Sleek & concrete: A beach house with a difference

Transitions installed internal and external concrete floors in a beachfront home in Palm Beach on the Gold Coast. This beautiful home, designed by Shane Denman Architects, has been awarded a Queensland Architecture Award and this month featured on showcasing the use of concrete as a design element in homes. Full article below.

Originally published on Written by Erinna Giblin

 The use of concrete in residential construction is having a resurgence. Far from being stark, sterile and cold, concrete has an ability to take on any shape.

As a result it can provide a wide range of decorative and architectural finishes; its versatility and aesthetic potential make it not only a cost-effective choice of material, but one that provides hard-hitting wow factor.

A recently built house by Shane Denman Architects in Palm Beach, QLD, offers a perfect insight into exactly how far concrete has come. Once labelled as 'ugly' and lacking character, concrete it now more commonly thought of as 'refined' and 'textured'.

This Palm Beach home is no ordinary coastal shack. Rather, it's a modern answer to the traditional Aussie beach house with sleek, minimalist stylings and a subtle, natural ocean theme throughout.

It was obviously well received as Shane Denman Architects won a state award at the Queensland Architecture Award in 2016 for the build.

Called '2A Concrete', the home is a two-storey, six bedroom, 707sqm house made almost entirely from off-form concrete.

Off-form concrete is most commonly produced using grey cement. High-quality moulds are used to ensure the quality of finish is super high; these moulds are often made from wood or stone, enabling the concrete to take on a more textured, natural form.

“The clients did a lot of research into an off-form concrete home; they approached us with their ideas,” says Shane Denman. “They wanted a neutral, minimalist home so they could truly appreciate the gorgeous setting.”

“The building is 95% off-form concrete; floors, walls, ceiling, stairs, the kitchen and island benches are all off-form concrete,” he says. “Using one primary construction material has several benefits, however to ensure a first-class finish vast levels of detailing were required.” 

One of the many impressive features of the home is the 3m cantilever on the first floor, which creates a well-covered alfresco area on the ground floor.

Huge 3m x 3m sliding glass doors enable the family to take in panoramic views of beautiful Palm Beach, while providing easy access to the outdoor entertaining areas.

“The home also features a plunge pool and spa; both are sunken into the concrete deck and allow swimmers to sit and enjoy ocean views and breezes,” says Shane.

“While a stark contrast is evident between the built form and the organic elements of the beach, the clever design and detailing ensure the home works in its environment.”

“It’s aesthetically striking but not imposing. The beach is still the focus and the home works around existing mature pandanus trees. As a result the whole project is well balanced.”

The home is comprised of six bedrooms: Three bathrooms, two powder rooms, and a kids’ room with custom bunk beds, which sleeps six.

There’s also a kids’ rumpus room, study, wine cellar, three-car garage with a store room/workshop, butler’s pantry, plunge pool and spa.

Award winning project features in Concrete Surfaces Magazine

Transitions' award winning project at Fashion Spree Shopping Centre in Sydney has this month become a feature story in Concrete Surfaces Magazine, in the United States. Read the full article below.


Time and Patience Key to Historic Slab Renovation

One polished concrete award winner's trick to refurbishing half-centry-old factory floors.

by Justin Deffenacher

When John and Maureen Carr began making Australia's premiere recreational vehicles in the 1960's, their 157,000-square-foot factory in a Sydney suburb was "the biggest complex of its type in the southern hemisphere." Viscount Caravans are now a coveted collector's item, but the space lives on. Instead of tearing it down, real estate developer Gazcorp turned the space into a designer-label outlet mall with 50 tenants.

Transitions Polishing and Grinding in Queensland landed the job of exposing the inner beauty of the decades-old concrete slab that hadn't been maintained. Several sections had been severly damaged and were poorly repaired. Most was buried under epoxy or tile.

Removing all that without damaging the substrate was one challenge. Another was working with 35 tenants to deliver the floor they specified, which wasn't necessarily the same finish as the mall's common areas. And yet another was matching repairs to a 60-year-old concrete mix.

