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
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. 

Thanks for reading this post. If you like what you read then get click happy with the share buttons below!

Nick Dancer


Polly Said What?

How to Choose Between Epoxy and Polyurea Seamless Flooring

When choosing to use a seamless flooring system in your mudroom, garage, or maybe your industrial facility you are going to hear the word ‘epoxy’ a lot. There are a plethora of options when choosing the type or brand of epoxy, but in simplest terms, epoxy is a cured component of taking two or more products, (resin and a catalyst, part A and part B) and by mixing the components you create a chemical reaction that results in a hard durable product.

Epoxy type floors have been sought after for their ability to make up the inherent weakness of concrete. This epoxy/concrete bond creates a much nicer product when concrete is subject to chemicals, water intrusion, or high wear. In the last few years a product called polyureas have been widely used as they have similar properties of epoxy with additional features such as UV resistance and faster cure times. Of course with this increased benefit ,we also see an increase in price; sometimes twice as much as a standard epoxy product.  So how do you choose between using an epoxy and a polyurea? Is 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. 

 Epoxy

  • More affordable solution
  • Very chemical resistant
  • Cure time between  2-4 days
  • Comes in clear and multiple colors
  • Will yellow when exposed to UV light
    • If outdoors can yellow within weeks
    • Indoor applications with windows (assuming windows have a UV film)  it may take 5 – 10 years to notice yellowing
When to Choose Epoxy

 Epoxy works great when budget concerns are of most importance or in an area where epoxy is being chose for its performance ability rather than a decorative flooring solution. Epoxy serves more of a purpose to protect the concrete from oil rather than having a decorative appeal.

Polyureas

  • Higher upfront cost – may be $0.40 – $1.00 sq. ft. higher depending on application type
  • Very chemical resistant
  • Faster cure time – 8 hours – 24 hours
  • Comes in clear and multiple colors
  • UV stable coating. Can be used outdoors. Will not yellow.
When to Choose Polyurea

Polyurea is the best offering for top coating seamless floors. Polyureas are sought after when the floor is being installed for a decorative look as well as for performance.

Thanks for reading this post.

Nick Dancer


4 Steps for Staining Concrete

I have been around the decorative concrete industry for quite a while and have seen all the ways to color an existing concrete surface. It seems that most manufactures and installers are always looking for the quickest and cheapest way to color a floor. Constantly new products are brought to the market claiming to “mimic” the natural variegated coloring and flow that can only be achieved when staining concrete with a reactive (acid) stain. From my own experience and from chatting with a select group of top-notch installers all around the States I have found that there is still only one tried and true method for permanent coloring of exiting concrete.

The difference in installing a real reactive stained floor over some other acrylic stains or penetrating-only stains is that it takes much more time and experience to successfully complete the project. We always figure that an extra day on the project and a little bit more expense up front will deliver a more valuable and durable surface.

Below I share our steps for completing this process.

Thank you to Heidi Hundall with Runyon Surface Prep for working with us to develop this!

Click here to download the 4 Step Staining Process – Dancer Concrete


Back in Black

A Mid-Century Modern Home in Southwest Fort Wayne

Last week we completed a residential concrete polishing project in a mid-century modern home located in a woods on the southwest side of Fort Wayne. This concrete floor was original to the home as raw building products, such as metal and concrete, are staples in mid-century architecture. Mid-century modern is a style that can be seen in graphic design, interior design and architecture. This style generally depicts the developments in modern design at the time between 1933 and the mid 1950’s

When the home was initially built the concrete served not only a structural purpose for the floor but also was integrally colored black and sealed to serve as the finished floor.  Through the years this floor was eventually covered with carpet and long forgot about. When our client, Linda bought the home almost 20 years ago she knew she wanted to bring back the concrete floor. At the time, little was known about properly finishing the concrete so painting the surface seemed like the most logical solutoin. The floor had been painted multiple times in the last 20 years as the paint continued to peel and flake off the surface.

