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The (Concrete) Source
Broom Finished Concrete Sweeps Shopping Center

Jim Gobright, J&M Concrete Contractors and Alli Rael, LC/DBM


Precast concrete pavers were originally specified for The Source, a 400,000 square foot mixed-use development in Buena Park, Calif. When it became apparent that they would be too time consuming to install as well as out of budget, J&M Concrete Contractors was hired to install broom finished concrete paving - concrete swept with a broom after it has been poured to create a slip-resistant texture.


The development has three stories, all of which needed concrete. While the ground floor could use regular pumps to pour the concrete, the 2nd and 3rd levels required the use of boom pumps due to tight site conditions. J&M had to be flexible on its pour sequencing due to the "hop-scotch" schedule of waterproof membrane installations, in which different stories needed work done on consecutive days.

The Source is a three level, mixed-use project in Orange County, Calif., that combines modern and dynamic urban design with an assortment of shopping, dining, entertainment, health club, hotel, and office space. Located at the corner of the second most trafficked intersection in the area and minutes away from top tourist destinations, The Source promises to be a dynamic and exciting place to visit for the 43 million annual visitors to Orange County.

Its original paving design had precast concrete pavers set in a mortar bed laid in a running bond pattern. Due to budget and timing constraints, an alternative was pursued. Concrete paving was finally decided on. Several concrete finishes were reviewed and mock-ups prepared. After extensive evaluation, the design team settled on simple broom-finished concrete paving, albeit, with a slight twist on its installation so that it would appear more than just the standard type.

J&M Concrete Contractors, the installers for the job, poured more than 137,000 square feet of concrete across the shopping center's three levels. Careful attention was given to each separate pour in terms of finish direction and texture consistency.

The first floor covers 62,647 square feet and used 1,160 cubic yards of concrete. The concrete slab was 6" thick and reinforced with #3 rebar. The second and third floors had a 4" slab reinforced with grids of electric welded wire mesh, or EWWM. In all, more than 2,000 cubic yards of concrete were poured.



The Source has one flight of stairs, also made from poured concrete. To support the steps, steel was drilled into the sloping concrete sub-slab. Joints were made at 3/16" instead of the standard 1/8" to accentuate their appearance. To break up the large expanse of gray, some of the concrete squares were stained white or dark gray.

To get the desired finish for the job, a concrete broom was run over the surface of freshly poured concrete after troweling. The concrete should either be brushed perpendicular to the slope or towards the drain, if there is one. Broom finished concrete must be cured with polyethylene, a curing agent, or cure & seal for decorative concrete. The broom finishing at The Source had to be carefully timed due to significant sun/shadow conditions throughout the day.

To minimize slab cracking, sawcut contraction joints were provided in a 5' square grid. Joints were only caulked on vertical elements such as walls, columns and steps. Additionally, the joints were made 3/16" wide instead of the standard 1/8" wide to accentuate their appearance. An admixture was used to minimize slab shrinkage and related cracking as well.

Some of the paving modules were stained white and dark gray at random throughout the project to create interest and complement the adjacent storefronts. Once finished, the concrete had to be protected due to ongoing tenant improvements.

The first pour was in May 2015 and the last pour was in February 2016. At any given time, 10-20 people were working on the installation. The result was a paving finish that was within the owner's budget, high in durability, slip resistant and good-looking. The project received an award from the Southern California chapter of the American Concrete Institute in recognition of decorative uses of concrete construction.

As Seen in the August 2017 Issue of Landscape Contractor Magazine

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October 19, 2018, 11:43 am PDT

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