Metal-bond diamond polishing pads (hard-bond tools) are used for polishing soft concrete, while softer diamond matrixes (soft-bond tools) are used for polishing hard concrete. Before the advent of the scratch test, contractors wouldn’t know the hardness of the floor surface so they generally started with a hard-bond tool and worked up to softer matrixes.Tools that achieve the best productivity and yield good life were used to start the polishing process. But this search could be costly in terms of labor and diamond tooling. Having a good estimate of concrete hardness beforehand greatly increases productivity.
Conducting a scratch test
Testing slabs with scratch kits helpscontractors choose the best tool to start a job. The concrete surface is scratched with as many as eight numbered “picks.” With each pick, watch for the first appearance of a scratch on the concrete. The number on the pick that first makes the scratch represents the surface’s approximate hardness. Prescott, Ariz.-based Mineral Lab makes these numbered picks, which allows you to start by selecting the appropriate polishing tool based on the hardness of the surface. The science isn’t exact and each tool manufacturer has slightly different ways to match its tools to hardness. But from the pick number, you can quickly zero in on the best tool choice, and it’s more accurate than a seat-of-the-pants perception of hardness. Hardness varies around the country. What’s considered hard concrete is different in the different area.
Selecting a diamond tool
When you know the surface hardness based on the scratch kit, you can select the correct polishing pads. Diamond tool manufacturers know that concrete hardness and abrasive-wear resistance relate to the productivity of the polishing process, especially for the beginning metal-bond steps. For example, manufacturers offer three to six blends of matrix metals and diamonds for a 40-grit pad. A selection based on perception adds uneccessary costs. Today, contractors can use the scratch test to reduce the number of steps and achieve more accuracy.
The quality of the diamond is also important; fracturing and breaking as they grind so good cutting surfaces are always present. Manufacturers often blend quality levels to provide the right cutting surface for different concrete hardnessess.TOP Diamond Tools makes the different segment series per metal bond type.