Coating Epoxy Floors – Epoxies and Urethanes 

Have you ever tried using a combo shampoo/conditioner? You know the product that claims to be able to shampoo and condition all in one step; saving you time, money and be the cure-all for your hair cleansing needs? Well maybe if you have a crew cut this is a great fit, but anyone with longer hair, who has tried this method, knows it doesn’t work. The product, rather than being good at anything, kind of stinks at both. It neither cleans that well nor conditions the hair. For the best results you shampoo and then condition. It’s a two-step process.

The same is true in epoxy floor systems. Some claim that epoxy is the best top coat, some say urethane is the best, and yet some marketing claims that their new poly, -aspartic or -urea, is 10X stronger and does the work of both. (Whenever I see this, I always think of the elixirs of the early 1900’s.)

In our commercial epoxy broadcast systems, we double topcoat our floors. Yes, a double topcoat. We coat with epoxy, wait and then coat over the systems again with a urethane.

The 1st Topcoat 
After a broadcast, the floor needs a topcoat to encapsulate the chip or sand media and offer a way to ‘seal’ the floor. The tried and true method of a UV-stable, 100% solids epoxy seems to offer the best in this area. 100% solids fill in the voids, offers additional build and can provide a nice clean installation. Urethanes are not recommended here because they are applied in thinner applications. Whereas an epoxy may be installed in a coat of 12-16 mils and maintain that thickness when cured, a urethane will need to be installed somewhere 3-6 mils and after curing be 2-4 mils thick. This can ‘look’ good at installation but fails to offer the needed impact resistant, and the ability of the floor to be protected against a possible dig into the floor. The epoxy ‘locks’ the floor together, wherein the urethane just offers a protective film. The long-term consequence of only using a urethane is that in time the broadcast media can break free and start to disintegrate or peel away from the floor system.

If the floor is not exposed to commercial traffic flow, or if someone wants to cut the budget, you can finish the floor here. Leaving only the 100% solids epoxy body coat. The long-term downfall here is the floor can wear traffic patterns where there is heavy traffic; think front door, entrance to a kitchen, or bathroom foyers. The floor is also limited in its finish options. A gloss finish is the only available option with 100% solids.

The 2nd Topcoat 
This is where urethane can shine, literally, if you choose a gloss finish, or can also mute a floor to a satin finish, or even add some slip-resistance in a wet area like a wash bay or shower. Urethanes are best applied in thinner coats 4-6 mils. When built on top of an epoxy floor, urethanes offer a coating that is less scuff and scratch resistant. Urethanes by nature are also more UV stable and can provide a protective film to the long-term color stability of the floor. Most of all, they just add long-term durability and more selective finish options for your application.

So next time the marketing world tells you that you can shampoo/condition in one step, or sell you a paint that is a primer/paint all-in-one. Just ask, is this really the most effective way to proceed? Does this actually produce the results I want?

Of course, if we can help with one of your projects, or you have more questions, need samples. or want to chat epoxy, please reach out. We are here to help and are grateful to be part of your project.


Polishing Vertical Surfaces

Polished concrete offers a refined clarity to a floor. Unlike a sheen from a topical sealer, it’s more like a polished stone. As the concrete floor is polished there may be some other areas that catch our eye; how about that accent wall or the face of the steps, can those be finished and polished as well, just like the floor?

Yes. Most vertical surfaces can be polished, just like the floor. There are a few variables, at play that might help with the decision, or help offer a plan of action if this is an option.

With vertical surfaces, the concrete placed can be poured into forms and then pulled the next day or later. This process typically leaves ‘bug holes’ or voids in the concrete. If looking for an exposed stone look, this may be more difficult. The form marks will also leave impressions that when polished will expose a variety of stone exposure. If you are pouring new concrete to be polished the best solution is to wipe the wall, during the pour. In this process (not all schedules or timelines will allow for this), you would remove the form when pouring and hand trowel the concrete. This creates a denser surface and a more uniform consistency. Another option is to use a melamine or laminate type liner on the inside of the wall form and add the use of a superplasticizer into the concrete. This allows for a more dense and smooth surface to then be polished.

In either way, polishing vertical surfaces will require the use of several hand tools with a variety of pads and applicators. The process to polish this vertical surface will take a bit more time, patience and attention to detail but is possible in most instances. In an area where the concrete is not in the best condition to polish the existing concrete, an overlay can be used create a thin layer of new concrete to be worked and finished, much like the floor.

