Why Concrete Wants to Crack

Why Concrete Wants to Crack

Houzz Contributor

Concrete is practically a builder’s best friend, with its universally appreciated characteristics of strength, durability and versatility. Its affordability and thermal mass make it an eco-friendly material too, so it’s no wonder concrete is among the most-used building materials in the world.

But the darn stuff has a propensity to crack, and in many cases there’s simply nothing that can be done about it. Why is that? Here, we seek to answer that question, and provide some pointers on how to diminish the extent of cracking in your next project.

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Remodeling and Home Design

5 Benefits to Concrete Floors for Everyday Living

Get low-maintenance home flooring that creates high impact and works with home styles from traditional to modern

by Natalie Myers
A Houzz Contributor

When you initially think of concrete floors, you probably think “cold,” “prison like” or “industrial.” But with its ability to take on color and a polished sheen, coupled with its many benefits, concrete may become your new favorite on future projects. Be prepared to have your mind blown by how beautiful, elegant and warm a concrete floor can look.

Here are just some of the benefits of concrete floors.

Sustainability. Concrete floors are a sustainable option if you use an existing concrete slab, avoiding the consumption of new materials. And they need not be relegated to basements or garages. Once the concrete is sanded down and polished or sealed, it looks perfectly refined in a traditional kitchen or living room, especially when layered with Oriental rugs and pretty furnishings and fixtures.

Easy care. The only maintenance required of concrete floors is weekly mopping with soapy water. I recommend installing a baseboard along with the concrete floor as well, even though you think you may not need it. Just imagine what a dirty mop would leave behind in the crevice where the floor meets the wall if there were no baseboard. And it will make your choice look finished and intentional.
Economical. The cost of concrete floors is very low, about $2 to $6 per square foot to polish a plain gray slab, giving it a lustrous sheen. The concrete’s tonal differences, subtle cracks and aggregates take on a stonelike, natural feel.
More elaborate finishes cost around $5 to $8 per square foot. Staining concrete floors has been a popular option for years, because the outcome is determined by the homeowner’s imagination — different colors and application techniques combine to create a finish that’s unique to the home, with subtle variations across the floor.
Other decorative effects, like scoring in grid pattern lines, cost around $5 to $8 per square foot. These are still very impressive. With a high-gloss seal, the floor can be transformed to look like limestone. An acrylic sealer could be used in the interior application to give it that wet look.
In the range of $7 to $15 and up per square foot, you can get highly decorative faux finishes, such as a marbled effect.
Longevity. A floor that has been polished and maintained can be expected to last a hundred years or more. In this home, let’s appreciate how an aged and cracked concrete floor was not hidden under new tiles or carpet. Instead it is celebrated for the history it holds, and has been put on display along with other architecturally salvaged materials.
Concrete also looks nice with actual stone veneer walls. It accentuates their rustic appeal.
Concrete can be an economical and crafty choice in lieu of salvaged wood flooring. Stamping wet concrete with plank-like wood-grain imprints creates a lovely effect.

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Epoxy Crack Injection

Epoxy Crack Injection at the Plastics Omnium Bumper Plant

We get a call from Walbridge the contractor building the new Plastics Omnium bumper plant in Chattanooga, TN. A flood had filled chest deep in a 260 x 30 pit that would be used as a paint booth for the bumpers for the cars being manufactured at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant.

Water pouring in from all the wall bases and over 500 linear feet of cracking in the floor. At one point the water was chest deep. It took three days for a 3″ line pump to get it out. So we then drilled portholes through the 8″thick floor and along the wall bases on 6″ centers. Then we installed one way ports into which a hydrophobic epoxy was injected at 4,000 psi.

Gradually, the pit dried out and… over 2,500 ports later we would finally be done. 

CRS Launches New Website

If you have not been to Concrete Repair Specialist’s website lately, now is a good time to visit it. CRS launched the redesign of its website, ConcreteRepairSpecialist.com, to provide customers and visitors with even more relevant and easy to find information on concrete repairs and decorative concrete services in the Chattanooga, TN area.

