The majority of the work, in concrete polishing, is performed with an upright floor polisher. This will cover both the grinding and polishing, provided that the correct tooling is used. Small areas, such as steps, corners and architectural details make up a much smaller percentage of the floor. It is these more delicate areas, however, which can eat into a project’s profitability. These areas need both time and attention to get right. A small defect on a polished concrete floor can stand out against the quality of the surface. We supply a range of hand grinding tools for polishing smaller areas of floor. Here is our advice for tackling these key areas.
If the steps are precast, they can be polished before they are placed. A final polish will bring them up to the same quality as the rest of the floor. If they are integral steps, they will need to be polished on site. Use a hand grinder being careful not to apply additional pressure towards the centre of the step. This is a common issue in any confined area. Make sure that you use a grinder with a 0mm tolerance on the grinding wheel. If you are using a grinder with a larger shroud you may have to go back over the step with a corner tool. The edges of steps will be more visible than the edges of a normal floor, so they should be as close to perfect as possible.
We have written about this subject before, but the key to good edge work is factoring it into the grinding and polishing process. Contractors need to deal with edge grinding head on and not leave it until the end the project. Once these habits are engrained, and rewarded, it becomes just another stage in the concrete polishing process. While there are upright edge polishing machines available, we find that for accuracy and quality it is better to use a hand grinder.
Corners, pipework and architectural details can all slow down a project. Using a corner tool is the best method of polishing these difficult areas. It is not a quick process, and that must be factored in. The pad adaptors are most often plastic, and they should be given time to cool down periodically. Using them for extended periods can cause them, or the Velcro fixings, to fail. It is also important to regally clear the area of concrete dust so an assessment of progress can be made. Alternatively, a vacuum hose can be run next to the polishing to remove dust.