Of course, if we can help with questions or planning aroud vertical surfaces for your project, please email us at create@dancerconcrete.com or by phone at 260.748.2252


Cold Weather Concrete Pouring for Polished Floors

As winter approaches, construction continues. Projects even with the best intentions of ‘getting closed up’ before winter sometimes still need concrete poured for floors that will be polished. When pouring concrete in freezing type conditions it’s important to keep them warm enough to allow the curing process to continue.

Why does concrete need a blanket?

Concrete is made with water and as you can guess in winter/freezing conditions the water will want to freeze. During the placement phase, concrete can be warmed up with hot water or have accelerators mixed in with the concrete that heats up the mixture, but once placed and the initial reaction dissipates the concrete is exposed to the conditions. Blanketing concrete is a common practice in which insulated blankets are placed over a fresh slab to keep the warmth of this initial reaction to stay longer, and keep the concrete processing through its typical 28-day curing cycle. If concrete freezes, the curing process stops, and will not start back up. This means that if concrete freezes early in its placement it won’t reach its full potential for hardness or durability.

Blankets and Polished Concrete Floors.

Blankets perform a structural purpose of keeping concrete hard, dense, and strong; but what about aesthetics? In polished and stained concrete flooring, the durability of the concrete is an advantage of concrete flooring, but we also need the new floor to be aesthetically pleasing. The drawback on blanketing concrete is that the insulated blankets keep all moisture from the curing process under the blanket, (really good for hard concrete) but this moisture then pools and follows the crinkles in the insulated blanket and can cause some unsightly marking, that becomes a permanent part of the concrete.

What to do?

Some initial steps by the placement contractor may help prevent blanket mark staining. These include:

  • Waiting as long as possible to blanket the concrete
  • If possible getting through the first night without the blankets
  • I have heard of a curing paper that can be used that will not leave markings. The process is to install this film- then the blankets. I am not aware of any successful projects or the added cost for this. Please email me if you have information on this.

If blanket marks do appear, there may be some remedies such as:

  • Grinding through the blankets marks. This will expose more aggregate in the concrete.
  • Using a dye or stain to accent the markings, adding to a ‘movement’ look (if desired)

Notes

  • Every concrete slab and condition will react differently to these markings.
  • An on-site sample can show how marks will affect final finish or remove marks.
  • The General Contractor, Owner, Architect, Concrete Contractor, and Concrete Polisher should all be involved in discussions around the blanket process, and how it might affect polishing process and pricing.

Of course, if we can help with a polishing project feel free to call us at 260-748-2252 or email at create @danceroncrete.com.

Nick


The Modern Office

The way we work is changing how office spaces are designed. It seems that offices are being design to be more open to be more collaborative, more transparent, and feeling more like a place to hang out, than just work. Gone are the days of cloth cubicles and carpet installed from wall to wall. Now you may see a lowered natural wood panel, or frosted glass being use to separate space for privacy while still achieving a much more collaborative work-space.

One of the other upgrades in newer offices is the use of the existing concrete floors as a finished material. This may be used in a common space, a hallway, or even a private office.

Unless noted on your furniture manufactures specifications the casters at the bottom of your chairs are probably plastic. With the weight of a person and being abraded over the same surface day in and day out – this may be the hardest worn traffic pattern a floor may every see. We have known this for years and those clear plastic mats were used to protect the floor underneath and keep the chair moving smoothly in and out. But with a new office remodel, the aesthetics of one of those mats just don’t fit the bill.

One of the best ways to keep the chair gliding smoothly and keep the floor from pre-maturely wearing is the use of rubber wheeled casters. These rubber wheels are much softer than their plastic counterpart, and allow you to use your office chair with no need for one of those plastic floor mats. Other than concrete – these rubber casters also work on Carpet and other hard surface flooring.

Amazon carries a variety of style and brands. Get the stock look of a standard caster or if you are feeling a bit adventurous switch out for the roller blade wheel style.

Rubber Casters

 

 


Get a GRIP on it!

One of the biggest concerns of our clients is a slip-resistant surface.  When we use urethane for the flooring treatment, there are several options available to create a slip-resistant finish.  The information below is for smooth coatings such as a clear urethane sealer or a tinted urethane sealer as part of an epoxy floor coating. For information about slip resistance on polished concrete floors, click here.

