose their lustre over time. Everything fades, and the smooth finish you once had with your concrete floors could become marred with cracks, dings, and stains over time.

A well-worn, and well-loved, floor is nothing to be ashamed of. But if you want to put your best foot forward with your floors, they could benefit from a bit of a touch up.

Enter: grinding and polishing. While often used interchangeably, these are actually two quite different approaches to refinishing a concrete surface. So when to use concrete grinding vs. polishing is important when planning your flooring revamp.

If you want to learn more about concrete grinding, check out our other resources:

1. How Much Does Concrete Grinding Cost in Perth?

2. Pros and Cons of Concrete Grinding

3. How Long Does Concrete Grinding Take

4. 7 Things To Consider Before Choosing A Concrete Grinder

A closer look at concrete grinding

As the name aptly implies, concrete grinding is when tools and abrasives are used to grind down the surface. This process can be used rather robustly, helping to remove quite a bit of surface material and uproot imperfections including stains and dents.

What you won’t (likely) get with grinding alone is the shiny look associated with polished concrete. For that, you’ll need what’s called a grind and seal. This is when the floor is ground to a 60 or 80 grit and then coated with sealer or epoxy to protect the surface from further damage or discolouration.

Grinding is great to use to remove a decent amount of the surface depending on what the issue is. Grinding can remove paints, coatings, or glues that are no longer needed. It can also smooth out high spots as well as even out scratches and chips. Cracks can be filled in and then ground down to create a newly smooth surface.

Grinding offers a variety of uses. First and foremost, because you don’t have to finish it with fancy coatings if you don’t want to, you can use grinding to prepare a slab to receive another flooring system above it. That includes everything from tiling to timber. It also can make a slab look new and ready to receive its own special coating of epoxy or another sealer to create a flooring system all its own.

We’re so keen on concrete grinding, we’ve put together this extra article on the Pros and Cons of Concrete Grinding, which is definitely worth checking out.

Then what is concrete polishing?

Similar to grinding, polishing also removes a bit of the surface when it comes to preparing concrete. However, polishers use a much finer grit and abrasive. Rather than focusing on removing a lot of material all at once, concrete polishing works the material carefully and evenly to create a shiny surface.

Concreters can actually achieve several levels of honed shine to create different finishes, all without using other products. These include everything from matte finish, to low lustre, to medium and high gloss. The higher the level of shine, the wetter the floor will appear, giving it the look of a sealed or coated surface.

Polishing is a good option if your floors are already in good shape. Polishing is light and refined enough that it isn’t designed to remove imperfections. It simply works the existing surface to smooth it out and shine it up. If your floors have stains, bumps, or dings, you’ll want to opt for concrete grinding instead. Which brings us to the main point of our article…

Concrete grinding vs. polishing: Which is best for your floor?

The answer to this is going to depend on a series of factors or scenarios. After all, no two floors are the same, and the processes of grinding and polishing are different enough to have preferred applications. Let’s take a look at a few common reasons for refinishing concrete floors and which option wins out for each.

“My floors are stained or discoloured”

Polishing simply isn’t designed to remove layers and layers of concrete. In this case, if you’re trying to even out the floor or remove cosmetic damage to the concrete, you’re going to want to opt for concrete grinding. This process removes much more of the concrete surface itself, and your technician can control exactly how much is removed, while keeping the surface even, across the entire expanse of the floor.

“I don’t feel like dealing with sealing”

Polished concrete gives you that shiny, almost wet look without any additional coatings needed. It’s important to note that the sealant applied during a grind and seal is designed to protect the surface from stains and wear, but it can also wear out over time (especially in areas of high foot or vehicular traffic). You’ll likely need to reseal the floors every 3-5 years to keep that shine consistent across the entire floor. So if shine is what you’re after without the need to seal repeatedly, concrete polishing could give you the look you want.

“I’m in a hurry”

Need your floors flipped fast but want that illustrious shine? Polishing is going to take much longer to achieve than a grind and seal approach. Polishing takes a lot of different passes, often with a series of abrasives, which can delay the process while the technicians are at work. Expect 5-10 days for a high gloss finish depending on how big your floors are. You can directly compare this to concrete grinding, which takes just 3-5 days to complete including the time it takes to allow the sealant to cure completely.

Interested in learning more? Read on: How Long Does Concrete Grinding Take? 

