Polished concrete is concrete that has been hardened with a chemical densifier and ground with progressively finer diamond tooling. If possible concrete should be of an ideal strength of 32Mpa for a full gloss finish, other strengths of concrete can however be polished to some degree. The best time to do your research and make inquiry's regarding your polished concrete floor is before you pour your concrete.
Typically, concrete is not considered polished before 400 grit and it is normally finished to either the 800, 1500, or 3000 grit level, depending on the level of gloss you are after. In simple terms, the process of polishing concrete is similar to sanding wood, however a coating is not placed on your concrete unlike timber. Concrete polishers are much more heavy-duty than timber floorboard polishers and are used to gradually grind down surfaces to the desired degree of shine and smoothness. What is left is a very strong stain repellent surface that feels good under foot and looks aesthetically beautiful.
Your options for polished concrete are the level of aggregate you would like to expose, a light, medium or full grind will decide how much grinding will need to be done and therfore also change the price per square meter rate. After the grind is completed we can then go to the level of gloss required.
The closest equivalent example would be polished granite or marble. Coating concrete after grinding is not considered polished although many people do refer to this as "polished concrete" it is however not the same product. Ensure that what you are getting is exactly what you are expecting and more importantly, paying for. We operate within Greater Melbourne and have been called out to redo concrete floors where the owners were expecting polished concrete and got a coating or sealer. Policrete have completed many projects in and around Melbourne and always left our customers amazed with what they were able to achieve out of their concrete. Equipment used also makes a massive difference in the quality of the finish, so ensure that your contractor is using the best equipment available and most importantly is using premium quality diamond pads and polishing pads. Without the right set up and accessories a high quality polished concrete surface is not attainable.