The grit used in our final urethanes is a fine grade aluminum oxide additive. This additive is mixed integrally with the catalyzed urethane resulting in a fully encapsulated mixture for long-term durability.  This grit offers better traction than a standard finish and is a must in wet areas such as a shower, kitchen, or a wash area. The grip additive is ideal for areas that are subject to the constant presence of liquids such as showers but isn’t always suitable for areas that have brief spills such as garages and locker rooms.

The grit additive seems like it would be a good fit to use for most slip-resistant surface applications, ie. safety requirements. It will, however, retain dirt as opposed to a surface that does not have the slip resistant application.  The floor surface is smooth enough to mop and clean but may need some additional cleanings or a more aggressive method (such as spraying, or scrubbing) to achieve a pristine look. The grit additive is only available in the Satin finish but once mixed and applied it will have a more matte appearance.

When deciding whether or not to use the grip or not, it’s best to have our design team review with you and assess the liquids used in the area and the safety standards that are required or essential to you. Physical samples of each option are available during this review.  The finishes available in a urethane sealed system include Gloss, Satin, Satin w/ Grip (matte sheen).

Summary of Grip Additive in Urethane Topcoats

  • Increased Safety and Slip Coefficient
  • A must for wet areas
  • Can track dirt and require more aggressive cleaning methods such as scrubbing with a rotary scrubber or manual deck brush.
  • Satin w/ Grip (matte sheen)
  • Other grip options are available in epoxy systems such as sand broadcast.
  • No cost upgrade

Polished Concrete in Commercial Bathrooms

Authentic polished concrete is known for its long term durability and is a popular choice in high-traffic consumer areas such as corridors, multi-purpose spaces and retail. Its durability lies in the inherent strength of the concrete as a building material plus a refined surface through mechanical polishing and an application of a sealing system. Polished concretes durability comes from the products used in the sealing process – a concrete densifier and a stain guard. These products penetrate into the open pore structure of the concrete leaving either a very thin film (just a few microns) to a non-visible surface film of the sealer. This allows the surface to be very abrasion resistant and eliminates the need of the stripping and waxing cycle. In addition, it will offer the ability to refine or re-polish the floor years into the future, giving the floor a brand new look at a much more affordable cost. This eliminates having to remove and replace another flooring material.

Polished concrete will age differently in bathrooms and areas prone to more spills. Polished concrete is still considered a porous surface and can be affected by standing water or high acidic liquids such as urine. These can etch the surface affecting the sealer and profiling the surface to continue to allow stains.

When designing this area you may want to create a sense of continuity by continuing the floor from hall or open space into the bathrooms.  When we work in this type of environment we recommend a urethane sealed concrete floor as opposed to a polished concrete floor. The urethane sealing system is a two-coat process of a water-based epoxy primer and high-wear catalyzed urethane topcoat. This topcoat can also utilize an anti-slip additive that will aid in slip resistance. This urethane sealing system, although very strong, does not have the same abrasion resistance you will see in a full polished concrete floor. Typically, stain resistance is more important in and area as a bathroom. The transition leading into the bathroom is typically completed at a saw joint leading into it and it can easily be hidden under the door with no need for a transition strip. To the general-purpose user of the area a difference in appearance is likely to go unnoticed.  The urethane sealer is compatible with natural colored, dyed, and reactive stain coloring methods as well. Unlike polishing, when using a urethane sealer, it is very important to check the relative humidity of the concrete.

An alternative choice would be to leave the bathrooms polished.  Should this option be chosen, additional maintenance or urinal pads may be required to keep the floor in a ‘like-new’ condition. You also can choose to leave the floor as is and allow the floor to develop a worn-patina look. Many restaurants and park departments allow this patina to develop.  You might notice should at a few older Chipotle’s they bring the polish directly into their restrooms.  However, most have since moved to a high-strength urethane mortar system with integral cove.

As in most facades of construction there are many options available. The final decision involves choosing the right floor, balancing client’s expectations, budget constraints and construction schedules.

Should you have any questions or need help with the best choice for your concrete bathroom finished floor, please email me at nickdancer@dancerconcrete.com.


NOT ALL FLOORS ARE CREATED EQUAL

By Abigail Reuille 

When thinking about starting your upcoming flooring project, the first logical step is to gather a few different quotes from a few different companies. This allows you to understand your project more thoroughly, feel out the professionalism of each company, and to determine which numbers will work with your budget. We agree with all of this – discovering all of your options is always helpful and allows you to understand the full scope of your project.

