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Tips to Prepping Heavily Pitted Ceramic Tile Prior to Decorative Concrete Application

Wine store floor was marred ceramic tile and is now beautifully coated and aesthetically pleasing.If you think that converting 22,000 square feet of flooring from heavily pitted ceramic tile to sleek, glossy, stylish concrete isn’t hard enough, try completing your mission in a “live” supermarket. Take on the added challenge of racing the clock in the middle of the night to get one section completed before the daily load of feet and shopping-cart wheels travels over its still-unfinished and barely dry surface.

Such was the task three years ago facing Cleveland’s Smart Surface Technology, working in association with The Concretist, out of California, on a 22,000-square-foot Heinen’s Supermarket in suburban Cleveland.

“It took 15 days, in part because we’d have to spend two hours cleaning from the day’s traffic at the beginning of each night’s shift,” says Smart Surface Technology national sales manager Victor Pachade. “We had to give the store back by 7 a.m. because it opened at 8:30.”

The supermarket needed every square inch of retail space as soon as it opened for business. It took 12 men working 15 nights, but they got it done. Here’s some stepby- step instructions that tell you how:

  1. Sand with a floor sander and 60-mesh sanding screen, then thoroughly wash. Apply an acrylic bonding primer. When dry, fill the cracks with a patching compound and prime again over the patched areas.
  2. Prime yet again. Once dry, apply a polymer-modified concrete topping, 1/8-inch thick, integrally colored with Colorfast blends of iron oxide pigments.
  3. Apply patterns and designs using a combination of acid stains and dyes. (At the supermarket, this part was performed by decorative concrete employees of The Concretist.)
  4. Apply four coats of a water-based acrylic sealer, then four coats of a urethane cross-linked with acrylics in a wax emulsion.
  5. Finally, stand back, admire your work, then get out of the way of the day’s first squeaky-wheeled shopping cart.

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