V UNE ULY Poolside Makeovers! - Concrete Decor

VOL. 4 NO. 3 • JUNE/JULY 2004 • $6.95 Poolside Makeovers! Outsmarting Hot Weather Removing Sealers Stenciling New Concrete

Transcript of V UNE ULY Poolside Makeovers! - Concrete Decor

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VOL. 4 NO. 3 • JUNE/JULY 2004 • $6.95

PoolsideMakeovers!Outsmarting Hot Weather

Removing Sealers

Stenciling New Concrete

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June/July 2004 • Vol. 4 No. 3Issue No. 16 • $6.95

Publisher: Bent O. Mikkelsen

Co-publisher: Ernst H. Mikkelsen

Editor: Rosemary Camozzi

Circulation: Sheri Mikkelsen

Design and Production: Stephen Stanley

Web Design: Mark Dixon

National Sales Manager: Kathleen Goodman(314) 367-1121

Writers:Susan Brimo-Cox

Bruce HackettStacey Klemenc

John StriederDavid Thompson

Contributing Writers:George Lee

Michael Chusid

Editorial:Professional Trade Publications, Inc.

3410 West 11th AvenueEugene, OR 97402Tel: 541-341-3390Fax: 541-341-6443

Email: [email protected]

Circulation and Administration:Professional Trade Publications, Inc.

P.O. Box 25210Eugene, OR 97402Tel: 541-341-3390Fax: 541-341-6443

Email: [email protected]

Concrete Decor The Journal of DecorativeConcrete is published six times a year by

Professional Trade Publications, Inc. Bulk ratepostage paid at Lebanon Junction, KY and

additional mailing offices.ISSN 1542-1597

Subscriptions:One year: USA $21.95; Canada $29.95;

Other countries $49.95. All funds in U.S.dollars.

For Subscriber Services:Call 866-341-3703 Toll Free

For Advertiser Services:Call 877-935-8906 Toll Free

© 2004 Professional Trade Publications, Inc.

www.concretedecor.netONTHE COVER: Contractor Matthew Newman created this pool deck in PalmDesert,Calif.,with Super-Krete’s Stamp-Kote topping and Roman Slate andRandom Stone stamp mats.Color was obtained with three colors of Super-Krete’s water-based stains and the surface was sealed with Solvent Sealer S8300.Photograph courtesy of Super-Krete

Dear Readers,

How can we use our talents to help others?Look for those opportunities this year andmake them happen. A good example can

be found in this issue on page 56, where you canlearn a little about Carlton Concrete’s volunteerwork for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Some of the saddest sights I see around mycommunity and in many cities across the nation arechurches without adequate care given to theirmaintenance. It seems that only the churches withmembers who can offer financial support enjoy ahouse of worship that is clean, comfortable and inviting.

It’s amazing how many people in our neighborhoods are involved in some formof construction-related trade, and yet important places like our neighborhoodchurches are in disarray.

When Doug Carlton called me and said they were going to be helping out on ashow called Extreme Makeover, I said, “What show?” Well, the more I asked friendsand neighbors about this show, the more I understood why people were flocking tothe TV on a Sunday evening. It’s about people helping people. How fulfilling. Howrewarding. But better yet, how essential. Not because we have an opportunity togain some notoriety, but because there’s an opportunity to put our talents to work,unselfishly, for the sake of others.

Why take the time to write this letter? I could easily sell this space to anadvertiser and earn money on the real estate rather than yak about life. No. What isessential in our lifetimes is that we help build each other up, encourage one anotherin order to make ourselves stronger as a family, financially, spiritually, morally.

This summer, take the opportunity to initiate some form of charitable givingthrough the skills you possess. While it is the busiest time of year for many, it’s alsothe time when our best work can be accomplished for needy people. Like thepeople on Extreme Makeover, go out to help and enlist the help of others. If theydon’t show up like you hoped, go ahead and prove to yourself and your family thatyou can do it yourself.


Bent Mikkelsen, Publisher

P.S. By the time you get this, I will have returned from a visit to Washington, D.C.,where I attended the opening of an exhibit called Liquid Stone: New Architecture inConcrete. Organized by the National Building Museum, the exhibition presentsarchitectural projects that use concrete in exciting ways as well as informationabout concrete’s scientific properties, unusual concrete finishing techniques andadvanced hybrid versions of the material. The exhibit will be on view until Jan. 23,2005 (learn more at www.nbm.org). Watch for more on this in the next issue!

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FEATURES14 Stenciling New Concrete

Often used for existing concrete, stenciling canbeautify a fresh slab as well.by Susan Brimo-Cox

20 Pool Deck RehabTurn a pool deck from drab to fab with some of thesetips from the experts.by David Thompson

26 Hot Weather StampingWhen the temperature soars, make sure you have theright mix, the right plan and the right tools.by George Lee

38 Focus on PigmentsAn in-depth look at pigments for integral coloring.by Michael Chusid

46 Removing SealersSome consider this task downright evil, but sometimesit’s unavoidable.by John Strieder


Craftsmanship, client education and research are keysto success for this award-winning company.by Stacey Klemenc

32 MANUFACTURER PROFILE: Super-Krete InternationalFrom its beginnings in tennis court constructionalmost 25 years ago, Super-Krete has become a forcein decorative concrete repair and restoration.by Bruce Hackett

56 FINAL POUR: Carlton Concrete goes Extreme!

50 Classifieds44 Concrete Marketplace04 Decorative Concrete Tips06 Industry News08 Industry Spotlight — Association News52 Product News30 Product Profiles02 Publisher’s Letter

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How to stand out from the rest

To make your concretemore distinctive,learn to think out of

the box. The trick is to makeyour work unique. Put asignature on it.

Think like an artist. Anyone can go to the paint store and buy paints — it’swhat you do with the paint that makes it different. You have to be willing toexperiment. I probably pour 300 samples a year. I’ve used wallpaper, string,cardboard, metal cutouts, even my wife’s wall hangings. Look around — there are alot of different things that can work as stamp patterns or that will add interest toyour finished work.

I’ve even tried grape juice as a colorant. It looked great to begin with, but after awhile it turned black. You can get beautiful effects by using a terra-cotta base with a

translucent red or chocolate brown layeron top. It makes a rich, warm color thatyou can’t get with straight integral color.

Art and design are everywhere. Getout of the store and look around. Youmay find that you like the business moreand your clients like your work more —which means higher prices for yourwork.

— Lee Levig, Concrete WorksFairfield, Calif.


Decorative Concrete Tips is a forum for readers to exchange

information about methods,tools,and tricks they’ve devised.

Send details to CD Tips,CCoonnccrreettee DDeeccoorr,, P.O.Box 25210,

Eugene,OR 97402.We look forward to hearing from you!


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Industry New


MAPEI celebrates 25 years in CanadaMAPEI is proud to announce that it has successfullycompleted 25 years of business in Canada. The parentcompany, MAPEI Group, was initially launched in1937. In 1978, the company’s owners, Rodolfo andGiorgio Squinzi, chose Laval, Quebec, as the site toestablish MAPEI Inc., their first plant outside of Italy.From a handful of people in one location, MAPEI Inc.has grown to 335 employees in four plants acrossCanada, including the provinces of Quebec, Ontarioand British Columbia, and serving more than 180distributors all over the country.

“We want to thank our employees and clients forhaving faith in our company and for helping MAPEIInc. grow into the leader in our industry,” said Luigi DiGeso, general manager of the Canadian subsidiary.

To show its appreciation to “friends and family,”MAPEI is sponsoring two free, private concerts forMAPEI employees and customers — one in Montrealand one in Toronto. The featured singer at both concertsis famous Canadian songwriter and vocalist Paul Anka,who has over 900 songs and 125 albums to his credit.

MAPEI has been supplying systems for tile and stoneinstallation, floor covering installation and concreterestoration for over 65 years. Distributed in over 80countries, MAPEI is a single-source supplier of flooringinstallation systems for residential and majorcommercial projects. The company is a registeredprovider to the AIA/CES program and offers trainingrelated to ceramic and stone tile, floor coverings andconcrete repair. For more information, visitwww.mapei.com or call (800) 42-MAPEI.

USG offers info on sustainable productsResponding to the construction industry’s interest insustainable construction, USG Corp. has expanded theEnvironmental Responsibility section of its Web site(www.usg.com). The expanded section includes aProduct Sustainability Table that covers a wide range ofproducts manufactured by United States GypsumCompany and USG Interiors Inc. The table featuresspecifications on post-consumer and post-industrialrecycled content, densities, volatile organiccompounds, manufacturing efficiencies and rawmaterials for each product.

In addition, USG has developed specific answers tothe ASTM’s Standard Practice for Data Collection forSustainability Assessment of Building Products as theyapply to USG products, manufacturing processes,operational performance, indoor environmental quality

and corporate environmental policies. This standard isfrequently used as a guideline in answering industryquestions about sustainable construction.

USG is a founding member of both the UnitedStates Green Building Council and the National SafetyCouncil and has earned the Mine Safety and HealthAdministration’s “Sentinels of Safety” award more thanany other U.S. company. The company develops andmanufactures products made from natural, recycled andrecaptured materials.

Chusid named CSI Fellow Michael T. Chusid, of Encino, Calif., became a Fellow ofthe Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) in April.Fellowship is among CSI’s most prestigious honors.

CSI is a national association of specifiers, architects,engineers, contractors, building materials suppliers andothers involved in nonresidential building design andconstruction. Although the organization has nearly17,000 members, only 329 have ever been elevated toFellowship in CSI’s 56-year history.

Fellows arenominated by theircolleagues and selectedby CSI’s Jury of Fellowsin recognition of theiraccomplishments inadvancing constructiontechnology, improvingconstruction specifi-cations, educatingpeople in theconstruction industry, oradvancing the goals ofthe Institute.

Chusid is an architect, certified construction specifier,author, and speaker as well as president of ChusidAssociates, an architectural technology and building-product marketing firm. He founded Chusid Associatestwenty years ago to help building-product manufacturersdevelop and introduce innovative constructiontechnologies, and to improve the effectiveness of theirsales and marketing efforts. Since then, he has been aconsultant to more than 100 building-product companiesand trade associations in the U.S. and internationally. Heis an active member of CSI’s Los Angeles Chapter.Additional information about his accomplishments is atwww.chusid.com.

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AMERICAN SOCIETY OFCONCRETE CONTRACTORSRutturareturns asASCCpresidentD. ThomasRuttura, president,Ruttura & SonsConstruction Co.,Farmington, N.Y.,has been re-elected ASCC president for2004-2005. Michael J. Schneider,Monroe, Ohio, was elected first vicepresident. Paul A. Albanelli,Farmington Hills, Mich.; Clay Fischer,Jupiter, Fla.; and Donald Marks, FortLauderdale, Fla., were elected vicepresidents. Glen Shamblen, Tampa,Fla., was re-elected secretary/treasurer.Frank Lewis, Bell Gardens, Calif.; andThomas Zinchiak, Woodbine, Md.,were elected as new members of theboard of directors.

