Polished concrete is becoming the go-to floor for many designers. Nowadays you can see it in shops, restaurants, and homes. It looks clean and elegant and the fact that it is readily available easy to maintain and hypoallergenic makes it even more desirable.
Although high polished concrete is not recommended for outdoor use, there are two polished concrete options great for outdoor areas.
Honed concrete or pavilion concrete is really the go-to if you want to have polished concrete on your driveway, patio, pool area, porch, deck, and really anywhere outside.
Honed concrete is essentially polished concrete with a penetrating sealer, which protects the concrete from staining. After the initial grinding of the concrete to expose the desired level of aggregate (stones and sand), the concrete is then honed using different levels of diamond grit to achieve the desired level of shine.
The concrete is then sealed with a penetrating sealer. The sealer absorbs into the concrete like sun cream into the skin, rather than staying on top like nail polish on a nail for example. This increases the longevity of the concrete, as there is nothing to scratch or wears off from it.
Honed Polished concrete is easy to maintain. Cleaning can be done by pressure washing and reapplying a sealer every couple of years.
The only downside of honed concrete is that it comes only in matte finish unlike grind and seal or indoor polished concrete. However, you can still choose the stone exposure, from minimum stone to deep stone exposure.
As epoxy is non-porous, it is extremely easy to clean. All it takes a microfiber mop to remove any liquids, dirt, hair, mud, or soil from your epoxy floor.
Epoxy is also chemically, acid and alkaline resistant, meaning it can withstand harsh cleaning chemicals, sanitizers, and animal urine and waste.
If you want to bring the polished concrete look to the outside area, grind and seal are one available option. It is available in matte, satin, and gloss finish. The concrete surface is ground to the desired exposure level (the amount of stone visible). Fine diamond pads are then used to remove any visible scratches and get the flat surface ready for coating.
At this stage, the concrete can be dyed a different color or grouted if you prefer a mirror-looking surface. Finally, a protective sealer is applied on top of the concrete. For outdoor use, an anti-slip is added to the sealer.
While still a lot more durable than other outdoor surfaces, some may argue that grind and seal is much more suited for garage floor or indoor use. The reason being is that grind and seal uses a protective sealer compared to penetrating sealer like in honed concrete.
Since the sealer stays on top of the concrete surface it is much easier and quicker to wear off or scratched. Because of this grind and seal might require more maintenance and sealer application every couple of years.
There are a few things that need to be taken into consideration when choosing grind and seal. One is the level of foot traffic and closeness to grassy areas. The second factor is moisture being trapped between the slab and the topcoat. This can lead to discoloration, coating fails, and delaminating from the slab.
If you are looking for a hard-wearing, safe and stylish floor for your outdoor area honed concrete and grind and seal are two great options. However, it is always best to consult with a professional to see which option is most suitable for your outdoor area.