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The Concrete Grinders Blog

By nothingbutnet, Jan 15 2018 10:03PM

If you are interested in concrete polishing or simply wish to know more about the concrete that you walk on everyday, you should know that the composition of concrete can actually be quite varied. Aggregates, cement, chemical admixtures, reinforcement, mineral admixtures, and the finish all play a critical role in the formulation of concrete. The relative proportion of these materials, as well as the length of the cementitious and aggregate phases, allows concrete to be tailored specifically for the purpose it is intended for. The final product's strength, density, chemical resistance, and thermal resistance may all be adjusted using the above methods.

Let's take a closer look at what each of the above components are and how they affect the final concrete product.

1. Aggregates

The aggregates are the large chunks of material in a concrete mixture. Coarse gravel, crushed granite, and crushed limestone are all very common choices for this purpose. Finer materials such as sand may also be used to fill in any holes left by the larger particles above.

The relative size of aggregate particles determines how much binding agent will be necessary to keep the mixture together. If all of the aggregates are roughly the same size, the mix will have more gaps that the binding agent will need to seal. The binding agent is usually the most expensive component of concrete, so requiring more of it will significantly increase the cost of the job at hand.

By contrast, adding a smaller aggregate to fill in gaps left by larger aggregate particles fills many of the gaps without relying on the bonding agent. The aggregate materials are almost always stronger than the binding agent too, giving the final concrete mixture more durability.

The aggregates may end up redistributed after a compression event due to the resulting vibrations, creating strength gradients that compromise the homogeneous strength of whatever is being constructed.

Some landscape designers also use "exposed aggregates," such as crushed glass, quartzite, or small river stones to lend concrete polishing a decorative finish. These extra components may boost the robustness of the final product in addition to improving its visual appeal.

2. Cement

Cement is the binding agent mentioned above, responsible for holding the mixture together and helping it flow more freely while it is being poured. The word cement is commonly associated with concrete as a synonym, but a range of materials may perform its function. Asphalt cement, fly ash, and slag cement are currently popular alternatives to classic cement.

To produce concrete, cement is usually mixed in with water and the aggregates in a dry powder form. This produces a semi-liquid slurry that may be shaped to the needs of the task at hand, usually by pouring it into the desired form. A series of chemical processes called hydration solidifies and hardens the mixture, creating the stone-like material we know as concrete. Note that this process does not apply to asphalt-based concrete mixtures.

According to Abrams's Law, increasing the cement to water ratio in the initial mixture will increase the strength and durability of the resulting product. Decreasing the amount of cement relative to water will help it flow more freely with a higher slump. Either way, the water used must be pure to avoid unwanted interference with the settling process that may result in the premature failure of the structure being built.

3. Chemical Admixtures

Chemical admixtures are chemicals mixed into the concrete with the aggregates and the cement in order to give a broad range of additional properties to the finished product. They may be in powdered or liquid form when added to the concrete mixture. Chemical admixtures typically make up less than five percent of a concrete mixture by mass.

Increased water resistance, entrapment of air, and both speeding up and slowing down the hydration process are common functions of chemical admixtures. Obviously, different materials are used to achieve each of these functions. Here are some of the most common ones.

First, accelerators speed up the hydration process so that the concrete hardens faster. These are especially useful in colder climates. CaCl2, Ca(NO3)2, and NaNO3 are the most common compounds used for this purpose. Chlorides may cause any steel in the concrete mix to prematurely corrode, so nitrates are preferred for formulations including steel. Government regulations may also determine what chemical admixtures are usable in any given area.

Retarders are the opposite of accelerators in that they make the hydration process take longer than it otherwise would. This is especially necessary if you have a complicated, time-consuming pour that you do not want the mixture hardening over the course of. Common retarding agents include sugar, sucrose, sodium gluconate, glucose, citric acid, and tartaric acid.