What we disagree on is that all floors are created equal. When you get a quote from Dancer Concrete Design, we want you to understand that our chip epoxy broadcast floors are above the industry standard and beyond the floor you will receive if you were to choose a competitor. Our professional in-house craftsmen install top-quality, guaranteed floors. The chart below will prove that our products and chip epoxy floor installations are superior to the competition.

Breakdown of Products for a 1,000 SF Chip Epoxy Floor Project

Dancer Concrete
Design Broadcast
Competitors’ Broadcasts
Preparation Full preparation.
Completely preps the surface.
Grinding to scratch surface.
Leaves dark spots during prep.
Joint Fill Seamless options available. Joints left open.
Primer 5 Gallons. Penetrating epoxy. No primer. Primer and Body are one coat.
This can end up being problematic.
Body Coat 5 Gallons. 100% pigmented solids. 2.25 Gallons.
Chip Media 150 lbs. 500 standard blends
+ custom blends available.
75 lbs. 6-8 stock color options available.
Top Coat UV top coat. 8.5 Gallons. 5 Gallons.
Finishing Optional Urethane High-Wear
Topcoat. 2.5 Gallons.
N/A.

 


CONTROL JOINTS

By Nick Dancer and Abigail Reuille

What are control joints? How/with what do we fill them and why? These are common questions when starting your concrete flooring project, whether it be concrete polishing or epoxy floor coatings. First, control joints (sometimes called “contraction joints”) are planned, cut lines in the concrete that are cut soon after the concrete is initially poured. Their purpose is to control the cracking in the concrete slab as it shifts and settles. When concrete cures, some of the water used in pouring the concrete evaporates, causing some shrinking and cracking. With well-placed control joints, the cracking will hopefully occur along these joints. This will produce a more aesthetically-pleasing floor in the long run.

When finishing your concrete floor, unattended control joints can leave an unfinished appearance. We want your floor to look nice, perform in simple maintenance, and meet all expectations. To take care of this, we offer a few different options.

For epoxy floor coatings, filling the control joints will provide a completely seamless floor. This means water, dirt, and other debris will not enter the control joints and the control joint pattern will not be seen. Non-moving control joints (joints in a concrete floor that has already cured) will be over-filled with an epoxy resin, and then ground off before the rest of the floor is coated.

When polishing a concrete floor, filling the control joints will also result in seamlessness. The joints will not collect water, dirt, or other debris – but the joints will be visible. Because of this, different colors of joint filler are available to match either the natural hue of the concrete or a dye/stain that is chosen for the finished floor. A polyurea product is used, which has a fast cure time and proven color retention. The product is pumped into the open joint so that it overflows and is then shaved off. The rest of the polishing process then ensues.

Another method of filling control joints offered at Dancer Concrete Design is by using elastomeric joint sealants at cold joints. Cold joints are either where two different flooring types meet (tile meeting concrete) or where two different pours of concrete meet (newly poured concrete meets an older concrete slab). This elastomeric material has great heat and chemical resistance, and is able to perform well at low temperatures.

 

DancerConcreteDesign_ControlJoints


A CLEAN SOLUTION FOR A DIRTY JOB

By Nick Dancer and Abigail Reuille

When considering polished concrete or epoxy floor coatings as a flooring solution, clients may be concerned about the mess that may be left behind. This is a valid concern since clouds of dust commonly come to mind when thinking of concrete projects. The dust created through preparing, cutting and grinding concrete surfaces is unavoidable. It’s how we, at Dancer Concrete Design, control that dust that makes all the difference.

We think that dust control is a large part of a satisfactory project. To achieve this, we hook up our equipment to specialty vacuums created to handle concrete dust. These vacuums have purging systems that allow the vacuum to clean its filters of the fine concrete dust while continuing to perform. There are different vacuums used depending on the size and scope of each project.

Generally, our team creates less dust than other construction trades on a project. If a situation presents itself where the maximum dust control is necessary, we offer these additional options:

  • Dust control package: An extra team member is on-site throughout the grinding processes to vacuum all dust left behind by the main grinder.
  • Hanging extra tape and plastic: This is popular in industrial settings where intricate machines require the utmost protection, as well as in residential settings where entire rooms can be closed off during the grinding processes to prevent any dust from entering.
  • Implementing air scrubbers: Air scrubbers collect any loose dust that may have escaped into the air.
  • Vacuuming floors at the end of the project instead of using microfibers.

