This technique was originally developed to harden concrete floors for heavy duty industrial and engineering situations.
Since the 1990’s the use of dry shake hardening for concrete floor surfaces has also become widespread in other types of buildings including printing, retail warehouses, aircraft hangars, self-storage units, bakeries and other modern factories. In these buildings it was found that it is possible to incorporate pigments into the dry shake powder thereby achieving floor surfaces which can be specified in a range of colours.
The number one attraction of the dry shakes has been that the floor is extremely durable and hard wearing so the occupier has a floor which will sustain many years of operational use maintenance-free. Our supply partner, Permaban Limited, also provide after care visits and a very detailed Operations Manual covering topics such as routine housekeeping and health and safety.
Other reasons for the client choice of dry shake are the fast track construction, chemical resistance (not acids), impact and abrasion resistance, slip resistance, anti-static properties and low cost. The low cost is not just the low initial cost but, even better, the extremely low life cost.
The limiting factors relating to the surface durability and abrasion resistance of a concrete floor are the nature of the fine aggregates in the surface and the water/cement ratio of the concrete. A dry shake works by putting a layer (typically 5 kg/sqm) of the powder onto the fresh wet surface of the concrete just before trowelling. This powder contains the special aggregates, cement, pigment and other ingredients. The aggregates and cement ensure the surface has the right ingredients and water/cement ratio to achieve high durability. The surface is importantly monolithic i.e. it is not stuck onto the concrete – it is an integral part of the concrete.
Other properties are achieved with selection of different aggregates. For example we can supply & install a dry shake with an alloy aggregate containing titanium. This aggregate is angular in shape and has an Aggregate Abrasion Value of 1. This means that you get a slip resistant floor, even in wet conditions, but it is also straight forward to clean and the slip resistance is permanent. It doesn’t wear away like a bonded resin slip resistant finish will. One of our partners, Permaban Limited, have written a paper on this subject, describing the options and quoting actual slip resistance values etc. This paper was published in The Concrete Society “Concrete” magazine in May 2010.
Dry shakes are an extremely cost-effective way to achieve a coloured long-lasting floor surface. However, clients should remember that the dry shake finish is essentially a coloured and hardened concrete surface. While the dry shake surface quickly becomes hard and durable, like concrete it takes many months to dry out fully. A properly cured concrete floor will exhibit tone variation during the curing period, which gradually reduces over the first year of its life. We would always suggest to our potential clients a site visit and or meeting in order gain an understanding of the suitability of the floor finish for their operation. We are more than happy to facilitate a visit for any interested party should they wish.
Please contact either Jon Wilcox or Claire Morrow on 01430 436596 or e mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on the many concrete flooring systems on offer from Nationwide Concrete Flooring Contractors. Alternatively, if you are located in the north east you can contact our dedicated north east office in Gateshead on 0191 404 6831.