POLISH

Remove the paint and polish the concrete floor

Linda had found us online and thought we may have a better solution to her flooring problem than continuing to paint the surface.  When dealing with older concrete floors we have two options to finish the concrete. We can either work with the existing concrete and refinish the surface (similar to refinishing hardwood floors) or apply an overlay to the surface to cover up problems or rough areas. Since the concrete was in good shape we decided to try our hands at refinishing the concrete floors. This process involved removing the paint and polishing the concrete to a Level 1 – 400 grit finish. The polishing process required multiple passes and posed some challenges. These challenges included various heights of concrete floors and also a large amount of vertical concrete polishing. There was also no base trim in the space, so edge work and details took an additional 30 hours of labor. The floor was originally integrally colored black but we also included a black concrete dye in our process to help color patch spots and revitalize the original color.

The owner was very pleased with the results and we were happy to again bring back some life to a forgotten concrete floor and work in such a cool home.


How to Properly Stain a Concrete Floor

4 BASIC STEPS FOR SUCCESSFUL CONCRETE STAINING

This morning stopped by a local thrift store to check out the furniture and to see if I could find any nice antique pieces.  As I walked through the donated furniture section I noticed how age really showed the difference in the quality of the furniture items in the store. Items that were built well seemed to get better with age, while the cheaper furniture looked terrible after years of use. The wear and tear on the well-built items just seemed to add to the character of the furniture, but the older items looked worse with only as a simple scratch or scuff.  This little trip through the store had me thinking about how most of the items we as consumers purchase are at their best on the day of purchase and continue to  in value year after year until we end up throwing the item away and buying new.  Why do we now seem to accept disposable products as the norm?

The flooring industry operates in the same manner.  When you choose to install a carpet, laminate, VCT or another cheap flooring alternative then you choose the disposable route.  These items never age well and continue to look worse and worse until it’s time to rip them out and replace leaving piles of flooring in landfills.  It is flooring materials like real wood, stone and stained concrete floors that can develop a patina and character as they age which adds to their value instead of taking it away. Installing one of these flooring surfaces almost ensures a lifetime quality floor for your home.

When done well reactive stained concrete floors produce a floor that rivals the best in the high-end flooring market.  At my company Dancer Concrete Design our concrete staining process consists of 4 basic steps that need to be taken to produce a nicely finished stained concrete floor. Here I will explain these 4 steps and show you picture of our team following this process for a project in Indianapolis.

PREP

Remove any sealer, paint, or bond breakers

This process is all about cleaning the concrete surface and preparing for subsequent polishing steps. The prep step typically involves removing contamination or bond breakers from the concrete surface such as paints, glues, mastics, sealers, drywall mud, removing rough trowel marks, etc. We complete this step by purely mechanical methods such as grinding or scraping. For this step we use a 3 head concrete polisher fitted with diamond abrasives for our preparation process. This step removes anything that is on the surface and leaves a bare concrete floor. We also maintain clean working environments while we work by hooking all of our equipment up to specialty concrete vacuum systems.

This picture shows how important proper preparation is. The left side is concrete that has been sealed. The right side is after our preparation pass. This pass removes sealer and other contamination from the surface.

POLISH

Mechanically refine and smooth the concrete floor

After preparing the concrete floor we move on to polishing the concrete surface. If we are dealing with brand new concrete, free of sealers or contamination, we can skip the prep stage and start with the polishing stage. This polishing process uses additional diamond abrasive passes to refine the concrete floor and continues to make it smoother and smoother. This process is very similar to sanding a wood floor as we continue to move on to higher and higher grits to get a smooth surface free of scratches. When using a reactive stain on a concrete floor we found that the 200 grit level leaves a surface free of scratches and provides a soft satin canvas for coloring.  We also provide options of 400 or 800 grit finishes that will add gloss and additional depth to the concrete.

The polishing process mechanically polishes the concrete to the desired shine. This must be done on the main section as well as the edges.