With all the dust control efforts, there is always a chance of small amounts of dust during a project. This can be simply from walking across the floor and getting dust stuck to footwear. We do recommend a thorough cleaning of your space when we leave the job site, but we reassure you that our best efforts will be taken to control concrete dust.


Polished Concrete Slip Resistance

By Nick Dancer and Abigail Reuille

Polished concrete flooring looks beautiful in interior settings, is extremely durable, and is fully customizable. Although there are obvious benefits of polished concrete, a common concern about the flooring solution is the slip resistance – or perceived lack thereof. It is important to remember that while polished concrete is shiny, shine does not always constitute slipperiness.

Any hard surface flooring may be slippery when wet. While polished concrete is shiny, it is much less slippery than it seems to appear. Even when polished to a 1600-grit finish (super sheen and reflectivity), polished concrete flooring still can meet the ADA and OSHA slip coefficient recommendations.

A draw to polished concrete is that there is no topical surface on the finished floor – the sealers penetrate into the pores of the concrete, making the surface extremely durable. However, there are also options to add to the surface of the concrete to increase slip resistance. These options include urethane and epoxies where anti-slip grit can be added to ensure maximum traction when working in wet environments.

Here is an article that delves deeper into the slip resistance of polished concrete.


Colored Concrete

By Nick Dancer and Abigail Reuille

While the gray hues of natural concrete are certainly appealing, sometimes colored concrete is desired to fit the look a client is envisioning. Adding color to concrete that has already been poured and cured is an option that Dancer Concrete Design offers when polishing a concrete floor.

There are two different ways to add color to concrete – Penetrating Dyes and Reactive Stains – and each has its own unique set of benefits and reasons for use. It is important to clarify traffic patterns, stain resistance needs, and overall aesthetic of a space before selecting a coloring method.

Penetrating dyes are the more affordable coloring option of the two. These dyes penetrate the concrete surface much like wood stains penetrate wood. While some variation throughout the floor can be expected, dyes create a more uniform, vivid color throughout the floor. Dyes are typically chosen for their fast installation time, affordability, uniformity, and the bold coloring they produce. Keep in mind that penetrating dyes cannot be used outdoors and are more susceptible to discoloration than reactive stains.

Reactive stains contain mineral compounds that “react” with the cement in concrete, creating a marbled and unique coloring pattern in the floor. When applied, the stain appears as greenish yellow. After reacting with the cement, the color turns to a rich brown or leathery red. Because of this process, reactive stains are available in earthy tones with limited color options. Reactive stains offer a more permanent solution and most colors can be used outdoors. All reactive stains can be implemented indoors as well.

Whether a dye or stain is selected in the design process of planning a space, there is a concrete coloring method that can fit every situation and style. It is important to keep in mind the benefits of each, how the space will be used, and the overall desired design of the end environment.


Simple Design

By Alexis Dancer

What is good design? What is great design? What makes the difference between a good design and a great design? A great design appears to be simple at its completion because of the organization, process, and planning put into the design at the onset. I do not know what said this first, but they were brilliant. Design is an ongoing planning process that is put into play to create a functional space. The point of the design process is to take a jumbled knot and to turn it into a clean, straight line with just a few curves to add interest. 

Great design appears to be simple, but simple is not a popular adjective for American interiors. Everywhere we look there is just more stuff. More information, more advertising, and more clutter in our minds as well as in our homes. As with the items that we obtain, a building can also become over-cluttered in terms of design elements. There is something to be said about simple spaces or spaces that are simply designed well. Simple and great designs look beautiful yet continue to serve their purpose.

To encourage simple design, let’s simplify our building materials. Concrete is an obvious choice as a building material for many different reasons: it can be molded and shaped to fit any mold, it can be poured for structural stability, and, in our modern world, it can now be polished to create a beautiful finished flooring material. Concrete can cover several square feet without needing a control joint or seam. Concrete can also be poured as an overlay for a uniquely seamless and clean look for a floor. This unique quality of concrete visually expands any space without obstructing the view to the rest of the interior elements. Concrete floors allow the interior to speak for itself. They appear to take nothing away from the design, yet add everything to it. Concrete floors can visually take up to 50 percent of a design, yet they seem to bow down to the rest of the space and let architectural elements and furniture speak for themselves.

