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Can I DIY Polish Concrete Floors?

Craftsman Concrete

DIY Concrete Polishing

As the largest installer of residential polished concrete floors in Texas, we often get the question “can I polish a concrete floor myself?” Polished concrete offers a modern, shiny, and easy-to-maintain floor at an affordable price. This blog post will discuss the limitations and possibilities of polishing a concrete floor yourself.

New Construction vs Renovation

The first thing to consider is whether you’re going to be polishing a newly poured concrete slab or replacing flooring on an existing slab. Polishing a concrete slab that has previously had another style of flooring installed requires a much higher level of skill than new construction. The reason for this is that a renovation will require more aggressive tooling to remove contamination from the surface of the floor. Aggressive tooling requires more skill to achieve a consistent finish and will create significant amounts of airborne dust.

Dust Control

One of the most important safety issues related to concrete polishing is the capture of fine dust that is the byproduct of concrete grinding. In our installations, we use large, specialized HEPA vacuums that capture over 99.9% of airborne dust particles. This is very important, as excessive concrete dust exposure can cause respiratory disease. Most equipment that is available for DIY rental has no mechanism for integrating a vacuum or dust control system.

Equipment Availability

Concrete is polished with large, planetary grinders that can weigh upwards of 1500 pounds. This type of equipment is expensive, difficult to transport, requires a specialized power supply, and can be dangerous to operate without training. Most DIY projects are executed with floor buffers from retail tool rental stores such as Home Depot. While it is possible to polish a newly poured concrete slab with a rental buffer, Its relatively low weight will limit the amount of polishing pressure applied to the floor, creating a lower gloss finish.

Tooling Cost

Concrete is polished with tools made from diamonds. A complete assortment of tools required to polish a floor costs many thousands of dollars. These tools have variable life depending on how aggressive they are and the hardness of the concrete slab, but they’re generally engineered to last for several residential projects. In most cases, the tooling cost requirements will offset any DIY savings.

Can I polish concrete floors myself?

The answer to “can I polish concrete floors myself” is yes, but only in a limited set of circumstances. DIY projects should only be attempted on newly poured slabs that are clean and in good condition.
A matte finish is also preferable, as fewer sets of diamond polishing tools will be required. Finally, DIY polishing should be done before windows and drywall are installed. A wet polishing technique is required to control dust with a rental style swing buffer and will sling dirty that can damage finishes away from the buffer.

Looking for More Information About Polished Concrete Floors?

See our polished concrete page for insider tips, DIY projects, galleries, and more. As always, give us a call for a free consultation.