photos by Tim Blankenship, Blankenship Concrete Specialties
Upscale fashion retailer Nordstrom opened a new “Rack” store in Birmingham, Ala., May 16, with a polished concrete floor installed by Tim Blankenship of Blankenship Concrete Specialties.
Tim used Consolideck LS lithium-silicate hardener/densifier and LSGuard, a glossy ultra-thin sealer, to help get that gleaming finish on 7,000 square feet of the 35,000 square-foot store. Architectural firm Callison, Seattle, specified the products, and Erie, Pa.-based Niagara Machine supplied them from its Charlotte, N.C., location, Tim said.
He kindly shared these photos from just before the grand opening.
Tim created the finish from an existing floor in a space formerly occupied by tenant Linens ‘n Things. He began with a 46 grit metal bond wet grind and took the finish to a 200-grit resin, where he spray-applied LS and spread it with micro-fiber applicators.
The lithium-silicate hardener-densifier penetrates the concrete’s microscopic pores and fills them with rock-hard calcium silicate hydrate. That’s the same ultra-durable material that makes concrete hard as it cures.
Along with dust-proofing the floor, hardening-densifying also makes the floor polish faster, easier and more effectively because it’s less porous.
The floor showed some gloss at 200 grit, but another LS application at 400 grit made the floor even less porous and “popped” the shine, Tim said.
From a 400-grit resin finish, Tim polished the hardened/densified floor to a 1500 resin grit finish in successive stages. He burnished on a micro-thin coating of LSGuard for increased protection against stains and abrasion. LSGuard has “LS” in its name because it contains lithium silicate for an added hardening/densifying effect.
Though LSGuard can be re-burnished or refreshed with additional coats if required, it never needs stripping or replacing. That can amount to an enormous savings in maintenance costs over time.
Tim and his crew completed the work over three weeks in March and April. The most challenging part, he said, was working around all the other trades who were also trying to get their work done in time for the May 16 opening.
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