Making a design simple may seem, well, simple. We may say, “Just don’t put anything in the room,” but a room is made for a purpose and for a certain function of work or life. So, for that reason we must add to the building shell. To decide how to design a space, let’s think about what Louis Sullivan said, “form follows function.” A space will be beautiful if it functions as it should. The beauty hides in the details. When a drawer closes with ease by way of soft-close glides, now that’s beauty. When a floor cleans up easy and looks great for years to come, that is also beautiful. Concrete is a simple building material that contributes to the structure of the building (the building’s function) as well as to the aesthetics of the finished space when it is polished. Partner all of these elements with concrete’s wide array of color stain options and polishing finish levels and you have one unique and well-designed building material option. Concrete can also save building owners from maintenance nightmares. Great design is more than just aesthetics, great design also takes maintenance, durability, and lifetime cost of materials into consideration.

Design is different than decorating in that, with design, we study the psychology, the function, and the importance of the spaces that we use. With decorating we simply build on to the aesthetics of a space or add to the base of the design sometimes beyond what is necessary for the space to function for our needs. Sometimes we think that we can enhance design through decoration, but the truth is that adding more clutter to a poorly designed space will add even more chaos. When elements in a space are kept simple and, at the same tines make sense to the function of the building, we can experience cohesive and easy living. By using concrete as a finish material, we can allow the rest of the interior to speak for itself and contribute to simple designs.


Polished Concrete Coloring Methods

When it comes to adding color to your newly polished concrete floors, there are two options from which to choose – reactive stained concrete and dyed concrete. Below is the breakdown of each process and their pros and cons. Hopefully these descriptions can help you decide which option best fits your project.

Reactive Stained Concrete

Reactive concrete stains work with the existing chemicals of concrete to create variegated coloring throughout the floor. This typically produces a marbleized appearance.

Pros:

  • Permanent color. Does not fade
  • Can be used indoors & outdoors
  • Unique, one-of-a-kind finish

Cons:

  • Not a good solution if aggregate is exposed
  • One extra day of installation time
  • Variations & differences in finish must be anticipated

If you would like to see an example of a reactive stain project we completed at Joseph Decuis, click here.
Here is a residential project with reactive stained concrete and a custom logo.
To see our reactive stain color option, please click here.

Penetrating Concrete Dye

Dyes work with how porous concrete is naturally. They penetrate into the surface layer of the concrete floor to produce coloring. This method of coloring is popular in interior concrete floors and commercial projects.

Pros:

  • Affordable coloring option
  • Quicker installation
  • More consistent & reliable coloring
  • Works well with exposed aggregate

Cons:

  • Cannot be used on outdoor projects
  • Dyes can fade when surface is exposed to water long-term

Click here to view penetrating dyed concrete with a custom design at Ancilla College.
Here is a residential project where we used Midnight Black penetrating dye to color the floor.
To view our color options for dyed concrete floors, click here. 


Concrete Terminology

If this is your first time dealing with concrete, we may use some terms that you are unfamiliar with. Here is a breakdown of these terms and what we mean when we use them.

Aggregate – Grainy substances such as sand,  gravel, and crushed stone that are used in concrete. Aggregate is classified by size and grade. You can see our different levels of aggregate, as well as polishing options, by clicking here.

Curing – When concrete is protected from moisture-loss. This is done to keep moisture in the concrete to fully hydrate the cement particles. This process typically takes 30 days for full reaction. Because of curing, the concrete is much stronger and more permeable. Curing also helps to lessen cracking, which can impact durability.

Epoxy – An adhesive material, usually made from plastic, paint, or anything else made from synthetic thermosetting polymers that contain epoxide groups. Click here to learn more about our epoxy floor coatings. If you would like to see some photos of epoxy projects we have completed, please click here

Full Broadcast Epoxy – The floor is completely covered by flakes. The full coverage helps with slip resistance, durability, and gives the floor a designer look. Compare this to random broadcast epoxy, where there are specks of flakes in the concrete floor. Here is our brochure of different Full Broadcast Chip Epoxy options.

Grinding – The process of leveling and restoring a concrete floor. Grinding loosens any material that was on the original floor (such as paint), and creates a surface for the new concrete covering or a concrete polishing process.

Integral Coving – Extending the floor up the wall, like a baseboard. This helps keep mold/mildew or bacteria from getting under walls. This is a great option for rooms that get cleaned by a hose or for those who are looking for a seamless floor to wall transition. Click here to see a photo from one of our projects.

