Dry Shake Concrete is concrete that, once laid, has an extra topping, or hardener, applied to the still wet concrete. In this short article we will explain what dry shake toppings are and why and how they are applied.
What are Dry Shake Toppings?
A dry shake topping is a granular substance which is sprinkled on top of wet concrete. The topping will contain cement, a surface hardener (often a ground metal), pigments and very fine sand. These can be hand mixed by specialists or bought off the shelf. A good example being the Qualitop Titanium surface hardener.
Why apply a Dry Shake Topping?
Even the highest quality concrete mix laid by the most expert concrete professional will still leave a surface that is prone to wear and will progressively deteriorate over time creating dust. By creating a dry shake concrete the surface will become:
- Harder and more resistant to cracks, abrasion and scratches
- Potentially, more aesthetically pleasing as pigments can be added to give the floor a colour
- It will bury any steel or fibre protruding from the concrete
- It will extend the life of the concrete
- It can reflect more light and, consequently, it can reduce electricity bills.
How is Dry Shake Topping applied?
After the concrete is laid and screed we must wait for the concrete to set to the point where any bleed water has evaporated and the floor can support machines. However, the concrete must still be in a partially fluid state and a foot print should not be more than 3mm in depth.
Depending on the size of the floor the dry shake is applied using either a hand spreader like the Tremex Hand Spreader or a machine like the Topp&Screed TS-5000. The dry shake is evenly spread to a thickness of approximately 2 – 3mm.
The dry shake then absorbs water from the still wet concrete beneath it. When the dry shake has darkened evenly across the entire surface the floor should be power floated to ensure that is completely flat and smooth.
The final step in the process is the application of a Curing Solution like the SikaFlor Proseal. This chemical retards the release of the moisture from the concrete minimising any cracking and making the concrete harder. The same result can be achieved laying sheets of plastic across the surface of the concrete throughout the curing process.
Making Dry Shake Concrete better still with the BECOSAN® Treatment
So now the dry shake concrete is harder, flatter and smoother than it might otherwise have been, but it is still concrete and the surface will begin to disaggregate overtime and will create dust. Also, the floor is still open and will absorb any liquid spilled upon it.
These problems can be significantly reduced, once the concrete is cured, using the BECOSAN® System.
These problems can be significantly reduced, once the concrete is cured, by opting for polished concrete using the BECOSAN® system.
The BECOSAN® industrial surface treatment begins by micro-grinding the floor using a Power Trowel fitted with Becosan diamond studded abrasive pads opening the pores and eliminating the micro-roughness in the surface.
The BECOSAN® concrete densifier is then applied to the floor penetrating into the substrate, chemically reacting and binding with the free lime and calcium hydroxide in the floor. The result is a harder surface which is resistant to wear and, hence, reduces dust.
After the application of the BECOSAN® concrete sealant the floor is much more resistant to the absorption of liquids leaving the surface stain free for many years.
A final polish and we you have a hard, flat, smooth and beautiful concrete floor that will maintain its sparkle for many, many years.