I’ve learned, rather painfully, that the concrete polishing industry is like the Wild West. There’s no standard language to define processes. Sometimes it’s hard to identify true “industry experts.” Some contractors are even passing off “shiny” waxed or coated concrete as “polished.”

But recently, associations have helped organize the young and unruly industry. And last year, they gave polishing contractors firmer ground to stand on when bidding projects, executing work, and explaining their product to customers and specifiers in clear, consistent language.

In September I attended the International Concrete Polishing & Staining Conference’s (ICPSC) Industry Roundtable, where the Concrete Polishing Association of America’s Jim Cuviello introduced CPAA’s Glossary of Polishing Industry Terms. Aggregate exposure, gloss measurement, reflective clarity, and reflective sheen are just some of the terms CPAA has defined.

“We need to get to a place where everybody is using the same language to define the same processes,” Cuviello told attendees.

In October, the Concrete Sawing & Drilling Association (CSDA), released two technical documents for the polishing industry. CSDA Standard ST-115 Measuring Concrete Micro Surface Texture provides procedures and benchmarks for measuring the surface texture of a concrete floor system, as well as sets the parameters to create high-quality polished concrete floors with consistency. The Best Practice, CSDA-BP-015 Green Polishing and Grinding Practices, gives guidelines for more environmentally friendly practices.

Do the documents provided by these associations live in harmony with one another, and with the expectations of those in the industry? Even when discussing the CPAA glossary at ICPSC, I witnessed pushback from some attendees who did not agree with some definitions. E-mail me at vsicaras@hanleywood.com and tell me what you think.