Burnishing Versus Sealing Concrete

Making Polished Concrete Shine

Burnishing polished concrete brings out the shineIf it wasn’t for the burnishing process, the “polish” in polished concrete would be a bit dull. Burnishing concrete is a system that utilizes a high-speed burnisher that spins at approximately 1,500 rpm to 2,500 rpm. These high-speed burnishers are designed to heat, melt and buff a topical coating into a polished concrete surface. In the maintenance industry, the chemical is typically a wax-based product. In the polishing industry, the chemical is a densifier product. The burnishing process fills the small pores in the concrete with the applied chemical by melting and dispersing the product. Sometimes the chemical is followed by a guard product for additional shine and stain protection. If a floor has been trowelled impeccably, the final step before burnishing is to thoroughly clean, lightly buff and then coat the floor with either an oil based or acrylic sealer.

What is the Difference Between Sealing and Burnishing Concrete?

Concrete in its natural state is a porous material that readily absorbs liquids and is susceptible to efflorescence, spalling and dusting. Untreated concrete is not aesthetically pleasing nor easily maintained.  Sealing a weak, porous, and boring concrete floor transforms it into a strong, long-lasting, beautifully glossy floor. The seal protects the floor from staining and prevents dusting, while the hardening of the floor increases abrasion resistance by up to 400%.

Sealants such as the RetroPlate System or Consolideck® PolishGuard protect concrete floors from staining and prevent dusting. When combined with a densifier, sealants will harden concrete floors and increase abrasion resistance, while enhancing the appearance of standard gray, integrally colored, dyed, stained or color-hardened concrete floors.

As described above, Burnishing is the final step in the polishing process. Its power lies in bringing out the glossy shine of polished concrete. It is not a sealant.