Burnished Polished Concrete:
One of 3 Types of Polished Concrete

Burnished concrete installed in a warehouse
Burnished polished concrete is the most inexpensive type of polished concrete you can install.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Faller

First, here’s the definition of polished concrete: The act of permanently changing a concrete surface, with or without aggregate exposure, to achieve a specified level of finished appearance.

According to the American Society of Concrete Contractors’ Concrete Polishing Council, there are three types of polished concrete. Each of these has identifiable reasons for use and allows for a broadening of the market due to lower pricing and quicker installation time. The polished concrete you’ve most likely been exposed to or your company has installed is bonded abrasive polished concrete (BAPC).

Now, the definition of BAPC : The multistep operation of mechanically grinding, honing and polishing a concrete surface with bonded abrasives to cut a concrete surface and refine each cut to the maximum potential to achieve a specific level and class of finished appearance.

Of the three types of polished concrete, it is the:

  • Most labor intensive
  • Most durable
  • Highest cost to install, both time and money
  • Most decorative

Hybrid polished concrete (HPC) and burnished polished concrete (BPC), the one we’re addressing today, are a mystery to most and an untapped opportunity! (More on HPC next time.)

Here’s the tip

Ask these questions and refine your recommendation accordingly:

  • What are the floor’s uses, level of traffic and maintenance plans?
  • Do the clients want a specific aggregate exposure level?

If they answer lower or foot traffic only, they clean regularly, and they don’t need a specific look, BPC may just be the perfect fit!

Now, the definition of BPC: The multistep operation of mechanically friction-rubbing a concrete surface with diamond impregnated grit pads and a high-speed burnisher, without using bonded abrasives or a grinder to achieve a specific level of finished appearance. This method:

  • Can’t reveal aggregate
  • Won’t provide a flattened floor, so it’s not as safe
  • Can provide a high-level shine when desired
  • Provides good durability, shine and is dust-free
  • Quick and low cost to install

Using a burnisher with grits progressing from coarse to fine diamond pads and densifying to rejection is polished concrete according to the above definition. It can bring you opportunities when you ask the right questions.

Next time if you take the time to ask these questions, BPC may just be the answer.

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