More people buy existing houses than build new ones. It is common practice for new homeowners to renovate, remodel, and generally alter their home to make it more to their liking and better suit their lifestyle. Enterprising decorative concrete professionals can easily capitalize on this fact.
As an industry, we have many big meetings, shows, and conferences every year. There are events for every conceivable segment of concrete, masonry, and cement. But how many of those are aimed squarely at contractors? And how many are meant for the decorative concrete contractor? If you’re working hard, stamping concrete, staining, and installing decorative overlays, what’s out there for you to see the latest tools, techniques, and products?
We tend to fixate on using stamped concrete for a limited scope of applications – driveways, patios, sidewalks, pools. But there is more it can do. One of the more unlikely options is as a replacement for hardwood and engineered wood floors. Read more to find out how stamped concrete can effectively compete with hardwood.
Professionalism is important to continued and sustainable success. It can be difficult to maintain, but professionalism pays off. When you demonstrate the core values of a professional – competency, honesty, preparation, and consideration – you improve your chances of making the sale and developing long term, repeat customers who gladly recommend you to others. Respect your customer, respect your crew, and respect yourself.
The team "Bearded Wonders" took on the challenge to create a pattern and coat a board with Brickform SM Pro in 30 minutes. Tim O'Bryan, Division General Manager second from left, pulled out $100 cash and threw down the challenge to the 20 in attendance. Mark Grismore, Bobcat Decorative Champion, middle rallied the troops and hosted an awesome training program. KC Bobcat has three locations, Tracy, MO, Blue Springs, MO and Olathe, MO.
From Steve Johnson - Area Sales Manager
The value added prospect of decorative concrete is unique for the contractor. It relies heavily on the margin between the extra time and material expense and the customer’s higher perceived value of the finished product. This difference represents the additional potential earnings for the contractor, versus traditional, non-decorative concrete work.
World of Concrete is the highlight of the year for the concrete and masonry industries. As a result, most exhibitors try to have something big to show off at World of Concrete. Here’s a quick preview of what Solomon Colors is bringing to the show for 2017:
Sign up for MyConcreteContractor.com between January 17th, 2017 and February 17th, 2017 for a chance to win a Samsung Tab2 tablet! If you're going to be at the World of Concrete, stop by booth # O41054 for details. Offer only valid for decorative concrete contractors - review MyConcreteContarctor.com terms of service for eligibility.
A good website can help net you more sales, grow your business, and build your reputation. And it doesn't have to be hard. Read more to learn why you need a website and how to get started.
Use the code BUY when registering for World of Concrete 2017 for $40 Exhibit-Only admission. The World of Concrete 2017 takes place between January 16 and 20, 2017. Exhibits run from January 17 to 20.
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.
Antiquing goes by many names, including release color, accent color, and highlight color. Simply put, antiquing is an additional color used to accent and highlight textured concrete. It is formed when a secondary color is applied to a textured concrete surface, generally in the deeper areas of the impression.
This is a common question at Brickform training. On the surface, the products seem fairly similar. They are both surface-applied coloring agents. They both create opaque color. They both come with the complete Brickform Standard Color Selection. There are a few significant differences that dictate when, where, and how both Cem-Coat and Freestyle Pro are used. Find your application below to see which is better and why.
Here we've got some live photos taken by John Reynolds at the Brickform demo at Structural Materials in Grand Forks, ND. Josh Cunninghaminstructs attendees on the finer points of stamping with Brickform textures and Color Hardener. Hopefully those dark clouds don't rain on their parade!
Exposed aggregate is a classic decorative finish for concrete. It is arguably the oldest form of decorative concrete, dating back to the early 20th century. Exposed aggregate is a versatile finish for flatwork, vertical applications, and as a component of larger, more complex projects. Surface Deactivator is the exposed aggregate surface retarder from Solomon Colors. It is just one of the many products offered by Solomon Colors to make exposed aggregate better. Surface Deactivator offers more control and consistency than sugar-based retarders.
Polish your skills at the 2016 International Concrete Polishing and Staining Conference and Expo. This is the only event of its kind. If you are even slightly interested in concrete polishing and concrete staining, the CP&S show is a must-attend. With more than 20 technical and business management seminars – including an All Day Leadership Boot Camp with Brad Humphrey – and dozens of manufacturer exhibits, the CP&S show is perfect for improving your skills, growing your business, and networking.
Lythic and Solomon Colors are bringing you an exclusive VIP offer. Register online with the promo code SOLO for free access to the exhibit hall. While you’re there, make sure to visit us at Booth #101. We will be discussing the latest and greatest in easy-to-use, environmentally friendly, polishing and maintenance products.
