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Polished Concrete Floors


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Polished concrete floors are durable, beautiful, and economical, especially when compared to natural stone. I doubt if anyone is doing this locally - even the guy who could polish travertino has moved on. You will have to look in Guadalajara, searching in Spanish language. There is a lot of commercial applications for polished concrete. Warehouses use it for floors that can handle robotic equipment. Large retail stores use it because the polish reflects light, and their lighting bill goes way down.

If you have not yet installed the floor, make sure you look at radiant heating as well. The hose can be run into zones. Can run cool in the summer, warm in the winter, easy to hook up to solar.

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In Joco, right before the Walmart-like store, is a place that sells tiles and bathroom fixtures. The sons do stamped concrete. They may also do polished concrete floors.

Carol

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I worked for a winery that was build by a world famous architect firm (Herzog & De Meuron) and we had

polished cement floors and they crack no matter what anyone says. If these guys could not have polished floors made that did not crack , I doubt someone here will be able to do it. The surfaces we had were

scored but the scored areas were very large and they cracked.

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I respectfully disagree. That is almost the same as saying "get used to it, your home in Mexico will have salitre no matter what you do". You just have to find the correct contractor. That is why I suggested contacting the Kemiko people directly and finding out the WHO first.

I really wanted to do this flooring in the house we built on the coast...tile was cheaper.

Here's also a little info about concrete...

http://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete/concrete_cracks/preventing_concrete_cracks.htm

On the other hand, this is an area with seismic activity and all that accompanies it.

Here's the American site for Kemiko...

http://www.kemiko.com/

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The guarantee is a very good question. A "polished" floor usually ends with a 2,000 grit gloss. This process requires some very specialized equipment, and your first question to the contractor is "How are you going to control the dust?". Should be a vacuum extractor attached to the polisher(s). Do not let a contractor talk you into "wet" polishing - that only creates a big mess of mud, which will turn to dust. The second question is to set the standard as to the level of "gloss". There are meters which measure this, and a professional contractor will have samples. Kemiko, is a very good company, and there are many others, but many of them rely on chemicals (acrylic, polyester, epoxy, polyurethane, etc) for the gloss. They look beautiful when first applied, but they do not stand up over time. They are just not hard enough or resistant to U.V. They require stripping and reapplying, an expensive and messy job. A good polished concrete (or stone) floor will require repolishing every few years, depending on use.

You have to realize that concrete is actually quite a soft material. Neat (no aggregate) Portland Cement starts at something like 600 p.s.i., granite is something like 8,000 (too lazy to look it up!). So any polish of off concrete is going to depend on the aggregate. Silica sand (glass) is much harder than marble chips used in terrazzo floors. The very best floors I have seen are in California, miles of what people think are terracotta, are actually sculpted Magnesium Oxychloride, as used and installed by the Hills Brothers. Unfortunately the company was more or less gutted by a class action law suit because they recommended and sold asbestos fiber as the filler!

Again, it will be hard to find a contractor. Architects and Interior Designers often hitch their wagons to new, emerging looks/techniques for which they, not the contractor, become widely known for. They often tie up a small contractor for years in this unholy marriage which makes it tough for independent homebuilders. They are often left to deal with the "wannabees" and "think I cans".

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All of which is why we ended up choosing to do tile.

However, that's not what the OP asked and I fully expect them to reach the same conclusion after doing their due diligence. The cost of continued maintenance alone was a deal breaker for us.

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yes chillin the floors are not maintenance free and there were are lots of them in California and since California has plenty of tremors those floors have plenty of cracks. It is especially true for the

most beautiful floors the ones with the very large surfaces with little scoring.

I did not have to check the internet. I worked with the contractor that did the floor in our building

and he told me that all polished cement floors that have large surfaces with little scoring which is what the architects liked will crack. These people did the addition to the Tate Gallery in London and

many other famous contemporary houses and buildings so no need to go to the internet. I also saw

plenty of houses that used polished cement in California and the cement does not wear well.

I am not speaking of floors imitating other type of floors. I am speaking of larg expanses of polished cement. Beautiful but a pain to keep up.

I would think that any architect specializing in contemporary buildins would know contractors.

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The OP might not know that there is still a source of hand made concrete tiles in Mexico:

http://originalmissiontile.com/

The advantage is that the colors are quite thick, so they can withstand a chip or two without losing their good looks. They can also be sealed, or polished, in a variety of ways. High gloss polished concrete and high gloss ceramic (actually meant to be wall tiles) can be extremely slippery when wet.

The magnesite floors are extremely durable and are still used today on battleship decks. They were also on the flooring of the Maginot line in France and on at least one major subway stop in Paris (the art nouveau, one I believe). It was invented in France where it was called Sorel cement

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Are we all talking about the same thing? I am speaking about cement polished floor not the mosaico which are the cement tiles seen in the old buildings. Those do not crack but they are the worst thing I ever put down in my kitchen. They stain and are very slippery when wet. Also a pain to deal with. Ok outside of bathrooms and kitchen as long as they are not wet.

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Thank you all for your thoughts and comments. Since my first post I have found a few companies in Guadalajara, some through the Kemiko web site. Getting the first estimate tomorrow and we will also look at tile as an option before making a final decision.

Also, we had in-floor heating in our last house up north but I hadn't really thought about installing it here. Good idea tho' and I will check it out.

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We have polished concrete floors in our house in Pátzcuaro and after 5 years we have a few very minor cracks. The floors are divided by bands of small beach rocks laid in white cement, and there is a shiny coating on everything. If you're bothered by tiny cracks then this floor is probably not for you. Even if you put tile on top there will be the same little cracks underneath.

We also have in-floor heat, and if you decide to do that, please be aware that no single zone should be longer than 300 feet of tubing. Our system had only 3 zones, all of which are much too long, and as a result we have spent a lot of time and money getting it to work even marginally. My husband has just about torn out what's left of his hair working on this. It works now, but I don't think we can afford to run it. Fortunately we need it less than we would have in Colorado, but we have become very familiar with the gas truck driver. Basically it's 1500 pesos every 2 weeks.

Now if you can get it installed properly, I can vouch for the comfortable heat it produces. There's really nothing like it.

See if you can find a contractor who can properly install the floor and the radiant system. Once you have the concrete floor you don't have to do another thing to it, just sweep and mop it.

Good luck--

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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  • 2 years later...

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