The Refinery: Converting Industrial Concrete Into Spa-Like Residential Flooring

Concrete contractor customizes four units with beautifully polished flooring in little over a week.
Posted on 04/29/2024

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Like other developments in Pittsburgh’s urban industrial Strip District, The Refinery at 2545 Penn Ave. represents a transformation. Two abandoned warehouses are now a single 32-unit luxury condominium building. Each unit takes up an entire floor and provides a spacious layout.

Incoming tenants could choose from various finishes and styles for their unit, with options that included polished concrete flooring. Zelienople-based flooring contractor Wexford Contracting installed a polished concrete overlay for four units at approximately 1,500 square feet per unit.

The floors in the former warehouse were in bad shape: uneven and cracked from the wear and tear of heavy equipment. One floor was once a roof, which presented additional substrate issues that included footprints embedded in the surface from the original roof installation.

To even out the floors and produce a high-quality finish, the contractor used Rapid Set® LevelFlor® self-leveling underlayment and Rapid Set® TRU® PC polished concrete topping.

LevelFlor® can be used to level out the elevation of a substrate and produce a flat surface with high bond strength. TRU® PC (for “polished concrete”) is a self-leveling and high-flow architectural topping that can be ground wet or dry and polished in 24 hours to expose the aggregate and simulate polished concrete.

The Challenges

In addition to restoring old, damaged concrete into high-quality flooring, the contractor had to work within a time crunch. Because the elevator was not yet working, the crew had to hand-carry 40-gallon buckets of mix water up multiple flights of stairs to each site.

Using fast-setting products helped the crew save time by moving onto the next phases of the project sooner.

The Steps

After preparing the concrete substrate, the contractor applied Rapid Set® Acrylic Primer to improve LevelFlor’s adhesion to the substrate. Acrylic Primer seals porous concrete to prevent pinholes from forming in the finished surface.

Next, the crew applied LevelFlor® to build up the lower areas of the floor. The material was mixed in a Hippo mixer, placed using gauge rakes, and finished with trowels to smooth out the surface. Designed for fast-track applications, the self-leveling underlayment is ready for foot traffic in two to four hours and allows floor coverings in 4 to 16 hours.

The crew then placed TXP™ Fast Epoxy Primer with sand broadcast on the substrate to allow for better adhesion for the overlayment to bond. They applied the primer by squeegee and then back-rolled to achieve a uniform thickness of 12 mils (0.3 mm).

TRU® PC was then mixed in Hippo mixers and placed at 3/8-inch thick. Workers finished the surface with a spiked roller to release any trapped air and then a smoother to provide a smooth, level surface. Once placed, the topping is ready for foot traffic in two to three hours and can be ground wet or dry and polished in 24 hours. Grinding and polishing started the next day, with the crew polishing to a Level 3 high-sheen finish using up to 800-grit diamond abrasives.

TRU® PC is available in natural and gray colors and can be customized for the color of your choice. For this project, the contractor used TRU® PC in Natural to produce a natural gray polished concrete look for three condo units. They added integral color to the mix for the floor in another unit to achieve the tenant’s desired color.

Wexford’s crew installed all four floors in a little over a week. The general contractor was pleased with the results.

The old floor was pitted and even had footsteps imprinted in the concrete. Wexford Contracting evened out the surface with Rapid Set® LevelFlor® underlayment, applied TXP™ Fast Epoxy Primer with sand broadcast, and installed TRU® PC on top of that.
Project at a glance
  • Project Type: Residential
  • Application: Polished Concrete Flooring
  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Size: 6,000 square feet
  • Dates: Oct. 30 – Nov. 8, 2019
  • Owner: Hardy World LLC
  • Contractor: Wexford Contracting
  • Products: Acrylic Primer (8 bottles); LevelFlor® (600 bags); TXP™ Fast Epoxy Primer (15 kits); TRU® PC (430 bags)
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Products Mentioned

Rapid Set