A clean and shiny floor reflects well on an auto dealership.
That's the opinion of many dealers who have turned worn or bare concrete floors into attractive, highly polished, non-slip surfaces that are easy to maintain and even draw a compliment or two from customers.
A special dry-polish process uses a diamond grind and formulated chemicals to harden and densify surfaces, says Greg Schwietz, president of L&M Construction Chemicals, which produces treatments for concrete construction, repair and protection.
The step-by-step process can utterly transform concrete floors, giving them a “just finished” appearance for the life of the installation, he says.
After they are polished and before the hardening/densifying, “concrete floors can be permanently dyed just about any translucent color or combination of colors, with an intensity ranging from vivid to muted,” says Schwietz, whose firm developed the system.
At Park Cities Lincoln Mercury Ford in Dallas, TX, the rejuvenation of the repair shop concrete floor was part of an overall service-department renovation.
The old floor showed 30 years of stains, grime and pitting.
“In some locations, the surface was uneven and there were also a couple of trip hazards where a slab had shifted between expansion joints,” Ken Love, service manager, says.
The contractor, Lonestar Stained Concrete, did the work in sections, so as not to disrupt the department's operations.
“Grinding, polishing and densifying the concrete was the ideal solution because it allowed us to leave the existing floor in place, yet end up with a much better looking and extremely durable surface,” Love says.
The dry grind cleaned, leveled and lightened the surface. “Because the floor is no longer rough and porous, spilled chemicals wipe right up,” Love says.
“Even though our facility is very old, I now have a shop that rivals anybody's in town,” he says. “Our mechanics have a nice, clean, well-lit place to work.”
The same process was used to refinish a new showroom floor in Dobles Hummer dealership in Manchester, NH.
“Though the floor had just been sealed, the owner wasn't happy with it and called us in to perform a diamond grind, dry polish sample,” says Scott LaFontaine, president of Concrete Solutions of New England Inc.
“The new floor now has such high reflectivity, you can see the actual gleaming image of the Hummers in the floor surface,” he says
Concrete Solutions of New England also used the multi-step process for a new 2-bay/6-car drive-through service check-in area at Expressway Toyota in Boston.
Tom Woods Lexus in Indianapolis, IN, wanted a service-area concrete floor finish that would be fitting for the high-end vehicles it would work on.
Also desired was a floor that could shrug off the constant black tire marks, oil, and grease and would require only minimal maintenance.
The floor, dyed light gray, “has a great shine and actually reflects light in a way that brightens up the entire area, making it easier for our technicians to work,” says Mike Hume, service manager.
“And it continues to look terrific even late in the workday,” he says. “Spilled or dropped oil and power steering fluid don't penetrate to stain the floor. Our cleaning crew wipes the floor every night and it looks great when everyone starts work the following morning.”
The floor adds to the dealership image, Hume says. “Customers often actually comment on how nice the service bays look and how clean the floor looks.”