STAIN

Impart a permanent color into the concrete surface

Now it’s time for the fun part…Staining! After all that hard laborious work of cleaning the concrete we finally get to add the stain.  Reactive staining works by using a reactive solution that’s imparts mineral salts into the concrete. These minerals permanently change the color and produce floors with variegated and marbleized coloring that brings a soft and subtle touch of organic color to a space.

Reactive concrete staining provides a permanent and variegated coloring effect to the concrete surface.

SEAL

Protect and enhance the surface

The sealer chooses for your stained concrete floor will greatly impact the depth of color and how the floor performs long-term.  Our sealing system consists of a two-step process using a concrete densifier and stain guard application. The densifier works by penetrating into the porous concrete and increases abrasion resistance by 400% and decreases the permeability of the surface. A stain guard is then applied and burnished to provide additional shine and stain protection. This sealing system is very resistant to scratches, scuffs, and stains, creating a surface that is very durable and easy to keep looking great.

The finished product results in a floor that looks good the day of install, as well as continuing to gain character and patina over time.


Exposing Stained and Polished Concrete

A LOOK DEEPER INTO POLISHED CONCRETE FLOORING

When choosing to polish concrete there are many options to make sure the floor looks and performs to your standards. Some of these options include deciding on the final polishing grit or shine of the floor, or choosing what color will look just right in the space. One of the features that I have seen overlooked in these design decisions is the aggregate exposure of the finished floor, or how deep the grinding phase of the concrete will go into the concrete. This decision can have a big impact on the final look of the space as extensive grinding can remove the surface layer of the floor exposing the inner workings of the concrete.

Choosing the depth of the polish determines the aggregate exposure of the final finished floor. The choice to expose the aggregate in polishing in purely a cosmetic choice, but aggregates role in the structural concrete is key for strength.   Here’s a quick rundown of aggregate and its role in concrete – In its basic state concrete is made up of cement powder, small aggregate, large aggregate and water. The aggregate is typically a locally mined sand and rock. The concrete gets strength by the cement powder and water acting as a glue that holds all of this very hard and strong stone and sand in a fixed place.

In a typical concrete floor you would never see the aggregate. The finishing process involved with new concrete flooring pushes the aggregate into the concrete mix allowing the cement paste and water (cream) to rise to the surface so finishing can proceed and produce a nice smooth floor.  When choosing to grind deep into the concrete we remove this cream layer resulting in exposing the aggregate (stone and sand) in the concrete. Let’s take a look at the 3 different exposure levels.

Option 1 – Cream Finish

This finish level polishes the top layer of the concrete. This is the most affordable option and also provides the most color movement and shifting when using concrete dyes or stains to color the concrete. This will show some of the tooling marks from the finishing process of pouring the concrete. This finished floor has a lot of movement and shifting in the surface.

Option 2 – Light Exposure

This finish level exposes the sand and small parts of the larger aggregate. When using aggressive diamond abrasives to remove a glue or sealer from the concrete this is typically the finish unless deeper grinding is wanted. When staining this type of floor a more monochromatic color will be achieved.

Option 3 – Heavy Exposure

This finish level fully exposes the larger aggregate in the concrete. This gives the concrete a terrazzo type look. This finish is typically the most expensive as it involves extensive grinding at the beginning part of the concrete polishing project.  When grinding this deep, a grouting process; used to fill air voids in the concrete, is also recommended.

LOCAL FLAVOR

One of the most unique aspects of concrete flooring is that every floor will have its own unique look. This is very true when exposing the aggregate in the concrete. Different regions all have rocks that are natural to the area. For example concrete made in Utah may contain granite as the main aggregate, while concrete made in Florida may contain softer aggregate such as seashells. When pouring a new concrete floor or using a self-leveling overlay material, decorative aggregate such as marble chips, or glass chips can also be broadcast into the wet concrete mix so these are exposed during the polishing process for a customized look.


Night Owls

WHOOO DID THIS AMAZING POLISHED CONCRETE FLOOR?

