Concreate, Inc. delivers concrete polishing and custom staining for both commercial and residential projects primarily in Virginia and Maryland (but also up and down the East Coast). We work hand in hand with with designers, architects, project managers, general contractors, tradesmen, and home owners alike from start to finish. We welcome the opportunity to serve your polished concrete needs in every way possible.

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Can You Polish Concrete by Hand? Here’s Why You Should Leave It to the Experts

Can You Polish Concrete by Hand? Here’s Why You Should Leave It to the Experts

A professional concrete polished floor.

Any DIY enthusiast will be tempted to save cash by polishing concrete floors themselves. But is this a viable option? Here’s the scoop on why it’s best to leave it to the experts.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hand polishing concrete requires power tools
  • Safety gear must be worn at all times
  • Preparing the surface beforehand is key to a good result
  • Hiring professional concrete specialists ensures expertise, safety, and quality 

Concrete polished flooring is a great way to add elegance, sophistication, and permanence to your home or office. However, while it may look beautiful and appealing, concrete is incredibly tough and dense to work with. It requires skill, precision, and knowledge to achieve the perfect finish. If you don’t have the right tools or expertise, it can be difficult, if not downright dangerous, to try to polish concrete by hand.

Typically, contractors often have to climb aboard seated diamond cutters to grind concrete floors to a polish. This is typical for large surfaces, but the smaller they get, the more precision the tools – and the contractors – require.

Sure, handheld tools can get the job done, but that doesn’t mean just anyone can do the work. Guiding a tool over the concrete surface without damaging it or the user is a specific skill, and it takes a lot of practice and experience to get it right. 

Without adequate experience, a novice user can easily overlook important safety protocols or risk damaging the surface. Read on to learn how concrete polishing is done by hand and why hiring experts to polish concrete is almost always the better choice.

How hand polishing concrete works

Concrete polished by hand requires a handheld, diamond-tipped concrete grinder. The grinder has an abrasive round disk with small, raised diamonds bonded to its surface.

A professional holds the grinder at an angle against the concrete and moves it back and forth over the surface as it grinds away the top layer of concrete, exposing the material beneath. The grinder grinds down the concrete surface to an even plane, removing imperfections, inconsistencies, and bumps. This process reveals a smooth and flat surface. 

Hand polishing concrete is a successive process. The specialist must go over the concrete multiple times with different diamond grits to achieve a smooth and glossy finish. The process starts with an abrasive disk that has a higher diamond grit. They then move down to a medium grit and finish with a finer grit. 

The grit levels used when hand-polishing concrete are:

  • 40-grit
  • 80-grit
  • 120-grit
  • 180-grit
  • 240-grit
  • 320-grit
  • 400-grit

Lower grit levels are very coarse, perfect for grinding down the concrete. As the grit level increases, they become finer and can be used to give a smooth, glossy finish.

Due to the high-risk nature of hand polishing concrete, it’s crucial to have protective gear like safety glasses, gloves, and dust masks. It’s also important to follow OSHA’s crystalline silica rule. Working in a well-ventilated area ensures proper air flow to keep the dust particles away from you. 

Follow these steps for a successful concrete polished flooring project:

  1. Prepare the concrete surface: Ensure the concrete surface is clean and free of debris. Remove any adhesive, paint, or sealant from the floor that may interfere with the concrete polishing process. Cover any vents, ducts, or outlets with plastic sheets to protect them from dust, and open the windows and doorways to allow air to circulate.
  2. Grind the concrete: Start with a 40-grit diamond disk to grind down the concrete surface. This will remove any imperfections and reveal the material beneath. Move the grinder slowly and methodically over the surface in overlapping circles.
  3. Polish the concrete: Increase the diamond grits from 40 to 400 in sequence for a smooth finish. Avoid using a rough diamond disc at high speed, as this may leave marks on the surface.
  4. Clean up: Use a powerful vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from the concrete surface. Mop the floor with soap and water to remove any residue.
  5. Apply a concrete densifier: To harden and protect the concrete from future damage and wear, apply a single concrete densifier to fill in the pores of the concrete and helps prevent dust build-up. This will also give the floor a glossy shine.

Following these steps will leave you with beautiful, polished concrete flooring. However, it’s important to note that polishing concrete by hand requires a lot of skill and experience. If you’re not confident in your ability to do the job, hiring an expert is the most surefire way to get the job done right. 

Why hire experts for concrete polished flooring?

Polishing concrete by hand is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process that requires the right tools and skillful technique. Hiring a professional to polish concrete for you guarantees a job well done with minimal risk. Here’s why:

  • Knowledge and expertise: Professional concrete specialists have years of experience and technical knowledge. They have the necessary skills to take on any concrete polishing job, regardless of size or complexity, leaving you with a highly polished, ambient, and durable surface.
  • Safety: Hand polishing concrete is dangerous and can result in serious injury if done recklessly. Expert contractors come equipped with the proper safety gear and dust collection systems and take all necessary precautions to ensure a safe job site.
  • High-quality professional-grade tools: Professionals have access to state-of-the-art equipment and diamond tooling that grinds concrete floors efficiently, safely, and with precision. This eliminates the need to purchase the tools yourself. 
  • Quality assurance: Unlike DIY, professionals assure you of a quality finish that stands the test of time. They are licensed, bonded, and insured, so you can trust that the job is done properly.

Polishing concrete by hand is a skilled and daunting task that only professional tradesmen can do. Hiring an experienced professional will save you time, money, and potential injury. They will leave you with a durable and aesthetically pleasing concrete floor and the peace of mind that comes with quality assurance. 

Partner with Concreate for professional concrete polishing services

For professional, high-quality, and affordable concrete polished flooring, trust the experts at Concreate. Our team of experienced contractors uses cutting-edge tools and techniques to deliver tailored results that meet your needs and expectations. 

Our polished concrete floors are stylish, elegant, and built with quality in mind for an attractive, long-lasting finish. Don’t risk attempting to polish concrete by yourself. Get in touch with the Concreate pros or visit thisisconcrete.com today for more information about our services.