Polished Concrete Offers Residential Style

Black polished concrete floors and a two-story, board-formed, cast-in-place concrete fireplace offer raw texture in this modern home.
Black polished concrete floors and a two-story, board-formed, cast-in-place concrete fireplace offer raw texture in this modern home.

When a Wisconsin couple planned their dream house, they chose style and materials that were at once modern and rustic to complement the wooded plot of land that would be the backdrop for their new home. Concrete played a starring role. Black polished concrete floors throughout the 3,000-square-foot interior are at once stunning and subdued, offering a neutral base for the couple’s bright art and multiple textures in furniture and furnishings.

Floorcare USA, Waukesha, Wis., was the polishing contractor on the project. While the company is largely a commercial and industrial concrete flooring provider, it is also experienced in working in a residential environment and managing homeowner expectations. Floorcare USA President Brian Brunner says one of the biggest challenges on any residential project is the relationship with the homeowner because they can be emotionally involved with the project and hold extremely high standards for the outcome. “This is a high-end home,” Brunner says of the recent residential project, located north of Milwaukee. “Expectations were at the limit of what concrete and concrete polishing is capable of.”

The Floorcare USA team worked closely with the homeowners to ensure the end product would meet their expectations. “We were very detail oriented in the mock-up stage,” Brunner explains. “Our project foreman established a very good rapport with the homeowners. He invited them to become intimately involved in the mock-up process.”

The project foreman spent about four days collaborating with the client on the mock-up. Brunner explains that while his foreman was on the floor altering dilute rates and tweaking the application process, the homeowner was right there with him. She would give thumbs up or thumbs down on color and finish.

“As polishing contractors we need to continually reinforce that the slab of concrete we are provided — more than any other aspect of the project — dictates the process we need to follow and the final result of the project,” Brunner adds. “That’s why the mock-up process is so important.”

Polishing process

Once the clients were satisfied with the mock-up, the remainder of the project was a standard installation. Floorcare USA had a three-man crew on site for about three weeks. The crew started the polishing process with 50-grit hybrid diamonds and followed a typical polishing sequence up to a 3,000-grit finish. The crew members densified twice during the process, after the 400-grit finish level and 800-grit finish levels. The Ameripolish Classic black dye was applied after the 400-grit level. The dye was diluted on 1:1 ratio, one gallon of acetone to one gallon of dye concentrate. They finished the project with two coats of guard.

Brunner says the homeowners were very pleased with the floors and how closely they matched the finish they envisioned. And while expectations run high in a residential project like this one, Brunner adds the results are deeply appreciated and contribute to a sense of pride and satisfaction for his company and crew.