I happen to be a morning person, a very early morning person.  I have a pretty consistent morning routine that includes a 4:30 wake-up call followed by drinking coffee, reading, working out, sorting through emails, checking Facebook, and then heading off to work.  In my line of business my morning routine doesn’t always line up with the client’s timeline of having contractors in their space.  Sometimes we have to work around the client’s business hours and change our schedule around by working third shift.  This was the case with our recent concrete polishing project at Connolly’s Do It Best in Fort Wayne.  Our crew did not shy away from the challenge of providing a quality project on the client’s schedule while keeping a clean environment for the client’s open business hours.

Removing the old flooring required hours of manual removal. To make this process faster we had a crew of 4 remove the floor and started the polishing right behind.

QUALITY

The client’s designer approached our company after recognizing that they needed a high end floor that would be consistent with the new upscale offerings of their Benjamin Moore Paint line.  The designer knew that a large percentage of the design and feel of a space is determined by the floor, and that the existing VCT tile and laminate floor was not going to make the cut for the high quality look the client desired. This well designed and color enhanced floor will catch the eye of those who want to purchase the best products available on Connolly’s shelves.  This rebranded department will soon have several remodeled parts at its completion, but we had the honor of providing the first key piece to this high end store remodel.  After discussing options and making an on-site sample, a final finish of a Level 3 -1600 grit shine was chosen. The floor was also dyed the colors Midnight Black and Sand in a predetermined flow to bring movement and color variation to the space.

Working with details might just be our specialty. We have a crew of trained craftsman than can make sure all areas are polished.

SCHEDULE + CLEANLINESS

Since our work had to be completed at night while the store was closed we rearranged our sleep habits to become nocturnal, creatures of the night, or night owls.  The work to be completed for this project was broken into two sections to keep store operations flowing during daytime hours. Our entire process was to remove the existing floor and make 8 passes with the concrete polisher to achieve the Level 3 Shine.  We completed each section in two nights and the floor was able to be put into full use by opening of the fifth day.

With the store being open during the day we took extra precautions to maintain a clean environment for customers to shop.  One of the challenges in grinding and polishing concrete is that the process generates large amounts of dust and debris. This was not a problem for us as we have made extensive investments in top of the line concrete vacuum systems to keep the air clean and to minimize dust exposure to other areas. This entire project was able to be completed without masking off or placing barriers to other parts of the store.

The proper vacuums make all the difference in making sure the area stays dust free. Here we have the large polisher making the initial cut on the concrete surface.. As you can see the dust generated is contained during this process.

This entire project was the result of hard work and dedication from our experienced and dedicated team who worked through long hours at night to make sure this project was a success. We finished Thursday night/Friday morning allowing us the weekend to catch up on our sleep and put my morning routine back in action.


4 Factors to Consider When Selecting New Flooring

This weekend my wife and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary. Saturday night was supposed to be our romantic night away, a night to let work go and spend some quality time with each other. As we were walking through Jefferson Pointe Shopping Center I remembered I had presented a proposal for the flooring in one of the new retail stores. I knew we were not awarded the project so I was curious on the flooring chose for the space. My wife might tell you I have a few habits that drive her a little crazy, and for our special night out she was fine with going to look at a work project, just as long as I promised to not bend down to analyze and touch the floor. I guess she wanted to be on a date with a regular guy, not one who was crawling around to analyze the chosen finished floor. I have a little habit that when I see a floor that catches my eye, whether good or bad, I just bend to assess the floor and the material chosen to finish the space.

In my mind every floor installed was to serve a purpose, or to solve a problem for the client. In commercial environments a floor is also regularly used to cover up the concrete underneath. No one would want to see the concrete, right?… This is where my business, Dancer Concrete Design has a niche market in the flooring industry.  Rather than cover the concrete we serve our clients by processing the floor through staining and polishing processes to expose the beauty and characteristics of this durable surface, concrete.

So back to me touching floors….The reason I do this is because I want to understand what the material is, why it was installed in this specific environment, and how it is performing and wearing with use. So many times the wrong floor is chose for a space and it fails to perform as needed, does not meet codes, or may be very costly to maintain.