CRS website has always been an integral part of our business and an important tool to share information with visitors and customers. “The redesign website has a new look and improved functionality to ensure an easier and more engaging experience for users,” said Sharon Gordon, Director of Marketing for CRS.

The revamped site features an updated look with enhanced features, including easier navigation, updated information on sites throughout. The new website is also responsive so visitors will be able to view it on tables, mobile phones and computers. A special thanks to Main Street Marketing for the re-design.
To view the new site, go to ConcreteRepairSpecialist.com.

St. Elmo Fire Hall Stained Concrete Floors

The St. Elmo Fire Hall was once a working fire station that served the St. Elmo community. The beautiful red brick structure has been re-purposed to a host one-of-a-kind events.

It was built in 1934 servicing a 1,000 gallon fire engine and office for the firemen. It was closed in the 1980’s and became neglected over the next 20 years.

This became on of our favorite projects. We had the opportunity to help turn the old concrete surfaces into a distressed stained concrete floor that was easy to maintain. Now the old building takes on new life by hosting both private and community events. Next time you are looking for a unique place to host your next event, be sure and check out St. Elmo Fire Hall.

After replacing the old concrete

After replacing the old concrete

Removing damaged concrete

Removing damaged concrete

St Elmo Fire Hall

Before photo of the old concrete surface.

Photo by St Elmo Fire Hall

After photo of the distressed finished in Moroccan Dunes, semi-transparent stain. Photo by St Elmo Fire Hall

St Elmo Fire Hall

Before photo of the old concrete surface.

Photo by St Elmo Fire Hall

After photo of the stained concrete floors in a semi-transparent Colorseal. Photo by St Elmo Fire Hall



The Cleaning and Care of Polished Concrete Floors

From Concrete Contractor Magazine

The Cleaning and Care of Polished Concrete Floors

Care of Polished Concrete Floors

A burnisher is a high-speed floor machine used to polish and clean floors. Pictured is the Battery Glazer 17 floor machine that operates on green batteries instead of a power cord. Photo credit: Tornado Industries

Many installers of concrete floors, in both private homes and commercial facilities, are the first ones asked when customers want to know how to clean and care for their new concrete floors.

In commercial locations, contractors can expect such questions from cleaning professionals as well. Custodial workers are very familiar with vinyl composition tile (VCT) floors, and most have worked with different types of stone floors or terrazzo, which is in the concrete floor family, but they are less familiar with maintaining polished and unpolished concrete floors. Invariably, the building managers who are their customers will give the cleaning professionals your name—as the installer—for instructions on care and maintenance of their new concrete floors.

It’s necessary for contractors to have a good understanding of how to care for the floor once installed.

Daily cleaning

If no finish has been applied to the concrete floor, all that is generally needed is that the floor be dust mopped and damp mopped using a neutral-pH cleaner. Because there usually are no grout areas, no grout cleaning is necessary.

However, contractors should encourage their customers to use backpack vacuum cleaners instead of dust mopping the floor. Dust mopping generates a lot of airborne particles that can be harmful to the cleaning worker and building users. Plus it has a tendency to push dust and debris from one floor area to another. A new generation of light and comfortable backpacks has been introduced that pull soil and debris from the floor, instead of pushing it around. This is healthier for the cleaning worker, building users, and more effective as well.

On large concrete floor areas, like those in a grocery store, an effective automatic scrubber should be used. A fully automatic floor scrubber is designed to apply cleaning solution to the floor, agitate or scrub it, wet-vacuum it, and then squeegee it dry, all automatically and all in one pass. Should cost issues arise regarding purchasing one of these machines, mention to your customer that in most cases an automatic scrubber can pay for itself in a few months because it improves worker productivity so significantly. After that, it pays dividends.

Interim cleaning

Interim cleaning is necessary if a sealant and/or finish has been applied to the floor and installers are encouraged to suggest to their clients that a sealant specially designed for concrete, and possibly a floor finish, be applied to the floor.

