How To Choose The Best Diamond Pad For Concrete Countertops(1)
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The key to choosing the right diamond polishing pad (or disc) is to get a good finish of your concrete and get the most bang for your buck.
There are many different sources, names, styles and prices of diamond pads on the market. This can be confusing, and usually, the choice depends on the price. This is unfortunate, because in many cases, a cheap pad will cost you more time.
Choosing the right pad starts with evaluating what you plan to use it for.
Do you use it to carry heavy objects?
Is it for normal honing?
Do you want to polish the concrete to a high gloss?
Each task will affect the choice of pad. I will outline some variables to consider, and then create a general template to choose the right pad for the right task.
Large-diameter pads (such as 7") are more stable on a large flat area than small-diameter pads (3" and 4"). However, larger pads become unstable on narrow concrete cross-sections. Pads of 7" will not remain flat or evenly cut on concrete with a width of 3". They are also difficult to use on the vertical edges of the work surface.
When processing large areas on a large polisher, small diameter pads are less stable and more prone to gouge marks, but small polishing machines (especially pneumatic polishing machines) are effective in processing edges and narrow sections.
A good all-around size is a 5" diameter pad. Many low-cost polishers come in package deals with 4" pads. These may be difficult to control concrete with a hand held polisher. The smaller 4" pad is actually used on hard stone, which is less likely to be chipped than concrete.
Thicker pads will last longer, but thicker pads will be harder and sometimes easy to cupping when dry.
Thin pads cannot last long (especially when actively cutting), but they are more elastic. This is a great advantage when honing or polishing the internal curved integral sink.
The molded shape of the cutting surface plays an important role in cutting life and cutting quality.
The pads usually used for rough honing (30 and 50 grit) are aggressive, with open patterns and wide and deep grooves. The pad with large, open channels allows abrasive cutting residues to be ejected quickly and efficiently. When large-scale inventory removal is performed, this increases the life of the pad.
Pads with many narrow passages are best used only for polishing (400 to 3000 grit), where almost no inventory is removed. When aggressive cutting is performed and the water flowing from under the valve flap is insufficient, the narrow channel is more likely to be blocked.
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