BannisterleadsDecorativeConcreteCouncilThe DecorativeConcrete Council,a specialty council

of the ASCC, elected Doug Bannister,president of The Stamp Store inOklahoma City, Okla., as councildirector. Bannister has been involved inconcrete work since 1980 and is anationally recognized expert in theindustry

Alan Thompson, Dallas, Texas, waselected secretary treasurer. ClarkBranum, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.;John Evans Jr., Pottsville, Pa.; JeannieFields, Douglas City, Calif.; Joe Garceau,Aurora, Ill.; Joe Nasvik, Chicago, Ill.;Mike Tingley, Coventry, R.I.; ScottTruax, Atlanta, Ga.; and Wes Vollmer,

Research agreement willbenefit industryA research cooperation agreementsigned in May between the NRMCAand the University of Maryland’sDepartment of Civil andEnvironmental Engineering will lead tothe establishment of the Center forConcrete Research. The intent is to usethe synergies of the academiccommunity with the establishedNRMCA research laboratory toconduct applied research that benefitsthe industry. The results will enableNRMCA members to address andshape technical issues impacting theirbusiness. The project reports will be avaluable marketing and educationaltool for members. The parties will alsoseek contracts to support the industry inroutine testing and provide industrytraining through workshops, trainingcourses and conferences on new state-of-the-art developments in the field.

AMERICAN CONCRETEINSTITUTEFiorato to head ACIAnthony E. Fiorato, president andCEO of Construction TechnologyLaboratories in Skokie, Ill., has beenelected 81st president of the AmericanConcrete Institute.

As a member of the AmericanConcrete Institute since 1967, Fioratohas actively contributed to ACI’stechnical publications and committeework. He currently serves on ACICommittee 318, Standard BuildingCode, and is former chair of ACIsubcommittee 318-A, which hasresponsibility for the materials andconstruction sections of the code. Hehas received numerous awards fromACI, including the Henry C. TurnerMedal in 1997, Arthur J. Boase Awardin 1999, and Henry L. Kennedy Awardin 2002. Additionally, Fiorato actively

Industry SpotlightAssociation News

San Antonio, Texas, were elected asnew members of the DCC board.

NATIONAL READY MIXEDCONCRETE ASSOCIATIONRedesigned Web site offersmany featuresThe NRMCA has introduced aredesigned Web site — www.nrmca.org— that features a wide array of resourcesincluding News & Features, Conferences& Events, Concrete Industry, Products& Services, and NRMCA Committees.Members can access past industryarticles, contact a specific associationstaff member, check state associationnews, take part in various surveys,examine industry research and muchmore. The site’s new Grassroots pageallows members to view summaries ofkey issues affecting the industry and tocontact their legislators on these issueswith the touch of a button. Browsers canalso search for producers and suppliersthroughout the U.S.

Former chairman honoredfor inventionStephen Stepanian, chairman of theNRMCA for 1943-1944, was honoredon the American Road & BuildersAssociation’s list of the Top 100 PrivateSector Transportation ConstructionProfessionals of the 20th Century.Stepanian, an Armenian immigrant, in1914 designed the self-discharging,rotating drum mixer unit that revolu-tionized the concrete industry.

“Mr. Stepanian’s genius and foresighthas led to what is now the mostrecognizable piece of specialtyequipment in the construction industry,says NRMCA president RobertGarbini.” Today, thanks to our formerchairman, more than 70,000 readymixed concrete trucks travel every daythroughout the U.S., making concretethe foundation of the nation.”

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participates andserves in leadershippositions at anumber of profes-sional organi-zations includingASCE, ASTMInternational, PCI,and PTI. For more

information, visit www.concrete.org.

Guide to formwork availableACI has published the “ACI 347R-03Guide to Formwork for Concrete.”Highlights of this publication include asection on contract documents thatexplains what specification guidancethe engineer/architect should providefor the contractor, and another sectionthat advises the formworkengineer/contractor on the best waysto meet the specification requirementssafely and economically. Separatechapters deal with design, constructionand materials for formwork, withspecial considerations to architectural

concrete, bridges, shells, mass concreteand underground work. Theconcluding chapter on formwork forspecial methods of constructionincludes slipforming, preplacedaggregate concrete, tremie concrete,precast, and prestressed concrete. Topurchase this publication, contact theAmerican Concrete Institute at (248)848-3800 or download it from ACI’sbookstore at www.concrete.org.

CONCRETE SAWING ANDDRILLING ASSOCIATIONStandard explains,definestolerancesCSDA has adopted the InternationalAssociation of Concrete Drillers &Sawers (IACDS) Tolerance Standardthat was developed through thecooperation of sawing and drillingassociations from Austria, Germany,Italy, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, theUnited Kingdom and the United States.

The IACDS Tolerance Standardconsists of nine sections that cover

reasons for issuing tolerances,definitions, and maximum tolerancesfor each sawing and drilling discipline,including core drilling, flat sawing, wallsawing and wire sawing. Also coveredin this Standard are maximumtolerances for crushing and bursting.“The Standard is intended to separatethe amateur from the professional,”said Kaspar Disch of Switzerland, whowas instrumental in the developmentof this Standard.

The tolerances for each disciplineare defined by eight separatemeasurements including angleaccuracy, directional accuracy,verticality, horizontal level, surfaceroughing, section width pocket holedepth or joint and evenness. TheIACDS Tolerance Standard isavailable on both the IACDS Web site(www.iacds.org) and the CSDA Website (www.csda.org).


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ColoradoHardscapesby Stacey Enesey Klemenc



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Wendell Van Heukelem (center)founded the company more than

50 years ago.His son Calvin(right) began the company’s

involvement in decorativeconcrete and rock work,while

grandson Vince (left) was the firstto have the vision of a Concrete

Design Center.

Below: TheBroadmoor


Left:Using highly detailedarchitectural shotcrete,Colorado Hardscapes’custom rock crew was ableto match the geologic rockfeatures of the butte withdramatic results.

Custom colored andfinished concrete greet

visitors at the newheadquarters of theNorthern ColoradoWater Conservancy

District in Berthoud.TheNCWCD project won

Colorado Hardscapes a2003 Best Commercial

Project Worldwideaward from Bomanite.

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For more than 50 years, ColoradoHardscapes of Denver (formerly VanHeukelem Concrete) has made it its

business to come up with concrete solutions for awide variety of customers, both commercial andresidential. What started out as Wendell VanHeukelem’s one-truck venture dedicated toconcrete flatwork has morphed into one of thecountry’s leading decorative concrete contractorfirms employing more than 100 people. WithWendell’s grandson Vince now at the helm andhis son Calvin chairman of the board, the thrivingcompany handles everything from replacing wornout ordinary concrete to installing one-of-a-kindcreations on floors, walls and even on the sides ofmountains.

According to Jay Fangman, director of salesand marketing, the company’s specialty areasinclude Bomanite imprinted concrete; customexterior concrete involving special colors, texturesand finishes; themed concrete rockwork; premiuminterior floors and themed walls created withformliners.

“We’ve been a Bomanite licensee for 20 years,”Fangman says, describing the relationship as verystrong. “They’re very much new-product oriented,very cutting edge, and we’re the kind of companythat taps into new products all the time.”

Most recently, Bomanite honored ColoradoHardscapes with three 2003 awards, including aWorldwide Award for Best Commercial Project forits work on the Northern Colorado WaterConservancy District headquarters in Berthoud.Other awards garnered this past year include aSubcontractor Project of the Year award from the

Above: Workinghand in hand with

an artist,aColorado

Hardscapes crewused rebar,wire

mesh andshotcrete to

create thisbaseball glove in

Aurora City Park.

The award-winning Village of Five Parks,amixed-use community in Arvada,Colorado, features a decorative wallpainstakingly created over a series ofmonths.

ColoradoHardscapesproduced astunning floorthat appears tohave a“leathery”texture for theKroenke Sports’offices at thePepsi Center inDenver.Thisproject,whichwas achievedwith Micro-Top,won thecompany a 2003silver awardfrom Bomanite.

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Associated General Contractors of Colorado, anaward for Unique Use of Concrete from theAmerican Concrete Institute and an OutstandingConcrete Project award from ColoradoConstruction magazine, all recognizing thecompany’s handiwork at the Village of Five Parks,a mixed-use community in Arvada.

Fangman says the biggest challenge thatColorado Hardscapes repeatedly encountersinvolves scheduling. “Generally, these large projectshave a very defined time line in so far as completionis concerned. We have to finish large amounts ofhigh-quality concrete work in a short period oftime.” And being able to deliver as promised is oneof the company’s strongest attributes.

Seeing is believingIn much the same way builders proudly displaytheir craftsmanship and creativity in a modelhome, Colorado Hardscapes differentiates itselfwith its innovative Concrete Design Center. Thenearly 15,000-square-foot facility is much morethan mere office space or a showroom whereclients and designers can check out hundreds ofsamples of the latest in decorative stamping,staining, stenciling, walls and rock work. Eachsample is labeled and has accompanying literatureand specifications so clients can get a fullunderstanding of the product.

The center is also home to a research anddevelopment center. “Visitors can observe our



Micro-Top toachieve the

stunning colorthe architectwanted with

the kind ofdurability ahigh school

needs.The wallseen here is

part of AspenHigh School.

Sandscape Texture,a new cast-in-place concretewith dozens of color options,was developed mainlyfor retail establishments and streetscapes.ColoradoHardscapes trademarked the finish last August andsays it’s gaining in popularity due to itsenvironmentally friendly installation process.

The premise behind the company’s Concrete Design Centeris straightforward:Surrounded by hundreds of samples ofconcrete concoctions,clients can quickly see that concretewill enhance and even transform their project in myriad ways.

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technicians behind a glass wall making samplesand working with new products and newcomponents,” says Fangman. “The R&D facilityis not just used to make samples, but ourtechnicians also test new materials and try newcombinations of colors, textures and finishes.”

The company, which caters mainly tocommercial and municipal customers, alsoencourages designers, architects and other visitorsto explore the possibilities of not just the finishedproducts but the components used to make them.“We’re firm believers in educating the designcommunity of the endless possibilities available tothem,” Fangman says.

Groups of designers are often invited for ahands-on evening where they literally take overthe R&D bay. “It’s kind of like an art class. If youhave 10 kids and you throw a box of crayons onthe floor and don’t give them any instructions onwhat to make, you’ll end up with 10 differentthings,” he says. “We believe in giving ourcustomers various components and then lettingthem devise the combinations to reach the

desired result. We try to give our clients theopportunity to have as much ownership in thefinal product as we possibly can.”

The importance of educationColorado Hardscapes strongly backs education inmany forms, from informal tours to structuredtalks. “We believe it’s very important to shareinformation about where concrete’s been andwhere it’s going,” Fangman says. In fact, he says,the company will probably host about 80architectural presentations this year on newconcrete trends. It even holds AIA-approvedseminars from which attendees can earncontinuing education credits.

