These days, homeowners, commercial property managers, and business owners alike are seeking the help of concrete floor preparation contractors. The enormous benefits of revitalizing an existing concrete floor instead of installing a new one have caught on. And, now that consumers know they can have a beautiful, durable, inexpensive flooring solution, the industry is booming.
Concrete Surface Preparation Contractors
The demand for concrete floor preparation contractors exploded within the last few years and continues to remain at an all-time high. As the planning of concrete grinding projects rises, the ways to execute these projects also increase. Unfortunately, this demand gives way to inexperienced and unreliable concrete flooring companies that quickly pop-up to increase their bottom line. If you’re in charge of a concrete surface preparation project, you must hire concrete floor preparation contractors with a proven track record and solid reputation.
So, if you’re searching for a contractor to get the job done on budget and time, this article is for you. We’re going to walk you through the applications involved in the surface preparation process, explain how to choose the most efficient surface preparation method, and explore how you know you’re hiring the best contractor to give you an improved surface that meets the needs of your home or business.
The Concrete Surface Preparation Process
Because of its unsurpassed strength and durability, concrete is the most common building material. While the aesthetic of concrete transformed over time, one thing remains. Concrete is a natural matter and degrades over time. Albeit, when compared to alternative flooring options, concrete prevails in longevity. When this natural breakdown occurs, concrete surface preparation is required before any repair or replacement.
Another reason you may need to have your surface prepared is to change the look of your concrete floor. Today’s applications take a damaged or unsightly floor and turn it into a robust and colorful work of art. Additionally, industrial floor coatings applied after surface preparation increase the performance of the floor. Based on your needs, customizable floor coatings make concrete heat, moisture, slip, and chemical-resistant.
No matter what requirements you have for your concrete floor, nothing can be achieved without the proper surface preparation. Whether you are resurfacing concrete to bring back the natural look or upgrading to a decorative finish, the surface must be ready. Concrete surface preparation involves the process of grinding the surface using specialized tools with varying degrees of abrasives or shot blasting the surface by hitting it with a high-velocity steel shot.
After verifying the concrete texture, surfaces are prepped and cleaned. The tiny grooves intentionally left behind create an abrasion for floor coatings to interlink and adhere to. The bond established provides a stable, permanent surface. Adequate floor preparation only enhances the strength of this bond.
The Grinding Technique
Creative Maintenance Solutions uses diamond grinding surface preparation. The grinding process results in a tailored, smooth finish by cleaning and abrading the surface. It removes thin coatings and mastics while smoothing out any blemishes in the concrete while priming the surface to receive the next application.
Diamonds are fundamental in the success of any surface preparation project using the grinding technique. Their role varies on the size, shape, and strength of the diamond. The larger the size, the smaller its designated number, referred to as grit. Conversely, the tinier the diamond, the larger its number. Large grits expose aggregate while smaller grits create a polished surface.
The Shot Blasting Procedure
In addition to diamond grinding surface preparation, Creative Maintenance Solutions offers an alternative method. Shot blasting is the process of blasting a concrete surface with steel shot, small steel balls, at a high velocity. Shot blasting removes contamination and soft concrete to reveal a mechanical profile for improved bonding. Although some balls flee from the machine, the majority get pulled back up and reused.
A powerful dust collection system recovers the concrete dust and other contaminants, like dirt and debris, for later disposal. This process keeps the workspace clean during shot blasting, which is why it is referred to as a clean process. The dust created during this surface preparation method is chemical-free, non-hazardous waste, and can be applied to indoor flooring and outdoor concrete. Because of its non-hazardous properties and short completion time, shot blasting can be used in sanitary areas such as food prep kitchens.
Diamond Grinding vs. Shot Blasting: What’s better for your project?
When comparing the two methods of concrete surface preparation, there are some advantages each method provides. Grinding results in a smoother surface than shot blasting, making it better for decorative applications. However, if you’re looking for a more texturized appearance, shot blasting creates some extra ridges. Common reasons to grind or shot blast concrete include:
Unlevel Joints: There are three main reasons that concrete joints become uneven. The first reason is improper preparation, installation, or material. When initially poured, the area below the new slab must be properly prepared. If not, the weight of settling concrete can shift unevenly. Poor or extreme weather conditions are a second reason for unlevel concrete joints. The concrete’s strength greatly depends on the proper compound to water ratios, the temperature in which the concrete is poured and cured, and the rate at which the concrete cures. Extreme hot and cold temperatures cause concrete to dry patchy. The third cause of unlevel concrete joints is tree roots and subsurface water. Over the years, natural acts such as tree root growth, occasionally damage portions of concrete slabs. While we have little to no control over the growth of roots, we can divert excess water from concrete by accurately grading and draining the landscape around your facility.
Spalling: Water entering porous concrete causes the surface to flake off and peel. When moisture (water), and often salt, push outward from the inside of penetrated concrete. Untreated concrete leads to crumbling and can destroy an entire structure. In northern states, like Wisconsin, we also see spalling as a result of road salt. The sodium chloride compound used on icy roads oxidizes and rusts when brought into buildings on shoes and equipment.
