A vacuum is used in the building process of vacuum dewatered flooring, sometimes referred to as vacuum-assisted flooring or tremix concrete flooring, to remove extra water and air from the concrete mixture before the concrete is laid and finished. This procedure can provide a concrete floor that is more robust, uniform, and smoother on the surface.
VDF flooring: An overview
Vacuum dewatered flooring is a construction technique that uses a vacuum to remove excess water and air from concrete while it is being poured and cured. It helps create a strong, durable, and stable floor resistant to cracking and other types of damage.
The process typically involves pouring a layer of concrete onto a prepared base before using a vacuum pump to remove excess water and air from the mix. It can be done manually using a portable vacuum pump or automatically using a machine specifically designed for this purpose. The resulting floor is typically smooth, level, and ready for use once fully cured.
VDF flooring: Procedure
Vacuum dewatered flooring, also known as “dry shake” floor hardener, is a process used to improve the surface density and wear resistance of concrete floors. It involves applying a dry, powdered hardener to the surface of freshly placed and finished concrete before using a vacuum to remove excess material and water from the surface.
Here is a step-by-step procedure for applying vacuum-dewatered flooring:
- Prepare the concrete surface: Make sure the concrete is placed correctly and finished with a smooth, level surface. Remove any excess water from the surface using a squeegee or broom.
- Mix the floor hardener: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing the floor hardener. It typically involves adding water to the dry powder and stirring to create a slurry.
- Apply the floor hardener: Spread the floor hardener evenly over the surface of the concrete using a shovel or spreader.
- Vibrate the surface: Use a vibrating screed or hand-held vibrator to compact the floor hardener and ensure good coverage and penetration into the concrete.
- Vacuum the surface: Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove excess water and hardener from the surface of the concrete. It helps to prevent ponding and ensures that the hardener is evenly spread.
- Cure the surface: Allow the concrete to cure according to the manufacturer’s recommendations before walking on it or using it for any purpose. It typically involves keeping the surface moist and covered for some time.
- Finish the surface: After the concrete has cured, you can proceed with any desired surface finishing techniques, such as grinding, polishing, or applying a sealer.
This is just a general outline, and the specific steps and equipment used may vary depending on the project and the vacuum dewatering machine used. Following the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines when using this equipment is essential.
VDF flooring: Advantages
There are several advantages to using this method:
- Faster construction: VDF allows for a faster construction process because it removes excess water from the surface of the concrete more quickly than traditional methods. It means that the concrete can be finished and ready for use sooner.
- Better surface finish: Because the vacuum system removes excess water from the surface of the concrete, the resulting slab has a smoother, more uniform finish. It can be crucial for flooring applications where a smooth surface is desired.
- Reduced cracking: VDF can reduce the risk of cracks forming in the concrete slab. It is because the vacuum system removes excess water from the slab’s surface, which can help prevent shrinkage cracks from forming.
- Increased durability: VDF can result in a more durable concrete slab because the vacuum system removes excess water from the slab’s surface, which can help reduce the risk of freeze-thaw damage.
- Increased strength: Removing excess water from the concrete allows the concrete to reach its maximum strength more quickly.
- Energy efficiency: VDF can be more energy efficient than traditional methods because it uses a vacuum system to remove excess water from the slab’s surface, which can be more energy efficient than other methods, such as using heat or drying fans.
VDF flooring: Disadvantages
There are a few potential disadvantages to using vacuum-dewatered flooring:
- Cost: The equipment and materials needed for vacuum dewatered flooring can be expensive, which may make this type of flooring more costly to install than other options.
- Limited thickness: The flooring produced by the vacuum dewatering process tends to be relatively thin, typically just three to four inches thick. More than this may be required for certain applications, such as in areas where heavy loads will be placed on the floor.
- Complexity: The process of installing vacuum-dewatered flooring can be complex and may require specialised equipment and trained professionals. It can make it difficult for homeowners to install this flooring independently.
- Limited design options: There may be fewer design options available for vacuum-dewatered flooring compared to other types of flooring, such as tile or hardwood.
- Risk of damage: The vacuum dewatering process can be sensitive to temperature changes and variations in humidity, which can affect the quality of the finished floor. If the process is not carefully controlled, it can damage the flooring.
- Maintenance: Vacuum-dewatered flooring may require more maintenance than other types of flooring, such as regular sealing and waxing, to protect the surface and maintain its appearance.
VDF flooring: Applications
There are several applications for vacuum dewatered flooring, including:
- Industrial floors: Vacuum dewatered flooring is often used in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and other industrial settings where a strong and durable floor is required.
- Parking garages: This technique can create smooth and level floors in parking garages, which can help reduce the risk of accidents and damage to vehicles.
- Retail spaces: Vacuum dewatered flooring can be used in retail spaces, such as stores and malls, to create a durable and attractive floor that can withstand heavy foot traffic.
- Residential spaces: This technique can also be used in residential settings, such as homes and apartments, to create durable and low-maintenance floors.
- Public spaces: Vacuum-dewatered flooring is often used in public spaces, such as schools, hospitals, and government buildings, to create a durable and safe floor surface.
What is vacuum dewatered flooring?
Vacuum dewatered flooring (VDF) is a type of concrete floor construction that uses a vacuum pump to remove excess water from the concrete mix before it is placed and finished. This results in a hard, dense floor with a smooth surface finish.
How is vacuum-dewatered flooring different from other types of concrete flooring?
One of the main differences between vacuum-dewatered flooring and other types of concrete flooring is the use of a vacuum to remove excess water and air from the mix. It can result in a stronger and more durable floor than other types of concrete flooring. Vacuum-dewatered flooring is often more dimensionally stable, making it less likely to crack or shrink over time.
Is vacuum-dewatered flooring more expensive than other types of concrete flooring?
The cost of vacuum-dewatered flooring will depend on several factors, including the project’s size, the design’s complexity, and the local cost of materials and labour. In general, vacuum-dewatered flooring may be more expensive to install than other types of concrete flooring. Still, it can provide long-term cost savings by requiring less maintenance and having a longer lifespan.
What are some applications for vacuum dewatered flooring?
Vacuum-dewatered flooring is commonly used in a variety of applications, including:
Industrial and manufacturing facilities
Warehouses and distribution centres
How do I maintain VDF?
Regular sweeping and mopping with a pH-neutral cleaner is typically sufficient to keep the floor looking clean and in good condition. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or high-pressure water jets, as these can damage the floor’s surface.
Is VDF suitable for all types of projects?
VDF may not be suitable for all types of projects. It is typically used in industrial and commercial settings, such as warehouses, factories, and retail stores. There may be better choices for residential or outdoor projects, as they require specialised equipment and trained personnel to install. Additionally, the vacuum pump may not be able to access certain areas or remove all of the excess water from the concrete mix in certain situations.