“With the speed at which concrete technology ischanging, we think education is critical for ourarchitectural base,” Fangman says. “We place a highpremium on developing presentations to help ourclients keep up with the many changes, newproducts and new ideas in the marketplace. Theyneed to know what’s available now and whatopportunities are in store for tomorrow.”


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Do You Seea PatternHere?EExxppeerrttss sshhaarree ssoommee““wwhhyyss”” aanndd ““hhoowwss””ffoorr uussiinngg sstteenncciillss oonn ffrreesshh ccoonnccrreetteeby Susan Brimo-Cox



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Stenciling concrete is frequentlyrelegated to renovationprojects, because stencils work

well with overlays and sprayapplications. But, as many contractorsin the know will tell you, stencilinggives a more detailed and realisticfinish to fresh concrete than stampingalone. And there are other advantagesto stenciling, as well.

Doug Burgan, president of SprayPave Utah in Roy, Utah, says theprimary reason he prefers stencils overstamps is that “we can do large areas —different patterns all at the same time,not in different pours.” Also, he prefersthe shallower grout lines created bystencils. Stamps leave deepimpressions, he points out, whichcollect dirt and can trap moisture.

Contractors who use stencils onfresh concrete agree that the processisn’t difficult; rather, it is all a matter oftiming and technique. If you’ve nottried stenciling on fresh concrete, thefollowing tips and tricks may open awhole new world of decorativeconcrete for you.

Sizing up the jobIt may seem elementary to say, but makesure you are familiar with your stencilpatterns and how they will lay out aheadof time. Some patterns have more wastefactor than others; some will be moredifficult to place than others. Somecontractors do a dry run. Jim Mullins,director of training for Artcrete Inc., inIndianapolis, sums it up well: “Thelayout should be examined before youhave the wet concrete on the ground.”

Burgan says that for large projects, herolls the stencil out in the grass, lines upthe patterns and overlays the seams, andthen staples it together. That way thestencil is ready and there will be nosurprises during placement. Lining up ofpatterns is very important, he says. “Youcan tell if [a stencil] wasn’t placedproperly if you see extra large groutlines.”

In Noblesville, Ind., Steve VandeWater, managing member ofArtistiCrete L.L.C., recommends, “If

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Bleed water will also cause colorhardener to penetrate under thestencils, a situation you want to avoid.

But don’t wait too long to lay yourstencils, either. If you do, you won’t getgood adhesion. Remember, the stencilsshould be laid consistently for an evenappearance.

When laying the stencil, roll it off thetop of the roll so the curl goes towards theconcrete, advises John Klug, estimatorwith G.R. Trumble Construction Co. inFlorence, Ky. “That way you won’t befighting it trying to roll up on itself.”

Also, watch out for kinks in thestencil. “If the stencils have a lot ofbends and other distortions due toimproper handling, throw that pieceaway and get farther into the roll wherethe stencil is fresh and undistorted,”Mullins says. A distortion can cause astencil to allow color hardenerunderneath, which defeats the purposeof using the stencil in the first place: thecreation of a nice grout line.

For fresh concrete applications,paper stencils are thepopular choiceStencils are generally made from either paper or plastic, and are cut with diesthat stamp out the pattern in a consistent manner.

Paper stencils are usually thin pressed cardboard and are waxed, either on oneor both sides, to resist moisture. Paper stencils come in rolls of varying sizes, suchas 500 square feet and 1,000 square feet.

Plastic (or vinyl) stencils come in sheets, such as 4-by-5 or 4-by-8.Plastic stencils do have advantages over paper, reports Jerry Atwater of

Universal Templates Inc. in Pequot Lakes, Minn. “Plastic templates/stencils havean advantage over cardboard because they will not delaminate when they getwet. Delamination causes a major problem on the job because the material has tobe picked out of the joints.” Plastic stencils also are reusable, though he says“sometimes cleaning and storing them are just not worth the labor.”

Despite these advantages, plastic stencils may not be the best choice for newconcrete applications.

Jeff Hartzog of Specialty Concrete Products Inc. in West Columbia, S.C.,points out, “Plastic stencils are really designed for renovation work,” such asoverlay or spray applications. “They are difficult to float in new concreteapplications,” he reports, adding, “picking up and moving them is very difficult ifnot impossible [in new concrete].”

Another disadvantage to using plastic or vinyl stencils on fresh concrete is thecost, reports Greg Chapman, director of training and technical assistance at EliteCrete Systems Inc. in Merrillville, Ind. “When you stencil wet-pour concrete youneed enough stencil to cover the whole pour.” If you have to have many sheets ofplastic stencil for large pours it could get very costly. On the other hand, he saysthrow-away stencils — at, say, 23 cents per square foot — can be factored intothe job.

The matter of cost also comes into play if you have areas in which you need totrim or cut the stencil. You wouldn’t necessarily want to do that with anexpensive plastic stencil.

No matter what type stencil you use, be sure to take proper care of it.Jim Mullins, director of training for Artcrete Inc. in Indianapolis,

recommends, “Care should be taken not to get folds and crimps in the stencilduring storage and transporting to the job site. This will affect how the stencilslay on the freshly poured concrete.”

you’re working up against a wall andit’s an odd pattern — like a Europeanfan or flagstone pattern that’s notsquare or doesn’t have a straight edge— lay [the stencil] on the ground andsnap a chalk line. Then cut it to createa straight edge to go against the wall.”And the main thing for rectangularpatterns, he adds, is to make sure aheadof time that the corners are square.

Laying the stencilsWhen you should place the stencils is ajudgment call, but most contractorsadvise placing them as soon as possible.

Conditions at the job site andweather factors such as wind andtemperature play a role in the timing.The surface should be firm but creamy,without standing water. Bleed watermeans the concrete is too wet andcauses several problems.

Embedding stencils too deep is themost common mistake. “If it’s too softit’s easy to bury [the stencil] into thecream,” observes Burgan. If the stencilis embedded too deeply it will allow thecolor hardener application to build uptoo much and crust over the stencil, orthe stencil will be difficult to remove.



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Different contractors use differentmethods to lightly stick the stencil tothe surface of the concrete. Some preferrollers, either napped or closed loop,while others use a bull float. The aim isto just tack the stencil to the surface.

The key to this step, Burgan says, isto “always start in the middle and rollout” in each direction.

Greg Chapman, director of trainingand technical assistance at Elite CreteSystems Inc.’s training office inMerrillville, Ind., says, “If you startfrom the left or right, it’ll push thestencil. [Working] from the centerstretches the stencil properly.”

Tips for challenging areasThere will always be a job that has atricky area, either odd-shaped or upagainst a wall. These are instanceswhen a contractor needs to be creative.

Vande Water explains, “If the area iswalled on two sides, you may have towalk into the concrete and bull floatyour footprints out before you continuelaying stencil.”

Sometimes you may have to thinklike an engineer, Mullins says. “The slabcan be spanned with a pick or walkboard, allowing the contractor access inthese cases. … [Or it] could be necessaryto break the pour down into moremanageable sizes, implementing borderand band type patterns, such as cobbleheaders and soldier courses of brick.”

Burgan suggests always having asharp pair of scissors on the job so thatyou can modify the stencil to make itfit and look natural.

And if you need a grout line thatdoesn’t exist, Klug says, use a piece ofpaper and make your own.

Coloring and texturing thesurfaceContractors who strive for realism willcombine color hardeners and surfacetextures. “Using stamps mats withstenciling in new concrete gives realnice, authentic detail,” says JeffHartzog, sales and marketing managerfor Specialty Concrete Products Inc. inWest Columbia, S.C.

“A lot of jobs we do have three tofour colors [that we] throw indifferent areas,” explains VandeWater. On those multi-colored jobsyou have to blend the colors intoeach other, but “mottled colors lookmore natural,” he adds.

Burgan suggests starting with thelighter colors. “If you go too dark [tostart] it’s always harder to come back.Sometimes you can work the concrete

to bring the gray concrete back up, butit’s very risky.”

One possible fix after the concrete isdry is use acid stains, but Burgancautions to always do a test in a discretearea.

Sometimes, you can make darkcolors work for you. Need black lettersor a logo outline? Klug says they usedthe following technique to create theircompany logo: Black was used to color


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Stenciling fresh-poured vertical surfacesIf you are stenciling fresh-poured concrete there may be vertical surfaces you alsowant to stencil, such as step fronts or the lips around the edge of a patio whereyou may want the pattern to roll over the edge. Various contractors use differenttechniques to tackle these challenging surfaces. Here’s a sampling:

“For step fronts, sometimes we’ll staple a double thickness [of stencil]to the inside of the form. Then, when you strip the forms away, thegrout lines are there. Then you can color the face with a slurry ofcolor hardener applied with a paint pad.”

— Steve Vande Water, ArtistiCrete L.L.C., Noblesville, Ind.

“[We] put on a parge coat, then apply stencil that has an adhesive on the back.Or, apply a wet coat and apply the stencil, but you have to be pretty good to dothat. [Then] apply a color hardener top coat — a pretty thin layer — and textureit if you want.”

— John Klug, G.R. Trumble Construction Co., Florence, Ky.

“[Vertical surfaces] are tricky. You have to be able to pull the face form at theright time to get the stencils in and the colors up. [You don’t want the face to fall,so] timing is very, very critical. If you’re getting into this for the first time, youwant to practice. You don’t want to try it out on a paying customer.”

— Doug Burgan, Spray Pave Utah, Roy, Utah



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the background, the stencil was laid ontop, and then they applied the othercolors they wanted. “When we pulledthe stencil we had the black letters andthe black outline,” he reports.

With detailed stencil patterns youmay need to be creative in applying thecolor. For a five-color compass, Klugsays they used a teaspoon to apply thecolor hardener. “It allowed us to applyit with more control.”

After the color hardener isbroadcast, a release agent is appliedand texture mats or texture rollers areused to add realistic detail to thesurface. Vande Water uses mats onsmall areas and a roller on large areasbecause it is faster.

How deep should the texture be?The answer, says Burgan, will oftendepend on the customer. “Some wantlight texture for patios; some wantmore aggressive textures.”

Removing stencilsAnyone experienced with stencilingnew concrete will tell you not to waittoo long to pull up the stencils — andfor good reason! If the concrete getstoo hard the stencil will be difficult toremove. As Klug explains, “We madethat mistake one time and it’s amazinghow hard the color gets. [We] woundup pulling stencil in two-inch pieces.”

Vande Water reports he avoids thisproblem and creates a better look by

pulling stencilsright after thesurface is textured.“Most people waitlonger, until theconcrete is set up.What happens [if

you wait] is you get a slick grout line.… When we pull [the stencil off], themortar joints have a sandier-lookingappearance that’s more natural.”

But Burgan says his experience isthat if you pull the stencil too soonyou’ll wind up with jagged grout line

edges. Test-pull in a discrete area tocheck, he advises.