Fortunately, the contractor's crews had experience with similarly substandard canvases. We asked General Manager Courteney Franks how they pulled off the job, which won our 2016 Polished Concrete Award for retail projects.

What was unusual about this project?

The client wanted to pay homage to the building's 1960's industrial aesthetic. That meant retaining as many structural elements as possible, including the concrete floor. The first thing to be installed, it represents the era's concrete mixes and workmanship techniques.

However, it had been treated as a functional element that didn't require any particular care or maintenance. Almost 600 square yards were covered with ceramic and vinyl tile and 2,500 square yards had been raised to the level of adjacent sections with layers of epoxy self-leveller. Tenant stores would be located where toilets and kitchens had been, so numerous set-downs and drain cutouts had to be filled in.

Our job was to turn this 60-year-old uneven, unloved concrete into an unblemished surface with gloss levels of 50 to 60 (semi-polished; objects in relections are identifiable but not details) and distinction of image (DOI) of 65 to 75. With existing slabs, this level of expectation for the finish can be unrealistic, especially when a building was used for industrial purposes.

How did you protect the substrate when removing old coatings and tile?

We wouldn't know the conditions of 90% of the slab until we removed existing finishes. Jackhammering, shotblasting, and scabelling could have made achieving a high-quality polish impossible, so gentler methods were necessary.

We used a Novotech Terminator 2000 tile remover to lift the tiles. Old epoxy was striped using Substrate Technology's Prep Master 3030 and 4430 grinders coupled with Ruwac Powerhouse dust extractors and Husqvarna 820 RC floor grinders coupled with DC6000 dust extractors. Not surprisingly, the section that had been raised required much more remedial grinding.

Ensuring the entire slab was level entailed removing 2mm to 4mm with tooling ranging from 25 grit metal-bond to polycrystalline diamond (PCD). We ulitmately disposed of 52 tonnes of debris and concrete dust.

How did you match areas that had been damaged or needed to be replaced?

Although our ready-mix supplier was able to closely match the slab's aggregage, there were slight colour differences in the binder. The supplier pulled the aggregate from the same quarry that was used when the factory was first constructed to get the best match possible. The client accepted this and simply stressed that the finish had to remain the same.

Patches less than 1 square yard were repaired with that mix and an epoxy mortar that set within 24 hours. Larger patches were repaired with high-strength concrete that was cured for a minimum of seven days. The below-grade section, set-downs, and drain cutouts got the same treatment: Ardex Group's P51 primer followed by K005 bulk-filling compound and 10mm of K80 self-leveller.

Then we used Husqvarna’s Hiperfloor system over common areas and for tenants that specified polished concrete. The three-step polishing system starts with GM3000 filling compound to fill in air bubbles and holes left by extracted aggregated, then Hiperhard densifier and Hiperguard Enhance Plus penetrating sealer are applied.

The developer and some tenants then chose to apply grey epoxy, Sika Corp.’s Sikafloor 164/264. Tenant floors that couldn’t afford or didn’t want polished concrete were finished with Sika polyurethane flooring.

Additionally there were only small sections of the floors that had set-downs and the owner didn’t want stores that had partial bulk filled sections and partial existing slab in the one space. These set-downs were different from the other repairs since there was not enough depth to fill with a traditional concrete mix, so an engineered bagged material was installed. For these stores, epoxy was chosen as the uniform floor finish. Two of the three tenants who had to have epoxy installed have epoxy in their corporate design brief anyway. So regardless of the substrate they still would have proceeded with an epoxy floor.

What unique challenges did the project present?

Concrete pedestrian ramps connected the building’s four levels. Polishing any surface that isn’t horizontal is challenging, so you can image what pushing a 700 kg grinder up those inclines was like. Also the client wanted the exterior surfaces to blend with the interior surfaces, so we honed 1,600 square feet of external pathways and entryways. Honed concrete is basically the exterior version of polished concrete, with a higher slip resistance and high UV stability. CS


Justin Deffenbacher

Justin Deffenbacher is a Senior at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He is studying journalism and economics and will graduate in the Spring of 2018. Justin has written and produced for news outlets including South Africa's Sunday Times and Nebraska's KETV Newswatch 7.

