All About Polished Concrete Stairs
Typically found in commercial settings – like large retail stores, galleries, warehouses and showrooms, polished concrete stairs are a great complement to a matching concrete floor. They’re also durable and low maintenance.
In this article, we take an in depth look at polished concrete stairs. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of your organization having polished concrete stairs. We’ll also discuss the process of polishing concrete stairs and how it deviates slightly from the polished concrete flooring process.
Benefits of Polished Concrete Stairs
First off, let’s take a look at the overall benefits of polished concrete stairs to your organization which can be roughly summed up by aesthetics, durability, ease of maintenance, and safety.
Polished concrete stairs offer both homeowners and business owners a modern and sleek look. Just like regular polished concrete, you’ll have a full array of color and design choices. This allows you to match your polished concrete floor and get the exact decorative concrete look that you desire. Acid staining and dyeing concrete are the two main methods of getting that exact look for your business (or home).
Polished concrete is known as being one of the most durable flooring options available. Not surprisingly, concrete stairs are also known for being extremely durable. known for their long-lasting features. Polished concrete can last as long as a century. Your polished concrete steps will likely last longer than an average human lifetime before needing a major overhaul.
Ease of Maintenance
Maintaining polished concrete stairs is simple and inexpensive. Keep your stairs looking pristine with basic sweeping / dust mopping. While a concrete floor scrubber can be used on a polished concrete floor to keep it clean, a ride-on concrete floor scrubber obviously can’t do stairs. Fortunately, this isn’t a big deal you can find hard floor surface cleaners meant specifically for polished concrete to do a proper cleaning.
We talk more about maintaining stairs towards the end of this article.
When it comes to safety, polished concrete stairs can provide you with peace of mind. The sheen and reflective properties of a polished concrete floor makes it look like it might be slippery. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. Polished concrete may look slippery but it is very slip resistant.
A study by the Concrete Polishing Council (formerly the Concrete Polishing Association of America) showed that the dynamic coefficient of friction for concrete ranged from .49 to .58 – far above the minimum requirement of .42 as dictated by ANSI A137.1.
In other words, polished concrete significantly exceeds minimum safety standards for indoor flooring – even when wet!
The process for stairs is nearly identical to the process used for polished concrete floors. One major difference is that polishing concrete stairs requires working in a much more confined environment. Polishing is quite a bit slower as the grinder will need to focus on one concrete stair at a time before moving on to the next stair. This means that the tools and techniques are slightly different.
The polishing process starts by using a hand grinder fitted with metal-bonded diamond grinding discs. When polishing a floor, a walk behind or ride on floor grinder is typically used. Concrete grinding a concrete staircase requires the use of a handheld grinder due to the limited space available to work with polishing tools.
The coarse diamond segments on the grinder help remove minor pits, blemishes, stains, or light coatings from the floor. Multiple passes are made with the grinder with higher and higher grit diamond pads until the desired finish is achieved.
Application of Concrete Densifier
Once the grinding is complete, it’s time to apply a concrete densifier. This chemical hardener helps strengthen and seal the surface of your polished concrete stairs, ensuring a more durable and long-lasting finish. It also makes the stairs dust-proof – which further aids in making the stairs slip-resistant.
Maintenance Tips for Polished Concrete Stairs
Keep your polished concrete stairs in top condition with these simple maintenance tips.
1. Your concrete stairs should be pretty good at repelling dust. That said you’ll still want to sweep or use a microfiber mop to remove dust frequently.
2. You can use a floor cleaner like Ameripolish’s Rejuvenating Cleaner which is designed for surfaces like concrete. Just periodically apply the rejuvenating cleaner to the stairs by following the instructions on the container.
3. Use clean water when mopping or scrubbing. Dirty water can leave streaks or stains on your polished concrete stairs.
NOTE: Never use acidic cleaning products, such as vinegar on your polished concrete floors or stairs. Only use cleaning products that are specifically formulated for polished concrete.