Architectural Concrete Glossary
Green Umbrella Concrete Resources
Architectural Concrete Glossary
Architectural Concrete Glossary of Terms
ABRASION RESISTANCE: Ability of a surface to resist being worn away by rubbing and friction.
ABRASIVE PAD: A circular pad, resembling a typical floor maintenance burnishing pad that has the capability of refining
the concrete surface on a microscopic level that may or may not contain industrial-grade diamonds.
BONDED ABRASIVE: Abrasive medium that is held within a bonding that erodes away to expose new abrasive medium as it is used.
BONDED ABRASIVE POLISHED CONCRETE: The multi-step operation of mechanically grinding, honing, and polishing a concrete floor
surface with bonded abrasives to cut a concrete floor surface and to refine each cut to the maximum potential to achieve a specified
level of CPC defined finished gloss.
BURNISHED POLISHED CONCRETE: The multi-step operation of mechanical friction-rubbing a concrete floor surface with
or without waxes or resins to achieve a specified level of CPC-defined finished gloss. This operation yields a less durable finish
and requires more maintenance than bonded abrasive polished concrete.
CONCRETE SLURRY: A mixture of water and any finely divided insoluble material, such as portland cement, slag, or clay in suspension.
CONCRETE SUBSTRATE: The ground below a slab, existing plain concrete paving, or a structural slab designed to carry loads.
CURING COMPOUNDS: A liquid applied to the surface of newly placed concrete that retards the evaporation of water and, if
pigmented, reflects sunlight.
CUT: The removal of a horizontal layer of a concrete surface with the use of mechanical equipment and optional liquid enhancers
to expedite the process.
DENSIFIER: A combination of silicate and water-based compounds that react in the surface of the concrete to produce additional
calcium silicate hydrate (CSH); silicates are combined with carrier compounds, most commonly sodium-, potassium-, or lithium-
based to aid the process. Some products also contain siliconate.
DISTINCTION OF IMAGE (DOI): A measure of how clearly a reflective image will appear in a reflective surface.
DYE: A colorant for concrete that is applied and penetrates into the concrete while it is in solution and results in a stained
appearance. Concrete dyes do not produce color via chemical reaction; they are usually a synthetic organic compound and can
degrade when exposed to light or alkalinity.
EDGE DETAILING: The act of blending or installing a contrasting border along the perimeter of the room(s) using a liquid coating.
EDGE GRINDING: Processing or grinding a floor to the vertical wall or edge in a way that mimics the aggregate exposure of the
primary floor field.
EDGE TREATMENT: A defined border of a clear or pigmented coating that is applied around the perimeter of a room.
EFFLORESCENCE: A generally white deposit formed when water-soluble compounds emerge in solution from concrete substrates
and precipitate by reaction such as carbonation or crystallize by evaporation.
FINAL FILM THICKNESS: The depth when wet (wet film thickness) and the final depth when dry (dry film thickness).
FILM FORMING COATING: A material that is designed to be a surface coating on concrete with a minimal film thickness
of greater than 0.05 mils. which meets the OSHA requirements for slip resistance as tested by ASTM D2047 and stain resistance
of ASTM D1308.
FINISHED GLOSS: Processing a concrete floor surface to achieve a specified level of finished gloss prior to application of any protective treatment; Flat [ground], satin [honed], polished,and highly polished are measured in reflective clarity (DOI), and reflective sheen (spectacular gloss). Finished Gloss is classified as levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 with varying degrees of reflective clarity, and sheen.
GLOSS MEASUREMENT: A determination of spectacular gloss that could also incorporate distinction of image, haze and Rspec.
GLOSS METER: A device that is capable of measuring spectacular gloss at 20, 60, or 80 degrees.
GRINDING STAGE: The steps of the polishing process that removes the concrete uniformly in preparation for the honing stage. This stage is typically the beginning for Class C and D specified floors and may meet the requirements for a level 1 specified gloss. This stage consists of any bonded abrasive that is 100 grit or lower.
HEAD PRESSURE: Determined by the combination of machine weight and number of grinding heads touching the floor. Knowing the head pressure of a grinding machine aids in choosing the correct tooling.
HONING STAGE: The steps of the polishing process that refine the concrete in preparation for the polishing stage. This stage can sometimes be the beginning steps for Class B specified floors and may meet the requirements for a level 2 specified gloss. This stage consists of diamond tooling within the 100-400 grit range.