There are so many flooring choices to choose from for a commercial environment and each one has specific benefits and weakness. This can be a tough choice for an owner as they compare cost and weigh which choose is truly the best fit in their environment. I feel there are 4 categories every floor should be assessed in to determine which floor provides the best solution. These are Design, Durability, Maintenance, and Safety. Below I will go into more detail about each of these categories and how assessing your flooring choice in each one may help guide you in your decision.

Design

I recently heard something about design that really stuck with me. The lady being interviewed shared that, “Great design takes everyone into consideration.”  That really stuck with me because design is so much more than just picking a floor that looks good. Great design takes into consideration how color and material can affect moods, how the lighting will affect the floors appearance, how the floor serves to help create flow in a space, and many other facets of form and function in a room.  Great design also encompasses the other categories of durability, maintenance, and safety.

Great design is more than just how a floor looks in the space. Design takes into consideration the look, durability, maintenance, and safety of the floor.

Durability

This category asks the question will this floor hold up to the conditions of the space? What is the life span of this floor? Is this product rated for the appropriate traffic and conditions of the space? Selecting a floor that is rated for your conditions is a must. Check with manufactures and installers to make sure the floor is covered under warranty for your specific application.

Make sure your floor is correctly rated for your specific application and will hold up long-term to the conditions present in the space.

Maintenance

I am not a fan of cleaning, so for me I would want a floor that requires the least and the easiest maintenance possible. When selecting the right floor the cost of maintaining the surface over its lifespan can easily be overlooked. But did you know many floors maintenance and care over the life of the floor can be 4 -10x the initial installed cost? I think all buyers should understand the maintenance requirements and a thorough understanding of the procedure and cost to maintain a floor for the short-term and long-term.

VCT tiles are one of the most affordable floors to initially install at around $1.50 – $2.00 sq. ft. (large commercial space), but may cost upwards of $20.00 sq. ft. over the lifetime of the floor with the subsequent waxing and stripping needed to keep the floor looking nice.

Safety

The safety of all involved parties is one of the most important aspects of choosing a floor. When choosing a floor for your space, all codes and regulations should be checked to make sure the right floor is installed in the space. One of the major factors to look for is the Slip Coefficients of Friction of the surfaces. Air quality is also a factor that is gaining attention. A thing such as VOC’s emitted by the floor or the floor possibly harboring bacteria and mold should be assessed.

Seamless epoxy offers a slip resistant finish (even when wet) and the 8″ integral cove eliminates the ability for mold and mildew to grow in the wall to floor transition.

I hope that these 4 categories help you make wiser decisions about your flooring. As you can see, there is quite a bit more to think about with flooring than just picking out a color that complements a space. When viewing your options it may be a good idea to bring in an experienced designer or flooring professional, and if you happen to be looking at stained or polished concrete flooring you can always contact me at create@dancerconcrete.com.


Farming for Polished Concrete

Gone are the days of dirt floors and wooden structures for barns. Today’s farmers are upgrading into climate controlled pole barns that make it much more efficient and ergonomic to maintain equipment and store all their tools. Farmer’s also understand that a little bit of extra investment in their concrete floors in the beginning will add a much nicer work environment, and a finished floor that performs much better than unprotected concrete. For a recent project in Van Wert, Ohio we completed our Polished Concrete Hardwear floor process which offers this added protection.

Our Hardwear Floor process consist of making a single pass with our concrete polisher, 2 applications of our concrete densification process and a finish coat of stain guard. This offers an affordable system that helps protect the concrete and makes it much easier to keep clean.

The other thing we did on this particular project was filled in all the control joints. For those of you who don’t know, control joints are cuts placed in the concrete after it has been poured to control the cracking in concrete.  The joints are placed to be weak points in the concrete so the concrete cracks in these areas instead of randomly throughout the slab. The problem with these control joints is they leave lines in the concrete where dust and debris can collect. The joints also leave weak points where large items like a tractor could break the edge of the joint.  We fixed all these problems by installing a polyurea joint compound. Polyurea is a semi-rigid two-competent material that is installed in the joint to add strength and create a smooth surface profile to the floor.

