Cameron-Reilly Concrete was involved in polishing 11,000 square feet of terrazzo-seeded floor at a middle school long before submitting a bid for the job. The company collaborated closely with the architect and general contractor to ensure specifications were written correctly and the floor would be properly protected.
Having so much influence on the process is a dream scenario for polishers, but it doesn’t happen by accident. Most contractors place and finish or polish concrete, but Cameron-Reilly does both. In fact, the company’s carved a formidable niche in and around Spokane Valley, Washington, by making project delivery a one-stop proposition.
Architects, engineers, general contractors, and potential clients visit the company’s Design Center to build a floor from the ground up. Drawers of actual samples show what different depths of grind, gloss, color, stain, seeded aggregate, and seeded glass look and feel like. An interactive computer station contains hundreds of project photos. Once they identify what they want, the company guides clients through each step in the process, from design to maintenance. That includes helping:
- Architects write specifications that account for polishing
- General contractors develop a schedule that maximizes productivity without jeopardizing the finish when other trades get on the floor
- Clients understand maintenance requirements by explaining what’s involved and being a resource for products, equipment, and periodic restoration.
It’s a brilliant approach to the marketplace, but not surprising coming from a former Associated General Contractors of America president. Mike Reilly, a journeyman cement mason who launched Reilly Concrete in 1999, held that position in 2015. He and Jim Cameron, who owned a curb-and-sidewalks contracting company, merged in 2006 to form Cameron-Reilly LLC. When they bought Meidling Concrete in 2014, the commercial floor and polishing divisions were born.
Their approach to the Salk Middle School replacement in Spokane, Washington, earned our 2017 Polished Concrete Award in the Educational Projects category.
Surface Profile Science
Being able to place as well as polish enabled Cameron-Reilly to incorporate quality control measures that are particularly important for terrazzo-seeded floors. Crews’ techniques for applying the seeded terrazzo rock during concrete placement ensure even coverage across the floor and control how deep the rock is embedded in the surface. These fine details are essential at the polishing stage. If not done correctly, sometimes the rock “disappears” in the surface, causing a spotty appearance.
Crews also use Ra (roughness average) meters to guide their tooling selections. Released in 2013, Concrete Sawing & Drilling Association ST-115/Measuring Concrete Micro Surface Texture provides procedures and benchmarks for evaluating finish by surface profile rather than gloss level. A meter equipped with a diamond-tipped contact stylus gauges changes in texture from step to step throughout the process. Because polishing tools are designed to produce a certain level of refinement (texture), readings show the operator when the tool has worked to its maximum potential. A reading of 100 Ra indicates a honed finish; zero indicates a mirror-like finish.
Cameron-Reilly employees have certifications in concrete finishing, machinery operation, and concrete polishing. Between their training and their owners’ business philosophy, success was inevitable.