Polished Concrete Overlay Offers a Seamless Solution to a Buckled Wood Floor

Project submitted by Tom Zilian, Madstone LLC, Barrington, R.I.
By Anne Balogh, ConcreteNetwork.com columnist

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The challenge

Wood and constant moisture exposure are a bad combination, as these Rhode Island homeowners discovered when the wood floor in their living room began to buckle. “This was a clear sign of a moisture problem,” says Tom Zilian of Madstone LLC, who was brought in to diagnose the situation and install a new polished concrete overlay. “We immediately performed a calcium chloride test and found that the concrete slab beneath the flooring was emitting a high moisture transmission rate.” Clearly, the wood floor had to go.

Design goals

In addition to completely replacing the existing flooring and correcting the moisture problem, the homeowners wanted a new low-maintenance floor covering that would harmonize with their modern decor. They liked the idea of a polished floor overlay that could be custom matched to their desired color and would provide a high-gloss, seam-free surface.

Secrets to success

To prepare the concrete slab and bring the moisture transmission rate down within the overlay system’s tolerance, Madstone removed the wood floor, diamond ground the existing concrete, and filled any cracks using an epoxy repair material. Next, they applied an epoxy-based moisture vapor treatment and then broadcast it with silica sand to impart the optimal profile for bonding of the new self-leveling overlay.

Once the high moisture emission rate was corrected, Madstone installed a self-leveling portland-cement-based overlay (Param 6000, from Duraamen Engineered Products) that can be polished with standard concrete polishing equipment. “In addition to polishing well, another benefit of this product is the ability to have it custom color matched,” says Zilian. “We also like the long working time, the consistency, the tenacious bond, and the ease of application.”

On this project, the homeowner wanted the floor to match a Benjamin Moore paint color called Baja Dunes. Due to the light shade, Madstone used Param 6000 in a white base color and then integrally colored it with premeasured packets of the desired pigments.

After allowing the overlay to cure for 24 hours, Madstone began polishing using a planetary grinder equipped with 80-grit metal-bond diamonds to remove the surface laitance and expose the fine aggregate. Next, they moved to a 150-grit diamond and applied a silica-based densifier. This was followed by three successive passes with diamond-impregnated pads to work up to a high shine. “It’s only a five-step process, but it reveals a rich, deep shine,” says Zilian. The final step was to apply a high-gloss protective finish coat and burnish the floor with a 3,000-grit diamond-impregnated pad.

The market for polished concrete overlays

Madstone specializes in concrete polishing for commercial and residential flooring projects throughout New England, and during the 15 years that Zilian has been in business, he has seen an upsurge in the demand for polished concrete overlays. “The demand is growing as awareness grows, especially in the residential and small high-end commercial markets,” he says. His clients often include image-based businesses in retail or office spaces who are trying to portray an ultramodern, minimalist design aesthetic.

Polished overlays offer some distinct qualities that can’t be achieved with other flooring surfaces, according to Zilian, including the ability to create a white polished concrete floor with a flawless finish and even distribution of aggregate. “Most importantly, polished overlays are a good solution when the existing concrete is in such poor condition (cracks, spalling, pitted, out of level) that polishing the existing concrete would look undesirable and too industrial,” he says.

Check out Zilian’s tips for polished overlays, for more in depth information on placing, polishing and burnishing.

Materials used

Epoxy crack filler: Duraamen ECF
Epoxy-based moisture vapor treatment: Duraamen Perdure MVT
Self-leveling concrete overlay: Duraamen Param 6000
Concrete densifier: Duraamen Hermetix
Floor finish: Duraamen Hermetix Shield


Tom Zilian
Madstone LLC, Barrington, R.I.

Phone: 401-429-0172

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