An Affordable Option - Grind and Seal
“Grind and Seal” is the industry term for concrete which has a clear coating system installed on your concrete floor. Grind and seal concrete systems finish your concrete floors so their striking, natural look can shine through. Unlike other floorings that are applied atop a subfloor, concrete is the substrate itself. That means whether you’re starting from scratch or you’ve pulled up old floor for a renovation, your concrete’s the foundation of the room. Thus, the concrete floor needs the utmost care in final sealing to ensure it can withstand wear and tear for years to come.
The grind and seal process is simple and fast. The concrete surface is ground first with coarse grit and then with fine grit. The surface is cleaned and allowed to dry. A seal coat is then applied over the concrete. The concrete sealant may be solvent polymer based, water based or a reacting polymer that cures when two components are mixed together. Epoxy resin is tough and forms a clear, transparent coat or it may be modified with additives to form an opaque coat with a suitable color.
Grind and seal concrete floors are affordable as less labor is involved in the whole process. The process is also fast due to fewer steps involved. The grind and seal process is a suitable floor option in a variety of industrial and commercial spaces such as warehouses, manufacturing, retail, animal care, and food service.
Although this process is commonly referred to as “polished concrete,” there is a slight difference between “grind and seal” and “grind and polish.” Grind and polish is hardened with a densifier and refined to a much higher level to create the shine. This densifier then reacts to the cement to harden the top layers. It’s then sealed with a polish guard sealer to avoid any water, bacteria, or stains. Grind and polish systems tend to be more expensive but slightly more durable.
One of the key benefits of “grind and seal” over other concrete processes is that this type of grinding works with any granite exposure. The exposure level is the amount of concrete’s rocks and stones that are exposed. Zero exposure takes off only the top layer for coating. This is what you might see in a warehouse or garage. Partial exposure takes off a deeper layer from the surface of the concrete, making it consistently flat and polished. Full exposure grinds away several layers so a maximum number of stones are exposed.
“Grind and seal” also has low installation costs and is less labor intensive than “grind and polish.” This system makes the concrete resistant to high abrasion and wear and tear. You can also add a beading or grit to “grind and seal” concrete floors to enhance slip resistance. This makes the concrete non-porous, so it won’t harbor any bacteria or stain easily. Moreover, this makes the floor low maintenance and easier to care for than other types of flooring. Plus, the seals can be matte or glossy, which can create a unique look for the room. Additionally, you can find “grind and seal” coats that have a UV-resistant finish for outdoor spaces.
There are some drawbacks to a grind and seal. For instance, the strength and durability of this floor can also be a drawback as the surface is very hard, so it won’t cushion or “give” under feet, making it uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time. To overcome this, you can add anti-fatigue mats to areas where employees face hours on their feet on a day-to-day basis.
Another drawback of concrete floors is that they do not tend to retain heat very well. That means that in the winter the surface of the floor is going to feel chilled, but no more so than ceramic tile or natural stone flooring. To overcome this, you can embed radiant heating cables in concrete floors to reduce heat loss. Best of all, you’ll usually pay lower utility costs than with a forced-air system, because concrete floor radiant heating consumes less energy to achieve the same level of comfort.
Furthermore, if concrete flooring is not properly finished and sealed, it will be very susceptible to penetration by moisture. If liquid does manage to make its way into the pores of a concrete floor, it can sit there and lead to the growth of mold or mildew. If you have a trusted professional installing your polished concrete flooring, you shouldn’t have to worry about this.
To see an excellent case study on a grind and seal check out this link: https://www.highperformancesystems.com/warehouse-dust-proofer. To learn more about this and other topics check out my blog posts “UV Exposure and Epoxies,” “What Types of Substrates Can Epoxy Be Applied Over,” and “Importance of Dust Proofing Your Warehouse.”