The keys to successStenciling fresh concrete may seemdaunting, but it is simply a matter ofdeveloping a little finesse with theprocess.

As Mullins points out, “The bigsecret to a successful decorative job is tokeep everything consistent: the slumpof the concrete, the application of colorhardener and your finishing process.”

Burgan says to take the followingfactors into account: how detailed theproject is, the weather, the size of yourcrew and how experienced your crew iswith decorative concrete. “You mayhave to break a large job up intosections,” he says. “Take the time tocut the stencil where needed to make itlook natural. That’s what’s going togive you a great-looking job instead ofan OK looking job.”



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POOLSIDE REHABPPuutt yyoouurr ddeeccoorraattiivvee sskkiillllss —— aanndd yyoouurr iimmaaggiinnaattiioonn —— ttoo wwoorrkk..

by David Thompson



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When Chris McMahon sets out to rehabilitate aworn-out pool deck, he’s not satisfied withmerely jazzing up the old slab. He likes to

reinvent the entire swimming pool environment, using color,texture and elevation.

“We’re known for our imagination, and a lot of times ourimagination involves removal and replacement of portions ofthe deck to change the overall appearance of the pool,” saysMcMahon, president of Architectural Concrete Design inLevittown, Pa., which does some 500 pool jobs a year. One ofMcMahon’s current commercial jobs involves putting a “beachentry” into a pool, in which a gradually sloping deck willdescend into the water. The deck will resemble rippled, wind-blown sand. “We’re pouring new concrete and imprinting itwith sort of a rippled texture, and then we’ll sandblast it andput a sand-rich mix of concrete over it,” McMahon says.

Whether the job calls for a sweeping overhaul a la ChrisMcMahon or simply a tinted overlay that adds some splash toa dull deck, decorative concrete has become a standardfeature in swimming pool makeovers.

Common coatingsIn recent years, the two perennial favorites in concretedecking, spraydeck and kooldeck, have been joined atpoolside by the new generation of stamped overlay systems.Stamped systems offer a vast array of looks, from tile to stoneto brick. Spraydeck and kooldeck, on the other hand, offerskid resistance and cool-on-the-feet surfaces that are hard tobeat. Sometimes the old and the new coexist side-by-side,with spraydeck or kooldeck put closest to the water whilestamped flatwork holds down the outfield.

Spraydeck is a generic term for a wide variety of acrylic- orpolymer-modified cementitious coatings that bond well tocured concrete. They typically get a knockdown finish, whichresults in a skid-resistant surface that won’t fry your toes. Acommon alternative is the orange-peel finish, in which thecoating is sprayed on and left as is, untroweled. Either finish canbe modified as the coating is sprayed in place by altering theamount of air shooting through the hopper. More air results insmaller particles and a finer texture, while less air results inclumpier particles and a coarser texture. Spraydeck can also berough toweled rather than sprayed on, which makes it suitablefor light stamping, hand carving or texturing with a skin.

Kooldeck is the generic term for skid-resistant, cool-surfaced coatings consisting largely of portland cement andmarble dust, with no binders. Kooldeck is most often used innew construction, as a green-on-green overlay, but it can beused on older substrates with a bonding coat. The same spray-on textures attainable with spraydeck apply to kooldeck.

Deck prepSometimes a pool deck rehab calls for a tear-out of theexisting deck. But often an overlay will do. As with everyoverlay, preparation of the substrate is critical. “It doesn’t

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matter if you’re doing a pool deck, a driveway or your kitchenfloor, surface preparation is the key to any decorativeconcrete overlay,” says Jim Morgan, president of Texas-basedGolden Look International. “There are more failures indecorative concrete overlayment due to poor surfacepreparation than to anything else.”

Methods of substrate prep run the gamut of chemical,mechanical and abrasion techniques. Some contractors swearby acid etching, while others rely on diamond grinding, whilestill others prefer shot blasting or sand blasting. And some, suchas south Florida contractor Austin Parker, owner of TropicSurfaces, have found that a thorough pressure washing willoften do the trick, so long as the cementitious substrate doesn’thave paint or oil on it. “I do millions of square feet of decking ayear, and I’ve never had a warranty issue,” Parker says.

Morgan prefers acid etching. But instead of the muriatic acidsolution that is most commonly used, he likes to use an acid gel.“It looks just like shaving gel,” he says. “I like it because it givesa consistent etch across the entire surface, and it doesn’t brownout the landscape or burn the flowers. You can wash it offwithout neutralizing it first. With muriatic acid you need tocome back and neutralize it first with baking soda or vinegar.”

Tom Pennington, production manager for Renew-Crete,in Orlando, Fla., likes to combine sand blasting with acidetching. “Generally I do both, just as a precaution for myself,because the worst thing that could happen is delamination,”he says. “Acid etching makes for a good, porous surface, but itdoesn’t do well at removing a previous surface likemechanical or abrasion techniques do.”

Dealing with cracksProper prep also involves the removal of spalling, levelingany depressions with a mortar coat and addressing cracks.

Fixable cracks are typically opened with a diamond-bladecrack chaser, then filled with a flexible joint compound andbroadcast with silica to give the surface some grab. If the crack

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is moving, a control joint should be cut nearby, or better yet,the section of concrete can be cut out altogether and replaced.McMahon, who has to contend with Pennsylvania’s harshwinters, has a zero-tolerance policy for all cracks. “We just cutthem out and replace the section of the deck,” he says. “Wehave so much freeze-thaw here that with all the lifting anddropping, any crack you tried to bridge will come back.”

If a deck doesn’t have expansion joints to controlcracking, they should be cut every 12 feet or so, says MikeMeursing, president of Versatile Building Products inCalifornia. And if a deck does have expansion joints, it’scrucial to maintain them through the overlay, he says.“Covering over expansion joints is probably the biggestmistake amateurs make,” Meursing says. “A month later theyget jagged cracks where the joint used to be.”

One creative way to deal with cracking substrates is toincorporate the cracks into the final pattern of the deck,allowing them to serve as their own control joints. “You letthem exist where Mother Nature says they should be andmake them part of the design,” Meursing says. After coatingthe deck, reopen the cracks with a crack chaser, thencontinue the cut to make a flagstone pattern.

StencilingStencils can also be used to achieve flagstone patterns, as wellas brick patterns, fan patterns and a wide array of other looks.Templates can be used, or grout lines can be taped by hand.Parker uses strapping tape to create a variety of grout-linepatterns, such as diamonds and stars. He prefers to lay hisown lines because it gives him more control over his designs.“A lot of times a living room opens right out on the pooldeck, and you want to match the deck pattern to what’sgoing on inside the house so that when you look out thesliding glass door you see a continuous flow,” he says.

Often Parker uses different integrally colored mixes ofconcrete to alternate colors between shapes within a pattern.Sometimes he mixes colors within a shape. “I’ll have threehopper guns going at one time, all with a different color,” hesays. “Maybe one color will be terra-cotta, and that fills 70percent of the square. The second gun will have maybe alighter terra-cotta, and that’s spraying about 20 percent, andthen maybe 10 percent will be a light tan color. You get sortof a mottled look. It looks nice.”

Coping with copingOverlayments are usually feathered up to the edge of the pool’scoping, leaving the coping itself uncoated. On cantilevereddecks, overlays generally wrap right around the overhang.Many contractors tape a grout line eight inches or so from theend of the deck and leave a smooth edge where people can sit.

Sealing the deckThe use of sealers is critical for ensuring long life for anydecorative concrete. Morgan recommends using three coats



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of sealer on pooldecks — two tintedcoats and one clearcoat for uncoloredconcrete, and threeclear coats forintegrally coloredconcrete. Resealingevery one to twoyears is essential,he says. “You can tell it’s time to reseal when you start to seesplotchiness,” he says. “It will start to look dull in some areas.Water will run off easier where the sealer’s left, and it willsoak in where it’s worn off.”

Combinations of colored sealers can be used for creativeeffects. Grout lines, for instance, can be achieved using acolored sealer applied with a ketchup bottle and toothbrush,says Alex Metrovich of Innovative Concrete Technology.

Unfortunately, sealers have a tendency to slickenconcrete surfaces. But non-skid admixtures can offset theproblem. “If you don’t incorporate a non-skid into the sealer,you can have a beautiful job but a very slippery surface,”Metrovich says. “Unless you have a very good knockdownfinish, I would recommend a non-skid as a safeguard. It’s acheap insurance policy.”

To Drain or Not To DrainTrouble can arise when working beside a filled pool, in allsorts of ways. BBs from a shot blaster, for instance, can getinto the water and leave rust stains. To protect pools, somecontractors fashion floating drop cloths. Bubble Wrap tapedto the tiles can do the trick. Other contractors preferworking on emptied swimming pools.

Ken Tyson, owner of Tyson’s Complete Repair inHawaii, usually has his customers drain their pools beforehe begins work. He figures he’s going to have to clean upafter he’s done anyway, and cleanup is just easier in a drypool.

Emptying a pool isn’t always feasible, though. Such wasthe case on a job Tyson had working on bridges over ahotel’s dolphin pool, in which the dolphins remained athome the whole time. Tyson fashioned a drop cloth bywrapping plastic sheeting around children’s elongatedfloats. “It worked fine,” he says. “Although the dolphinsweren’t happy with us being there at all.”




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Want to know moreabout decorative

finishes?Subscribe to

CCoonnccrreettee DDeeccoorr,,The Journal of Decorative Concrete

Every issue gives you:● New Product Information● Powerful Selling Ideas● Designer Insights● Technical Expertise● Great Tips

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Hot WeatherStamping

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by George Lee

The ConcreteConcrete is the most importantvariable in hot weather stamping.When hot weather arrives, most readymix suppliers start adding retarders tothe mix. But how much retarder is agood thing, and what do they bring tothe party? Are there betteralternatives?

Your objective in hot weather is toget the concrete placed as quickly aspossible. Let’s face it, that last “lump”of concrete out of the truck after sittingonsite for an hour is NOT the mostuser-friendly concrete in the world!

Later, you are faced with thedaunting prospect of determiningwhen the concrete is ready to stamp. Afalse “set” or “crust” often means thatstamping operations begin too soon.The top seems ready but the body ofthe concrete is still like Jell-O! Thisleads to sloppy impressions, “squeeze”(concrete oozing out at the edge of thetools), and poor release from the slab,in effect pulling the surface up with themat or skin. Set controlled retardersare available, but what are some othermethods for controlling slump and settime?

Let’s take a look at a load ofconcrete batched out of the plant at anominal 4" slump with retarder added.By the time it arrives at the site and/orpasses through the pump line, it maybe closer to a 3" slump! What are youroptions? Unfortunately, most of you areraising your hands to give the truckdriver the thumb-in-the-mouth “MoreWater!” signal! On commercialprojects, jobsite-added water, or waterof convenience, is tightly monitored toprevent low concrete strength andexcessive shrinkage cracking. But Ibelieve water is just as important ondecorative concrete projects — for thesame reasons and a few others.

