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Stephen Wright
New member
Username: swright

Post Number: 1
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 24, 2004 - 04:36 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I am interested in using polished, stained concrete for an interior finish. I understand that is it more easily maintained than a standard, stained floor. Has anyone had experience with this? Has anyone written or seen a specification?
David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 367
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2004 - 02:22 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I have specified polished concrete for many school projects. If done right it can look good, but there are always surprises.

First of all concrete is not a finish material. The installers are not used to the tight tolerances and care. During construction the floor has to be protected from spills, stains, and damage.

Like I said there are always surprises. Don't expect a perfecly even color floor. Expect a mottled look with blotches of light and dark. Some people love the look others hate it.

We did a large school project where after staining the contractor immediately laid down plywood protection per spec. After the construction was done the contractor pulled up the plywood. To our horror the whole floor had 4'x8' pattern. Where the butt seams were located the stain was lighter due to uneven curing of the concret below. The Owner said that they liked the pattern. We lied and told them that it was a "planned design feature".
David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 368
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2004 - 02:25 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

If you are willing to spend the money, the best thing to do is to pour a structural slab and let the construction workers beat it up. Then come back an use self leveling compound and pour a finish slab. Then stain and polish the finish slab.
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2004 - 12:04 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I recently sat down with some reps for a product, or "system" called Retroplate. The literature and claims were impressive. The sealer was decribed as "Ashford Formula on steroids." The company offers a complete system - stain, sealer, polishing. I have not used it, but I am planning to look into it. I typically require an epoxy/urethane sealer over concrete stain for maximum durability.
Marc C Chavez
Senior Member
Username: mchavez

Post Number: 48
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 11:17 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I have packed the literature for the company Id like to recommend so that will have to wait until I unload at my new job. However, an important item (as I remember it) was the introduction of a small amount of cement after the initial grinding to fill small voids and to harden the surface. This was then ground and polished much like terrazzo. Perhaps you should use one of the Terrazzo Assoc. specs as a guide.
They could also introduced stains and other colors at the cement addition point that made the system less susceptible to early wear. The sealer/hardener used is of critical importance as concrete is a relatively soft and absorptive surface.
Lynn Javoroski
Senior Member
Username: lynn_javoroski

Post Number: 155
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 03:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The latest issue of L&M Concrete News (I just received my first issue - Fall 2004, Volume 5, Number 2), has an article "Do you dare to go bare?" by Philip Smith, PE, FACI, ASTM. Of course, the article urges the use of L&M products, but it also compares costs, discusses and explains processes for old and new concrete. It's a pretty good overview, but more importantly, it's an indicator that this is an acceptable floor finish.
Rich Gonser AIA CSI
Senior Member
Username: gonserarch

Post Number: 7
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, October 29, 2004 - 02:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Here is another website that has info on concrete polishing. The site has the look of a retail sales-buyer to contractor-sales application. At least is gives a little more non-product oriented (unbiased?) design application pro-con information.


The website also has info on other types of concrete applications such as concrete resurfacing to countertops. Not a lot of technical info. It does however, seem to have more of the design application questions and answers. Just another piece of the puzzle.
Tracy Van Niel
Senior Member
Username: tracy_van_niel

Post Number: 97
Registered: 04-2002
Posted on Monday, November 01, 2004 - 02:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Like Lynn, I also receive the L&M Concrete News (one of the better publications from a manufacturer, in my opinion) ... the Fall 2004, Volume 5, Number 2 issue has two additional articles about floor polishing, in addition to the "Do you dare to go bare"; one project was a 10 year old floor and the other was rehab and polishing of a 109 year old concrete floor. The newsletter may be posted on L&M's website (it does say to see www.lmcc.com for extra copies).
Posted on Monday, November 01, 2004 - 04:46 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I worked on a project where stained concrete was specified and problems arose because the stain was not randomly blotchy but was blotchy along the contraction joints, perhaps due to densification on the surface when the joints were tooled in. The result was highly unsatisfactory and nothing could be done after the concrete had set. It did not look at all like in the beautiful photo spreads in the glossy magazines.

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