Air entraining agents allow small air bubbles to form in the concrete. These bubbles increase concrete's resistance to the freeze-thaw cycle commonly faced in colder climates, but compromises the finished product's compression resistance by approximately five percent for each percentage point of air by mass in the mixture. If too much air is accidentally introduced to the mixture, special defoamers may be used to encourage air bubbles to rise and disperse before the concrete hardens.

Plasticizers are chemical admixtures that allow "plastic," or fresh, concrete to be worked more easily. Put another way, these chemical admixtures mimic the function of water in the concrete mix without compromising strength. They are sometimes referred to as water-reducers for this reason. Lignosulfonate is a commonly used water-reducer.

There are also superplasticizers, or high-range water-reducers, that make the concrete mixture more malleable than would be possible with just water or vanilla plasticizers. Common superplasticizers include sulfonated naphthalene formaldehyde condensate, sulfonated melamine formaldehyde condensate, acetone formaldehyde condensate and polycarboxylate ethers.

The above list details just a few of the chemical admixtures in use today. Corrosion inhibitors help protect any steel in the mix from corrosion, bonding agents are used to bind new and old sections of concrete into a cohesive whole, pumping aids make the concrete easier to pump, and pigments may be used to change the color of the concrete mix for aesthetic purposes. If you need concrete to have a chemical property, there is probably a chemical admixture that can provide it.

4. Reinforcement

Concrete naturally has a very high compression resistance, but its tensile strength is relatively lacking because the cement can crack somewhat easily. For this reason, concrete is often reinforced by materials offering a strong tensile resistance (steel reinforcing bars, glass fibers, plastic fibers, steel fibers) to increase its overall durability.

5. Mineral Admixtures

Mineral admixtures have risen in popularity recently as a cost-effective way to produce concrete in a more environmentally friendly manner. Waste products from other industries are used as a partial replacement for cement, giving concrete the properties it needs to have for a fraction of the typical cost.

For example, fly ash from coal-fired power plants, ground granulated blast furnace slag from the steelmaking industry, and silica fume from industrial-strength electric arc furnaces can all substitute for some of the cement in a concrete mixture. They may be added directly to cement to create a pre-blended product or combined with all of the other components when concrete is manufactured.

These industrial waste products are difficult to dispose of otherwise, so the concrete industry is doing the environment a favor by using them. Likewise, creating cement is taxing on both the environment and the manufacturer's bank account, so cheaper substitutes are a welcome addition to the process.

6. Surface Finishes

Raw concrete is porous with an unappealing appearance, so finishes are often added to increase its durability while packing a visual punch. Staining, water penetration, and freezing can all be mitigated with the right finish. Therefore, the finish is a vital component of any concrete structure.

For visual appeal, the process of concrete polishing uses diamond adhesives to polish the concrete before sealing it with polymers to lock in the resulting shiny appearance. Patterns may be introduced by stamping the concrete before it dries, with popular designs including the illusion of bricks or cobblestones. Designs may also be chiseled in once the concrete has dried, painted, or otherwise produced by covering the concrete with decorative materials.

Most people take concrete for granted, but there is actually a lot of science behind the most utilized man-made building material on Earth. Perhaps you'll spare a thought on the sidewalk's chemical composition the next time you go for a stroll!

By nothingbutnet, Dec 14 2017 07:32AM

Concrete is currently very popular throughout architecture and home design, a fact that extends to polished concrete floors. The concrete slab serving as the foundation of your home once had to be covered up by a "suitable" flooring material such as hardwood or tile, but this is no longer the case. Today, polished concrete floors are considered chic and a perfect compliment for any home with a modern design.

Whether you've already decided to go with polished concrete floors or are still mulling it over, this guide will explain all of the advantages polished concrete floors have to offer.

What Is A Polished Concrete Floor?

