DeltaCrete puts the shine into new and existing concrete floors
By Darcy Rhyno
Photography courtesy of DeltaCrete
When an American company came to Moncton to build a large Bass Pro Shops outlet, they couldn’t find any local companies to polish the new concrete floors. The contractor happened to have experience in commercial cleaning and because the two jobs share similarities, he guessed that contacting a cleaner might be a good lead in tracking down a concrete polisher.
“He called us,” says Wes Hoover. “He does millions of square feet every year. We sent down some guys, and they trained us.” From there, it was a natural progression for the commercial cleaning company Hoover works for to expand into the concrete polishing business. Today, Hoover is sales and project manager at DeltaCrete of Moncton, which takes on jobs all over the Maritimes.
DeltaCrete doesn’t pour concrete itself. It specializes in treating and resurfacing brand new or existing concrete floors. “The oldest we’ve done,” says Hoover, “is approximately 110 years old. It’s rare that a piece that old can be polished, but there are cases where if it’s not undergone too much damage it can be done.” They can also repair older concrete floors, even matching the composition and colour of the original material.
About half of DeltaCrete’s projects are residential. Typical projects are what Hoover calls higher-end homes. “It’s usually people who are building green, a lot of passive homes, people trying to get LEED certification.”
LEED—Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—is the world’s most widely used rating system for green construction, applied primarily to new buildings. Hoover says, “People are just trying to make commonsense choices when they’re building, reducing their carbon footprint in a reasonable and financially feasible way.”
Concrete floors and concrete polishing help builders of new homes achieve LEED certification in several ways. Because concrete absorbs heat from the sun, it greatly improves the passive solar gain potential of a house. In-floor heating can be part of the design. As well, creating an attractive concrete floor with specialized polishing techniques makes it unnecessary for the contractor or homeowner to cover it with other flooring like tile, stone or hardwood. If these materials aren’t required, says Hoover, neither is the quarrying of stone, manufacturing of tile, milling of lumber and all the associated transportation costs.
The polishing process itself is environmentally friendly, says Hoover. “It’s a refinement process. There’s a series of grits we go over the concrete with, and that brings it up to a shine on its own.” While he does apply a hardener and a sealer, these are used in very small quantities and are quite benign.
“There are quite a few ways we can customize,” says Hoover. “We can dye it, either just one colour throughout or different colours. We can add decorative saw cuts in the concrete to give it a pattern like tile. We can blend dyeing with saw cuts as well.”
Exposing the composition of the concrete is another of Hoover’s techniques. The stone used in making concrete is called aggregate. Depending on the look desired by the contractor or homeowner, Hoover can polish the concrete to expose more or less of the aggregate.
“We can go right down to where the rock is the size of a loonie,” he says. “It’s subjective. If you are going for a contemporary industrial look, a modern type build, then not exposing the rock and just having the grey shiny concrete is the way to go. If you’re going for a more traditional look, or maybe a craftsman look, then exposing large aggregate can lend itself well to that type of design.” Regardless of the preference, all these finishes come with a fairly reasonable price tag. “You can get a premium look for $5 to $7 a square foot, whereas if you’re going with a premium tile, it could end up being $10 to $15 a square foot once it’s installed.”
When it comes to garage floors, Hoover recommends an epoxy finish. “Polished concrete is very durable, but it doesn’t like anything acidic. If you’re using your garage to park your car every day in the wintertime, the salt coming off it can eat away at the polish.” Hoover and his team grind the concrete before applying the epoxy so there’s what he calls a good scratch pattern for it to stick to. The floor can be a solid colour or DeltaCrete can create patterns in the surface by applying either a metallic epoxy or one with vinyl flakes. Hoover says they use epoxy that’s low in volatile organic compounds to reduce off-gassing.
The two most common concerns of Hoover’s customers are comfort and safety. Of the first, Hoover admits, “it’s a hard surface to walk on. It can make your feet sore after a while, but that’s par for the course with tile too. In the areas where you’re standing a lot like at the kitchen sink, people will solve that by putting down a mat.” As far as safety goes, Hoover says a polished concrete floor meets all the regulations for commercial slip resistance.
Any home can be suitable for polished concrete customization, says Wes Hoover. “People think it’s homes that look like office buildings, but we just did a Cape Cod cottage style. You wouldn’t think it would match that style, but we did a large aggregate polish, and it goes quite well. People are amazed what we can do and the look it can give.”