The PCC Difference
Better For the Environment, Better for All
Every polishing contractor is different, but we utilize a wet grinding system. Dry grinding systems produce a large amount of concrete dust, which contains crystalline silica. OSHA has recently released information regarding the potential health effects crystalline silica has if inhaled in large amounts, which include the "development of disabling and sometimes fatal lung diseases, including silicosis and lung cancer." Read more about the dangers of crystalline silica on OSHA's website. Airborne silica is not only a concern on an active installation site, but because dry grinding creates such a fine dust, it can settle into ventilation systems and remain in the building for years.
Dry griding systems do have dust extractor systems built in, which equipment manufacturers claim to contan 99% of airborne dust. We’ve found them to be of limited use. So we perform our grinding steps, which produce the majority of the concrete waste, wet using only water. We contain the slurry (a liquid or paste that forms when concrete dust mixes with water) and place it in an on-site concrete washout. Once the slurry dries and rehardens to a concrete state, the concrete is then recycled. A little extra cost, a little extra work, but a huge benefit for everyone and the environment.
Concrete polishing is a relatively new & innovative eco-friendly flooring option. It uses a bare concrete slab, typically the building’s foundation, and transforms it to a decorative floor. The final product looks similar to a polished stone such as granite or slate. All products added to the concrete during the polishing process are intended to enhance the natural concrete, not cover or alter it. The final product has all the natural benefits of the original concrete slab, only it’s stronger and more resistant to staining.
The Process of Polishing Concrete
The concrete polishing process is similar to sanding wood, but on a much larger scale. The initial grinding stages remove any dirt or coatings from the floor, and remove the surface paste to expose the stronger concrete that lies beneath. The next grinding stages of finer grits refine the rough floor to a flat, level surface to ensure a consistent polish. And finally the higher grit resin polishing diamonds are used to progressively bring the floor to a durable, high-gloss (or low-gloss if you prefer) finish. A densifier, which increases the strength and abrasion resistance, and a penetrating sealer, which acts as a stain shield, are applied to the floor at various stages throughout the process.
Concrete polishing is quickly becoming one of the most widely used flooring options for environmentally conscious architects, owners, and builders, and a top flooring option for LEED accredited projects. Its green benefits include:
All products meet or exceed LEED VOC content requirements
Uses the original building foundation – no excess materials, nothing to remove
No environmentally hazardous coatings, toppings or adhesives
No harsh chemicals can be used for cleaning – only green, PH neutral soaps and/or water
Increases ambient light reflectivity – reduces necessary amount of lighting and electricity use
25+ year life expectancy with proper care and maintenance