Polished concrete floors are simply concrete floors treated with a chemical densifier to fill in the natural holes and pores on the concrete's surface. They are next ground down (like using sandpaper on wood) using fine grinding tools. You can choose how fine you want your concrete floors to be. For instance, 400 grit is widely considered the bare minimum for polished concrete floors, but a floor with 3,000 grit will be noticeably smoother than that standard.

This means that polished concrete floors are measured by grade (how many exposed aggregates are there?) and finish (how shiny is it?).

The Appeal Of Polished Concrete Floors

First and foremost, concrete flooring is considered a "green" flooring solution because of its sustainability. It takes your home's pre-existing foundation and utilizes it as your floor, preventing you from needing to burn the materials and energy typically required to put in a floor.

Concrete also offers a modern aesthetic that serves as the perfect complement to modern design. It has an industrial vibe and a clean, straightforward look that goes with nearly any interior design.

The Benefits Of Concrete Flooring

One of the biggest benefits enjoyed by polished concrete floors over other flooring solutions is how easy it is to maintain. Once your floor is polished and sealed, maintenance becomes very easy. You can clean it with a simple mop and soapy water once per week, or spot clean with a rag as necessary. It's really quite forgiving in the cleaning department!

Allergens such as dust mites and mildew are also incapable of existing in a concrete floor, making it an excellent choice if anybody in your family suffers from severe allergies. There is no such thing as humidity or moisture damage for a concrete floor either, making it an extremely desirable material in areas where the threat of water damage is omnipresent.

Furthermore, polished concrete floors are extremely durable. Other flooring materials such as hardwood chip and dent over time, but not concrete. In fact, concrete floors can last over a hundred years if properly maintained, while tile's average life expectancy is only 10-20 years. This makes concrete flooring a viable long-term solution in a space where such durability is rarely found.

Contrary to what you might expect from the smooth appearance of a concrete floor, they are also non-slippery. As long as you keep it clean and dry, polished concrete is a safer alternative to polished marble or linoleum tile.

How Can Polished Concrete Be Customized?

If the standard concrete grey is too cold for your tastes, numerous options are available to help you tailor it to your liking. For example, stains and dyes can transform your concrete flooring into any color you choose, ensuring a perfect match with your decor. Better yet, the staining or dying process will give your concrete floors an even more polished look, lending it a more appealing appearance and feel.

Concrete is extremely malleable while it's wet, allowing scores, radial designs, or any other pattern you can think of to be drawn into it with ease. This can add geometry and complexity to your space, providing stylistic options that other materials simply cannot match. Take advantage of the blank slate offered by concrete to come up with something truly amazing!

It is also possible to enhance the appearance of your concrete floors with accessories. For example, a small plush rug can break up the sterile look of a shiny expanse of concrete to make the entire space feel warmer. Alternatively, set up a striking color contrast between your shiny concrete flooring and your walls. Whether you go dark floor-light walls or light floor-dark walls, you'll add a crisp aesthetic to the entire room. Natural elements such as wood or faux animal skins also provide a stunning contrast with concrete's industrial feel, so you can use those if they appeal to you. The possibilities are endless!

Like any other concrete surface, concrete floors also benefit from borders that help it feel more finished. This is a great way to add an extra layer of sophistication to your space.

Retrofit Vs. New: Which One Is Right For You?

New concrete flooring is easier to install and therefore cheaper, but it is certainly possible to retrofit concrete flooring into an existing home. The retrofit process involves either cutting and sanding the existing concrete slab to make it polished or adding an upper layer of polished concrete at least 50 mm thick over the existing foundation.

If you opt for new concrete flooring, you get some additional stylistic choices to make. Decorative aggregates such as granite, black basalt mix, or riverstone may be mixed into your concrete to give it a unique look. You can add additional materials during the finishing phase, such as glass, seashells, metal, and/or chips of porcelain as well. These options help ensure that you end up with a concrete flooring system that you absolutely love!

How Do Concrete Floors Measure Up To Alternatives In Price?

