The world around us is filled with technological innovation; small miracles of engineering and design surround us every waking moment of our lives, but we rarely stop to think about them. We dwell in our homes without thinking of what’s keeping the roof over our head, and we hang out on the Internet with no real grasp of how our computers circuitry works, let alone how it’s communicating with other computers over vast distances at incredible speeds. It takes a lot of people to make a pencil. One of the most ubiquitous materials around us is concrete, yet few know how it’s actually made.
A lot of people use “concrete” and “cement” interchangeably; in actuality, cement is used in the creation of concrete. Concrete is essentially three things: aggregate, water, and Portland cement. Aggregate is basically rocks of various sizes, from sand, to gravel, to recycled concrete. Cement is in dry form, at first, but when the water is added it begins to act as a binder, holding all the aggregates together. There’s also a ton of different additives you can put in to vary the properties of the concrete.
There’s a ton of different ways you can mix concrete together, in a process called concrete mix design. You can vary the ratio of water to aggregate to cement. You can also vary the types of aggregate that you want to use. In addition, you can vary the types of additives you want to use. The variations you will employ all depend on what your end goal for the concrete is: how easy the concrete needs to be to place, how strong it needs to be, and how long the concrete will need to last. These considerations will be taken into account before the concrete is mixed.
Polished concrete goes a step further than regular concrete. Concrete is inherently porous, so a chemical known as a “hardener” will be employed; this hardener provokes a reaction in the concrete that helps to harden the surface and make it less prone to creating dust. After this, the concrete is quite tough, so polishing it takes something even more durable – diamonds! A diamond grinder is passed over the concrete several times, starting with the coarsest grind and gradually tapering off to finer grinding. Polished floors can also be sealed, so they take care of concrete’s porousness; they also look incredible!
Here at TCF West, we love flooring, especially concrete flooring! We can ensure that you have the best looking floors, no matter what you already have installed. Polished concrete is eco-friendly because it uses existing materials – your concrete floors – in order to create something stunning. We’re also a concrete repair company, so if you have any cracks or spalling in your concrete, we can fix it right up. We can do replacements, evaluations, recommendations – whatever you need. We understand concrete from the mixing process to the finishing process, so no matter what your concerns are, if they’re concrete, we can help!