“I can’t afford to spend a fortune”

Thankfully, neither option is going to cost you extreme amounts of money. And both are much more cost effective than installing a new slab from scratch. However, concrete polishing tends to take longer and be more labour intensive, so you can expect to spend more than you would for a standard grind and seal project. Of course, add-ons like epoxy and custom stain colours can take your basic grind and seal project up to new heights, and with higher price tags.

Read on:

“I want to add designer touches”

Concrete grinding wins this round, hands down. You can have your technician grind the surface fresh and smooth, then choose the designer flair you’d like to add. This can be anything from a slick epoxy finish that’s designed to protect impact and spills to more flashy inclusions colourful stains and designs. There’s no need to focus on (or pay for) polishing if you’re looking for these extra finishes.

Cut through the confusion with Kwikcut

When it comes to concrete grinding vs polishing, it’s important to have in mind what your goals are for your flooring. This will usually dictate which approach is best for you. In short, grinding is best for removing more of the surface and preparing it for other treatments while polishing is better for nuanced projects where shine is priority and your slab is already in good shape.

Not sure which process you need? 

The experts at Kwikcut are standing by to provide advice and recommendations. We’re Perth’s leading provider of grinding and polishing services, with over a decade of dedicated experience working just in concrete. All of our team members are fully licensed and insured professionals who prioritise customer safety and satisfaction no matter the project size.

Cut the confusion and simply call us on 08 9408 6096 with your questions. We’ll be more than happy to help 24/7 and even provide free estimates so you can budget for your flooring rehab project.

How Long Does Concrete Grinding Take

Find out how long it can take to take your slab from drab to fab including grinding and sealing.

If you’re in the market for concrete grinding (and sealing), you probably already know that slabs can get pretty worn out over time. While they’re remarkably durable, the surface can wear out, take on dirt and stains, or lose its luster. Concrete grinding is a fairly affordable way to inject new life into your flooring no matter where it’s located.

But many home and business owners hesitate to pursue this path because they’re concerned about how long the process can take. To allay those concerns, we’re taking a closer look at concrete grinding and what you can expect from the experience.

If you want to learn more about concrete grinding, check out our other resources:

1. How Much Does Concrete Grinding Cost in Perth?

2. Pros and Cons of Concrete Grinding

3. Concrete Grinding Vs. Concrete Polishing

4. 7 Things To Consider Before Choosing A Concrete Grinder

Is grinding the same as polishing when it comes to concrete?

While they’re similar to one another, they aren’t the same process.

Polished concrete is that which is honed with fine grit abrasives to create a level of shine on the top surface layer of the concrete itself. Depending on the finish you want, the contractor can use different abrasives to achieve anything from a matte finish to a high gloss finish.

While concrete grinding and sealing can also produce a smooth finish, the process is a bit different. More concrete is typically removed from the surface during grinding, since leveling and removing imperfections is the focus of the job. Once that’s complete, technicians will also fill in any cracks in the flooring to smooth out the surface. From there, a second pass can be carried out to make sure everything is level. While the concrete might not have a shine from the grinding process, most concrete grinding is followed up with a sealant to protect it moving forward.

Looking for an affordable and reliable concreter? Find out How to Choose the Best Concrete Polisher in Perth

What is concrete grinding best for?

Most residential and commercial concrete grinding is best for surfaces that have extensive wear and tear and need a layer removed in order to make the flooring usable or refreshed looking. Concrete grinding is often a go-to decision for people who have concrete surfaces that need:

  • Leveling due to imperfections
  • Paint removal
  • Epoxy removal
  • Deep stain removal

Even if you don’t plan to showcase your concrete flooring, grinding can be a vital step before installing a new flooring system on top. Grinding can ensure a level and even surface that can be optimal for installations of flooring like timber and tile. More modern homes, utility spaces such as garages, and commercial centers may prefer to pursue concrete grinding and then seal it to restore the surface as their flooring of choice.

How long does concrete griding take?

There’s no straight answer to this since it will largely depend on two key factors: the amount of flooring and the condition of the flooring.

The more surface area that needs to be gone over with a concrete grinder, the longer the project will take to complete. Add to that the condition of the flooring and the fact that floors with heavy stains, lots of cracks, or areas of extreme unevenness will require more time and attention to set right. Most passes with a standard machine will remove 1/16 of an inch of concrete. If more of the surface needs to be removed, more passes will be required, adding time to the total job.

