Concrete is naturally porous, but sealants can be added to harden it. This usually occurs after the first stage of surface grinding and is the result of interaction with a concrete by-product called free lime, which is obtained by hardening of the concrete.
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When the sealant reacts with free lime to produce calcium silicate hydrate, a gel which is a solid crystalline solid that forms a continuous layer. This fills all the pores of the concrete and leads to a surface that is significantly harder than concrete. Adding a sealant prevents the concrete from dusting, which is a natural phenomenon with concrete over time.
Once the sealer is added to the concrete, the floor should last for decades and require almost no maintenance other than dusting and the occasional wiping with a damp cloth.
Polished concrete is increasingly being used in factories, warehouses, and high-traffic areas such as train stations, airports, and shopping malls, and can actually save you money on tire wear! If you have a warehouse or factory that uses trucks all day, as companies like Amazon do, you get tire marks on the ground due to tire wear.
However, polished concrete does not leave tire marks, so the tires do not wear out as quickly as other floor coverings. Polished concrete floor surfaces even improve indoor air quality. Up to 30% of the population is sensitive to allergens and airborne chemicals.