Polished concrete can be a beautiful alternative for a floor finish. The common practice of polishing the concrete can be expensive, bad for the environment as well as bad for the health of the workers polishing the concrete. There is a solution to this that is inexpensive, environmentally friendly and safe to use. The solution is colloidal silica. It has a ph of approximately 8.7, similar to baking soda.
Traditional silica’s used in the polishing process are very caustic. Traditional silicas have a ph of 11-13; an alkalinity similar to that of lime. The process of polishing leaves behind hazardous materials. After work is performed the floor must be thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed to remove the gelatin like slurry left behind. That must then be disposed of as a hazardous material. Because of the lengthey process and all the care that needs to be taken for safety and removal, the traditional process for polishing concrete is very costly.
Colloidal silica is chemically engineered nano-sized silica particles which are suspended within an aqueous suspension. Colloidal Silica is used as both a densifier as well as a cleaner for concrete. The colloidal silica is applied and absorbed within the concrete where it adds strength and durability to the concrete.
When colloidal silica is added to the concrete as it is poured, it works by increasing the compressive strength of the concrete as it hardens. With light grinding, it can be used after concrete has already hardened, where it reacts with the lime within the concrete to strengthen the concrete. Colloidal silica also has the ability to bond with the silica, which exists naturally on concrete, which builds density and strength to the concrete surface.
The process is so easy and safe; it is possible for weekend warrior homeowner to accomplish on their own. The colloidal silica can be easily sprayed onto the concrete floor. It is then absorbed by the concrete. It is recommended to grind an existing floor prior to prepare the surface. The colloidal silica can then be sprayed onto the concrete. After an hour, the surface should be ready for finishing. The surface can then be burnished or polished with a diamond polisher to the preferred finish. The left over material can then just be swept or vacuumed up and disposed of.
Exposed concrete flooring is becoming a popular choice for its beauty. Concrete can be finished in various colors, textures as well as levels of shine. Polished concrete floors offer a sense of deign that can be both timeless and modern.
The use of colloidal silica makes the process of polishing a concrete floor affordable as well as environmentally safe.