Let me tell you about an integrallycolored and stamped patio I was calledout to look at last week. The firsttruckload of concrete was delivered asbatched from the plant. To maintainthe flow and placeability of the

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to achieve special effects such asrosettes, brick pattern borders, ormultiple applications of color hardener,etc. Marking and cutting score lines sothey don’t get “lost” is important. Thebags or buckets of color should be laidout and clearly labeled — colors canlook the same in the heat of themoment. You really don’t want to bescraping color hardener off of an areaalready prepared to receive releasepowder because somebody grabbed thewrong bucket!

Do you have enough mats andskins? Are they clean? Can they bekept clean as placing, dusting andstamping operations continue fromone end of the job to the other? If youare using liquid release, plan onneeding more than the normal amountas effective open time is decreased byrising temperatures. Sprayers should beclean and well marked for release,evaporation retardant, or cures.

The ToolsStrangely enough, the “Tools” includesome of the things we have alreadytalked about — the concrete mixdesign and the “Plan.” But consider thefollowing “tools” for hot weatherdecorative concreting that are differentthan for normal slabs and driveways.

WATER. The color hardenerbroadcast on the surface of theconcrete is bone dry, and may havebeen sitting in the hot sun at surfacetemperatures of over 100 F. Where willthe water required to combine this drypowder into the surface of the slabcome from? Ideally, it will come upfrom the freshly placed concrete. Butdid you remember to saturate thecompacted substrate just before youpoured? Or are you hoping that thesprinkling you did the night before issufficient? If not, the water in theconcrete will be sucked right down tothe base rock and not be available foryour color hardener.

FLOATS. What tool would younormally use for your floatingoperation? If you said “wood bull float”

concrete, the pump operator added 22gallons of water to the second truck.The third truck received 15.5 gallonsof water.

Now we all know that concrete iscolored by the color pigmentssurrounding all of the ingredients inthe concrete — cement, sand, andaggregate. But what we forget is theinfluence water has in diluting thetinting strength of the color. Suffice itto say that on this patio there were atleast three different shades of color —obvious to Mrs. Jones and her concretecontractor — by the end of the day!

Of course on a color hardener job,the underlying color is not an issue, butcompressive strength, shrinkage cracks,and durability in freeze-thawconditions certainly are. And we stillhaven’t improved placeability —moving 4" slump mud in the heat ofthe day is still a time consuming andback-breaking job. Nor have we solvedthat pesky issue of set time — howlong will that concrete wait for yourcrews to catch up with the color,release and mats? What about scorelines and detailing?

A better way to maintainplaceability — without the delaycaused by retarders or the damagecaused by excess water — may be to usea fast-acting superplasticizer. Whilenormally added at the plant, several ofthese can be added at the job site, asneeded, by the ready mix driver or evenby the concrete contractor himself.Mixing one of these products in thetruck for five minutes can save hours ofplacing and finishing time compared tousing retarders or adding water.

Eucon 37 by Euclid Chemical andSupercizer 1 by Fritz-Pak are two suchadmixtures. Used at a dose as low as 8-10 ounces per sack of cement, theconcrete can be taken from theunplaceable 3" slump it arrives at to asmuch as an 8-10" slump! Think howquickly your crews could placeconcrete that is almost self leveling!Since the concrete snaps back tonormal set in about an hour, consider

how much more concrete can bestamped before the SummertimeDragon saps the strength from yourjob. And compare 3.5 gallons of liquidper truckload to the 15-22 gallons ofwater we looked at previously. On-sitedosing is safe and allows for flexiblecontrol throughout the day, fromtruckload to truckload as the slump,temperature, travel time, standby time,etc. vary.

The PlanQuality concrete imprinting alwaysrequires planning and skill — that’swhy good contractors are successfuland always in demand. But hotweather stamping requires specialplanning and preparation in order tomeet the rapid changes brought on bytemperature, wind, rain showers, etc.

The “plan” should include a sketchshowing the sequencing of stampingoperations — what has to happen first,second, third — and where theoperations are to occur. This maysound silly when you (the owner,foreman, superintendent) are incomplete control of a jobsite, but whenyou have to delegate, or a problemarises in setting a form, repairing thecanyons dug by the tires of the readymix truck, concrete scheduling, asudden concern of the owner, or athousand other things that demandyour attention during a pour, youshould be able to trust your second andthird in command to figure out theanswers to most questions byconsulting “The Plan.”

Your “plan” will address how manyworkers are needed — and what specialskills each must have — to get theconcrete placed, stamped, etc. And youwill call for a miniature “pre-job”meeting right there on the siteBEFORE the concrete arrives and allheck breaks loose. When temperaturessoar, the wind kicks up or a rainstormblows in — failure is not an option! (Oris certainly a very expensive option.)

Consider whether segments of theslab must be poured separately in order

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you’ve been there and done thatbefore! Using a steel fresno, funnytrowel, or edger can close off thesurface of the concrete, locking themoisture away from the soon-to-be-placed shake-on hardener. Yes, wewant to keep moisture in the slab, butnot just yet. The wood float helps keepthe surface open and porous so it canabsorb the color hardener, making itpart of the slab.

Once the powder has absorbed themoisture and darkened significantly,you can float it in (if that is part of theprocess used in your part of thecountry) with the wood bull float, orthis time, if you prefer, a magnesiumbull float. In either case, since it is hot,and surfaces tighten up more quickly,consider using lead weights to helpdrive the color into the slab. Thisallows longer, more even strokes thatdon’t tear the surface and “bury” thehardener, causing uneven color andstreaking. Closing up the slab withsteel at this time can cause blistering

and pop-outs. This is especially truewhen placing lighter colors at higherrates of application. Piles of colorhardener that have not become wet allthe way through will be sealed in andnot hydrate properly. These areas willbe soft and subject to scaling, freeze-thaw damage, and poor abrasionresistance.

GROOVERS AND SAWS. For jointsand score lines, many finishers preferthe “Torpedo Groover” by SlipIndustries over a smaller, wider,traditional grooving tool. At 56" long,they tend to be heavier and they cutbetter through color hardener. Therelatively narrow design of thesealuminum tools leaves clean, easy todetail joints. Soff-Cut saws and othertools for cutting contraction joints anddecorative score lines can be used afterthe concrete has hardened if temper-atures cause the concrete to set tooquickly or you require special time-consuming efforts because of thepatterns being stamped.

EVAPORATION RETARDANT. Not tobe confused with a surface retarder forexposed aggregate, the manufacturersdescribe this liquid as a “monomol-ecular” film that slows downevaporation due to sun, wind, and lowhumidity. Products such as Eucobar byEuclid Chemical and Confilm byMaster Builders are well known in theindustry. These products can beapplied several times during the courseof a pour. Apply to the screededconcrete if there is going to be a delayin applying the shake-on hardener, butremember that another pass with thebull float prior to application will benecessary to completely break thesurface tension created by theevaporative retardant and allow thecolor hardener to “wet-up.”

Apply after the shake-on hardenerhas absorbed moisture from the slaband has been floated to keep thesurface from drying out while waitingto begin the stamping. Procedure.Finally, apply after stamping if using a


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liquid release and there will be a delayin curing the slab. One word of caution— these products are still water-based.Over-application, just like sprayingwater from a hose, can weaken thesurface significantly, causing dusting,cracking, and discoloration. Thisapplies to broom finishes as well as tostamp pattern finishes. Use a pump-upsprayer with a fan tip and don’t saturatethe slab with these products.

CURE-SEAL. Consider using a highquality cure-seal product at the end ofthe day if you are using liquid release.This will seal in moisture and allow forproper hydration, which is importantfor a strong durable surface with aminimum amount of cracking,checking or curling. Use a product thatis advertised as compliant with ASTMC-309, and that is non-blushing, andnon-yellowing. If using a water-basedproduct, use a sprayer with a fan tip(not an adjustable tip) that is keptpumped up, and apply a very thin coat(see Jeff Patterson’s article on water-

base cures in the Dec./Jan. issue ofConcrete Decor magazine). Do notapply these products if you are going todo post-pour accenting (such as acidstaining or other finishing techniques).

COMMON SENSE. If you normallypour 800-1,000 square feet in a day,consider cutting back to 600 squarefeet. Or do the back yard one day andthe driveway the next. Marathon pourswill wear out your crews, cause sloppywork that will never be your best —and may cost you money!

George Lee is a manufacturer’s represen-tative for Euclid Chemical and QCConstruction Products. He has beenservicing the concrete industry for over 20years and has been involved with productplacements from back yard patios to million-square-foot distribution centers. He can becontacted at [email protected].


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Concrete ColorMaintenance System

The Concrete ColorMaintenance System, from

Newlook Coatings and Stains, is asolid-color, water-based stain thatpenetrates the surface of porousconcrete to stain it to almost anycolor desired. “It’s like integral-colored concrete, only moreperfectly colored,” says Sonny Baird,a partner in Newlook.

The product, applied with just abucket and an applicator, is speciallydesigned to solve problems inconcrete such as oil and/or ruststains; old and faded concrete;discolored concrete; matching newto old concrete and more. “It’s likemopping on water,” says Baird. “Itgoes right into the concrete andstains it.”

Unlike paint, the product has nomil. If you don’t like the color, youcan change it at any time, and nomatter how many times you recolorit, it will never build up a layer, Bairdsays. “Every time you do it, it makesit stronger.”

The Color Maintenance Systemis used only on porous concrete,such as patios, driveways, walkwaysand pool decks. It is not suitable forimpermeable concrete, such asgarage floors, unless the surface isprofiled. Many colors are available,from bright reds, to blacks, to greens.Newlook will also create customcolors for specific projects.

Newlook’s Concrete ColorMaintenance System will wear justlike normal concrete. However,specially formulated sealers in theproduct assist in keeping theconcrete clean. The product can bemaintained with regular periodiccleaning, even with a pressurewasher. The product is completelybreathable, so the concrete willnever build up hydrostatic pressure.

For more information, visitwww.newlooksystems.com or call(408) 661-1699.



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Urethane finish for concrete surfaces

Multi Surface Urethane #275, from TheGoodstuff Products, is a water-based, low-odor,

low-VOC, clear urethane finish. Easy to apply andfast-drying, this high-quality finish works well onconcrete countertops, floors, ceramic tile, verticalsurfaces and other interior and exterior surfaces,including wood and some natural stone.

Solvent-free and meetingenvironmental regulations in everystate, Multi Surface Urethane is anexcellent choice for “green”buildings or buildings that havetenants in residence.

The finish comes in high gloss,satin, or low sheen. It goes onbest with a sprayer and you canuse the same tips you would usefor water-base paint when using anairless. Spraying with an HVLP sprayer will give youa superior finish on concrete countertops.

Multi Surface Urethane cleans up easily with water. Typical drytime to touch in ambient conditions is 10 minutes. It is ready forlight handling in 15 minutes and sandable in 30 minutes. Use theproduct for both the sealer and the finish application for best results.

For more information, call (866) 583-7083.

