How I Did It: Contractor Incorporates Artful Flowers into Polished Concrete Floors

My company recently installed 9,011 square feet of polished concrete in the new corporate offices of Costa Farms, an international gardening and nursery company headquartered in Miami, Fla. We incorporated four shades of dye to create a subdued yet colorful finish for the main field of the floor. Artist Lauren Smith added focal points to the project with the addition of four flower blossoms painted on the polished concrete with decorative concrete stains. Decorative saw cuts throughout the floor mimicked vines, playing off the flower design. The project was a finalist in the 2012 Scofield Decorative Concrete Awards program.

As discovered through the mock up placement, the first task at hand was to profile the slab and create a surface for polished concrete. We repaired several hundred tilt-up pinholes by working Rapid Set Tru from CTS Cement into each hole with a small wire. We knew this would be a good material for the repair because it accepts Scofield colorants and is polishable.

After the repair process, the crew moved forward with the task of correcting the concrete slab and flattening the floor, originally an FF 11. We cut off the majority of the top layer of the slab with a 40-grit, metal-bond abrasive, but we left a few areas with the light burn effect from the trowel to create a mottled effect on the finished floor. The floor finish exhibited a medium to heavy aggregate exposure.

With the floor prep complete, we moved through Scofield’s recommended concrete polishing process to a 400-grit level and applied the dyes. Then the magic started. Smith used Scofield’s Tintura Stains to create four amazing flower blossoms, which covered 430 square feet of the floor. The stains allowed her to create depth in the artwork. She worked on two blossoms at a time, allowing the stains to completely dry between layers. After Smith completed the artwork, we allowed it to rest 24 hours before sealing. Then we took the floors up to an 800-grit finish.

The greatest challenge of this project was something that arose after the polished concrete installation. The floor was originally designed with naked joints, but an addendum to the design required us to fill them with a polyurea joint filler in “relic bronze.” This afterthought made us sincerely appreciate our polyurea pump.

We left the owner with a regular maintenance plan designed specifically for polished concrete floors, incorporating daily dusting with dry micro-fiber mops, a recommendation for a polished concrete-friendly cleaning agent and plans for a reapplication of the finish coat on an annual basis.

Donnie Sprecher is operating owner at Alternative Floors, a concrete polishing and terrazzo contractor in Saint Augustine, Fla. Visit them online at www.AlternativeFloors.com.

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