Interim cleaning also involves burnishers if a high-speed floor finish has been applied to the floor. A burnisher is a high-speed floor machine used to polish and clean floors. The machine not only removes surface level marks and soils but leaves the floor with a “wet look” shine. While they come in different sizes and with varying features, an effective burnisher for larger commercial locations would have the following attributes:

  • 2,500 RPMs (rotations per minute)
  • Adjustable pad pressure (up to 30 pounds); more pad pressure may be needed to remove more difficult soils.
  • Variable speed control, to address the needs of different floors and their finishes.
  • A built-in vacuum; this helps prevent dust from being inhaled by the user or released into the environment.
  • Battery powered provides the user much greater flexibility and maneuverability.
  • Auto-motion propulsion provides a gentle push assist, reducing worker fatigue and improving worker productivity.

In many facilities, floors are burnished every evening while in others floors are burnished less often, perhaps weekly or monthly. Contractor’s whose customers want a high-gloss shine on their concrete floors are encouraged to suggest that the floors be burnished frequently.

Restorative cleaning
Restorative cleaning is typically necessary once or twice per year, however restoration cycles can be postponed if the two steps just discussed are performed regularly and properly. Restorative cleaning is labor intensive, which makes it costly. It can also be potentially harmful to the environment. For both reasons, many end-customers prefer to delay the procedure. When a floor is restored, a low-speed floor machine (175 RPMs or 350 RPMs) is used to strip and remove all finish (or sealant) from the floor. It is an involved process with many steps; however, once it is completed, the concrete should look much as it did the day it was installed. The next step is to reapply sealant or finish. In most cases, if a sealant is used, two thin applications are necessary. Once it has thoroughly dried, three to six thin coats of floor finish can be applied to the floor on top of the sealant. The more thin coats applied, the greater the shine.1

Contractors are advised to suggest one more thing to their customers: select trained floor care technicians. Floor care and maintenance is an involved, complicated process. A trained technician will know how to address most challenges and will keep your customer’s concrete floor looking its very best.


Ed. Note: Sean Martschinke is a CIMS ISSA Certification Expert (I.C.E.) and the product manager for Tornado Industries, a manufacturer of professional floor care equipment as well as other cleaning tools and products. He may be reached through Tornado’s website at www.tornadovac.com.


1. Some floor finishes are made for low speed floor machines and others are made for high speed burnishers. It is very important to select the proper finish for the floor machine used. A burnisher used on a low-speed floor finish will likely remove most of the finish.

49th Annual Tri-State Home Show

49th Annual Tri-State Home Show

Concrete Repairs Specialist will be exhibiting at the 49th Annual Tri-State Home Show, March 13 – 15, 2015. We will be available to answer all your questions regarding concrete including decorative concrete options as well as how to repair damaged concrete.

If you are planning a new concrete surface, this is a good time to discuss your options and plan for installation.

We look forwarding to seeing at the show. Visit our booth #G24!

For more information on the Tri-State Home Show, visit their website at Tri-State Home Show.

Tri-State Home Show

3 Plus You segment on Concrete Repair Specialist

3 Plus You segment on Concrete Repair Specialist

Friday, February 27, 2015; Concrete Repair Specialist was featured on WRCB-TV3’s local show known as 3 Plus You. Julie Edwards talked to David and Sharon Gordon about how Concrete Repairs Specialist can help bring new life to your basement, pool, driveway and other concrete areas around your home.

If you thinking about putting your house on the market this spring, consider how your concrete looks. Buyers have been know to hammer sellers on their asking price due to damaged concrete driveways, patios and pool decks. CRS can give your house designer curb appeal that will help sell your house.

Spring is right around the corner! If you would like your pool restoration done before Memorial Day, call us now to get on our schedule.
WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather



Metallic epoxy flooring system helps an outdated TV news studio go high-tech.concrete-construction

by Taylor Gordon

In March 2013, WRCB-TV News Channel 3 in Chattanooga, Tenn., debuted a new, half-million dollar studio after about 18 months of planning and renovating. The floor-to-ceiling makeover transitions the NBC-affiliated news station to “high-definition” programming.

