Artistry and Chemistry: Color Theory and Practice with Polished Concrete

From D+D Online, February 2012

by Howard Jancy

Almost two decades ago, colored concrete flooring found its way into the lexicon of architects and interior designers. As topical concrete coloring was rediscovered, designers realized that a dull and lifeless-appearing concrete slab could be enlivened with natural colors and imaginative tooling....
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Tagged categories: Architects; Color; Concrete coatings and treatments; Concrete dyes; Concrete stains; Decorative concrete; Decorative Finishes; Design; Howard Jancy; Jancy & Associates; Polished concrete; Specifiers

Comment from Todd Rose, (2/24/2012, 10:52 PM)

Nice Article- very informative.

Comment from David Burgess, (3/6/2012, 7:45 PM)

Howard, great article! As a Polished Concrete Supply House we are regularly asked the differences between stains vs dye, topical vs integral etc. I agree totally with what you say and would like to add that scheduled maintenance is key for topical dye to survive soil erosion. (foot traffic or otherwise) Time and again I see spec's that dictate polishing by equipment type, grit level, experience level etc however there's little or NO reference to 'How To Maintain The Colored Floor' after the PC contractor signs off. I believe the industry needs to address this and it should be included as a MUST HAVE for all spec's. Your thoughts? Thanks again for a great article that was long over due. David

Comment from Howard Jancy, (3/7/2012, 10:55 AM)

David, thank you for reading the article. I am glad that you found it informative and useful. I concur with your comments. Maintenance is a critical component for the longevity of decorative concrete flooring, particularly polished concrete which has been oversold or misunderstood as a maintenance free type of flooring.It's definitely not. Specifications often do not address this issue adequately, since architects tend to draft documents more focused on the construction of a building's elements, as opposed to the maintenance. The exception seems to be those elements that are related to health and safety, or the roof for example, because if it leaks, property damage, building use and occupant comfort can be greatly compromised. The burden of informing and prescribing (fortunately or unfortunately depending on one's perspective)falls to the polishing contractor. It's a important part of managing the expectations for the polished floor. When I speak with architects and owners about polished concrete, I always preach the importance of maintenance, but if I were a contractor, I would not rely on specifications to necessarily address those issues. (My article did not detail maintenance, not because I felt it is not an issue, more so because 'maintenance' could be a topic by itself, and I chose to concentrate on the coloring focus of the story. Maybe that will be my next article.) Thanks again for reading the article and starting a conversation about the importance of maintenance.

Comment from David Burgess, (3/12/2012, 2:30 PM)

Howard, sorry if i rained on your parade, that was not my intent. Your focus on colour & options was great. The PC industry is very much a visual thing especially when colour is added to the mix. (pardon the pun) PC maintenance is somewhat governed by basic steps including but not limited to sweeping, dustmoping or vacuuming the surface however periodic maintenence may infact require rejuvenation work in high traffic areas. Many variables affect longevity but most important here in Canada is inclement weather. Salt, sand and grit play havoc with colour and sheen here. PC Maintenance would be an excellent next article to consider. THX

Comment from Howard Jancy, (3/19/2012, 9:36 AM)

David, your comments were relevant. Proper maintenance is so critical to the polished floor's longevity and must be part of the 'managing the customer's expectations' discussions prior to the installation. I am in Chicago, so I have seen the damage from sand, salt and grit introduced to concrete floors during the winter months. Another maintenance issue I see is the uninformed/untrained maintenance staff incorrectly cleaning the polished concrete. This is even true with contractual janitorial services.

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