Concrete Floors: Are ‘sealed’ and ‘polished’ synonymous?

One can specify the desired finish from this surface texture chart.
This chart shows the comparative analysis between surface texture grades, their glass readings, distinctness-of-image (DOI), and produced finish.

CSDA ST115 is the concrete industry’s first standard for quantifying a concrete surface by accurately reading its texture and assigning the proper designation code or surface texture grade (STG). It allows the design community and end-users to have a more structured conversation about the quality and sustainability of a polished concrete surface.

To create the standard, representatives came together from five major industry associations across five continents:

  • CSDA;
  • American Concrete Institute (ACI);
  • ASTM International;
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); and
  • International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI).

Committee members were experts in the fields of surface metrology (the study of surface geometry), concrete finishing, concrete repair, and mix designs. They considered a wide array of information
on surface measurement techniques and surface parameters in practical use.

While ST115 is the first standard of its kind for the concrete industry, there are equivalent standards in other industries. The metal and plastic finishing industries, for example, both adopted similar standards more than 50 years ago because they experienced the same challenges with interpretation and processing techniques. Further, the standard promotes using profilometers to measure surface roughness; these instruments have been used in the wider concrete industry for years. Profilometers meet the standard’s specific requirement for using “contact, skidded instruments.” (A skid is a metal rest that is attached to the probe on a profilometer; it moves in conjunction with the stylus). It is the use of these devices that enable the assignment of a texture grading code to the concrete finish.

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3 comments on “Concrete Floors: Are ‘sealed’ and ‘polished’ synonymous?”

  1. I’m going to have to read this a few more times to make sure that I really, truly understand what you were saying here, but I gather that the answer to your leading question is no. I’m not in the construction business at all, but I am looking at getting polished floors, so my question for you is: do polished concrete floors need to be sealed at all? Or does the polishing take care of whatever need sealing fulfills? I want to make sure I hire a company that will use the right process and techniques for my floor, but before I go on I think I’m going to need to understand that. Thanks!

    1. Yes, absolutely! Polished concrete needs to be sealed. It gives additional stain resistance against dirt or liquids. And yes, both floors should be maintained properly. Polished concrete will last longer than a sealed floor.

      1. In trying to find out if sealed and polished concrete were synonymous I followed this link to called “are sealed and polished synonymous”. The meaning of “sealed” is not discussed at all above. Maybe next time ya oughta title your article something that has to do with the content.

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