Sunday, November 11, 2007

Winter wins, concrete pour comes in second






The pressure is on!


Tim and Don from Johnston Masonry get the November recognition award. While I grumbled and groaned over losing slab pouring opportunities in October to wet, wet, wet, and more wet weather, they prevailed in the installation of the concrete slabs in early November. Sadly we did have to pour heat energy on to the slab due to the winter that arrived the day of the pour.

One of the challenges was to pick a color for the concrete as well as get the high performance edge details installed as part of the design. As many of you have experienced, picking colors is a painful experience. And for this pick I have to admit, I winged it. The majority of the flooring is intended to be polished concrete, this is in part for the efficiency of thermal radiant heat transfer, but also to reduce the floor finishing material required for the project. Like everything in life today, the selections are overwhelming with respect to approach and potential appearance options for polished concrete. However, when ecological awareness is part of the equation, the choice of color was to simply add an non-toxic additive to the concrete in lieu of later painting or staining with potentially harmful materials. The color we decided to use was “Beach Sand” from Prism, which is produced with a iron oxide-based additive mixed into the concrete just prior to the pour.

I had intended to have concrete samples cast with different color additives and then polished, but ran out of time and good weather opportunities. In the end, I just had to wing it with the help of Tim and Don’s crew simply hoping for the best. Don claims that if I pick my lighting right, I can have the floor look almost any color I want it to be. Not a bad idea. It looks a little like baby dung right now, but I am hoping the ugly duckling will turn into a swan, before it is all over.

Polishing concrete as a floor finish has been used more and more frequently recently for the obvious reasons. Finishes are achieved through grinding the concrete until you get the polished result you are looking to achieve. Hand grinding of the edges is needed unless, like our situation, you plan the casework, or walk-off matting and interior walls to cover up the edges. This greatly reduces the cost of the polishing process. Grinding can occur at any stage during the life of concrete; however, it is easiest to do a couple weeks after the pour.

Getting too creative with the coloring or distribution or seeding of the surface with other materials requires the gods to be with you throughout the process. Many things have to go right for you to get the appearance a precise product, concrete has a way of changing very quickly due to the slightest variable. Wind, heat, water, color, covering, cold… Though concrete is a very touchy product, if you prevail, wow, what a durable amazingly beautiful end result.

We will begin grinding once the all the exterior building envelope is complete.

2 comments:

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Laharia group said...

Storage Tank-Manufacturer, Supplier and Exporter of Storage tanks in Delhi, India provides water storage tanks, pressure vessel, hot water storage tanks, propane storage tanks, plastic water storage tanks, fuel storage tanks, cold water storage tanks and deals in all Delhi/NCR (Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Chandigarh),India.