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Concrete Polishing to the RescueA restoration contractor successfully salvages a concrete floor fiasco
Polished concrete with exposed aggregate is the perfect flooring material for this modern urban home.
Initially, the homeowner wanted the concrete floors to be left in their natural state, and simply sealed and waxed. When the floors weren’t poured properly, polishing was the only solution to restore them to their natural beauty.
The floors throughout the entire home are polished concrete, creating a pristine, cohesive look.
A closeup view of the floor shows the subtle beauty of the aggregate exposure.
The challengeWhen Alan Kagan, the owner of Dwellings, a modern homebuilding firm based in Dallas, built his own residence near the downtown area, he wanted the flooring throughout his entire home to be concrete because of how aesthetically pleasing concrete floors can be in a modern urban setting. The project included 2,100 square feet of flooring in the home’s two bedrooms, two baths, office, kitchen, and open living and dining area. Initially, Kagan wanted the concrete to be left in its natural state, and simply sealed and waxed. But things didn’t work out as planned.
“The contractor pouring and finishing the concrete left behind a lot of rough areas, and his solution was to apply an integrally colored cap over the existing slab. After this was done, the concrete was in worse shape than before. Alan then looked to us to offer a solution,’’ says Jeremy Redig of Floor Rescue, the concrete contractor hired to restore the floor. “We did some samples on the slab, and after talking Alan through his options based on what we had to work with, he chose natural polished concrete with small aggregate exposure due to the sustainability, low maintenance and, of course, the look. However, due to the depth of the gray integrally colored cap in the slab we had to grind deeper to get all of the gray color off.”
Restoration stepsRedig’s business specializes in polished concrete, stained concrete, concrete overlays, and epoxy coatings. While a majority of Floor Rescue’s work is commercial remodeling projects, particularly polished concrete, a lot of their work involves concrete restorations. “We tend to hear from the customer that either the original installer is out of business, can’t be found, or they just don’t do restorations of the systems they install,” he says.
On this project, Redig’s first step was to use diamond grinding machines to remove the integrally colored cap and get a consistent look in the floor. “As we continued to grind, Alan asked us to expose more and more aggregate, for both the look and to remove the unwanted gray colored concrete, until we were at large exposure. The aggregate got so large in the grinding, that some of the smaller bits started popping out of the concrete. We solved this by skimming the entire slab with a polishable decorative patch material to fill the pin holes and where the occasional piece of aggregate had popped out during the heavy grinding process,” he says.
During the polishing phase, the crew applied a lithium-silicate-based concrete densifier and chemical hardener to harden and dustproof concrete. As the polishing came to a close, they applied a penetrating and film-forming floor guard to protect the floors from stains and wear. Routine maintenance for this floor includes daily sweeping and mopping and burnishing and/or reapplying the guard as needed according to foot traffic (annually or biannually).
Although polished concrete floors work beautifully in this ultra-modern setting, Redig says their use is becoming more widespread for many applications. “Concrete flooring in general is a growing trend, and not only for those wanting an urban industrial look for their home or facility.”
Materials and equipment usedConcrete grinding machines: HTC 800 and HTC 500
Skim coat: Ardex SD-M
Concrete densifier: Liqui-Hard Ultra, from W. R. MEADOWS
Floor guard: BELLATRIX, from W. R. MEADOWS
Floor Rescue, Dallas
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