The floor polishing process begins by grinding and smoothing a concrete floor with diamond abrasive discs fitted to a floor grinder.
The floor polishing process begins by grinding and smoothing a concrete floor with diamond abrasive discs fitted to a floor grinder.

The city of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, is rightfully proud of its new Cardel Place recreation center. The 195,000-square-foot facility houses three gyms, two regulation-size hockey rinks, a sports clinic, public library, and an array of public meeting rooms, food service facilities, and offices. It was also the city's first project to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

Considerable thought was invested in planning and designing the project. Its central location, next to a future light-rail transit station and within walking distance of schools and other community amenities, was a major component of the building team's approach.

The main feature of the building's interior is a dramatic oversized athlete's ramp, which connects the upper “public” level with the lower “participants” level. It provides a walking and stretching zone, enhanced by large windows to take full advantage of the natural sunshine.

The concrete floor of the ramp and the floors in the hallways and common gathering areas were polished utilizing the FGS/PermaShine System. The highly reflective finish adds to the brightness of the natural light. Crews installed about 40,000 square feet of polished concrete.

The FGS/PermaShine Concrete Polishing Floor System is a patented dry method of concrete floor finishing. Certified installers use specialized grinding methods. L&M Construction Chemicals Inc. of Omaha, Neb., licenses the system.

The process begins by grinding and smoothing a concrete floor with diamond-impregnated abrasive discs fitted to a heavy floor grinder. The process then moves through a succession of steps using progressively finer diamond pads, increasing the smoothness of the floor with each step. With the assistance of a factory-trained installer, an owner can specify the desired smoothness and gloss.

After completing the smoothing steps, the final step of the process is to apply two coats of a high-performance densifier. Using this proprietary chemical treatment is necessary to penetrate, densify, and harden the exposed cement paste in the top 1/16-to 1/8-inch of the floor.