Price is an important consideration for nearly everything, and the flooring system you choose is no exception. As with anything else, the cost of polished concrete floors depends on the complexity of your vision, whether it's new or a retrofit, and how much customization you're interested in. The good news is that concrete floors are often among the cheaper options available to you.

On average, concrete is slightly cheaper than popular flooring options such as vinyl, linoleum, or wall-to-wall carpeting. It's 33 percent to 50 percent cheaper than hardwood or ceramic tile flooring, and obviously much less expensive than natural stone.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that polished concrete floors are cheaper, easier to maintain, and more durable than most other flooring options on the market today. Some people may be turned off by its strong industrial vibe, but a variety of options are available to help you tailor its appearance to your specific home. Concrete floors are clearly worthy of consideration in your next home.

By nothingbutnet, Jun 8 2017 03:00AM

The concept of concrete polishing is relatively new, but it is a rapidly growing industry. Although methods like concrete grinding and polishing have been used for 10 or more years, the development of concrete grinding company in Melbourne companies has only taken off over the last 2 or 3 years.

Growing Pains

Every new industry faces challenges and a learning process. Some general contractors, property owners and steel fabricator in Melbourne believe that concrete grinding and concrete polishing is just a matter of laying some type of abrasive onto the surface of concrete and letting a machine do the work. This is not true and there are many variables to this highly technical operation. Often work suffers because some contractor with little experience or know-how needed to achieve the desired results decides to go ahead and give it a try.

The Process of Concrete Polishing Melbourne

Terminology is being misused in this industry because it is in its infancy. Concrete polishing for instance is a mechanical process that cuts and refines concrete surfaces until desired results are reached. On the other hand, polished concrete involves multiple abrasive agents and grits used properly.

Categories and Processing Methods

Ground Concrete is the lowest category of concrete processing methods. This method is used to achieve a low sheen, non-reflective surface using 50-grit resin or less during the grinding step.

Honed Concrete is the next category and uses any abrasive from 100-grit to 400-grit resin to achieve a slight reflection with low to high quality sheen.

Polished Concrete is the highest category and any abrasive 800-grit and above is used to achieve a mirror or glass-like finish. The typical grit for this is 1,500 to 3,000.

Variables Involved

Numerous pre-existing variables exit with the three processes listed above that affect the end results. Some are within the contractor's control, but others are not. Contractors can control which abrasives are used, actions and steps and the speed at which they are taken, and the quality of equipment used.

What is beyond a contractor's control is the levelness of floors and the design being considered. What makes the difference in what is achievable for professional craftsmen is having a working knowledge of these variables.

Residential Surfaces

The concrete itself is a crucial element of the variables involved with the process of concrete polishing and grinding. Residential projects typically work with hand-troweled low PSI concrete mixes below 2,500. These do not polish as well because hand-troweling leaves it denser with a variety of low and high surfaces.

Civil engineering expertise is also a must for professionals working with concrete polishing. This is even more vital when concrete areas are in areas of high traffic. A lot of skill is required for proper preparation of driveways if they are expected to last. REO bars designed by metal fabricators Melbourne are needed and a steel fabricator will ensure that they can withstand much weight and abrasion along with stronger overall concrete.

Commercial Concrete Surfaces

Higher PSI concrete mixes are used for commercial surfaces and machine-troweling is used in open areas while it is hand-troweled in tighter areas like corners. The density of this concrete is easier to polish.

Prior knowledge of the type of concrete slab and how it will polish up helps contractors reach the desired results. This provides customers with a better floor that costs less to finish and contractors receive amazing reviews that can lead to future work.

Two contractors using the exact same grit may return different results. This is why it's vital for contractors to learn everything they can about the processes and methods of polishing and grinding concrete if they want to achieve their goals for concrete processing.

By nothingbutnet, Mar 30 2017 02:56AM

Concrete Grinding Solutions offers complete concrete restoration services that transform cracked, crumbling or plain concrete into a picturesque, robust beautiful surface.

