Circle House

Project Specs:
System: Polished Concrete Floor
Color: Natural
Finish: Level 1, 400-grit
Depth of Cut: Class B – Fine/Sand Aggregate
Size: about 845 sq. ft.

This history of this home started back in 1957 when Mr. and Mrs. John D. Haynes of Fort Wayne had been outgrowing their current space and needed more room for their expanding family. Their current home at the time had been an architectural landmark, as it is the only home in Fort Wayne designed by iconic Architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. John D. Haynes built his career as an insurance salesman, but also had an appreciation for architecturally built homes. This new home, a bit larger than his Wright-built home, would be built on an adjacent property designed and drawn by renowned mid-western Architect, Orus O. Eash. The home’s design is of two intersecting circles that make up the garage and main living space. A basement sits below half of the structure while a structural concrete pad supports the other half circle. The home’s open clerestory roof allows for an abundance of natural light to enter the home in the kitchen, as well as additional natural light from the living room’s Northwest facing glass wall.

The home’s original flooring included vinyl tile squares throughout the living and dining rooms. At the time, the linear lines of the 12” tiles added a nice touch to such a dynamic structure, but for the last 60 years the tiles had been worn down and become somewhat of a high-maintenance item for the new owners. The new owners wanted to add a modern design touch to the space while keeping durability top of mind as this also serves as a playroom for their two young children. The idea of polishing the concrete floors just made sense for the space.

The current homeowners, Kevin and Sara, had seen many finished concrete floors in Dwell Magazine. They knew what they wanted but were unsure if polished concrete was even possible under the current tile. Borrowing a small hand polisher from a friend, Kevin ripped up a couple tiles and did a small sample to make sure the finished concrete floor was going to meet his expectations.

Dancer Concrete Design was contacted to find the best way to deliver a finished concrete floor in such a different type of space. The floor finishing would take place in the living room, dinning room, and into the kitchen. For this project the owners were fully occupying the space. Some additional items that can make polishing concrete a bit more delicate is that the kitchen cabinets were in place, the living room had built in bookcases, and the Northwest wall curve making up part of the circle structure.

Upon grinding, we found that during the removal of the vinyl tile some of the cap or cream on the cement had stuck to the glue and pull off during floor removal. This is more common in ceramic tile removal, but with 60-year-old adhesive it had got a good grip on the concrete substrate. In typical flooring installations, the installers would simply apply some quick setting patch to the concrete and apply the floor right over the patch material. Since the concrete was going to be our finished floor we have to look at these patch spots very differently, as we simply cannot just cover these up.

To fix these spots we applied a polishing grout to the entire floor. This grout mixture is a custom blend of Portland cement, fine sands, polymer additives and colorant. This grout product is applied to a prepared concrete surface with a trowel and pushes the grout into the surface defects of the concrete. After this application set overnight, we then proceeded with our grinding and polishing steps to remove the excess product form the surface. This grout product had filled in the surface defects and voids in the surface.

Of course, this process aesthetically enhances the space, but we have also found it to increase the durability of our floors. After mechanically removing the grout, we move to additional polishing steps and our two-step sealing process of densification and stain guard. Densifying is a reactive penetrating sealer that makes the concrete even stronger and resistant to scratches, stains and other contaminants. The homeowner selected a natural concrete finish – no added stains or dyes – and the final day, the team polished the floor to the desired finish, a level one, 400-grit shine. The floor was finished like every polished concrete floor that Dancer Concrete Design installs: a final stain guard application and burnish.

The satin reflection offers a nice complement to the natural light while the gray toned floor offers a natural and neutral palette to accommodate a variety of designs, artwork, and furniture selections.