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SuperKreteInternational Inc.,El Cajon,Calif.by Bruce Hackett

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Stacey Holwitz andfather John Holwitz.

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One could say that Super-KreteInternational, a significant player in thedecorative concrete products industry,

was born on the tennis court.Ask those who play tennis regularly and they’ll

confirm that tennis courts are subjected to a greatdeal of punishing foot traffic as well as wear andtear. One of the major pet peeves among tennisplayers is when court surfaces are marred by cracks,bumps and other imperfections that can affect thepath of the ball and potentially cause injuries.

Nearly 25 years ago, Super-Krete founder JohnHolwitz was a successful general contractor based inthe San Francisco area, specializing in tennis courtconstruction. He understood and was sympatheticto tennis players’ frustrations because he was oftencalled upon to repair and restore aging courts wherethe concrete coating had failed.

In collaboration with chemists, he developedSuper-Krete Liquid Concentrate, a coatingproduct designed to withstand the test of time andlast through extreme weather conditions. “Wedeveloped a coating that would be more durable,more flexible, and last far longer with better bondstrength than existing coatings at that time,”Holwitz recalls.

Over time, through his various contractingprojects, Holwitz successfully used his product inother applications, including bridge decks,roadways, industrial flooring and dozens of otherconcrete surface areas. At the same time, hecontinued to work on developing additionalnontoxic, environmentally friendly products forconcrete restoration and repair, including sealers,degreasers, water-based color stains, overlaymentsand acrylic/urethane paints.

Addressing moisture problemsPerhaps his most noteworthy product developmentwas Pene-Krete, which, he says, addresses thefundamental issues of vapor transmission and alkalibuildup better than anything else on the market.

“Everybody in the industry had been trying tomake products which would bond better to theconcrete,” he says, “but ironically, the productswere bonding almost too well. These coatingsbasically trapped the vapor transmission and alkaliunderneath, and eventually they would cause thetop layer of concrete to delaminate anddisintegrate, and the coating would come off.

In response, the company developed Pene-Krete, which can penetrate up to 81⁄2 inches intothe concrete. “The water and alkali pull it in, andit fills all the voids in the concrete with a crystal-

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like glass. In the curing process, it forces all theexcess alkali to the surface, which is then water-blasted or removed. Then you can put yourcoating on and it will not delaminate.”

Meanwhile, Holwitz’s daughter, Tracey, hadbeen working for her father’s home-based businessduring the summer months since she was a fifthgrader, learning about the products and their uses.After graduating from college with a degree inbusiness management in 1998, she bought theSuper-Krete business from her father and beganfocusing its marketing efforts.

“I’ve spent every summer working for my fathersince I was ten,” she reflects. “I created the colorcharts by hand, painting the Ure-Kote paint ontosandpaper and cutting them out and placing themon color charts. I’ll never forget that. But it wasn’tuntil I graduated from college that he asked me tocome work for him full time.

“At the time, the company was still being runfrom home, just as a side thing to his concretecontracting business. It wasn’t what I originallyintended to do, but by then, the decorativeconcrete market was really taking off, and I sawthe potential in that trend. It seemed like a greatopportunity. I knew he had a wealth of knowledge,

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and I thought I could help by bringing myeducation into his business. So my cousin Johnand I purchased the company from my father.”

Market focusOne of the first things Tracey Holwitz did was tofine-tune the market and focus the company’sefforts. “Because there were so many uses for theproducts, we had to advertise in so many differenttrade publications to reach the various people whowere buying them,” she explains. “We decided tofocus primarily on the hot niche of decorativeconcrete repair and restoration, which representsthe majority of our business now. Our products arestill used to restore industrial surfaces, bridgedecks, roadways — particularly overseas — butwe’re not necessarily targeting those markets herein the U.S. at the moment.”

Her father, who was born in New Jersey andraised in Guam, had planned to retire when hemoved to Guam a few years ago, but he continuedto get numerous calls there about problems withconcrete coatings failure. “Super-Krete has comethis far, I think, because of our proven ability tosolve problems,” he believes. “When I’m called, Iidentify the problem, try to solve it, recognize the


need in the market, and then develop a productfor that problem. I try it out for a year or two tomake sure everything works, and then turn it overto Tracey for manufacturing and marketing.”

New product development plays an importantrole in Super-Krete’s current and future success,Tracey Holwitz notes. “Super-Krete is constantlyworking on the development of new products thatwill save time, labor and money for the concretecontractor in the long run. For example, we’regoing to be introducing, probably in the fall, asingle-component stamp overlay coatingapplication. Right now, you have to put down abond coat surface as well as a stamped surface ontop of that. We’re going to eliminate one stepcompletely by making it possible to stamp over anexisting concrete surface in just one application.So that’s very exciting for us and our customers.”

Emphasis on educationHolwitz is a strong believer in the need for training,education and certification. The company holdstwo-day seminars every month on how tosuccessfully and profitably install Super-Kreteproducts, and is thinking about extending them tothree days. “We really encourage all the installers to

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attend our training programs and seminars to learnthe proper installation techniques for Super-Kreteproducts and systems,” she says. “Explaining howPene-Krete addresses the moisture problems is a bigpart of our training program.”

Super-Krete is also working to develop a basicsclass and an advanced class, she says. “The peoplewho are coming to us have a wide variety ofexperience. Some have been pouring concrete for


many years and want to get involved in thedecorative niche. Others are brand-new to theindustry and are attracted by the art decoapplications. We’re tailoring our programs aroundthat reality.”

Super-Krete, now based in El Cajon, Calif., isenjoying a growth spurt that looks promising.“We’re not working out of our home anymore,that’s for sure,” Tracey Holwitz says with a chuckle.

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“We’re adding many more employees, we’veestablished sales territories across the U.S. and allover the world, and it’s been very excitingwatching the company grow,” Tracey Holwitzsays. “It has been gratifying to take this wonderfulsystem of products Dad created and make anotherwhole business out of it.”

The company’s products are being sold andsuccessfully used in a wide variety ofgeographical markets and climates, fromMexico to Canada, New Jersey to New Mexico,from the Pacific island of Guam to the CzechRepublic in Eastern Europe. Satisfied clientsrange from TRW to Dole, from Disneyland toStarbucks, and from the Hong Kong Airport toGuam Air Force Base.

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These electron microscopicimages,shown at approximatelythe same scale, illustrate howsmall iron oxide pigments are incomparison to crystals ofhydrated concrete.The pigmentparticles become permanentlybound with the concrete matrixfor the life of the structure.Theneedle-like pigments shown arecharacteristic of yellow iron oxide.

38 • www.ConcreteDecor.net • June/July 2004

Pigments forIntegrally Colored ConcreteUnderstanding pigments is the foundation forsuccessful decorative concrete.by Michael Chusid



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cause all but the most inert colorantsto fade. In addition, concrete colorshave to be wettable so they candisperse readily throughout a concretemixture. And pigments must notinterfere with the workability orstructural characteristics of concrete.ASTM C979 — Pigments for IntegrallyColored Concrete summarizes theserequirements and should be the basisfor colored concrete specifications.

Color conceptsPigments should not be confused with“dyes”; while both are colorants,pigments are insoluble whereas dyescan dissolve and are not suitable forconcrete. The optics of pigments arebased on the spectral characteristics oflight. When exposed to light, pigmentscreate color by absorbing certainfrequencies of the visual spectrum andreflecting others. Red pigments, forexample, absorb blue and yellow light

Pigments are finely groundcolored particles that, whenblended into a concrete

mixture, infuse the concrete with theirshade. Humans have been usingpigments since Paleolithic times, whenpulverized minerals and charcoal wereemployed in cave paintings that haveretained their vivid coloration for asmany as 30,000 years. While today’spigments contain some of the samemineral oxides and carbon blackcompounds our ancestors used,synthesized pigments have substan-tially replaced pigments refined fromnaturally occurring mineral deposits.The new processes have resulted inpigments that have greater tintingstrength and are more consistent andeconomical to use.

Not just any pigment can be used inconcrete. The alkaline chemistry ofportland cement plus long-termexposure to sunlight and weather can

Iron oxide pigments can be synthesized in arange of pure, intense colors and are

ground to fine powders to provide hightinting strength.

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mentary cementitious materials in amixture, but not the aggregates orwater.

Dosage rates as low as 1⁄2 pound persack of cementitious material canhave a pronounced impact onconcrete, creating subtle shades thatharmonize concrete with otherbuilding or landscaping materials.Increased dosage rates create moreintense colorations. Above a certaindosage rate, however, pigmentsachieve color saturation and theaddition of additional pigments willnot intensify color. While thesaturation rate of colored concretevaries with the pigments used, mosthigh-quality pigments achievesaturation at dosage rates of about 5 or6 pounds per sack of cementitiousmaterial. This is well within the 10percent dosage rate limitationimposed by the ASTM standard;higher dosage rates could affect the

www.ConcreteDecor.net • June/July 2004 • 39

and reflect light at the red end of thespectrum.

In addition to color or hue,pigments also differ in tint strength,the relative ability of a pigment toimpart color. For example, it could taketen pounds of a low tint strengthpigment to equal the color achieved byjust four pounds of a pigment with hightint strength. Taking this into account,a pigment with low cost per pound butlow tint strength may be lesseconomical than a somewhat morecostly pigment with higher tintstrength.

Designs for colored concretemixtures include a pigment dosage rateexpressed as the required weight ofpigment per “sack” of cementitiousmaterial or, sometimes, expressed as apercent by weight of the cementitiousmaterial. Cementitious materialincludes the weight of cement, lime, flyash, and other pozzolanic or supple-

Adding powdered pigments tomobile mixers has been simplifiedby the use of repulpable bags thatcan be tossed into a mixerwithout opening or pouring.Thebags disintegrate as the concretemixes,reducing jobsite problemswith colored dust and empty bagdisposal.

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The eye of the needleshows the size ofpigment granules.Theirspherical shape makesthem flowable inautomated dispensingequipment yet allowspigments to disperserapidly once added to aconcrete mixture.



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orstrength and water/cement ratio ofconcrete.

While pigments have the mostconspicuous impact on concrete color,other factors must be considered.Portland cement, for example, comesin a wide range of shades — from grayor buff to white — that darken orlighten the overall appearance ofcolored concrete.

Aggregate color is also a consid-eration. As cast, a thin layer of coloredcement paste covers aggregateparticles. When aggregates becomeexposed — deliberately due tosandblasting, abrading or otherfinishing processes or because of wearand erosion of the concrete surface —the aggregate’s color combines with thecolor of the cement matrix to createthe overall appearance of the concrete.

Mixtures with high water/cementratios will appear paler than mixtureswith less water. The texture of aconcrete finish impacts color, withbroomed or other rough surfacesappearing lighter in color than smoothtrowel or form finishes. Note, too, thatrough textures can often minimize thevisual impact of minor blemishes inconcrete. Finally, concrete lightens incolor as it cures, so samples or installedwork should be allowed to cure 28 daysprior to making final evaluations ofappearance.