Sealing – Adding a protective layer to concrete to stop harmful substances from getting into concrete’s pores. This also protects against unwanted staining and mold/mildew buildup. Learn more about our processes here.

Shot-blasting – To strip a surface by shooting steel particles at it at a very high speed.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – Chemicals that evaporate at room temperature. Some VOCs have a strong odor, while some are undetectable. Odor level does not indicate inhalation risk. Dancer Concrete Design uses low-to-no VOC products whenever available.


Breath of Fresh Air

colored-concrete-floor

When concrete is initially poured a sealer is applied, after the finishing procedures, to help keep moisture in the concrete during the curing process. This sealer is typically called a cure-and-seal as it helps cure the concrete and provides some sealer benefits. Removing this prior to staining is essential for the stain to be able to react with the concrete surface. This sealer is applied when the concrete is fresh and still soft so it really locks-in to the surface. The only way to remove the sealer while maintaining the integrity of the concrete surface is to use a chemical that will break the bond. Most of these chemicals are very dangerous, flammable, and require the use or ventilation equipment, protective gloves, and special disposal methods.

We don’t like that, and our clients wouldn’t like that either. We want their home environment to be safe and comfortable during the entire process. The way we handle the removal of the cure-and-seal is to use a specialty soybean based cleaning solution that is manufactured for us right here in Fort Wayne. The product has a fresh cut orange smell and is safe to use in enclosed spaces with limited ventilation like a basement. There are other ways to cure concrete such as using curing paper or soaking the concrete in water. If you are planning to stain your new concrete please inform your concrete contractor to not use a cure and seal on the surface.


Polished Concrete for Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness is one of the fastest growing fitness chains and has opened over 600 locations across the US! One of their most recent openings was for their second Fort Wayne location at the corner of Stellhorn and Maplecrest Rd. This project was very similar to the others except this project had one very different aspect, the main entry floor was going to be polished concrete. The Planet Fitness brand is bold and direct with colors, patterns, and design being very consistent in every location. This floor was going to be very customized for Planet Fitness by using a custom blended yellow concrete dye and 3 – 12′ x 12′ gear logos in the space.

This floor was previously covered with a black mastic and carpet glue but we had taken on similar challenges and knew we could make this floor shine. With this project being a fast-track construction project we had only a short amount of time to complete the work so additional walls could be built on the floor. With our advanced equipment and skilled craftsman we had this floor turned around on time. Planet Fitness is now open and can be found online at http://www.planetfitness.com/

Even though this floor looks pretty rough we knew we had the ability to transform it into a great finished surface.

Custom samples were made on site to confirm final color choice.

To stay on track we worked longer days. Here you can see we did some patch work so it could cure overnight and be ground down the next morning.

Our large concrete polisher works well in an open space such as this. Using 6 rotating heads it creates one of the best polishes available.

Open for Business.

Polished Concrete Floor completed by Dancer Concrete Design of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

 


Protecting Your Polished Concrete Floor

Our last blog post focused on the different options you have to add color to your concrete floor. But after all that hard work is done, your floor needs to be protected. There are two basic options: penetrating polish sealer and topical sealer.

Polished Concrete Floor Sealer

Polished concrete floors have become very popular in the last few years for their extreme durability and benefits. Polishing a concrete floor is very similar to re-finishing a wood floor as you start with a low grit abrasive to “sand” the concrete floor. We progressively polish the surface with abrasives until a smooth or reflective surface is present. The floor is then typically sealed with a concrete densifier and penetrating stain guard treatment.

These products soak into the pores of the concrete and create a harder denser surface. This creates one of the most durable and scratch resistant floors that can be installed. You can see these type of sealers in action in warehouses, and places such as Costco, Kroger, and Menards.

These sealers can also be used along with stains, dyes, and higher level diamond abrasives to offer colorful, high-end floor treatments that can offer finishes from soft satin sheens up to a mirror shine.

Pros

  • Very durable & scratch resistant
  • Long-term – Low Maintenance Floor for Industrial and Commercial Clients
  • Various Finish Levels
  • Offers a breathable floor that will not trap moisture or peel over time
  • Great for residential basements

Cons

  • Porous surface
  • Not good for chemical spill areas or outdoors
  • Not good for areas exposed to de-icing salts or garages

Sealed Concrete

Sealed concrete involves applying a sealer to the surface of the concrete. This type of sealer forms a membrane topically on the concrete (as opposed to penetrating in the porous concrete). This sealer then provides all the protection to the concrete floor. There are various types of topical sealers and these include acrylics, epoxies, and urethanes.

