How to polish old concrete

Written by barbara freeman
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How to polish old concrete
A dust-free polished floor improves the air quality in your home. (Сement floor, great for backgrounds and textures image by Andris Daugovich from Fotolia.com)

When you learn how to polish your concrete floor it will reduce the amount of time you will spend cleaning it. Polishing will eliminate scuff marks and inhibit water and oil from penetrating your floor. Dry polishing your floor without using water is the quicker, easier and less messy choice for a beginner. Whether your concrete floor is old or new you can polish it to a shine that won't need waxing.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Concrete dry floor polisher
  • Epoxy sealer
  • 16- or 20-grit diamond abrasive
  • 40-, 80- and 150-grit metal bonded abrasive
  • Chemical silicate hardener
  • Broom
  • Squeegee or floor scrubber
  • 100, 200, 600, 800 etc. grit resin bond

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remove any existing sealers and coatings on the concrete floor by using the polisher and a 16- or 20-grit diamond abrasive. Pass over the entire floor surface two to three times with the polisher until the sheen from the sealer or coating has been removed. Seal any cracks with an epoxy sealer following all manufacturers’ directions.

  2. 2

    Rough grind your floor with a 40-grit diamond abrasive with a metallic matrix, using it to pass over the floor surface two to three times with the polisher. Repeat this rough grinding process with an 80- and 150-grit metal bonded abrasive.

  3. 3

    Apply a chemical hardener over the entire floor using a bristled broom to spread the hardener liberally over the floor. Let the hardener sit on the floor for 20 minutes then remove excess with a squeegee or floor scrubber. Allow the hardener to dry for 12 to 24 hours.

    How to polish old concrete
    Spreading the hardener with a broom will protect your floor from liquids. (corn straw broom head image by Scott Williams from Fotolia.com)
  4. 4

    Polish the entire floor with a 100-grit resin bond after floor hardener is dry. Continue this procedure with finer grits of 200, 600, 800 and so on, until the floor has the desired sheen you want.

Tips and warnings

  • For an extremely high sheen you can polish the floor with up to 1,500-grit or even 3,000-grit resin bond.
  • You can protect the sheen of your floor by applying a floor stain guard spray or wax every few months.
  • This is a labour intensive process that you may want to ask a few friends to help with.
  • Follow all manufacturers’ directions for the concrete floor polisher.

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