A properly placed and finished concrete floor makes later polishing stages quicker and more effective. Achieving this takes experience and careful planning. It is also vital to select the right design mix and combination of products. A floor we placed in Stoke in July 2019 showcases how these elements can combine to create a beautiful floor, which will be ready to polish after curing.
To reduce the chance of cracking fibres were added to the mix design. We use a cellulose based fibre which does not pose the risk of balling and fuzzing the way polypropylene fibres can. It also takes on colour, so the floor can be integrally coloured or dyed. On this occasion we used a Silver Grey colour surface hardener, which is applied after the concrete has been placed. This product also helps to create a harder surface, which is better able to take the pressure of the polishing stages.
The floor was being placed on one of the hottest days of the year, so extra care had to be taken. Concrete laid in very hot conditions will often hydrate too quickly, which can lead to cracks forming as water bleeds out and the concrete shrinks too rapidly. Spraying water on the slab can offset this issue, but that in turn weakens the surface of the concrete. To help achieve the floor the client was looking for we applied a finishing agent, DAY1, instead of water. This extends the concrete’s workability time, helps protect it from drying too quickly and also adds further strength to the concrete. As the images below demonstrate, a power trowel can be used to create a smooth, sealed slab. This is the ideal surface to create a rustic or industrial style floor from. Power floating helps to keep the aggregates to the lower part of the slab, reducing the chance of exposing them during polishing.
The addition of the fibres, surface colour and finishing aid allowed us to achieve a fantastic finish on what proved to be the hottest day on record. What really brought the floor together was the skill and experience of our team. Placing decorative concrete is a complex process involving a high degree of care and judgment. The high quality of the floor is visible from the images on this page, and is testament to our staff’s commitment to quality polished concrete floors.
This is just the first part of a longer process. Once the initial curing period is over, the floor will be polished to raise the gloss level and then sealed to protect the concrete against liquids and contaminants. This has been a great project to work on, and has provided us with a fantastic start on what will become an another amazing polished concrete floor.