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.