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Dry Shake Solutions

Topping spreader

Dry shake surface hardener and topping applied to surface of the fresh concrete using a mechanical topping spreader. 

Dry shake topping applied to the surface of the concrete using a topping spreader.

This concrete floor slab was laid ten years ago at Peterborough Exhibition Centre with a charcoal dry shake topping bonded to the surface.

The above photograph shows a warehouse concrete floor in Reading, Berkshire, with a natural dry shake surface hardener integrated within the surface of the concrete to increase the amount of abrasion resistance of the concrete under heavy trafficking.

dry shake section

Sika Syntop red dry shake concrete floor slab completed with Sika Proseal curing agent. The Level Best Concrete Flooring concrete finishing and powerfloat team have achieved an excellently uniform coloured concrete floor slab.

Dry shake applied to surface of the concrete slab

Dry shake topping evenly spread via the topping spreader to the concrete surface prior to being powerfloated and polished 

How the dry shake topping looks once it has been successfully powerfloated into the surface of the industrial concrete floor slab.

These industrial floor coatings improve a concrete floor’s abrasion resistance and capabilities in handling impact damage. Applied to freshly-laid concrete either as a dry-shake or a slurry, these surface hardeners create a durable topping, monolithically bound to the concrete floor slab, which protects the floor and extends its life. The dry shake surface hardener also act as a fibre suppressant for steel fibre reinforced concrete floors; and can also be a cost-effective way to create coloured concrete floors.

A good quality industrial concrete floor slab with monolithically bound dry shake topping will last for years, especially in comparison to resin coatings which begin to wear far more quickly. With a consistent and regular cleaning regime, a coloured dry shake topping starts to look better with age, rather than an epoxy coating, which is quite the opposite. We can also finish you concrete floor with dry shake topping by using the FRS system once the floor has received 4 weeks curing time. By using the FRS system on the dry shake, the aesthetics will be enhanced and the appearance more uniform in colour.

For further details on the many different benefits offered from dry shake toppings, please feel free to contact us at Level Best Concrete Flooring on 01405 819199

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Light grey coloured dry shake topping containing alloy for extreme abrasive resistance in Ilkeston, Nottinghamshire

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The above photograph shows a jointless steel fibre reinforced industrial concrete floor slab designed and constructed in London. The surface of the concrete floor slab incorporates a dry shake sprinkle topping and surface hardener. The dry shake was supplied by RCR Flooring products and is natural in colour. Level Best Concrete Flooring employ an expert team of concrete finishers to apply and powerfloat the dry shake topping onto the concrete floor slab.

Colour and Appearance of Concrete Floors with or without dry shake toppings

Concrete floors are constructed primarily from naturally occurring materials and finished by techniques that cannot be controlled as precisely as would be expected in a factory production process. Good materials and workmanship may reduce variation in colour and appearance, but they will not eliminate them from the final appearance of a floor and never will be as uniform as an applied coating. Some features of concrete floors that are visible in the first few weeks after it has been cast relate to the early drying of the floor and become less visible with time.

Trowel marks and discolouration caused by the finishing process are related to normal variations in concrete setting, the visual impact f which will usually reduce significantly with time.

Excess Curing compound or overlapping layers of curing compound cause darker areas. These wear and disappear with time without adverse effect on the surface.

Some floors are constructed with a “dry shake topping” as a monolithic thin layer – see section 10.4. These sometimes include pigments to give colour to the finished surface and, if a light coloured dry shake topping is used, improve light reflectivity, see figure 2.1. These do not give the uniformity or intensity of colour of a painted finish or applied coating and the same considerations apply to these finishes as to ordinary concrete. Floor users are recommended to inspect in – use existing floors to evaluate the benefits of such finishes and the effects that can be achieved.

Concrete incorporating a trough – colour pigment may be used, but variations in colour can be expected.

For bold and consistent colour it is necessary to use a surface coating. Coating will degrade depending on the type and usage and therefore may need replacement during the life of the building.

Grinding can be used to improve surface regularity or to remedy light surface damage. This will not usually effect the use of the floor but will affect its appearance. It will wholly or partially remove any surface treatment such as a dry shake topping.

TR34 2013 edition extract relating to dry shake toppings

Dry-shake toppings are dry blends of cement, fine aggregates, admixtures and sometimes pigments. They are usually factory blended and supplied in bags. They are commonly used to provide colour and r help suppress fibres at the surface.

Dry-shake toppings depend upon bleed water from the underlying concrete for hydration and for them to be worked monolithically into the base concrete. Although excess bleed water should be avoided by appropriate mix design, it is equally important to have enough moisture at the surface when dry-shake materials are applied. If there is insufficient bleed water available to wet the dry-shake, there is a high risk of delamination.

When a coloured floor is required, the appearance of a small laboratory sample-produced samples will not be representative of the finished floor. The colour of a concrete with a coloured dry shake topping is more variable than a resin coating or other applied coatings such as floor paint – see section 2.4