The joints are filled with a specialty polyurea material. Using this two-component pump parts A & B are mixed at the tip of the nozzle.  This fast setting product only takes about 25 minutes to set up. The joints are overfilled and then shaved smooth for a even surface profile.

Our full polished flooring system makes several mechanical passes with the polisher to achieve the desired sheen. For our economical hard wear floor system only 1 pass is needed on brand new concrete.


The Art of Polishing Concrete

Great designers and artist have a way at looking at older buildings differently.  It is almost a magically ability to see potential, to see beyond the current state of a building and imagine what could be. They are gifted in creating, changing, and impacting the world with their ideas and dreams.  This was just the case in Van Wert, Ohio at a historic National Guard Armory Building with an age of over 70 years.

A regional art center catering to NW Ohio and NE Indiana, The Wassenberg Art Center and director Hope Wallace, had an amazing vision for the local landmark. The Armory had been previously of interest by a publicly traded retail chain, but in their eyes the only option was to demolish the building and build a new structure on site. The Wassenberg Art Center saw another option for the community. They thought that they could revitalize the historic building, bring additional arts to the Van Wert area, and grow the downtown district by hosting events and popular artist in this new space.

By choosing to polish the concrete floors we would enhance the space by revitalizing the older concrete floors and maintain a certain character and charm of the historic building. By using dyes and polishing the surface to a high sheen we could also create our own unique floor in the space and bring new life to an old building.

In the main gallery the floor was custom dyed using 3 different colors of penetrating concrete dye.  Our entire polishing process involves use of a concrete densification process, mechanical polishing and honing steps to refine the concrete surface, and finishing with a stain guard process. This creates one of the most durable flooring surfaces in the commercial building industry. The best part is polished concrete floors can be tailored to serve as a focal point in space by customizing colors and designs, or serve as a extremely durable surface installed to handle the toughest industrial traffic conditions such as isle w ay in a large warehouse.

In the kitchen and bathrooms local artist used water-based concrete stains to hand paint the detailed pieces of art you can see below. This floor was then sealed with a urethane fortified sealer to protect the artistic designs and to add additional stain resistance in these areas.

This project was very exciting as we were able to creatively express our work and craftsmanship in a building dedicated to the arts, and a place that can serve and grow a community. Below you can see some pictures of the new space.

The bulk of the polishing work was done with our large concrete polisher. We made 7 passes on this surface from removing adhesive to a highly reflective surface.

Even in such a large space the details are what make the big difference. Here John takes care of the edges with our smaller 7″ polisher hooked up to a specialty concrete vacuum to maintain air quality.

This renovated gallery features polished concrete floors from Dancer Concrete Design of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Thanks for reading. Please share this post by using one of the buttons below.  You can check out the new Wassenberg Art Center at 214 S. Washington St. Van Wet, Ohio or visit online @http://www.wassenbergartcenter.org/. Grand opening is expected mid November 2013.


Industrial Epoxy Floor Repair

If you have ever taken the trip from Fort Wayne to Chicago along US 30 you will see many large steel buildings along the highway that house many global manufacturing companies. Many of these companies decide on this spot for its logistical location to major highways, the strong Indiana workforce, and tax advantages to moving in this area.

I have always been interested in what actually goes on inside of all these buildings and what types of products are being made so close to home. This week I got the chance to find out more about a company that we just completed work for and hear about their expansion and growth, including the purchase of a new building (because of the nature of their business and the competitive nature in this particular industry I can’t disclose who we worked for).

Before this company can move into their new location some work is being completed including new lighting and repairing some of the epoxy floor. We were called in to repair sections of the old epoxy where previous machinery had left uncoated parts of the floor. This process included mechanical removal of the old epoxy by grinding, and applying 2 new coats of gray epoxy flooring, for a total film thickness of 20 mils. The top coat also received a 40 mesh silica slip-resistant additive.

To remove the epoxy from the concrete flooring we use multiple grinder and vacuums to effectively remove the epoxy while maintaining a safe working environment. This building is empty but we can also work in fully operational facilities.

