Customizing with concrete

The versatile material can take on a range of looks for a truly one-of-a-kind finish

Special to The TribuneJune 12, 2013 

  • TIPS FROM BILL LEYS AT THE CONCRETE FLOOR STORE

    PREP FIRST Concrete needs to be properly prepared in order for overlays or epoxies to adhere correctly. Improper preparation of the surface is a top reason why concrete overlays fail. Leys and his crew use shot blasting, which he says is more effective than acid etching or grinding. Cracks also need to be addressed. You may choose to have them repaired or incorporated into the design of the floor.

    NOT JUST FOR CONCRETE Concrete coatings can be applied over a plywood-covered sub-floor or even exterior plywoodcovered decks.

    SEAL THE DEAL Concrete floors are usually sealed to prevent staining. Interior floors typically have a wax coating on top of the sealer to reduce damage by ultraviolet light and general wear and tear. That wax needs to be stripped and reapplied every five years. If no wax is used, the sealer needs to be reapplied about every three to five years.

A great-looking concrete floor is more than just a surface, according to Bill Leys.

“Concrete flooring is a conversation starter,” he said. “Cool concrete floors grab people’s attention.”

Leys, who has owned Central Coast Waterproofing since 2007, frequently created decorative finishes on his exterior waterproof deck systems. Clients began requesting similar finishes for interior floors. And so, earlier this year, The Concrete Floor Store was born.

The Arroyo Grande showroom demonstrates the many ways to dress up concrete on outdoor patios, pool decks, sidewalks, driveways and interior surfaces. There are flooring options for light industrial and commercial enterprises. The shop also sells garage cabinets that you can install or have installed.

Concrete has become a fashionable material in recent years. Leys credits its longevity, durability, ease of cleaning, absence of allergens and cost-effectiveness.

Concrete is also a blank slate on which a contractor with the right know-how can render a variety of looks. It can be highly polished and contemporary, or more traditional with finishes that resemble stone, brick or even wood.

“We often do unique finishes that are one of a kind,” he said. “Your friends can’t get the exact same thing you have when you have a concrete floor.”

Stamped concrete overlays work both inside and out and can disguise flaws such as cracks and stains. Existing concrete is coated with a thin layer of polymer modified cement, stamped with rubber stamps, then stained and sealed. Or, when space is tight, workers lay out a template to mimic grout lines, then use a special trowel, fancy handwork and stains to recreate the look of brick or stone.

Other options for interior flooring include staining an existing slab and sealing it with a gloss lacquer finish, polishing an existing concrete slab, or installing a polishable overlay system. Outdoor existing concrete can also be enhanced with a stain.

For garages, the company offers basic flake-system epoxy floors, as well as more upscale finishes. Epoxies can also be used inside the house in bathrooms and kitchens.

The price of concrete flooring finishes depends on variables such as preparation requirements, crack repairs, the type of finish, and the size of the project. A larger project tends to be more cost-effective because of the time required for setup. According to Leys, a floor of 300 square feet could run anywhere from $4.50 to $20 per square foot.

Currently, The Concrete Floor Store is open by appointment only at 405 E. Branch St. in Arroyo Grande, 545-8300.

Rebecca Jureticis a contributing writer for Home&Garden. Contact her at rajuretic@sbcglobal.net.

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