All West Surface Prep provides all services for concrete flooring
All West Surface Prep is in the business of providing anything that old or new concrete needs, explains Chuck Wagner, Owner and President.
“We focus on old concrete, and we have all the latest tools for surface prep,” Wagner says. The Commerce City, Colorado, company was established by Wagner in 2004. The business evolved from All West Contractor Services, which had been owned by Jack Pinney for 14 years. Wagner bought the business from Pinney and changed the name to All West Surface Prep (All West). Today, the company specializes in cleaning, polishing and self-leveling concrete flooring, and provides services including grinding, coating, caulking, sealing, controlling dust and mitigating moisture.
All West moved from Englewood, south of Denver, to Commerce City, a northern suburb, in 2008. In the past two years, the company has added 1,400 square feet to its plant, adding a sales office and a conference room and expanding space for offices, storage and equipment cleaning.
Wagner takes pride in the company’s equipment, making sure to buy the latest and the largest available. For cleaning old concrete, the company has several Blastrac shot blasters. “It shoots round steel balls against the concrete, breaking loose dust and dirt,” Wagner says. The shot blaster has a large vacuum attached to it that picks up the debris and sorts the steel balls out through a tube so that they can be reused. The blasting creates a clean surface for whatever comes next: leveling, epoxies, carpet or tile.
“It also puts little dents in the concrete. The coating bonds better if the surface is rough,” Wagner says. Whether a self-leveling coating or epoxy is being applied, the bond will be stronger if the surface is blasted first, he explains.
All West has extensive expertise in leveling floors, having completed jobs as large as 180,000 square feet. When a concrete floor is uneven, the surface is cleaned first. Then the covering material—powdered cement with plasticizer mixed with water—is poured over the rough concrete. “It looks like dirty water, but it dries rock hard and stays on the surface,” Wagner says. All West uses a powerful MP 25 concrete mixer pump made by Machine Technologies that can spray 200 feet, applying the topping material from a quarter inch to 2 inches thick.
The company completed a major self-leveling project for Four Seasons Resort and Residences in Vail, Colorado, in 2010. The project took eight months as 180,000 square feet of flooring was prepared and leveled.
Pioneer in Polishing Concrete
All West began polishing concrete in 2005, which was a new concept at the time. “People were getting smarter about how to do it,” Wagner says. “It makes concrete harder when you add a sealer and lock it all down.” Coatings can be added in a variety of colors and surfaces to meet the needs of various industries and businesses.
Big-box stores, such as The Home Depot and Walmart, pioneered the use of polished concrete, Wagner says. All West started out working with Colorado Hardscapes, Inc., performing the grinding and cleaning prep for Colorado Hardscapes’ concrete polishing business. The two companies partnered on jobs for several years, including a large project at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, which had nearly 30,000 square feet of walkways requiring All West’s floor-grinding, polishing and sealing services. Eventually, All West decided to add polishing to its portfolio of offerings and became Colorado’s first concrete polishing contractor licensed with Bomanite, a manufacturer of innovative concrete flooring products.
As Wagner familiarized himself with the concrete polishing trade, he learned about a power trowel that uses diamonds on its blades to polish floors. After attending specialized training in Charleston, South Carolina, Wagner purchased the Diamatic BMG-780 grinder and polisher. This power trowel machine starts out using a rough grinding surface, like sandpaper, but then uses finer and finer grinding surfaces until the concrete is polished smooth. An attachment simultaneously collects dust while the machine is grinding/polishing so that the surface is left clean.
“Most grinders have an electric cord with a generator,” Wagner explains. “Ours is powered by propane. This gives us an advantage in the marketplace, making it easier to complete bigger projects.” A polished concrete floor has a shiny surface that never needs waxing and is easy to keep clean. All West has polished floors in retail stores, schools, hospitals, garages and industrial buildings. Its first polishing project was 55,000 square feet in an old Kmart store.
The company also takes pride in a concrete polishing job performed for the INDUSTRY RiNo Station in Denver.
The owners were redeveloping a building to be used as coworking space as well as private offices. All West employees completed a power-trowel polish of 146,000 square feet, including old concrete on the first floor and new flooring on the second.
Applying Overlayment in Redeveloped Buildings
In 2010, the company began applying overlayment, a thin layer of specialized concrete, to flooring in Colorado. The overlayment is harder than the underlying concrete and can be polished to a high sheen. One of the company’s first projects was retail space in an older building in Larimer Square, the original city block of Denver. Other overlayment projects include a 9,000-square-foot Macy’s Furniture Gallery in Denver’s Cherry Creek neighborhood and a 12,000-square-foot Old Navy in Colorado Springs.
All West is a certified contractor for applying Curecrete’s Ashford Formula system, a liquid compound that makes concrete harder and more durable while adding a polished sheen.
An additional specialty of All West is moisture mitigation. Wagner explains that when a building is heated, it draws moisture from the soil up through the concrete. The moisture condenses into liquid that damages carpeting or other flooring. The company can apply a layer of epoxy to the concrete, which keeps moisture from getting through the concrete into the flooring.
Other Service Offerings
Outside of flooring, All West has also worked on highway projects. “The shot blaster has been used to clean bridges before they are coated. Bridge frameworks are protected by epoxies that need shot-blast cleaning to improve bonding,” Wagner says, adding that moisture causes the steel to rust. The company has prepped bridges in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska.
All West works “anywhere within 500 miles,” Wagner says, with most of its work concentrated in the Denver metro area. However, All West has completed projects in other Colorado communities, including Fort Collins, Pueblo, Grand Junction and Durango; in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and in northern Wyoming, western Kansas and Nebraska.
Taking Pride in Employees
All West has 30 employees in the summer and about 20 in the winter, including go-to mechanic and Shop Manager Collin Knouse. “Our equipment pounds on concrete,” Wagner explains. “It absorbs dust and that wears on the parts. We need this guy who can fix it and get it back into use.”
Another employee, Project Manager and Sales Consultant Anthony Brown, writes for Curecrete’s magazine that goes around the world. He will also begin writing for the magazine of the Concrete Sawing & Drilling Association, an organization for concrete renovation professionals.
All West supports several local nonprofits and also makes donations to police and fire department charities and food banks. The company has also donated a vinyl-flaked garage floor as an auction item at a fundraiser for The Eating Disorder Foundation in Denver.
The team at All West Surface Prep takes pride in bringing flooring innovation to the Denver region, Wagner says. “We have the best pump, the best surface prep equipment and the best polishing system to handle everything from large industrial development to smaller remodeling projects.”