Working for a concrete stain and polish company you hear a lot of phrases pretty consistently. Some of the top few are: “wet grind,” “dry grind,” and “strippers.” Out of context, the casual way in which these are thrown around may be a little alarming. It’s not what you’re thinking. I promise. For those of you reading this that understand the lingo, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re lost, I’ll take Concreate’s seemingly strange lingo and explain it through a description of their job at Capital One in Richmond, VA. And if you aren’t lost, and are pretty easily picking up what I’m putting down, then here is some insight into how Concreate goes through a typical stain and polish job.
First, they “mask” the walls. So, you’re probably beginning to picture rows of superhero masks on the walls. Okay, well, maybe not probably. There have just been a lot of superhero movies lately and I assume it’s on everyone’s mind. Masking actually means to cover the walls in plastic to protect them from getting hurt. Kind of like superheroes, but that’s besides the point. Then, after cleaning, they begin a crazy long pad grinding process that goes on probably for about half of forever. Each grind has a different grit pad which varies the abrasiveness of the grind. You start from a lower grit (around 50 for this floor) and work your way up.
This particular job was done with the wet grind process, so they push the grinder (which looks like a vacuum cleaner on steroids) up and back across the space. As they push it they are making sure its path overlaps during each pass. Through that, they are pushing water in its path. They are also collecting its “slurry” and bagging it. Basically taking all of this gross wet stuff that comes off the concrete, a combination of concrete dust and water, and bagging it. Then, they clean with an auto-scrubber. They aren’t done yet. They still have the rest of forever left. The stain, often acetone based for Concreate, is put in a pump sprayer and sprayed on–giving the floor its beautiful color. That isn’t enough though. Densifier is applied next, to help “harden” the concrete (I didn’t realize concrete needed to be hardened any more, but you know). Then, they polish. They are still using pads, but with higher grit (less abrasive). And, instead of a wet grind and all the slurry, its dry and there is a vacuum cleaner on the grinder sucking up all the dust! They do this for maybe only a quarter of forever and move on to the “penetrating guard” (I would like to bring up my first remarks on this lingo, penetrate? Really?). Lastly, they whip out their high speed burnisher and make that floor as shiny as all get out and high tail it out of there. Okay, well maybe not high tail it out of there, but then it’s done and they actually can leave. Also, maybe it doesn’t actually take forever, but there is a lot of grinding. Either way, there it is, a beautiful floor, completed amongst all of those many steps.