Epoxy Studio Floor

WRCB-TV News Channel 3 Metallic Epoxy Studio Floor

The new set contains more technology and can be used for multiple types of local programming for viewers. Just as important, “We created a set that is uniquely Chattanooga and represents who we are as a news team,” says WRCB News Director Derrall Stalvey.

The floor, designed to complement the TV3 logo and blue-skies color scheme, mimics the sensation of looking down on the ocean from the window of an airplane. “We wanted the experience of walking into the studio to feel like entering a place where the magic happens; walking with clouds at your feet,” explains David Gordon, owner of Concrete Repair Specialist in Chattanooga.

Transforming the floor

The news station’s old, painted-concrete floor did not hold up very well to heavy cameras constantly rolling across the surface. Gordon decided that an epoxy system with a clear topcoat would better withstand that kind of traffic. To create the desired clouds, water, and sky effect, the contractor used HyperREZ FloorGuard metallic epoxy system in “true blue” (a bright-blue color that looks like a stain) to refinish the floor.

Before Photo

Before photo of WRCB-TV Channel 3’s old painted blue studio floor. Photo courtesy of WRCB-TV 3.

The application required several steps. First, the crew prepped the floor with a planetary grinder using 30-grit diamond to strip the paint from the old floor and prepare the surface for the new flooring system. Crew members then cleaned the floor with vacuum dust extractors and applied a black primer by roller to provide a richness of color to the final look. For even more depth and dimension, they used flat squeegees to create light and dark areas in the primer.

After applying the primer, workers wore spiked shoes to roll out the thick-bodied, metallic blue epoxy. To create the illusion of waves and movement, the crew used a back-rolling technique in various passes while the epoxy was drying. This can be done because the metallic, glitter-like particles in the epoxy can move within the epoxy while it is still wet. Also, by stirring the product and applying it over the black primer coat, the crew was able to simulate a 3D cloud effect. They then sealed the floor with a protective, clear urethane topcoat.

The highly reflective floor literally mirrors the studio’s high-tech design. Plus, it can be easily maintained by damp mopping.

Gordon is a Chattanooga, Tenn.-based freelancer who writes blog articles for local businesses.
Camera-Ready article is featured in January 2014 issue of Concrete Surfaces magazine.

To view the slide show of the studio’s transformation visit ConcreteConstruction.net

Epoxy Floor

After photo of the metallic epoxy flooring system used to give WRCB-TV Channel 3’s Studio Floor a high-tech look.

CRS Repairs Concrete Substrates

CRS Repairs Concrete Substrates

Before installing floor covering, flooring and adhesive manufacturers recommend that the concrete surface be structurally sound, dry, solid and stable. If the concrete substrate is damaged or too rough, it can prevent the adhesive from bonding or damage some floor coverings. Other issues that need to be addressed before floor covering installation is moisture vapor emission and high pH.

CRS is certified in moisture remediation offering systems to help correct moisture problems.
CRS also offers surface preparation for floor covering installations. We install self-leveling compounds that can repair damage and re level concrete surfaces.

The homeowner’s concrete surface was not poured properly. When the homeowner had a water leak, the concrete surface flaked and started coming apart leaving the surface severely damaged. The old floor covering was removed. Then CRS removed the old adhesive with a grinder. Any loose unstable concrete was also removed. The concrete surface has no adhesive residue and the remaining concrete is sound and stable.

Damaged Concrete Floor

The concrete surface after grind prep and loose concrete was removed.


A self-leveling polymer-concrete is poured onto the old concrete surface. This will give the homeowner a new smooth surface. Floor coverings can be installed over the polymer-concrete once it has fully cured.

Contact Concrete Repair Specialist for more information on concrete surface preparation… 423-593-7413. Visit our website at ConcreteRepairSpecialist.com.


Crew installing self-leveling system

Applying the polymer-concrete onto the old concrete surface.


Crew troweling self-leveler

The crew troweling the polymer-concrete.



After the polymer-concrete was installed, it has to cure before the new floor covering is installed.