What Are Grind And Seal Concrete Floors?
Updated: Jul 2
“Grind and Seal” is the industry term for concrete which has a clear coating system installed onto a concrete floor. Grind and seal concrete systems finish your floors so their striking, natural-look can shine through. Unlike other flooring that are applied atop a subfloor, concrete is the substrate itself.
That means whether you’re starting from scratch or you’ve pulled up an old floor for a renovation, your concrete is the foundation of the room. Thus, it needs the utmost care in final sealing to ensure it can withstand wear and tear for years to come.
Preparing the Concrete
The process is simple and fast. Concrete surface is first ground with coarse grit and then with fine grit. The surface is cleaned and allowed to dry. A seal coat is then applied over the concrete.
The concrete sealant may be solvent polymer based, water based, or a reacting polymer that cures when two components are mixed together.
Epoxy resin is tough and forms a clear, transparent coat or it may be modified with additives to form an opaque coat with a suitable color.
Which Industries Can Use Grind & Seal Concrete Staining
It is a suitable floor option in a variety of industrial and commercial spaces such as warehouses, manufacturing, retail, animal care, and food service.
Grind And Seal VS Grind And Polish
Although this process is commonly referred to as “polished concrete,” there is a slight difference between “grind and seal” and “grind and polish.”
Grind and polish is hardened with a densifier and refined to a much higher level to create a shine.
This densifier then reacts to the cement to harden the top layers. It’s then sealed with a polish guard sealer to avoid any water, bacteria, or stains. Grind and polish systems tend to be more expensive but slightly more durable.
Benefits Of Grind And Seal Concrete
One of the key benefits over other concrete processes is that this type of grinding works with any granite exposure. The exposure level is the amount of the concrete’s rocks and stones that are exposed.
There are three different types of exposure involved with grind and seal concrete: zero exposure, partial exposure, and full exposure.
Zero exposure takes off only the top layer for coating. This is what you might see in a warehouse or garage. Partial exposure takes off a deeper layer from the surface of the concrete, making it consistently flat and polished. Full exposure grinds away several layers so a maximum number of stones are exposed.
Grind and seal systems make the concrete resistant to high abrasion and wear and tear. You can also add a beading or grit to enhance slip resistance.
This makes the concrete non-porous, so it won’t harbor any bacteria or stain easily. Moreover, this makes the floor low maintenance and easier to care for than other types of flooring.
The seals can be matte or glossy, which can create a unique look for the room. Additionally, you can find “grind and seal” coats that have a UV-resistant finish for outdoor spaces.
The Drawbacks of Grind and Seal
There are some drawbacks to grind and seal systems. For instance, the surface of this flooring system is very hard, so it won’t cushion or “give” at all, making it uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time.
To overcome this, you can add anti-fatigue mats to areas where employees face hours on their feet on a daily basis.
Another drawback of concrete floors is that they do not tend to retain heat very well. That means that in the winter the surface of the floor is going to feel chilled, much like ceramic tile or natural stone flooring.
To overcome this, you can embed radiant heating cables in concrete floors to reduce heat loss.
Additionally, if concrete flooring is not properly finished and sealed, it will be very susceptible to penetration by moisture.
If liquid does manage to make its way into the pores of a concrete floor, it can sit there and lead to the growth of mold or mildew. If you have a trusted professional installing your polished concrete flooring, you shouldn’t have to worry about this.