If you wish to enhance the appearance of your concrete, and/or conceal your driveway cracks, concrete surface restoration is highly recommended.

Concrete is a great product itself, however it is not flawless. It does wear down over time, which can result in a range of problems. If you discover that your concrete needs attention, get in touch with Concrete Grinding Solutions. Undoubtedly, we can assist you, because the majority of concrete problems are preventable or repairable.

The Cause of Concrete Cracks

Problems might arise in the production, preparation, setting, finishing or mixing of concrete.This is why all work with concrete should start by getting the area ready. Incorrect preparation is the most frequent cause of failing concrete.

Regrettably, the majority of concrete problems arise from shortcuts or errors made by the builder. It might be that the work originally performed by the builder was not of the best quality. If you have a need for concrete restoration, we recommend that you contact Concrete Grinding Solutions, so we can talk about your main concerns and devise a solution.

Problems get worse when homeowners hire cheaply priced concrete firms, that use the smallest quantity of manpower to complete the project. This problem is exacerbated if the builder uses poor quality, cheap materials, which might not be the ideal solution for your needs. Therefore, many concrete problems appear when the builder fails to finish the slab of concrete properly, reduces labor and overheads, and uses substandard materials.

Frequently, the guarantee a builder offers does not apply to many concrete defects, aside from natural causes. This speaks volumes about the standard of work carried out. Consequently, builders are able to deliver shoddy workmanship, and you have to put up with concrete issues a long time after your house has been constructed.

Stop Concrete Cracks From Appearing With our Wide Variety of Services

Each one of these issues can be stopped, rectified or reduced using the services provided by CGS.

Picking the wrong company can result in a lot of issues, which might not be obvious straightaway. These issues will probably increase your repair costs, with maintenance and problems over the long term. Concrete Grinding Solutions will help you make a sensible decision about the contractor you hire, the variety of services offered, and the overall price. We only work with reputable builders, who deliver the standard of work that satisfies our stringent requirements.

Do not leave your concrete project in the hands of lady luck. The process of concrete sealing and restoration is best performed by professionals, who can evaluate the state of your present concrete and calculate the amount of work needed to give you optimum results. Concrete Grinding Solutions has a whole range of options to offer you. With our help, you can transform your commercial or residential concrete areas and boost the market value of your premises.

By nothingbutnet, Mar 3 2017 01:49AM

There are many types of concrete sealants, each with different advantages and uses. No matter what kind of concrete coating your floor has, you can easily care for and preserve your floors with the following tips:

Polished Concrete Floor Maintenance

For polished concrete, always keep your floor vacuumed and free of dirt. In the event of a spill, clean dirt and debris from polished concrete surface immediately, and avoid bleach or citrus based cleaners. Additionally, furniture should have protective pads placed beneath the legs to protect the polished surface. A microfiber mop is best used for cleaning this type of surface. Heavily soiled areas will require localised cleaning prior to cleaning entire polished concrete area. Use a low ph-balanced cleaner and rinse with clean water after use.

Grind and Seal Floor Care

Grind and seal is a type of concrete grinding which has a clear coating system installed. These floor coatings usually require 5-7 days to be fully sealed. Again, always keep this type of flooring clean and vacuumed. To prevent damage, use protective pads underneath furniture. Use a microfiber mop and a low ph-cleanser for cleaning. In high traffic areas, consider re-application of surface coatings every 5 years for preservation.

Epoxy Floor Maintenance

An epoxy surface on concrete makes floors wear and chemical-resistant. As with other types of concrete, spills to this surface should be cleaned immediately. For heavy spills, localised cleaning prior to cleaning the entire epoxy area can be effective. For localised cleaning, use a gentle ph-neutral cleaning solution that is specialized for floor care. Apply the floor care solution with an auto scrubber or simply use a mop and clean, warm water. In either situation, always rinse your concrete surface with clean water after use. Depending on use, we recommend the re-applying the epoxy approximately every 10 years.

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