Pigment choicesThe pigments most widely used inconcrete are mineral oxides, partic-ularly iron oxide, the same compoundknown as “rust.” While we typicallythink of rust with a reddish orangecolor, there are actually severalvariations of iron oxide, each withtheir own hue. These include: red ironoxide (Fe2O3), yellow iron oxide(FeOOH) and black iron oxide(Fe3O4).

This palette is expanded bychromium oxide (green) and cobaltoxide (blue). These pigments aresignificantly more costly than ironoxide and increased care must be

The eye of the needleshows the size ofpigment granules.Theirspherical shape makesthem flowable inautomated dispensingequipment yet allowspigments to disperserapidly once added to aconcrete mixture.

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cement. Powders are available in bulkor a variety of package sizes. For readymix applications, powders are can bepackaged in repulpable paper bags thatcan be tossed unopened into mobilemixers to simplify handling, reducedust, and eliminate the need to disposeof empty bags.

Increasingly, pigment producers areprocessing powder pigments into

Environmental Design (LEED)program.

Optimum tint strengths of mineraloxides are achieved when pigments areground to a fine powder ranging from.05 to .10 micron diameter. This isabout one-tenth the size of typicalportland cement particles and smallenough to get permanently bound intothe interlocking crystals of hydrated

exercised when handling them due tohealth risks associated with long termexposure to heavy metals.

Titanium dioxide, a white pigment,can be used in concrete but has limitedapplication since it is generally moreeffective to brighten concrete withwhite portland cement or whitepozzolanic materials such as highreactivity metakaolin.

Carbon black, the pigment found insoot and charcoal, is an economicalblack colorant with high tint strength.Ordinary carbon black pigments canleach out of concrete exposed torepeated wet/dry cycles unless theconcrete is well sealed; the sameproblem can occur in browns and tansblended with ordinary carbon black.New formulations, however, haveresulted in carbon blacks that bondpermanently in concrete. Carbonblack can interfere with air entrainingadmixtures and requires special consid-eration when used in freeze-thawconditions.

A broad spectrum of concrete colorscan be produced by blending these“primary” pigment colors. For example,blending yellow, red and a hint of blackcreates tans and buffs. The shadesavailable for integrally coloredconcrete are generally considered earthtones; this should come as no surprisesince the pigments used in concrete aresome of the pigments used throughoutnature to color rocks and soils.

Naturally occurring pigments, suchas ochre, umber and natural iron oxideare used primarily for reds and brownswith low tint strength.

How pigments are madeThe chemical engineering used tosynthesize pigments is beyond thescope of this article. It is interesting tonote, however, that the feedstock forthe manufacturing processes includesrecycled iron and steel from post-industrial sources. This makes coloredconcrete compatible with sustainableconstruction practices such as theLeadership in Energy and

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granules or liquid slurries that arecompatible with automated colormetering systems. Granules are usedextensively to produce concretemasonry units and other zero-slumpconcrete products where very lowwater/cement ratios are required, andliquid colors are rapidly gainingacceptance among ready mix concreteproducers.

Powders are typically factory-blended to create a color producer’sstandard shades or custom colors.Automated systems, on the otherhand, typically use just a few primarycolors (e.g., the various hues of ironoxide) to blend the required shade atthe concrete producer’s plant. In thesame way that paint stores offer theircustomers an almost unlimited range ofoptions by mixing colors on demand,the automated systems offer manybenefits: Contractors are assured ofgetting the color they need without

42 • www.ConcreteDecor.net • June/July 2004

These concrete samples show the impact of pigment dosage rates.Thechips on the right are plain,uncolored concrete while the chips at theleft are approaching the color saturation points of the pigments.Evenlow dosage rates can make a profound difference on the appearance ofconcrete and are an economical way to add value to decorativeconcrete.



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worrying if the concrete producer has aparticular blend in inventory.Designers get to select just the shadethey want without being limited to theoptions on a pigment manufacturer’scolor card. Concrete producers reducelabor costs associated with manualcoloring. And everybody benefits frombetter quality control since thechances for human error are reduced,colors are added at the same time inevery batch for consistent mixing timeand greater batch-to-batch uniformity,and the automated systems preparebatch tickets showing precisely thecolors added.

Using pigmentsPCA (www.cement.org) offersguidelines for successfully placing,finishing and curing colored concrete,and PCI (www.pci.org) offers a helpfulset of color prints showing theappearance of many colored concrete

finishes. Pigment producers are also anexcellent source of design ideas for andtechnical information about coloredconcrete.

When mixing colored concrete on-site, ingredients must be placed intothe mixer in sequence to assurepigments disperse fully. With powderedcolors, put pigments into the mixeralong with aggregates and approxi-mately half of the required water andthen mix; follow this by adding cementand sufficient water to obtain desiredconsistency or specified slump. Withliquid colors, place approximately halfof the required water into the mixer,add pigments and mix; then add dryingredients and mix while adding thebalance of required water.

Pigments for integrally coloredconcrete should not be “dusted” ontothe surface of concrete. Dust-on colorsor “color hardeners” are preparations ofcement, fine sand and aggregatesblended with pigments so they becomemonolithic with the concrete surface.

Concrete is a natural material andsubject to mottling and color variationwhether pigmented or not. Beforeconstruction, take the time to makesure designers and building ownershave realistic expectations about theappearance of a proposed project. Finalselection of pigments should be madeafter viewing properly cured samples ormock-ups produced with the materialsand techniques proposed for theproject.

Following these guidelines will helpassure that the colored concretedesigns you create are as functional anddurable as they are beautiful andinspiring.

Michael Chusid, an architect and Fellowof the Construction SpecificationsInstitute, is a consultant to Davis Colorsand serves on ACI Committee 124 —Concrete Aesthetics. He can be reached atwww.chusid.com.

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LE #

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ConcreteMarketplaceis a paid listing of quality-related products.

If you would like more information about anyof these products, circle the appropriatenumber on the reader service card found

between pages 52 and 53 of this issue.







Advanced Polymer TechnologyArchitectural Toppings and Resinous Flooring


Polymer Modified Cementitious CoatingsStainsResinous FlooringWaterproofing Membranes

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Stripping sealer off concrete is, as Steven Hicks puts it,“nasty.”

It involves strong-smelling, caustic chemicals. Itfouls up your equipment. It can burn your skin and polluteyour client’s groundwater. “It’s not an easy process,” saysHicks, president of ConcreteScience International LLC, aMinnesota concrete contracting firm with franchises acrossthe country. “We avoid it like the plague. You couldprobably make a living stripping sealer off concrete, butnobody wants to do it.”

It’s not exactly a cash cow either. The going national ratefor removing sealer is $1 to $2 per square foot, Hicks says.That’s still only about break-even. “I will not allow any ofmy company’s locations to do stripping work for under adollar. You just cannot make money on it.”

But when a contractor is hired to renovate a dingy-looking slab of concrete, removing sealer is often part of thejob.

Sealers can be removed with mechanical means such assandblasting or grinding. But for many contractors, it’s a lastresort. It destroys the original surface, exposes the aggregateand is a mess to clean up.

Use the alternative — chemicals — and you can findyourself glove-deep in methylene chloride, which can be sostrong that the vapors will burn you simply by creepingbetween your skin and clothing.

If you want to avoid the scarier stuff, Hicks says, you’releft with strippers that work very, very slowly

Then there’s the dissolved sealer itself, “snotty-lookingnasty stuff,” according to Hicks. You have to wash it off. Andbecause it’s too toxic to wash down the drain or onto a lawn,you have to collect it.

RemovingSealers from

ConcreteThis is probably not your favorite way to spend

a day,but sometimes it’s a necessary evil.by John Strieder



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Choosing a stripperDifferent kinds of sealers respond to different kinds ofstripping chemicals. Generally, like strips like.

Alkaline water-based strippers are effective on one-partwaterborne acrylics and some urethane-acrylic one-partsystems, says Mark Granados, a chemist at Surtec Inc.Solvent-based strippers attack tougher waterborne sealers,waterborne urethanes and one-part solvent-based acrylics.High-performance coatings, such as two-part urethanes andepoxies, often require methylene chloride-based strippers.Methylene chloride blisters a sealer off the concrete insteadof dissolving it into goo like a typical solvent stripper.

So, which remover should you use?Test six or seven kinds on an inconspicuous part of the

floor. “Start with the mildest you can find and work up to theheavy artillery,” Henry says.

Specialized goggles will help a contractor inspect theeffects on a test patch beforehand. “I put the owner of thefloor right there with me,” Hicks says.

Napier Environmental Technologies Inc. makes a water-based acidic stripper that the company says will remove anypaint or sealer while etching the surface at the same time. Itis nontoxic and biodegradable, and it won’t burn the skin.“As far as I know, no other stripper on the market willremove paint and etch at the same time,” says NadiaBernard, Napier sales and marketing analyst.

Good, of Specialty Concrete Products, favors a semipasteproduct that uses methylene chloride as its active ingredient.“You can let it dry, scrape it up,” he says. “Once it’s dry, it’sno longer considered hazardous. It can go in the dumpster.”

Most cleaners work by being applied, scrubbed in, thenwashed off. “After awhile it’s going to be saturated andgummy,” Granados says. “Just move it around until you seeno activity at all. Then it’s time to collect it and start again.”

Allowing insufficient dwell time for the stripper is acommon problem, Granados warned, as is lingering sealer inexpansion joints, saw cuts and low spots.

To draw sealer from below the surface of the concrete, hesuggests a wet vacuum or sandblaster. “I highly recommendinvesting in a hand-operated rotary floor machine with driversto accommodate both scrubbing pads or brushes and a wet-dryvacuum, or a walk-behind automatic scrubber,” he says.

Good recommends using a finish sander to buff away anyremaining bits of sealer. Hicks touches up with a scrub brush.His company has developed a machine that pressure-washesand vacuums all at once. “Water seems to be the best way toget the snotty concoction loose,” he says. “It’s just likestripping varnish off wood.”

Henry recommends using a poultice made with cleanerand a clay base (cat litter will work) to draw residual sealerout of concrete. The poultice is covered with special paperthat protects the paste and keeps it wet. As it dries, it drawsthe contaminating particles out of the pores.

“It’s a matter of, do you want to deal with dust or do youwant to deal with fumes?” says Larry Good, chemicalengineer with Specialty Concrete Products Inc.

In Good’s experience, stripping is not that common.“There are pigmented sealers on the market that can be usedwithout having to completely strip,” he says. “Depending onthe surface, that could be much cheaper.”

Gary Henry, business communications specialist andtechnical writer with Prosoco, says that only film-forming(topical) sealers typically need to be removed. “You shouldbe able to put compatible coatings over penetrating sealers,”he says.

At the end of a sealer’s lifespan, recoating may suffice,Henry says. If you’re applying the same sealer and the oldcoat is not worn or damaged, you may not need to removethe previous layer.

