Documentation was the buzzword at the annual Concrete Polishing Luncheon & Forum held Tuesday at WOC.

“Documentation, through the use of instrumentation, will help polishing contractors understand and evaluate problems and costs for polished concrete to reach its full potential prior to, during, and after project completion,” says Harry Gressette, vice president of Polished Solution Inc., Sarasota, Fla.

About 130 people attended the event, which was hosted by Concrete Surfaces magazine and sponsored by the International Concrete Polishing & Staining Conference (Booth S12915).

Gressette, whose company polishes concrete all over the U.S., urged contractors to fully understand the slab they are about to polish. “Polishing contractors must understand the canvas or substrate that is given to them prior to starting their work,” he explains. If contractors are not familiar with concrete mix designs, he urged them to seek advice from a consultant so the slab could then be grinded properly.

Contractors also should not start out with dollar signs in their eyes. Start small with less square footage and get larger. “If you do residental floors, don’t bid on a 100,000-square-foot project,” he says. “You will not meet the project’s specifications. Start and practice small.”

Tool contractors should use profilometers to study a surface’s profile and inexpensive illuminated microscopes to clearly detect pinholes and scratches.

Speakers also urged audience members to fully understand concrete’s scratches and other impairments. “Your concerns about scratches are no different from mine,” says James McArdle, lead development specialist for 3M’s Abrasive Systems Division in Minneapolis.

Quantifying scratches’ characteristics allows polishing contractors to better polish a floor. “You take those numbers and decide how to refine that scratch,” says MaArdle. “If you have quantification of what that scratch looks like, you can develop a plan and decide if more grinding passes are necessary.”

Donald Landin, technical service senior specialist at 3M, discussed light reflection from concrete surfaces. Polishing contractors should be aware not only of gloss, but also of distinctiveness of image, or the sharpness or clarity of the image produced by the reflection of an object on a surface.

Also at the event, Concrete Surfaces editor Tom Bagsarian urged attendees to enter the magazine’s Polished Concrete Awards. Categories include residential, commercial, industrial, retail, educational, institutional, and craftsman. Look for details at www.concretesurfacesmag.com and in the March issue of Concrete Surfaces.