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  • The floor before application of the microtopping. The intention was to polish the existing concrete, but the surface was too soft for the grinding process.
  • An integrally colored microtopping, troweled smooth and sealed with a urethane, was the solution to replicating the look of polished concrete.
  • A close-up view of the original floor, showing fine dusting of the weak surface. A densifier was applied to strengthen the floor before installation of the microtopping.
  • The microtopping system was installed thinly enough to ensure that there would be no elevation difference between the wood floors and the concrete floors in the home.
  • The first coat of epoxy, broadcast with sand.
  • The floor after a urethane sealer and finishing wax were applied. The high-gloss sealer gives the floor the gleam of polished concrete.

The challengeThe concrete floor that had been originally placed in this home was seriously defective. It was so soft, you could dig a hole in it with your shoe. The original plan was to have a combination of polished concrete and wood floors. However, the wood floors were installed before the concrete was placed so that when the concrete was poured, there would be no elevation difference.

"Unfortunately, there was a problem with the concrete mix and the required strength was not achieved. Because an in-floor heating system was installed prior to the pour, removal of the defective concrete would have been quite costly. I was called in by the ready-mix company to see if there were any other options to achieve a look similar to polished concrete," says Marty Meewis, owner of Colors on Concrete, a company that specializes in decorative floor coatings for concrete.

Design goalsThe homeowner, who was going for a modern industrial look, wanted to keep the color of the floor as close to the natural concrete as possible. "The final color wasn't chosen until the day of the final trowel coat," says Meewis. "The owner and his wife sat with me and we mixed a color that matched some of the colors of the stonework in the main family room."

Secrets to successThe floor to receive the microtopping was just over 1,000 square feet. "I knew I could achieve a flat, smooth surface so that when a sealer is applied it would give the polished look," says Meewis.

After giving the floor a good cleaning, Meewis and his crew applied a lithium-based densifier to restore strength to the existing concrete. The next day, they primed the floor with two coats of a two-part moisture-blocking epoxy, broadcast with sand. Once the epoxy had cured, a scratch coat (a sanded microtopping) was squeegeed down. Finally, two coats of an integrally colored smooth topping were applied by trowel.

The final step was to seal the floor with a two-part high-gloss urethane that, when mixed, is the consistency of water so it can be applied by brush, roller or sprayer. "I chose a solvent-resistant pump sprayer for two reasons: ease of application and the fact that I could control the coverage without the risk of lap marks," says Meewis. His crew applied two coats 12 hours apart to allow for the proper dry time between each coat.

A 'new generation' of decorative concreteSince Meewis started his business in 2005, he has been working consistently installing concrete floor coatings for both residential and commercial clients. "Every year, I see more decorative concrete, both inside and out. Not only is it popular, but it is much more artistic. With the advancements in materials being offered and the artisans willing to create new styles of application, I can see a whole new generation of decorative concrete coming," he says.

Materials usedMicrotopping system: Cemlogic MT-200 resurfacer from Floric Polytec
Sealer: Poly 250 from Arizona Polymer Flooring

Contractor Colors on Concrete
Upland, Calif.

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