The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Centre for Applied Technology (NAIT CAT) is the primary academic facility at a polytechnic institution. The NAIT CAT is developed as a center of excellence for simulated learning, allowing students to experience real-world situations without leaving the classroom or lab. The flagship facility is designed to be LEED Silver-certified and features high-quality finishes and architectural details. One of the sustainable features is polished concrete flooring throughout high-traffic areas.
Desco had prior experience working with Clark Builders, the general contractor on this project, from the 2015 Concrete Polishing Project of the Year in the Commercial Category for the Doublestar Drilling project areas.
The concrete floors are equipped with radiant heating in floating concrete slabs on top of a structural concrete slab. Large mock-ups of the floor assemblies were constructed onsite using various mix designs and finished to different depths and finishes to ensure client satisfaction. All of the mock-ups were cast in place on top of the structural concrete slabs before being removed so the final flooring could be installed. The floating slabs were ground to expose mainly large aggregate and polished to a high-gloss sheen.
Due to radiant heating lines installed in the floating concrete slab, there were a significant amount of control joints and expansion joints to accommodate for the changing temperatures in the concrete. After multiple mock-ups and color samples, VersaFlex SL 75 was used to fill the control joints full depth and VersaFlex SL 60 was used to fill the expansion joints.
The color for both of the VersaFlex products was matched to the concrete color to provide a complementary subtle color blend of all joints. Decorative concrete dye was used throughout, including a design in the cafeteria that mirrored other architectural details of angular intersecting lines. The central walkway featured dyed patterns to mirror the rectilinear column design.
The products used were a 98% solids proprietary urethane structural tinted grout to fill all surface voids and cracks: Pentra-Sil (HD) as a densifier, Ameripolish Surelock Dye in colored designs, and Pentra-Finish (HG) as a stain resistant sealer. The grout itself was color-matched to the floor and applied to limit streaking or color variation.
The structural columns were constructed in parallel with a small space between them. This small space was also polished to match the adjacent floor as a design detail. Polishing the small space was challenging since the tooling was only slightly smaller than the gap. Great care was taken to ensure that the exposed concrete columns were not damaged as a part of this process.
For one of the stairwells, a set of high-traction strips were installed at the top. These strips were cut by hand after the polishing process was completed and filled with black oxide and a 100% solids polyaspartic resin.