Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's diamond-polished on the soles of your shoes...

As we all know, I like my concrete. OK, so maybe not in a like-like sort of way, but a simple like.

Raw? It really does nothing for me raw. But inherent simplicity of the material, when spiced up a bit, can have a dramatic effect on a room (throw in a heating element and I'm sold!). Given its widespread use as a base in both residential and industrial design, I've yet to figure out why it is so underutilized as a final application.

So as we began tearing up 800 sf of carpet and began the process of prepping the concrete for an impending acid stain, I couldn't help but wonder what else was on the market to just treat treat/finish the floor as is; the term acid stain don't necessarily scream "chemical free" now, does it? One company that repeatedly surfaced in the blogosphere is the Utah-based Retro Plate Concrete Polishing System. They take an old floor, polish it up, and make it super shiny. Easy, eh?

Well, as it turns out, treating a raw concrete floor has other advantages I didn't know about:

From BuildingGreen.com:

Covering concrete with cosmetic layers can increase environmental and financial costs significantly over the lifespan of a structure as compared with using concrete in a structure-as-finish capacity. Polished and densified concrete floors (old or new) combine diamond stone-polishing technology with silicate chemical treatment to provide a significantly better alternative to film and wax coatings—highly durable, nearly maintenance-free, noncombustible… and the improved reflectivity can also reduce lighting requirements.

Who knew?


More on Retro Plate and their sustainable polishing system:

Concrete in its “natural” state is a porous product that is susceptible to efflorescence, spalling and dusting; and it does not provide an aesthetic finish, nor is it easily cleaned.

That's why Advanced Floor Products has created a science and art that revolves around the conversion of concrete from being a plain, boring, and porous industrial floor, to being one of strength, longevity and beauty.

Rather than continually having to cover up the floor and trying to hide the inherent problems, only to create new ones, our skilled Certified Applicators create a floor that meets your long-term needs.

Through the use of our patented process of diamond grinding and polishing, in conjunction with the specially formulated RetroPlate, we eliminate your need for all topical sealers. We eliminate moisture vapor problems.

Bottom line: Look at the true costs of the product that you choose…and RetroPlate will generally be your cost effective choice. Short term or long term: we deliver the best!

-Retro Plate Concrete Polishing System

Anyway, now that the carpet is gone (but not forgotten) it amazes me to think how much acoustic insulation we will need. Even for a room that small, there is a tremendous echo. Such an echo would be minimized in residential applications (given the softer furnishings), but how do you make up for such a void in industrial applications? Where does the trade-off begin to level out of sound vs. durability?