Concrete restoration is how many contractors break into decorative concrete. The barrier to entry can be relatively low and the opportunities are plenty. Concrete restoration is how Brickform Training guru John Reynolds got his start and it could be how you get yours.
Concrete restoration is an attractive business because the potential clients are widespread. Every concrete slab presents an opportunity. Any residential neighborhood more than a couple years old will be filled to the brim with cracked sidewalks and dingy patios badly in need of some TLC.
Present concrete restoration as a cost effective and minimally invasive improvement and you should be able to generate a good deal of interest. Budget conscience homeowners are even more inclined to be interested in concrete restoration versus replacement.
Barriers to Entry
As Brickform area manager Todd Rose puts it, many restoration projects can be completed by “two guys in a four cylinder pick up.” That illustrates one of the most attractive qualities of concrete restoration – the low barrier to entry. For many restoration oriented projects, you will only need some basic equipment and limited manpower. Decorative contractors focusing on fresh placement might require skid-steers, forms, power buggies, heavy duty trucks, trailers, and any number of specialized tools. Depending on the restoration project, a sprayer, some hand tools, and surface preparation equipment (generally scrubbers or floor scrubbers) will be all that is required.
Not every opportunity for restoration is going to have the same solution. Luckily, decorative concrete restoration is a multi-faceted category. The same restoration contractor could easily offer all of these services.
Resurfacing: Using microtoppings, spray mixes, and stampable overlays are a cornerstones of the restoration market. These are the higher-tier when it comes to restoration as they tend to require more effort and surface preparation. They do, however, allow a great deal of customization regarding stencils, patterns and textures. Resurfacing products have the ability to add decorative finishes where one did not exist prior. Check out these videos about Brickform SM Professional Grade, Micro-Topping, and Stampable Overlays.
Recoloring: Concrete recoloring products are great for refreshing and redoing existing decorative concrete surfaces. Over time, color can deteriorate with staining, soiling, and wear. With a quality recoloring agent, stamped and textured concrete can be rejuvenated and the ravages of time undone. Watch these videos about Brickform Cem-Coat, Antique-It, and FreeStylePRO.
Staining: Water based and reactive stains are not generally associated with the concrete restoration specialty. They do, however, present a valuable tool on their own or in conjunction with other materials and methods. Use water based stains to add dimension to stencil patterns created with microtoppings and spray mixes. Microtoppings and acid stains also make a natural pairing. But stains on their own can be used to upgrade existing concrete – interior and exterior – even years down the line.
Maintenance: Guarantee repeat business by offering maintenance as a service. Maintenance is generally as simple as cleaning and resealing on a regular basis with minor crack and chip repair as necessary. By offering a maintenance program, the restoration contractor creates a reliable demand for his work, keeps his work looking good, and keeps the customer happy.
All of the photos in this article are courtesy of Huber Custom Coatings from Quincy, Illinois. Cory and Justin Huber are overlays specialists who have worked closely with Brickform Training over the years.