HYBRID POLISHED CONCRETE: A multi-step operation, using either standard grinding/polishing equipment, lightweight equipment, high-speed burnishing equipment, or a combination of, to combine the mechanical grinding, honing, and polishing process with the friction rubbing process by utilizing bonded abrasives, abrasive pads, or a combination of, to achieve the specified level of CPC defined finished gloss.
LIQUID DENSIFIER: An Aqueous solution of Silicon Dioxide dissolved in one of the following Hydroxides that penetrates into the concrete surface and reacts with the Calcium Hydroxide to provide a permanent chemical reaction that hardens and densifies the wear surface of the cementitious portion of the concrete.
METAL BOND TOOLING: Diamond tooling that contains industrial-grade diamonds with a metallic bonded matrix that is attached to rotating heads to refine the concrete substrate. These tools are available in levels of soft, medium, and hard metallic matrices that are matched with contrasting concrete substrates (i.e. hard matrix/soft concrete, medium matrix/medium concrete, soft matrix/hard concrete) and are typically used in the grinding and early honing stages of the polishing process.
PIGMENTED MICRO STAINS: Fine pigment particles suspended in water-based silicate solution that penetrates concrete and reacts with calcium hydroxide to lock in color particles
POLISHED CONCRETE: The act of changing a concrete floor surface, with or without aggregate exposure, to achieve a specified level of gloss using one of the listed classifications; Bonded Abrasive Polished Concrete, Burnished Polished Concrete, or Hybrid Polished Concrete.
POLISHING STAGE: The final stages of the polishing process that refine the concrete to the specified finished gloss level. This stage consists of diamond tooling that is 800 grit or higher.
REFLECTIVE CLARITY: The Distinction of Image value of the degree of sharpness and crispness of the reflection of overhead objects when measured by a device in accordance to ASTM D5767.
REFLECTIVE SHEEN: The specular gloss value of the degree of gloss reflected from a surface, at specified angles of illumination, when measured by a device in accordance to ASTM D523-08.
RESIN BOND TOOLING: Diamond tooling that contains industrial grade diamonds within a resinous bonded matrix (poly-phenolic, ester-phenolic, thermoplastic-phenolic) that is attached to rotating heads to refine the concrete substrate. Resin bond tooling is typically used for the later honing and polishing stages.
RSPEC: The peak gloss value over a very narrow angle.
SEALER – SEMI IMPREGNATING STAIN PROTECTION: A film-forming material which will penetrate into the polished and densified concrete leaving a protective surface film of less than 0.5 mils which meets the OSHA requirements for slip resistance as tested by ASTM D 20471, and stain resistance of ASTM D 13082.
SEALER – IMPREGNATING STAIN PROTECTION: Non film forming stain and food resistant penetrating sealer designed to be applied to densified and polished concrete. Material must meet the requirements for slip resistance as tested by ANSI A137.1, and Stain resistance of ASTM D 13082.
SPECULAR GLOSS: A single measurement of gloss by shining a known amount of light at a surface within a specified angle of illumination and quantifying the reflectance. Specified angles of illumination are 20 degrees for gloss ranges higher than 70 GU, 60 degrees for gloss ranges between 10-70 GU, and 85 Degrees for gloss ranges below 10 GU.
STAIN: The deliberate action of applying a colored liquid material to change the appearance of the concrete surface. The products used can be acid stains, pigmented water-based stains, or penetrating dyes.
STAIN RESISTANT: As defined in ASTM D 1308 – Standard Test Method for Effect of Household Chemicals on Clear and Pigmented Organic Finishes.
STATIC COEFFICIENT OF FRICTION (SCOF): The ratio of the horizontal component of force applied to a body that just overcomes the resistance to slipping to the vertical component of the weight of the object or force applied.
SURFACE COATED CONCRETE: Surface coated concrete does not conform to the definition of polished concrete per the CPC. It is the operation of applying a film-forming coating to a concrete floor surface to achieve a specified level of finished gloss. Durability depends on the quality of the chemical coating used, the amount of traffic across the floor, and floor maintenance.
TRIBOMETER: An instrument or device specifically designed to measure the available level of traction upon a floor or walkway surface.
WET GRINDING: Mechanically grinding the surface using water as a cooling agent for the diamond tooling. The water acts as a lubricant and reduces friction, usually extending the life of the tooling. Wet grinding also aids in keeping silica dust particles from becoming airborne.
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