The polishing process took place over several one- to three-week mobilizations throughout the first eight months of 2012. Applied Flooring used a Prep/Master 44 grinder and STI FLO abrasives to bring the floor up to an 800-grit polish. They densified with L & M Construction Chemicals’ Lion Hard and finished the floor with L & M’s Petrotex. Crews used a walk-behind Tennant scrubber after every pass.
The Caterpillar Visitors Center opened to the public in October 2012. The polished concrete floors were well received and contribute to the atmosphere the Caterpillar design team wanted. “I feel the finished floors provide a natural surface representative in color and texture one would find on the jobsite and reinforces the design intent of portraying the rugged environment,” Maude says.
“This was my first large polished concrete project and I had no idea on how we were going to keep the floors protected for nearly a year,” Beal says. “By understanding the intent and setting the goals early in the project with the owner, all contractors, manufacturers and suppliers, were able to work collaboratively to provide an exceptional flooring system.”
Scope of Project: 30,000 square feet of polished, integrally colored concrete floors with a deep exposed aggregate at the Caterpillar Visitors Center, Peoria, Ill.
Owner: Caterpillar, Inc.
Polishing Contractor: Applied Flooring, Mason, Mich., and Theodore, Ala.
General Contractor: River City Construction, Peoria, Ill.
Architect of Record: Dewberry Architects, Inc.
Lead Exhibit and Experience Designer: The Maude Group
Key Products and Equipment: HTC 800 Classics, HTC 950 and HTC 720 Edger; Substrate Technology Prep/Master 3030, Prep/Master 4430 and abrasives; Metabo hand grinders; Ermator T8600 vacuums; Oynx 27-in. high-seed burnisher; L & M Construction Chemicals Lion Hard and Petrotex; Versaflex polyurea joint filler.
Floor Protection Plan
River City Construction created a strict floor protection plan to eliminate stains and damage to the concrete floors at the Caterpillar Visitors Center. In between the polishing phases, they covered the floor with Tyvek building wrap and ½-inch OSB particle board and taped all the joints. This protected the floor from spills and stains and forklift, small crane and manlift traffic.
The floors remained covered throughout most of the construction, but Kevin Beal, project manager with River City Construction, says the most challenging phase in floor protection came in the last month, when the floors were uncovered and workers were putting the finishing touches on the building. This is when the protection plan for workers became very important. “Manlifts had to have white, non-marring tires. Workers could not bring beverages onto the exposed floor. And work associated with pipe cutting or anything that involved oil had to take place on top of plywood,” he explains.