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Concrete Cracks Fixed by Hand While Restoring Historic Theater Floor

A high sheen polished concrete floor in a 90 year old building that was exposed from the multiple layers of paint throughout it's history.
Photos by Trevor Patton, courtesy of Concrete Contracting Solutions

When broker-auctioneer Jason Langley purchased the nearly 90-year-old Fayette Theatre in Washington Court House, a small town in Ohio located between Cincinnati and Columbus, improving the local landmark’s 3,000-square-foot concrete floor was a top priority.

“I thought about repainting it because it had been painted several times before,” the owner of Jason Langley Realty & Auctioneers says, adding he also considered wood flooring and commercial tile.

Yet, Langley wanted a more maintenance-free option that would also expose the natural look of the slab. To achieve this, he turned to Concrete Contracting Solutions (CCS), a locally based company that thoroughly removed several layers of paint before grinding and polishing the slab.

Remake time

CCS used a G-320 propane planetary grinder from Concrete Polishing Solutions (CPS) throughout the project, as the older building was not wired to handle three-phase electrical equipment.

The CPS grinder was first equipped with a 30/40 grit medium-bond tool to initially remove the paint, followed by a metal bond on a 7-inch hand grinder to remove paint along the wall edges, says CCS president, Chris Paisley.

The grinder was then used to grind the floor to achieve a fine sand exposure with some medium aggregate and expose the floor’s abundant cracks and holes.

“One challenge with filling the cracks was the paint placed on the floor also filled the cracks and edges,” Paisley says. To thoroughly clean them out, “All the cracks needed to be wire brushed by hand.”

Additionally, the floor featured some “old holes” with paint inside. These areas were also wire brushed or drilled to prepare for an epoxy repair grout, which was applied to the sides and bottoms of all holes. To avoid widening the cracks, CCS prepped with a good wire brush, instead of routing out with a diamond saw blade.

Jason Langley Realty & Auctioneers logo on a glossy polished concrete floor in a historical building in Washington Court House, Ohio.

“I never would have guessed they would have done it that way,” Langley says, explaining CCS workers cleaned the cracks while laying belly down on wheeled carts. “The (repaired) cracks are awesome. You can hardly see them.”

Because the old concrete was natural buff in color, the CPS Armor Grout used for filling and repairs was tinted on-site to match the brownish hue.

Following crack-related work, CCS ran a 50-grit hybrid ceramic-bond tooling followed by 100 and 200 grit tooling. The crew then applied a vendor-cut vinyl graphic to the surface using red Consolideck GemTone Stain. The edges of the floor were finished with 400- and 800-grit hybrid-bond tooling.

CCS densified the floor with Consolideck LS and LSGuard before burnishing it with a HTC Twister 1500-grit pad. The result was a polished concrete floor that gives the room a reflective shine.

“I have friends who own commercial properties and I’m telling them ‘before you go put tile down you need to look at this,’” Langley says.

In total, the project took three employees four days to complete.

For CCS, jobs that involve hand cleaning cracks or surfaces are welcomed contracts. Recently, the company hand polished 14-inch risers and treads that comprise a Kentucky high school’s stadium seating before grinding the 17- and 24-inch tall seats to achieve a salt-and-pepper exposure.

From the front of the stage to the back of the room, a tunnel runs underneath Fayette Theatre’s concrete slab. The tunnel still houses a 36-inch squirrel cage fan that was used to force cool air into the theater prior to the advent of modern air conditioning.

The show must go on

Following floor improvements to the Fayette Theatre, notes Langley, upgrades to the building’s lighting, drywall, banquet facility and stage have occurred, with comedy acts and school-related functions lined up along with the company’s auctioning events.

Squirrelly Fact
From the front of the stage to the back of the room, a tunnel runs underneath Fayette Theatre’s concrete slab. The tunnel still houses a 36-inch squirrel cage fan that was used to force cool air into the theater prior to the advent of modern air conditioning.

Once this project is complete, the space will again host entertainment from local and traveling shows. The community will also be able to rent the space to host gatherings of their own, such as private parties, fundraisers and wedding receptions.

Known for its marquee and terracotta roof, the theater has been a long-time fixture in Washington Court House. Opened in 1928, the theater initially hosted local and traveling entertainers before becoming a part of Chakeres Theatre Inc., the oldest independent motion picture exhibitor in Ohio and Kentucky.

When disco fever swept the country, the theater then served as a dance hall, dubbed Sounds Unlimited Disco. After that trend faded, it housed the Police Athletic League, a nonprofit youth sports organization, and was known as the PAL building. 

 

Project at a Glance


Client: Jason Langley Realty & Auctioneers; Washington Court House, Ohio

Decorative concrete contractor:
Concrete Contracting Solutions Inc.
www.concretecontractingsolutions.com

Scope of project: Grinding and polishing a historic theater’s 3,000-square-foot floor to expose fine sand and medium aggregate.

Products used: Concrete Polishing Solutions CPS Armor Grout, Consolideck LS and LSGuard, Consolideck GemTone Stain

Most challenging aspect: Cleaning out and repairing paint-filled cracks and holes with a handheld wire brush.

 

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