However, concrete grinding jobs typically take between 3-5 days, and that includes sealing them to protect the surface. If you’re worried about downtime or access to your space, you can request a time frame along with an estimate from your service provider.

Is it really worth it to grind down existing concrete?

That depends on what you are comparing it to. Consider having the entire floor removed and repoured. In that case, you’re spending a lot more time and money to replace something that can be revitalized with just a few days of downtime and a concrete grinder.

And as we mentioned earlier, concrete grinding can help prepare a surface to receive other flooring systems. If your slab is uneven, it’s incredibly worthwhile to have it fixed before you install your new floors over top of it. You’ll save on time and effort for your installer to try to get your flooring done right and avoid awkward squeaking, settling, and even breakage rather than if you skipped this step.

Still on the fence? Check out our Pros and Cons of Concrete Grinding

What else is involved in the process?

Concrete grinding itself is pretty straightforward. Your technician will choose the abrasive and number of passes needed to get your floors level, smooth, and clean once more. From there, the choice is up to you.

Most concreters will recommend taking the logical next step to seal your concrete if you are going to use it as your flooring system. Protective coating systems come in a number of different varieties. Clear coatings, such as epoxies or urethanes are available to help protect the flooring in different ways, and each has its own drying and curing times, which could add on to the total project length.

This is also a time where you can consider adding designer touches to your concrete floors. Many home and business owners choose to add colour such as a stain or colour sealer to add visual interest to their floors. There are also custom epoxy finishes that include anything from colour to flake and metallics to create a truly custom look.

Call on Kwikcut for your concrete grinding project

Concrete is a hardy product that can take a beating but lose its appeal over time. Grinding that concrete down a bit can make the surface look like new again without the hassle, and the expense, of installing a new slab. What’s more, you’ll save quite a lot over other flooring systems.

Kwikcut is Perth’s trusted concrete expert with more than a decade of experience providing solutions for homes and businesses. Our fully licensed team of professionals is trained on projected of all shapes and sizes and works with every client on a customized approach to their flooring and surface needs.

Our wide variety of construction and maintenance services are offered at competitive rates, and every project starts with a free estimate so that there are never any surprises when it comes to cost. To get your own fast free quote, just call us on 08 9408 6096 today!

Pros and Cons of Concrete Grinding

Prep your slab for the new flooring and finishing in your remodeling project by understanding the benefits and disadvantages of concrete grinding.

Slab starting to look a little drab? Interested in refinishing your floors but need a solid surface that’s free from imperfections to start out with? Look no further than concrete grinding.

Concrete grinding is a process that can be performed on existing slab surfaces to inject new life into them and prepare them for other project use. This process includes taking abrasives and working them against the surface to remove roughness from surfaces for a smooth finish.

Of course, if you have never had to work with a concrete grinding service before, you might be wondering what to expect from the process and your provider. We’re here to shed some light on the pros and cons of concrete grinding in Perth so you can better prepare for your project.

If you want to learn more about concrete grinding, check out our other resources:

1. How Much Does Concrete Grinding Cost in Perth?

2. Concrete Grinding Vs. Concrete Polishing

3. How Long Does Concrete Grinding Take

4. 7 Things To Consider Before Choosing A Concrete Grinder

Why you need concrete grinding even if you aren’t refinishing your slab

Concrete grinding is a popular service for any work that needs to be done on a less than stellar surface. Most commonly, homeowners and businesses looking to refinish their floor with concrete polishing or epoxy flooring will need their floors removed of any imperfections first, a process taken care of with proper grinding or honing.

But even if you aren’t planning to show off your slab, your flooring can still benefit from hiring a concrete grinding service. Grinding removes inconsistencies in the concrete, like bumps or divots, that can make the surface uneven. Removing these, in turn, can help make other flooring applications like hardwood or carpet install more evenly and smoothly.

Concrete grinding does more than just remove bumps and dents. It also removes everything from stubborn stains to glue remnants, paint, dirt, and existing epoxies. All of this can be done without removing or replacing the slab itself, giving you creative freedom to move forward with the flooring system of your dreams.

Wondering how long polished concrete lasts? Find out here…

Is concrete grinding a long-lasting solution?