“They wear off typically,” Hicks says. “If you’re taking itoff, you’re taking it off for a reason.”

In some situations, stripping is unavoidable. Maybe thecoating is irreparably yellowed, peeled, cracked, blistered or“blushing” from trapped water vapor. Perhaps some areas aremore worn than others. The new sealer may not becompatible with the original. The floor may already bear somany coats of sealer that it is dulled or discolored. A freshlayer of solvent may not have allowed the newly wet layerunderneath to dry properly, leaving a surface that is easilymarred and prone to clouding. Or, maybe the client justdoesn’t like the way it looks.

“I should think the most common is, it’s just time toreplace coatings,” says Henry.



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Generally, chemical stripping will not affect the pH ofconcrete. But residual alkaline cleaner might. A thoroughrinse and vacuum will remove the residue. Also, Hicks says,a manufacturer may not honor the warranty on a new sealerunless the contractor neutralizes the slab with baking soda,vinegar, or another effective substance.

Finally, every expansion joint and saw cut of the slab mustbe completely dry before new sealer is applied.

Protecting colorSealer removal may attack the color of the slab as well.“Testing should always be the first thing you do,” Henry says“to see how the remover affects the stain.”

What’s more, aggressive scrubbing to remove the sealercan wear away colored substrate, Granados says. “Propertesting to select the appropriate stripper and allowing thestripper to do the work with a bare minimum of scrubbingwill protect the decorative concrete surface.”

For Hicks, the most colorful element of a stripping job ismanaging customer expectations. A contractor who takeson a stripping job is, by definition, already dealing with anunhappy customer, he notes. “You’re solving somebody’sproblem, which means you’re in the middle of a negativesituation instead of a positive one. If there’s ever a time forexpectation management, it’s stripping and resealing.”

Take care of this problem in the testing phase, he advises,particularly if restaining or resealing is involved. Testing onlyone area encourages the false impression that every otherspot will turn out exactly the same way, he says. So do two orthree. You’ll likely end up with two or three different shades.“Have the guy settle for a range, instead of a single sample,”he says.

Also, test the most difficult spot on the floor, not one thatseems to be average. When he bases his estimate on themost difficult areas, the job can only go better thanexpected, he says.

Review the Material Safety Data Sheets and directionsfor each product. Runoff control options include oilabsorption pads and a “vacuum boom,” a drilled half-pipeattached to a wet-vacuum.

Technical service is essential, Henry says. Detailedliterature and a toll-free phone line are signs the companycan offer guidance in a pinch, he says. Otherwise, shopelsewhere. “Don’t try to handle it alone. Chances are youmay just make it worse.”


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Earn a Starbucks Cardloaded with $3.Simply complete Concrete Decor’s 5 minute Reader Survey online atwww.concretedecor.net. Just click onReader Survey and answer each question.Then sit back and enjoy a cup of “Joe” on us.

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Product New


Extra-wide floats cover more surface areaMarshalltown has released an entire new line of tough,lightweight magnesium hand floats. Called “The Hog,”these new floats feature a massive 33⁄4-inch wide bladethat covers more surface area and wears longer. Theyvary in length from 12 to 24 inches, with each modelavailable in the DuraSoft or wood-handle version.

The Hog magnesium floats produce a smootherfinish than wooden ones. They are also designed to offersuperior handling due to the large blade and positioningof the handle togive the toolexcellent balance.The handles aredesigned withtorque pad screwsthat will not backout over time.They are especiallygood for preparingair-entrained concrete for troweling. For moreinformation, visit www.marshalltown.com.

Mixer fits in the trunk of your carThe new Mix-N-Go mixer from Multiquip is ideal for avariety of job applications, including small footings andbases, binding block and concrete patching. Theportable mixer, which is available with a thickpolyethylene or steel drum, is small enough to be easilytransported in the trunk of a car yet sturdy enough tomix up to 3 cubic feet of material.

The mixer is available with both gas and electricengine options. It can be powered by standard household

electrical voltage. It has gears submersed in oil for reducedfriction and longer gearbox life. It can also be installed ona stand where the drum rotates 360 degrees fordischarging material in any position. Other improvementsinclude replaceable blades that are bolted to the drum anda water-resistant and dust-proof on/off switch.

For more information, call (800) 421-1244 or visitwww.multiquip.com.

Overlayment sets fast, takes colors wellConcrete Canvas, from Specialty Concrete Products, isa self-leveling, polymer-modified overlayment that isdesigned for fast-track resurfacing of concrete surfaces.Available in White or Gray, Concrete Canvas readilyaccepts acid stains and acrylic shading materials toprovide a wide range of color effects. It sets quickly andcan be acid stained or shaded in as little as 24 hours.Concrete Canvas reaches 5,030 psi in 28 days, andwhen properly sealed and polished, provides a lowmaintenance, economical flooring alternative. For moreinformation, call (800) 533-4702.

Grinding system ideal for small spacesWith Edco Shield — a hardening and densifying agent— and the company’s convenient and easilymaneuverable floor grinders, you can refurbish, seal,protect and polish smaller spaces up to 2,000 sq. ft.Hallways, small rooms, tight spaces, garages, basementsand retail spaces are just some of the areas where theEdco Floor Grinder is ideal for refurbishing and polishinga concrete slab. Edco’s grinders have been around for 45years and can now be equipped with different accessories

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to refurbish and/or polish concrete surfaces. For moreinformation, call (800) 638-3326 or visit www.edcoinc.com.

Lightweight trowel works fastWacker’s new concrete ride-on trowel with electronic steeringoffers an effortless alternative at an exceptional value. Becausethis ride-on trowel is lighter than its competitive hydrostaticcounterparts, it is able to get onto the slab faster, making moreproductive use of manpower and equipment. Another plus isthat the CRT-ES’s lighter weight allows the unit to be used onelevated deck pours.

The powerful 31-hp gasoline engine, coupled with a high-efficiency variable drive transmission, provides the highestperformance at a fair value when compared to less efficient,heavier, more costly machines. The mechanicaltransmission allows the rotors to be timed in an overlappingposition for seamless finishing and makes the CRT-ES theonly overlapping power steering ride-on trowel in theindustry. An onboard computer allows the operator to directthe trowel through the use of two joysticks. The systemallows the operator to identify the changing conditions ofthe slab and work through them smoothly without physicalfatigue. For more information, call 262-255-0500 or visitwww.wackergroup.com.

Freebie of the Month

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Be among the first 10 people to returnyour card andreceive a free Dust Muzzle,compliments ofShave AwayEurope.

Eliminate the dustand turn concretesurface preparationinto a “healthy”experience.

For additionalinformation onShave Away’s lineof dust collectionproducts, call 619-223-2154.

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Hat helps you keepyour coolThe new Performance WorkHat, from GorgonzPerformance Work Gear, usespatented Hydroweave andCoolmax fabrics to keep youcool and dry while working inwarm weather. The hats’Hydroweave technology usesthe power of the sun to cause evaporation and keep yourhead cooler than most other hats. To use, allow the fabric toabsorb moisture by running cold water over the hat andallowing it to soak through for five minutes. Then wring itout and wipe down the inner lining and outer shell. As thesun strikes the hat, the water evaporates, creating an air-conditioning effect that keeps you cool.

The Coolmax technology moves perspiration to the outerlayers of the hat for quick evaporation. It’s uniquely shapedfibers boast great breathability, even when wet. For moreinformation, visit www.gorgonz.com or call (877) 725-4386.

Vacuum designed for concrete dustThe Blastrac Turbo-Vac II dust collection system is designedspecifically for the concrete market. This very maneuverable,68-pound vacuum uses twin 1 kilowatt motors for the highest

Polaroid photos provide job recordThe new Polaroid One600 JobPro camera features simplepoint-and-click operation and includes new AutoSharptechnology for capturing detailed shots as close as two feet. Thecamera is an ideal tool for capturing works in progress, creatingbefore and after shots, and taking general job site photographs.It incorporates all the features and benefits of instantphotography, along with a rubberized finish for an easy grip andexposure control to capture critical details. Additional featuresinclude: auto flash; digital frame counter; red-eye reduction;self-timer; tripod mount; and viewfinder dust shield.

Photography needs vary from job to job, but according toPolaroid, 92 percent of users take instant photos to record“before-and-after” results of their work. Other common usesinclude: using photos as a tool to sell products and servicesby showing examples of work; documenting claims andprotecting against potential liabilities; recording work inprogress or work completed; using photos to explain anddiscuss design ideas; job estimating; and keeping communi-cations clear with clients.

“Instant photography cannot be tampered with or alteredduring processing, making it the only method of photographythat can be trusted to be 100 percent accurate,” says JeffHopper, vice president and chief marketing officer for Polaroid.For more information, visit www.polaroid.com/jobpro or call(800) 662-8337 ext. C009.


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pulling power available in its class. Ithandles dust generated during concretegrinding, planning, cleaning or cuttingwith ease. The system features adurable, molded plastic debris bin thatholds 40 to 50 pounds of concrete dust.A multiple-stage filtration systemlengthens filter life. Options includekits for wet applications such asvacuuming rinse water from decorativeconcrete staining applications. Formore information, call (800) 256-3440or visit www.surfacepreparation.com.

Crack chaser providestight turning radiusThe Sawtec CC-100 crackchaser is a high-productivity,walk-behind saw that cutsconcrete or asphalt to a 1-inch depth. The unit cuts 6 to8 feet of crack per minute, orup to 3,000 feet per day,

depending on the material being cut. It features a swivelcaster and a retractable control handle, and uses 6-inchdiameter dry diamond blades in three different widths. The

smaller blade allows a tighter turning radius, making iteasier to follow cracks. The saw is available in gasoline orelectric models and controls dust when connected to aseparate Sawtec Maxi-Vac dust collector. An optionalcatalytic converter kit reduces gas exhaust emissions. Formore information, call (800) 256-3440 or visitwww.surfacepreparation.com.


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The Final Pour

Extremely Involved

It was just a quick phone call, but it sure changedthe life of Carlton Construction Company,located in Visalia, Calif.

Asked to do the decorative concrete work for anepisode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, cousinsDoug and Scott Carlton thought it sounded like aworthwhile project. Their work on the show, seen bymore than 13 million viewers, led to a flurry of mediaattention in the state of California — and aninvitation to participate in four of next season’s shows.

Doug Carlton says that the show’s producers werethrilled to discover decorative concrete because itcan have so many different looks. “Decorativeconcrete is coming into its own,” he says. “We’reproud to be representing the industry.”

Carlton Concrete did the work on a volunteerbasis — part of the complete refurbishing of a homefor eight kids whose parents had both recently died.“We got to visit the family afterwards,” Carlton says.“As we walked up the driveway, I looked at thefront steps we had poured and there were eight pairsof white tennis shoes sitting there.

“I have young children too. It does make you feelgood to be part of this.”

For a slideshow of the Extreme Makeover project, visitwww.concretedecor.net, click on the current issue ofConcrete Decor, then click on Final Pour.

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