Flooring for the main level: Part 1.

Flooring material for the main level was an easy choice.  It was so easy that we installed it in May 2017 before the walls were even erected!  We decided early in the process that the concrete slab was a good use of material.  Since the concrete was already in place it could be used as the primary floor and there was no need wasting more resources on flooring and installation.  Luckily, there are now companies in Newfoundland that grind and polish concrete floors!  One such company, Sam Roberts Cement Finishing, located in St. John's, has been working concrete for 2-3 generations.  Grinding and polishing is a new venture for their long lived company but I have a feeling that it will take off once people see the real potential of a concrete floor.   My feeling from the beginning was that covering a major part of the thermal mass of the building wasn't the best idea.  It really seemed like covering it would be wasting materials.   Besides, at the quoted price, it was cheaper than laying hardwood or other flooring alternatives.  It saves me from the headaches of dealing with wood on concrete and the potential for expansion and buckling.

When I showed up on site the guys were already there and ready to start (Photo 1-2).  The equipment they use is part of the Husqvarna HiperFloor finishing system.   There are several walk behind grinders which have interchangeable grinding heads which vary in grit from very coarse to very fine.  working through grits can give a finish that looks like mirror.  Each grinder has the ability to be connected to what looks like a cyclone dust collector (Photo 1-2).  The result is much less dust than traditional grinders.

In the initial stages it is a matter of determining what type of exposure is desired:  i.e. how far to grind and therefore how much aggregate to expose.  Deeper grinding leads to larger aggregate exposure.  I find this look too busy.  Instead, I opted for something more subtle: a little beyond a salt & pepper finish.  For this space I felt like it made sense.  It took some time to get a feeling for the hardness of the concrete and to strip the initial sealer (sealer was used to prevent the slab from drying to fast during the warm summer months.)

After working through several grits (starting at 20), the slab exposure starts to take shape.   Once the slab is ground smooth,  grits are changed in order to get a smooth finish with a high degree of polish. A densifier is added to the slab and allowed to dry.  After that, the slab is further polished and sealer is used to protect the surface.  The slab is then polished for the final finish.

At this point the guys just have a few minor touch ups.....then we'll have the final reveal!!!

Photo 1-1.  Sam Roberts and his crew on site.  Ready to take on an exciting project!


  1. David, we are also thinking of polishing our coloured insulated slab. I was planning on doing it all, including polishing, before framing etc. My rationale is it would be easier for the contractor especially in the corners. Thoughts?

    1. it would be easier...but it will be pretty much be impossible to keep the floor protected during construction. I would highly recommend against polishing before the framing..I think you will be disappointed. the trades aren't going to be that careful and it is likely that you will have issues. Im glad that I waited. When you see a hammer dropping from the second floor you won't be sorry!


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