It absolutely can be. Grind and seal applications can last upwards of 10 years depending on how hard you are on your floors and how much traffic they experience. Adding flooring on top, whether an epoxy or other installed solution like timber, can extend the life of the concrete below it.

Concrete grinding also helps perfect the surface without removing as much concrete as you might imagine. Most grinders remove no more than 3mm at a time, a very minute amount when compared to the total thickness of the slab. So if your slab has already be honed before, it’s still quite likely that there’s plenty of surface for your concreter to work with and grind again for a new finish.

The benefits of concrete grinding for flooring systems of all sorts

Concrete grinding services are provided to prepare floors for a new system installation. While this can range from anything like epoxy to tiling, all flooring systems benefit from the pros of concrete grinding.

#1: Restore surfaces

First and foremost, you are not forced to rip up or pour a new slab for your flooring system if you turn to concrete grinding instead. This approach can bring new life to your surface without the mess, cost, and environmental impact of completely replacing what you already have.

#2: Durability

Honing your existing surfaces can actually add to the integrity of the concrete over time. Removing blemishes and unevenness can make the surface more wearable in the long run and give you more life from the existing slab, no matter what flooring system you install over top of it.

#3: Cost

Grinding down an existing slab is considerably less expensive than trying to remove and install a new one. Not only that, but you can also save on the installation of other flooring systems. Honed concrete is a better receptor of epoxy floors, which often need to be level and even for a proper application. Installing tiles or timber over an uneven floor can also compromise the installation and add additional costs to the process as the installers grapple with evening things out themselves. Grind down your concrete to a perfectly smooth surface, and you’ll save in the long run.

#4: Design

Griding down an old slab can make it look like brand new, with sometimes surprising results. Removing old paint, dents, or stains from a garage slab, for example, can allow homeowners to turn a once drab space into a streamlined area for hobbies and storage. Concrete can have a contemporary aesthetic and, when polished and sealed, can become a design element of its own in any space.

#5: Texture

One thing that you don’t have to worry about is that honed concrete will be too slippery to walk or work on. Professional technicians can use just the right amount of grit and pressure to remove and hone the concrete to a level that meets your needs. This means that you can still have a textured surface that is safe to use on a daily basis.

The cons of concrete grinding and what to consider before getting started

When you opt for a grind and seal, you’re going to wind up with a suitable flooring system that meets your expectations. What some homeowners and business owners fail to consider, however, is that the process itself is a slower one that can create a bit of a mess. That’s why it’s important to choose a provider that uses the latest technology and equipment to keep dust and debris to a minimum. Be sure to ask whether wet or dry grinding methods are used and the types of tools that are leveraged to reduce messes.

Another factor to consider is that not every floor can be made perfect through grinding. Be aware that if you have significant deep trenches or cracks in your flooring, you may need to have that repaired before grinding can commence. Remember, grinding can only remove existing material; it can’t be used to backfill large portions of missing or damaged concrete.

Lastly, depending on the flooring system that you’re looking to achieve, grinding is only the start and a portion of the budget you should set aside for your project. Most people who are installing systems like hardwood understand this since they expect their timber to be installed over the concrete once it has been prepared.

But one mistake fans of concrete make is thinking grinding is all they need to go with an ultra-modern concrete floor. Concrete grinding is just the start of a true concrete flooring system. To protect the surface, and those walking on it, these floors also need to be sealed and protected. Many finishes you see in galleries and portfolios are also achieved by concrete polishing for an extra shiny look before they are sealed. Finally, all of these need to happen before you can consider installing any kind of epoxy flooring over your slab.

Start with a clean slate of a slab with Kwikcut

No matter what your desired outcome is, concrete grinding is a great first step for taking an old slab and turning it into something usable once more. Honing existing concrete can help you get more life out of the floors you already have and provide a stable and solid surface for any system you decide to install on top.

Create a clean slate out of your slab with the team at Kwikcut. We’re Perth’s most trusted experts when it comes to all things concrete and can help you achieve the outcome you need with your existing slab. Our trained technicians are able to assess any slab and provide next steps for exactly what’s needed to achieve your goals. All of this can take place during a fast, free, no-obligation quote for your exact flooring.

With more than a decade of experience, we’re confident that we’ll be able to create the concrete look you are looking for. The team at Kwikcut guarantees every project, no matter the size, and puts customer satisfaction as a priority.

To get a quick quote for your project today, just call us on 08 9408 6096 or request one online.