Woodland Elementary School will open fall 2009 for kindergarten through fifth grade, as well as Head Start and district offices. The new school has 25,000 square feet of polished concrete in its classrooms, break rooms, nurse's office, study room, hallways, cafeteria, and stage. The owner and architect chose to use polished concrete because of its durability and easy maintenance.
Polished Concrete Images Inc., Sauk Rapids, Minn., began work in August 2009 and ended in June 2009. Throughout they project it had a crew of four people splitting time between the school and other projects. They worked out a schedule with the general contractor and other trades, allowing them to complete work efficiently without holding up the project.
The general process for this project began with the crew arriving one week after concrete was placed. An initial grind with HTC 80 grit metal bonded tools was done before the interior walls were built to reduce edge conditions and produce the best quality floor. After the initial grind, Consolidek LS, a lithium-based densifier supplied by Prosoco, was applied. The floor was then covered with 1/4-inch hardboard to protect it from the heavy traffic on the construction site. The next steps in the process were completed before painters began their work in each room. The crew pulled up the hardboard and continued the grinding process. The floors were ground with HTC 150 grit metal bonded tools to remove blemishes and any remaining scratches from the 80 grit tools. It was then polished with 100, 200, and 400 grit resin bonded tools from Gran Quartz. Green, burnt sienna, or chocolate brown acetone-based dyes from Ameripolish were then added in accordance with the architect's specifications. The floors were then ground with 800 and 1500 resin bonded tools from Gran Quartz. Once the polishing was complete, the crew applied LS Guard, a stain guard from Prosoco that protects the floor. Before the crew left, it covered the polished floors with Ramboard for the duration of construction. After construction was complete, the Ramboard was removed and the floors were cleaned with a high speed burnisher and an HTC Twister pad.
Since this was the first time this school district used polished concrete, education was an important element to the successful competion of the project. To help everyone involved better understand the process, Polished Concrete Images gave a firsthand education session on polished concrete. It installed an onsite test area showing several color options for polished concrete. After it was installed, the school board, owner representatives, architect, and job supervisor attended an information session on polished concrete, where Polished Concrete Images was able to answer all their questions about the new floors.