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Uncovered Style

An artistic stain gives the photographer’s studio a warm, coffeehouse atmosphere.
ENGSTROM PHOTOGRAPHY An artistic stain gives the photographer’s studio a warm, coffeehouse atmosphere.

Business owners want to create a warm, easy-to-live-in feeling for their customers and employees. Many are achieving this effect by focusing on their facilities' largest single surface—their floor.

One recent example is a project a contractor recently undertook for John Engstrom Photography near Minneapolis. The owner's goal was to enhance the photo studio's coffeehouse atmosphere.

The contractor looked for help on this project by employing some new materials, including artistic stains, developed by Durall Industrial Flooring. By the time they were finished, the contractor transformed a carpeted floor into an individualized concrete floor that was easy to maintain.

Before staining, workers taped a grid pattern on the surface to simulate grout lines.
ENGSTROM PHOTOGRAPHY Before staining, workers taped a grid pattern on the surface to simulate grout lines.

Formulators at Durall started by creating a custom kit of materials tailored specifically for this project. The contractor began by removing the glue residue from the former carpeting and tile coverings. They used a special adhesive remover.

After an initial washing, the floors looked almost free of residue. But the contractor knew that some material was still embedded in the concrete's upper surface. His crew had to leach out any material that would prevent future bonding of the new coatings to the concrete.

They began this process by applying a high-alkaline cleaner using a rotary scrubber with a stiff nilo grit brush. The high-alkaline degreaser raised the pH level of the saturated floor to almost 12, while it removed the leftover adhesive and contaminants.

They then chemically shocked the saturated surface with an acidic cleaner formulated with water softeners, detergents, and rinse agents. The effect dropped the saturated surface pH to 3.5. The chemical reaction drew contaminants and vulnerable cement particles from the concrete's pores into the surface water, allowing easy removal. A final scrub rinse and drying left the floor ready for repairs and artistic coloring.

Properly cleaned, the concrete was opened, allowing epoxy top coats to embed into the concrete's crystalline structure and strongly bond.

Two coats of clear, flat catalyst epoxy were applied after workers removed the tape.
ENGSTROM PHOTOGRAPHY Two coats of clear, flat catalyst epoxy were applied after workers removed the tape.

The contractor created the studio floor's new look by spraying black and red stains to give an alternating color look. Before staining began, they taped a grid pattern to simulate grout lines. The pattern was laid diagonally to heighten dimension. One worker with an artist's eye laid the red stain; the helper followed, filling in unsprayed areas with black.

Once the stain was set, workers removed the tape. They then applied two coats of clear, flat, catalyst epoxy.

The resulting floor's soft, non-glare surface beautifully brings together the grand wood, soft leather, and natural greenery of a studio. The owner also finds the surface functional.

Durall Industrial Flooring of Minneapolis submitted this case study. For more information, telephone 800-466-8910, or visitwww.concrete-floor-coatings.com.

Tattoos are Cool

Once the Flattoo was in place, crews applied a special surface treatment to the exposed land areas, opening up the concrete in those areas and etching in the design and increasing the bond ability of the colorants and the sealer.
Once the Flattoo was in place, crews applied a special surface treatment to the exposed land areas, opening up the concrete in those areas and etching in the design and increasing the bond ability of the colorants and the sealer.

The idea of leaving one's mark on the world is nothing new. Perhaps that's why tattoos are becoming more and more popular. So it's only natural for customers to want to find a way to make a lasting impression on other surfaces.

Crews at Innovative Concrete Concepts (ICC) of Wichita, Kan., recently faced this challenge. They had the task of insta lling BRG International's corporate logo onto a flat concrete surface

Brian Larez, ICC's owner, was concerned that he couldn't find a way to satisfy the owner's expectations. On paper, the logo is impressive. Its background is an atlas that includes land masses, bodies of water, and all latitude and longitude lines on the arc.

The corporate name is outlined in black and red, traditionally two very difficult colors to control. And if that wasn't enough, the owner requested the oceans be more faux in appearance, rather than solid blue in color.

Larez contacted Suface Gel Tek (SGT) of Mesa, Ariz., to brainstorm the unique project's possibilities. With their technical assistance, he opted to use Flattoo system to essentially tattoo the logo into the concrete surface.

The ICC crew's first step was to prepare the surface. They applied a Tek Gel for Profiling (TGP) to the weak laitance. Workers removed the loose particles that would potentially interrupt the adhesion of the Flattoo to the concrete surface.

After 30 minutes, the water bodies of the Flattoo were weeded out and etching, cleaning, and applying the colorant and sealing were repeated (top). The final step was to expose all of the latitude and longitude lines and etch them into the concrete (below).
SUFACE GEL TEK After 30 minutes, the water bodies of the Flattoo were weeded out and etching, cleaning, and applying the colorant and sealing were repeated (top). The final step was to expose all of the latitude and longitude lines and etch them into the concrete (below).

Then they laid out the three-piece Flattoo, aligning all the details in the logo's design. With the Flattoo in place, the team applied TGP to the exposed land areas. This opened the concrete surface in those areas, enabled the etching in the design, and increased the bonding ability of the colorants and the sealer. The TGP was removed with wet rags and allowed to dry. Floor fans and hair driers expedited drying.

Larez's color line choice was The Stamp Store's Rainbow Colors because they dry with more translucence. The crew found that the ingredients mixed extremely well with SGT's Stain Mule, a color thickener that eliminates spidering and wicking. Malay Tan was applied to the land areas. When the marking was completed, Larez's crew applied a light coat of sealer to the logo area.

For more information on Surface Gel Tek's Flattoo system, visit their Web site atwww.surfacegeltek.com.