Industrial Contaminants: Industrial contaminants include old floor coatings, like epoxy, residue, carpet glue, mortar beds, tile mastics, industrial chemicals, grease, dirt, caulk, and debris. Without adequately removing industrial contaminants, new floor coatings may flake, develop bubbles and other surface imperfections, and ultimately break down completely. Grinding or shot blasting beforehand ensures a more durable, long-lasting finish no matter what type you choose.
Divots, Cracks, and Pits: Divots and pits typically occur when an item is dropped onto the concrete from someone’s hands or falls off a piece of equipment. Divots can occur as a result of repeated impact. They may begin small and grow over time, requiring more work down the road. Cracks develop naturally over the years and worsen as they age, making repairs difficult.
Over time, debris and unwanted material adhere to concrete floors. Before sealing, staining, or polishing the concrete, this matter must be removed. Skipping this process leaves you with poor surface quality, full of imperfections. Removing unwanted material is why hiring an expert concrete floor preparation contractor is so important. Professional concrete technicians evaluate the condition, hardness, and thickness of your flooring surface and provide a detailed explanation of the best technique to get your desired results.
Interviewing Concrete Floor Preparation Contractors
As with any improvement or repair contractor, it’s essential to prepare a list of questions to ask during your initial consultation or phone pre-screen. By asking conscientiously selected questions, you ensure that the concrete floor preparation contractors you choose will be a satisfactory match for your flooring project. Asking a diverse assortment of questions, you weed out low-quality and inexperienced contractors, allowing you to choose from the cream of the crop.
10 Qualifying Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Concrete Flooring Company.
1. How long have you been in business?
This question should be the first one you ask potential concrete flooring contractors. In this industry, experience grows over time. The more experience a contractor has, the more likely it is that your project will be completed accurately, and any issues will be handled quickly along the way.
2. Which type of concrete projects do you have the most experience with?
Let us explain the reason this question is so important. While it’s impressive if a company has been in business for many years, what kind of projects have they been doing? If their experience doesn’t line up with your job, it may not be the best match.
3. Can you provide pictures of your work or share your portfolio?
We don’t know a contractor that doesn’t have hundreds of photos of their work right on their phone. Many display before and after pictures on their website or showcase their latest projects on their social media pages. If the contractor you’re interviewing cannot provide photographs, consider removing them from your list.
4. May I have references?
Not only should you request references from flooring contractors, but you should reach out to them directly. The internet also provides a great resource to read reviews and learn about the quality of service and job completion the contractor offers.
5. How full is your schedule?
A full schedule may show that a contractor is sought-after, but if they’re too busy, you will likely receive less attention. Asking a contractor when they can start your project lets you know if this particular contractor can meet your deadline.
6. How long will it take to complete my project?
Following up with the previous question, knowing the timeline for your project allows you to make scheduling adjustments and set shutdown times if needed. Concrete job durations vary on the size of the area and the amount of work required.
7. What safety precautions do you take to protect yourself?
Check that all crew members working on your project are experienced and trained in safe work practices. Ask for documentation of their liability and workman’s comp insurance to make sure any job-related injuries or accidents do not become your responsibility.
8. Are permits required for my project?
To go even further in-depth, ask these follow-up questions. What is the permit process? How long will it take to receive the permits? Any knowledgeable contractor will be familiar with the process of obtaining permits. If a contract is unfamiliar, they may not be 100% reputable or understand the building code requirements.
9. Who is managing my project?
Knowing precisely who your point of contact saves you from miscommunication and unresponsiveness. A project manager serves as the go-between for you and their crew. Your contractor should know who you will contact and how many flooring technicians will be on your property and when they plan to be there.
10. Do you offer a warranty or guarantee?
Expert contractors proudly back up their work. If they have a customer service guarantee or craftsmanship warranty, they are likely a reputable company. Find out the details of any offer and request it in writing before signing any contract.
Creative Maintenance Solutions Surface Preparation Experts
Creative Maintenance Solutions has decades of experience, making us the preferred concrete floor preparation contractors in Wisconsin and throughout the nation. Our years of training and knowledge allow us to handle even the most challenging concrete flooring project. That, combined with our extensive line commercial flooring equipment and state-of-the-art tools, ensures a strong, low-maintenance floor for your industrial, commercial, or institutional facility.
Our concrete surface preparation crews customize a flooring solution that is perfect for your space, whether that means extra resistance to chemical exposure or heat. Our epoxy and polished concrete floorsprovide longevity, leaving you with peace of mind.
At Creative Maintenance Solutions, we specialize in epoxy floor coatings and polished concrete floors for various industries, from commercial kitchens to industrial manufacturing plants, corporate offices, food processing facilities, and more. As one of the leading epoxy floor coating contractors in Wisconsin and the nation, our reputation as the leading epoxy flooring contractor precedes us, and we’re proud that we’ve served our customers with top quality flooring solutions since 1989.
Contact us today to learn more!