Revitalisation project feature article in Flooring Magazine June/July 2015

Flooring Magazine June/July 2015 - Transitions Honed Concrete revitalisation project

Transitions completed a revitalisation project at Pavilions on Palm Beach recently transforming the worn and tired looking exposed aggregate floors to Transitions Honed Concrete.

A feature article of this project has featured in the June/July 2015 edition of Flooring Magazine Australia. A copy of this edition can be found by following the link below. Check out our feature on page 38.



Transitions features in Flooring Magazine June/July 2015

   Flooring Magazine - June/July 2015 edition

Transitions Polished Concrete Feature Article in Flooring Magazine - October 2016

Transitions Polishing and Grinding have this month featured in Flooring Magazine Australia with their project at Fashion Spree shopping centre in Sydney.

The polished concrete floors at Fashion Spree shopping centre were transformed from a 60year old industrial warehouse slab to a design centrepiece, that appeared purpose poured in its finish, as a part of the centres development.




To read our article in Flooring Magazine, follow the link below and navigate to page 50.

Flooring Magazine - October 2016 - 60 year old slab turns into historical masterpiece


Polished Concrete Award win announced in Flooring Magazine

Transitions polished concrete award features in Flooring Magazine Australia February 2015Following the announcement of Transitions winning an international Polished Concrete Award for 2015, an article has featured in the February edition of Flooring Magazine Australia. The article briefly outlines the project, at Capri on Via Roma Gold Coast, that was awarded the prize in the Retail Category. 

A copy of the Flooring Magazine February 2015 edition can be found by following the link below, on page 41.

Flooring Magazine - Feb/March 2015 edition


Alternatively you may read a copy of the article below.

Transitions win polished concrete award

Transitions Polishing and Grinding, a specialist concrete flooring contractor based in Queensland, has been awarded the International Polished Concrete Award in the Retail Category for its work at Capri on Via Roma Shopping Centre on the Gold Coast.

The Capri on Via Roma project encompassed over 24,000m2 of Transitions concrete flooring products, which have been installed from the basement car park to the external walkways and car parks, the internal mall areas and food court as well as a number of retail tenancies.

Speaking of the award, Brett Brant, Director of Transitions said "We are very proud to be presented with the Polished Concrete Award for the Capri on Via Roma project. It is a true testament to the design of the project, the hard work of our team and the high quality products they deliver for Transitions on a daily basis.”

The shopping centre, designed by BDA Architecture and built by Hutchinson Builders, is a $50million refurbishment and extension of a 1960s waterfront building on the Isle of Capri. Transitions completed the following flooring products for the Capri on Via Roma project: 

"It is a true testament to the design of the project, the hard work of our team and the high quality products they deliver for Transitions on a daily basis...this really is a great achievement.”Brett Brant, Company Director 

  • 12,000m2 of diamond grinding to prepare all rain damaged slabs;
  • 1,500m2 of Transitions stained concrete floors throughout the internal mall;
  • 500m2 of Transitions polished concrete flooring in a number of retail tenancies – Blackboard Coffee Roasters, Manolas Brothers Delicatessen, The Fish Emporium, Olga’s Health Food and Capri Wine + Beer;
  • 3,500m2 of Transitions honed concrete floors in the external pathways, entryways and external car parking lots at the shopping centre;
  • 6,000m2 of epoxy coatings in the basement car park.

"Transitions have always been focussed on delivering the highest quality products available on the market and this focus has remained so even during the peaks and troughs of the polished concrete industry. For our company to now gain international recognition for this really is a great achievement. It makes all the hard work worthwhile and we are centainly holding our heads high." said Brant

The Capri on Via Roma project has already won a number of architectural awards, including the Regional Project of the Year for 2014 in the Gold Coast/Northern Rivers Architecture Awards, and Transitions is delighted to be adding to the trophy cabinet.