Acid stains belong to a class of materials called reactive stains. These stains do not use pigment to color concrete. Instead, they chemically react with calcium hydroxide (lime) in the concrete to change color. This leads to rich, amazing, and durable color. Beauty comes with a price, however. As the color change is reliant on a chemical reaction, it may be hard to predict or control. Read on to see how Brickform Blush Tone Acid Stain was used to stain a basement floor.
Water-based stains are another weapon in the war on ugly concrete. Over the past couple decades, water-based stains have grown in popularity due to their ease of use and wide color palette. The growth of water-based stains has democratized the staining market.
The applications for decorative concrete continue to surprise and expand. For decades, decorative concrete was limited to stamped patios and the like. However, with some creativity, it can touch nearly every part of the home. Here’s how Cory and Justin from Huber Custom Coatings used vertical mix, stampable overlay, and water based stains, to build an attractive fireplace.
Part 1: The Surround
Install the scratch coat. Cory and Justin first fastened a lightweight, fiberglass lath (SpiderLath) to the existing wall. They firmly troweled the Type-S Mortar over the lath and used a notching tool to cut deep grooves into the mortar before it set. This is also where Cory and Justin installed the wood mantelpiece.
Mix the Vertical Mix according to instructions found in the TIS. Water content can be altered to ease application. A thicker “peanut butter” consistency will yield best results.
Apply the Vertical Mix to the scratch coat in a thin layer. Begin by squishing the material deep within the grooves. In this video, Cory and Justin used their hands (always wear the appropriate protective gear when handling cementitious products) to firmly press the material into the grooves. Some applicators like to throw handfuls of the material while others choose to use trowels. Do whatever works best for you as long as you get the vertical mix deep in the grooves of the scratch coat.
Apply the build layer. Larger handfuls of Vertical Mix will grab onto the thinner base layer and provide a good start for texturing. Smooth the material with a trowel. You may want to consider using forms to maintain a clean edge and uniform depth.
Texture the Vertical Mix. Use tools such as stamps and texture rollers to texture the surface. More advanced applicators may also free-texture and sculpt using trowels, chisels, and whatever they can think to use. When using texture rollers or stamps, always use Brickform Liquid Release to keep the material from sticking.
Start detailing when the Vertical Mix has started to set up. For a more realistic and varied appearance, Cory and Justin used small margin trowels to cut deeper grooves in the brick texture and add more depth. They also rounded edges and chipped some of the bricks for a more realistic look. Remove any dust or debris prior to the application of other materials.
On this job, Cory and Justin used Brickform Cem-Coat for a durable, stain-ready base color. They mixed the Cem-Coat following the TIS instructions and applied the material in thin coats with a brush. You can also apply Cem-Coat with an airless sprayer.
After the Cem-Coat dried, Cory and Justin used water-based Brickform ARTesian Stain to detail and highlight. They sprayed individual bricks with different colors for a more weathered, natural look.
Seal the Vertical Mix to preserve and protect it. Choose a Brickform sealer that best suits your application and desired final appearance. Penetrating sealers such as Stealth Seal protect without leaving a film. Water-based sealers such as Satin Seal will protect while maintaining a matte, natural finish. Solvent-based sealers like Gem-Seal or Poly-Seal add gloss and enhance color.
Part 2: The Hearth
Build a form to the desired specifications, with form liners on the out-facing sides. Cut the urethane form liners to size and use plumber’s putty to fill in the joints at the corners for a smooth transition. The form liners will give the out-facing edges a natural looking stone texture.
Mix Brickform Stampable Overlay following the TIS mixing instructions. Add color, as per the TIS, if desired. In this case, Cory and Justin added pea gravel as an aggregate during mixing. This added “bulk” to the mix and made it more suitable for a counter top-like application.
Spray the forms with liquid release and pour a thin layer of Stampable Overlay.
Place the rebar for support. Make sure it is not too close to the top or else it may affect the appearance.
Continue adding material to the form until it is full. Use a vibrator to consolidate the mix and eliminate air bubbles. Pockets of air may negatively affect the texture on the form liners. Allow the material to set and remove the forms.
Apply the sealer. Cory and Justin used Brickform Uermax WB for a durable, matte finish layer of protection. Once the sealer is set, they installed the hearth in the fireplace.
With a little creativity, you can accent any room of the home. Overlay materials can be used in many non-standard ways to replace traditional materials such as stone, brick, and granite. Always read and fully understand the literature for every product you intend to use before you begin any project. Make sure the existing structure (wall, cabinets, floors, etc) will be able to support the weight and stresses of your materials – making upgrades and improvements as needed.