When Productivity Inc. built a new showroom in Minneapolis, Minn., more than three years ago, the company chose to top the floor with Artera, a polishable polymer-modified fiber-reinforced cementitious overlayment made by LifeTime Floors. "They went with our system because it was able to withstand the load transfer of forklifts and heavy machinery," says Tom Graf, owner of LifeTime Floors and Concrete Arts Inc., the Hudson, Wis., company that finished the 12,000-square-foot floor.
But durability wasn't the only thing Productivity wanted for its new showroom. The Midwest distributor of machine tools, fabrication equipment, tooling and assorted accessories also sought a decorative finish that was both high-gloss and low-maintenance. And that's what it got, Graf says.
"It's been three-plus years since we finished that floor and they haven't had to apply any sealer or waxes, " Graf says. "I was in there not too long ago and it doesn't look any different than the day we left it."
Gresser Inc., of Eagan, Minn., installed the showroom's 8-inch structural slab and Concrete Arts topped it with 1/2 inch of Artera. To achieve the monolithic look the client desired, a gray-based topping was integrally colored with Prism Pigments' Charcoal color and mixed with salt-and-pepper colored granite.
It took Graf's three-man crew three weeks to finish the 10-step polishing process. "The floor has a lot of granite, which is a very hard aggregate, " Graf says. "The biggest obstacle was trying to get rock uniformity. We had to use metal-bond diamonds and wet-cut the first three steps to expose the aggregate before we went to a dry process.
"The floor was hardened and taken up to a 1,500-grit sheen. Then a stain resist was applied and the floor was burnished as the very last step."
Although the showroom wasn't a LEED project, it could have qualified for LEED points, Graf says. "Twenty percent fly ash was used in the base slab. And the granite was recycled or mined within a 200-mile radius."
Besides its environmental pluses, Artera has other notable attributes, Graf says. "It creates a totally breathable surface so you don't have to worry about vapor emission problems. And the install costs - including the polishing - are lower than with a traditional terrazzo application."