There are many engineers in our industry that are experts when consulting contractors on how to build the perfect commercial floor slab. But in many aspects of the concrete industry, including floor slabs, time and technology can provide for even greater improvements.

In 2007, CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION's Special Floors issue examined the elements that make up the state-of-the-art commercial floor slab. This year, we extend the discussion to include abovegrade floor construction. As such, the overall premise of this supplement remains the same: helping contractors build better floors.

Previewing the articles, we profile an IKEA project and the logistics behind how the high FF/FL numbers typically associated with a slab-on-ground applications were achieved on suspended slabs on metal decks. Following the deck theme, the next article inspects post-tensioned reinforced decks, how they are used, and the advantages of this particular method.

We change directions to examine the role of form faces for structural concrete floors. This article reviews the decking substrate materials and surface finishes currently available for forming concrete walls and floors.

We also examine the placing and finishing of lightweight concrete, which is a current topic of discussion with the ACI 302 floor committee. McHugh Construction, Chicago, has successfully installed 8.5 million square feet of lightweight concrete on metal decks over the past 10 years without failure. This article describes how teamwork is the best way for you to install this type of flooring and achieve the desired tolerance to provide a high-quality installation.

Finally, we examine the proper installation and function of vapor barriers and vapor retarders.

When it comes to constructing better floor slabs, contractors try to provide their customers with a floor slab that meets and exceeds specifications. However as time passes, specifications from governing bodies, such as ACI, as well as from “Big Box” owners, continue to evolve. The content you will read on the following pages will not only make you a better floor slab contractor, it will help keep you one step ahead of your competition.