Concrete is the most common material used in construction. Many people use it because it is cheap, strong, durable, and flexible.
Sometimes concrete can be rough and uneven when used on the floors, forcing people to polish them. Others polish their concrete floors for aesthetic purposes, especially in commercial spaces like retail stores.
Since concrete is a strong material, you may be wondering, does polished concrete crack?
Will Polished Concrete Crack?
Yes, polished concrete will crack over time. Your polished floors may crack because the constructors did not give them ample time to dry during the concrete flooring process. Polished concrete floors may also crack due to thermal stress.
Why Is My Polished Concrete Cracking?
Your polished concrete floors are cracking due to various reasons. Let’s discuss them in detail.
You Are Overstretching the Floors
Concrete is a strong material, but it has its limits. When you push it beyond its limits, it will crack even after polishing.
For instance, if your warehouse floors are polished, they may crack if you store heavy machinery. The reason is that the machines may be excessively heavy for the concrete to handle. Your polished concrete floors will also crack if you constantly drag the machines from one spot to another.
Lastly, your polished floor will also crack if you store strong chemicals in your warehouse and spill them on the floor. These chemicals will react with the concrete polishing, causing it to deteriorate and crack with time.
Sometimes, a building’s foundation may be the reason your polished concrete floors are cracking. The soil underneath the concrete may shift, causing your polished floors to crack.
The soil shifts because of:
- Presence of moisture. The soil may shift if it rains heavily since water will creep into the soil underneath the concrete, causing swelling. The soil will apply pressure on the concrete, causing it to crack.
- Poor soil gradation. During the construction process, the concrete contractor may not have confirmed if the soil was well-graded. It means they did not certify whether the constructors leveled the ground properly. This can cause soil to shift in one direction, leading to concrete cracks.
- Nearby plants. If plants are close to your building, they may have long roots creeping into the soil underneath the concrete. It makes the soil unstable, which means that your concrete will not have a stable foundation and may crack after a while.
Building a concrete floor entails mixing cement, water, and aggregate to form a suitable concrete slab. It can be challenging to make the mixture because several issues may arise.
For instance, one may use the wrong proportions to make the mixture, affecting the concrete floor. This is because you will notice cracks on your polished concrete floors after a while.
This issue arises primarily if the building crew uses more water than expected, making the concrete wet. After some time, the water will evaporate, causing the concrete slab to shrink even after applying the concrete overlay, leading to cracks.
In contrast, the mixture will be dry if the crew uses less water. It causes the concrete floor to crumble and crack.
Your polished floors will crack due to temperature changes. Thermal stress from air conditioning ducts or water pipes can affect your concrete floors.
Your concrete floors will expand when it is hot and shrink when it is cold. This variation in temperature causes your floors to crack.
You should install a good temperature control system in your commercial space to avoid this issue.
Steps To Follow When Repairing Cracks in Polished Concrete Floors
You will need several items before repairing your concrete polished floors. These items include a wire brush, joint repair compound, masking tape, gloves, sponge, PH-neutral cleanser, Epoxy gel adhesive, and concrete polishing compound.
Here are the steps to follow during the concrete repair process.
Evaluate the Damage
The first step of the concrete crack repair process is to determine the extent of the cracks. You should measure the cracks since each crack will require a different amount of filler.
Use a weak adhesive type of tape (like painter’s tape) to separate the floor area from the cracks to avoid damaging other parts of the floor.
Remove Grime and Loose particles
Wear a face mask and gloves for protection. Make sure you have proper ventilation.
You can use a tool – like a brush – along with a chemical sealer remover. You can also use a scarifier. Scarifiers can be used to remove concrete sealer or other coatings.
Prepare the Crack for Repair
Always wear safety goggles when undertaking repairs to protect your eyes.
Prepare the crack using an angle grinder to accommodate the filler in the next step. An angle grinder is a handheld version of a standup concrete grinder. Grinders are able to effectively grind down concrete surfaces.
Clear away concrete dust so that you have full access to the crack.
Use a Filler
Use a joint repair compound – Euclid has many varieties – to fill the cracks and pack the filler based on the size of the cracks.
For larger cracks ore extensive damage, you may wish to use a concrete joint filler pump.
Polish the Repaired Cracks
Once you have filled all the cracks, wait for the filler to dry before you polish the floor with a concrete grinder.
Grind the damaged area so that it blends in well with the rest of your concrete slab.
Should You Seal Your Polished Concrete Floor?
You should seal your concrete floors as it increases the floor’s longevity. Applying a concrete sealer is imperative because it boosts the floor’s lifespan as polished concrete floors are porous.
The first step of the sealing process is surface preparation. It entails cleaning your polished floors to remove dust and dirt. Use a pH-neutral cleaner in this step.
The second step involves applying the sealer. Make sure the protective floor coating is evenly applied on the floors, and use a clean cloth to spread the sealer and even it.
The final step is to leave the sealant to dry.
Ways To Protect Your Concrete Polished Floors
There are several ways you can protect your concrete polished floors to ensure they do not crack easily. They include:
- Cleaning the polished concrete floors. It may seem basic, but cleaning your concrete floors aids in increasing their longevity. Most importantly, clean these floors immediately after you spill strong chemicals.
- Install a temperature control system. Having such a system in your warehouse is essential as it will control indoor temperature. The system will maintain your warehouse, retail store, or commercial space at a constant temperature.
- Hiring professional concrete contractors. Hiring trained experts ensure the concrete installation process is smooth. These professionals will ensure the concrete is mixed accordingly to prevent cracks in the future.
- Avoid dragging equipment. Do not drag heavy machinery into your warehouse or retail store to avoid pushing the concrete beyond its limits. Carry these machines from one point to another and for the heavy ones, use a forklift.
- Repair small cracks immediately. This tip applies when you notice a small crack on the polished floors. While many small cracks may be harmless, some cracks can turn into more serious problems. Repair these cracks immediately since they are susceptible to water seepage, causing the floors to expand and contract, which worsens the cracks.