Pros

  • Great chemical and salt resistance
  • Great protection for cement-based overlays

Cons

  • Hard to repair or recoat
  • Can scratch easily
  • Can trap moisture
  • Can peel or delaminate if not properly applied

To learn more about how to keep these coatings from failing, peeling or trapping moisture check out our article here.

 


Coloring Methods for Polished Concrete Floors

When choosing a color for your concrete project does not simply mean choosing between sienna and rust, or charcoal and slate blue. There are also options when it comes to how the color is applied; reactive stained concrete and dyed concrete.  So what’s the difference?

Reactive Stained Concrete
Reactive concrete stains work with the existing chemical makeup of the concrete to produce variegated coloring throughout the surface. This coloring method typically produces a marbleized appearance to the concrete surface and provides coloring to floor surfaces. Reactive stain is a permanent color, it’s UV stable (which means in can be used indoors or out) and each application is a unique one of a kind look.

Dyed Concrete
Dyes work the existing porosity of the concrete to penetrate into the surface layer of the concrete floor to color the surface. Dyes offer a more consistent and color matched look. This coloring method is very popular for interior concrete floor projects and commercial settings. This color option has a quicker install than reactive stain, getting you back on the floor sooner and it works very well when exposing aggregate in the concrete. Because it isn’t UV stable, this option is only possible for interior projects.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert. The Dancer Concrete team will work with you to determine not only the color, but also the best application to use for your space. And whether it’s a reactive stained concrete floor or a dyed concrete floor, we guarantee it will exceed your expectations!


How to Keep Epoxy From Failing

Should I Use an Additional Primer with My Seamless Floor?
 

Have you ever tried to paint a red wall the color white? If so, I hope you used a primer. If not, you probably started out with some standard paint and quickly realized that regular paint doesn’t cover that well. So you either dealt with your wall having a slight pinkish tint, or you made the trip to Lowe’s and bought yourself a quality primer. Even with our modernized paints that claim to be a primer/paint all-in-one and promise to cover all stains and all colors, there are still many situations where a base coat of KIltz really makes a positive difference in the final outcome. A quality primer at the beginning of a painting project truly makes a nicer finished product.

Now let’s talk a little bit about my type of business and how we can best utilize primers for our installations.  When installing any type of floor over concrete the #1 thing that can cause problems is moisture passing through the slab. This causes problems such as failed adhesives, warped wood floors, or in my industry – peeling and flaking coatings. To prevent this from happening we always include an option for an additional moisture blocking primer. This priming system is a catalyzed product made to penetrate into the surface layer of the cement so excess moisture cannot pass through the concrete. This provides us the guarantee that our seamless floors continue to stay locked into the concrete surface.  Of course with this increased benefit, we also see an increase in price.  So how do you choose between using an additional moisture blocking primer, and how do you know if the added cost worth it for your project?

To answer these questions and also give you the ability to make the right decision, I have outlined some basic ways to make sure you get the best value for your project. Now these are the options we offer at my company, Dancer Concrete Design. These may not be applicable for all installers. We are very picky with the products we use and only choose products that are 100% solids (no fillers, no solvents) and contain NO-VOC’s.  We exclusively use NO-VOC products as I don’t particularly like wearing a mask while I work, and you should not have to leave your home because of the danger in a product.

Make sure you ask your installer what products they are putting down and ASK TO SEE REAL SAMPLES of the cured product. This will make sure the contractors and your expectations are consistent. 

When to Use an Additional Moisture Blocking Primer for Seamless Floor Installations

  • Concrete that has not been cured for 30 days and needs to be coated
  • Concrete that has moisture readings over 3 lbs per 10000 sq. ft.
    • Our primer will work on concrete with readings of up to 15 lbs per 1000 sq. ft.
    • You want the extra assurance or guarantee that your floor with not peel, chip, or delaminate from the surface.
    • Concrete with no under-slab vapor barrier installed
    • You just appreciate a job done in the best way possible

2-3 Rivers Natural Grocery Co-Op Epoxy Floor by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana (36)

Previous coatings on this project were failing due to improper surface preparation or moisture issues. When installing this new system we incorporated a moisture blocking primer to prevent this from happening again. 

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Nick Dancer