The photographs were taken at the Swiftflow Distribution Centre in Highams Park, Walthamstow. This was one of two Distribution Centres operating in the South East of England to supply C & A High Street Stores. As a result of C & A having to cease trading in 2000, they were left with distribution centres of over 11,500 square metres each which had to be refurbished and transformed into general purpose industrial facilities.
The centre was erected in the 1970’s when thermoplastic tiles were laid across the entire 11,500 square metre floor area. Elgood Industrial Flooring carried out an investigative survey and trials. Following the trials, it was found that the tiles were abnormally adhered to the concrete. An accurate description would be to say that the tiles had been welded to the concrete. This peculiarity was due to the heavy latex screed and excessive adhesives.
It soon became apparent that conventional machines were not going to be effective. Following various trials including heat treatment and high pressure steaming, none of which proved effective, we arrived at the decision to use a milling machine.
The tiles had to be removed but, at the same time, we were mindful that we had to minimise the amount of damage to the concrete. On this basis, we arrived at the decision to use a milling machine with 10mm precision blades to break the tiles. The picture (top right) shows the milling machine in action being followed by the sweeper. The dark trail behind the milling machine is the debris of broken tiles.
The milling machine left tracking marks. These tracking marks had to be reduced to provide an even wearing surface. For this reason we used industrial floor grinders to smooth the profile in the surface of the concrete. The photograph (right middle) at left illustrates an industrial grinding machine in operation.
The final photograph (right bottom) demonstrates the texture in the floor after it has been milled and after it has been ground. On one half of the photo the horizontal cutting marks can be seen clearly (the left side with the coin). The right half shows the floor after it has been smoothed by diamond grinding. As you can see, the floor now has a smooth surface with a marble like appearance.
The preparation of the floor was complete and we could now commence the installation of the new flooring.