Combining Old and New into One Beautiful Floor

Get Real Surfaces had to work with a combination of old and new concrete on a recent decorative concrete project for the Monticello Motor Club in Monticello, N.Y. The club was creating a gallery/multipurpose area. Part of this area was a converted garage, and the slab had been left without walls and open to the elements for almost a year and a half after the started project got put on hold. A new concrete slab was also poured in the adjoining room to finish the new space.

The club wanted both slabs colored and polished. A custom logo was also created for the floor. Get Real Surfaces' crew of three completed the 6,500-square-foot job in 14 days, says Yvonne Laube, who works in sales and marketing for Get Real Surfaces. Laube says they broke the project into two phases - phase one was working with the old slab and phase two the new slab.

Once the walls had been built around the existing slab, the first step for Get Real Surfaces was crack repair. Laube says the crew spent one day filling in and repairing the cracks. Then it was time to begin the grinding phase. The Club did not want a lot of aggregate exposure, so the crew started with a lower 120-grit diamond polishing pad. Get Real Surfaces used Lavina polishing unit equipment with HEPA filtration bags.

The crew worked up from 120-grit to a 400-grit polishing pad. At that point, they applied a Midnight Black acetone-based dye and a densifier. They applied the dye using a Patriot sprayer. But a problem was soon discovered. Because of the chemical makeup of the concrete and its time spent exposed to outdoor elements (snow plow removal, exposure to salt and melting chemicals, etc.) the concrete absorbed the dye but the color was not as dark as it would be on the new slab. Get Real Surfaces applied two coats of the dye but ultimately the color was not going to get as dark.

"From a visual appearance, the existing slab looked like it was going to be a good candidate for dye and polish," Laube says. In hindsight, she says the crew would have been better aware of the problem and the resulting color of the dye if a mockup had been done prior to dying. "When dying, always present a mockup using the actual concrete," Laube says. "Every dye reacts differently on each floor."

The floor was then polished up to 1,500-grit to achieve a semi-gloss finish, Laube says.

The new slab was poured while the Get Real Surfaces crew was working on phase one, so once phase one was complete they moved right on to phase two. Just like with the existing slab, the crew started out polishing with a 120-grit polishing pad. After working up to 400 grit, the slab was dyed with the Midnight Black dye. However, the new slab also featured a snack bar area that the crew dyed red instead of black. The new slab also featured the custom logo.

The logo was created using a vinyl adhesive stencil, Laube says. The stencil came in multiple layers, each layer being dyed a different color. The create the custom logo, the first layer of stencil was put down on the slab. The area around the stencil was masked off and a black dye was applied to the open areas. Once dry, the crew removed the first stencil layer and replaced it with the second. Again they masked off the areas around the stencil and the area that had already been died. The second layer used a red dye. Finally, the third layer was applied using a gray dye.

Once the entire new slab had been dyed and the stencil finished, the crew applied a concrete densifier and continued the polishing process until the new slab had reached 1,500 grit to match phase one.

Get Real Surface was able to work with two completely different concrete slabs to create one, unified finished project.

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