Low-Carbon Rapid Set® Cement Fits Restaurant’s Sustainability Bill

New Shake Shack Dallas location installs TRU® PC self-leveling polishable topping for a beautiful and durable floor.
Posted on 12/22/2023

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Shake Shack is a chain of critically acclaimed “roadside burger stands” with a mission to “stand for something good.” That goal manifests in many ways, including quality sourcing of ingredients and making sure restaurants are built with recycled and sustainable materials.

When the restaurant company opened a new Dallas location in May 2019, Shake Shake’s commitment to green architecture and eco-friendly construction led to using reclaimed bowling alley lanes for tabletops, Forest Stewardship Council-certified lumber for booths and Rapid Set® Cement products for the polished concrete flooring.

Providing A Lower-Carbon Footprint

Per its product-specific Type III EPD, the production of Rapid Set cement emits 27% less carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2-eq) per metric ton than portland cement. The reduced carbon footprint is due in part to less limestone needed to create Rapid Set and a lower temperature during the manufacturing process that uses less fuel and emits fewer emissions. When in clinker form, Rapid Set also grinds more efficiently to reach its final powder form, saving electricity and energy, which further reduces CO2 output.

Additionally, long-term durability studies have shown that Rapid Set cement concrete outlasts portland cement concrete by a factor of two, reducing the need to replace and repair concrete. This longer service life further reduces Rapid Set concrete’s carbon footprint compared to portland cement concrete.

Creating a High-Sheen Finish

The project owner was looking for a consistent polished concrete look. To achieve this, Houston-based contractor Crymar Finishes used Rapid Set® TRU® PC (polished concrete) high-flow topping.

The self-leveling, hydraulic cement-based topping can be ground and polished to simulate polished concrete. Once placed, it is ready for foot traffic in two to three hours and for wet or dry grinding and polishing in 24 hours. The material is available in natural and gray colors and can be customized. For this project, the contractor used TRU PC Gray.

While the contractor planned to pour the overlay over three days, incoming bad weather forced the crew to accelerate the timeline. Due to space constraints, the crew had to mix materials outside, and they could not do that in the rain. Because Rapid Set products are fast-setting, the crew was able to devote one day to prepping, priming and leveling the floor and the following day to pouring the overlay.

The substrate was old, with multiple repairs made to it that resulted in uneven elevations. To make the floor level, the contractor first primed the lower area with Rapid Set Acrylic Primer then applied Rapid Set LevelFlor® self-leveling underlayment to build it up. The underlayment was ready for foot traffic and the topping after four hours.

The following day, the crew applied TXP™ Fast epoxy primer and sand broadcast to create a strong adhesive grip and prevent pinholes in the topping. The primer was applied by squeegee and then back--rolled to achieve a uniform thickness of 12 mils (0.3 mm). Next, the crew mixed TRU PC via Hippo mixers and placed the material at 3/8-inch thick. They finished with a spiked roller to provide a smooth, level surface. Grinding and polishing were able to start the next day.

The floor was polished to a high-sheen, semi-polished finish using up to 1500-grit diamond abrasives. The crew applied a densifier to harden the surface and a guard to provide stain resistance and repel water.

Work took place mid-April 2019 and was completed in less than a week. The new location opened to the public the following month. In all, 104 bags of TRU PC Gray were used for 1,360 square feet of flooring. The project owner was happy with the final result: beautiful, eco-friendly floors.

Dallas Shake Shack
The crew first applied Rapid Set® TXP™ Fast epoxy primer by squeegee to a uniform thickness of 12 mils (0.3 mm). Then the crew mixed Rapid Set® TRU® PC, placed the self-leveling topping 3/8-inch thick and finished with a spiked roller to provide a smooth, level surface. Grinding and polishing started the next day.
Project at a glance
  • Project Type: Commercial (Restaurant)
  • Application: Polished Concrete Flooring
  • Location: Dallas, Texas
  • Dates: April 11-16, 2019
  • Size: 1,360 square feet
  • Owner: Shake Shack
  • Contractor: Crymar Finishes
  • Products: Rapid Set® Acrylic Primer, LevelFlor®, TRU® PC Gray, TXP™ Fast epoxy primer
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