 Once the old epoxy flooring was removed we found many oil stains in the underlying concrete surface. These stains were from CNC machines that leaked cutting oil into the concrete. It was a must to remove all oil contamination prior to epoxy application. To remove this oil we used multiple techniques that drew the oil to the surface for cleanup. This included mechanical shot blasting, a caustic soda cleaner, and a poultice that set overnight. Our test confirmed we would have a strong long-term bond.


Polished Concrete in Modern Home

For me there is nothing cooler in a home than having concrete serve as the main floor throughout the space.  When I first received the call for this home up in New Buffalo, Michigan I knew this would be a great project to be a part of. Just like most of our out of town projects, the clients took some pictures of the space and emailed them over for me to get an idea of the space, and figure up the cost to complete the project.  From the first time I saw the pictures I was drawn to the abundant natural light coming through the glass exterior walls and the modern design of the home.  New Buffalo is also a favorite place for my wife and I, so being part of a project in town was very cool.

The homes concrete floors were poured a few years back and although they were a hard durable surface, the floors were finished similar to an outdoor concrete surface. This means the surface had some trowel marks and the floor was very porous and difficult to keep clean. By choosing our complete polishing process we would make multiple passes with our polishing machines and also densify the surface and protect the floor with a stain guard. The final polished concrete floor leads to higher light reflectivity, a smooth surface for bare feet, and a surface that is much easier to keep looking clean. The final polishing pass was made with a 400 grit diamond pass which is considered a Level 1 shine that shows diffused reflections and a soft feel to the space.

Thanks for reading and feel free to share this post.

– Nick Dancer, Owner Dancer Concrete Design – 260-748-2252 – www.nickdancerconcrete.com


The Cost of Polished Concrete

Polished concrete floors have become very popular in the last few years. One of the main reasons these floors have seen extraordinary growth is the long-term durability of the finished surface. Concrete is the most widely used building material for its strength and longevity.  In the past concrete had been covered by another flooring material, coated with a thick sealer or left un-treated. When left un-treated concrete can stain easily, will dust, and will be difficult to clean.

A fully polished concrete floor consists of making progressive passes with diamond abrasives to refine the surface of the cement, use of a reactive concrete densifier, and a final stain guard product.

This full polishing process for an older concrete slab might consist of the following steps

  • 40 grit – metal bond pass
  • 80 grit – metal bond pass
  • 150 grit – metal bond pass
  • 100 grit – hybrid metal/resin pass
  • 200 grit – resin bond pass
  • 400 grit – resin bond pass
  • Application of color (if applicable)
  • Application of densifier
  • 800 grit – resin bond pass
  • Application of concrete guard product

As you can see the process for this fully polished concrete floor is very extensive. This is the recommended solution for a high shine floor for retail, churches, commercial establishments, and other high foot-traffic areas. Check out projects we have completed this full polishing system on by clicking here. The multiple polishing passes create a surface that is hard to dull and easy to clean. This entire flooring solution, although great for these high-traffic environments might be out of budget for certain projects.

We have found a high-performance alternative that results in a near polished finish that works great in industrial areas, warehouses, barn floors, commercial garages, repair facilities, and agricultural applications.

This process consists of a light grinding to open the concrete surface, a double application of a reactive colloidal silica concrete densifier, and a stain protector. This floor results in a durable low-cost alternative to a fully polished concrete surface.  Unlike other concrete sealers that can peel, flake, or dust, this system conditions the existing concrete surface to create a harder and denser concrete surface for maximum durability. On new concrete this process can cost between $1.25 – $2.00 sq. ft.

My company, Dancer Concrete Design, has recently completed some projects with this sealing system around Fort Wayne, Indiana. Check out this agricultural project we completed in North Manchester, Indiana.

Thanks for reading.

Nick Dancer, Owner Dancer Concrete Design

Fort Wayne, Indiana – 260.748.2252


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 looked 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 and to stay on track we worked longer days. Our large concrete polisher works well in an open space and using six rotating heads it creates one of the best polishes available.