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Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona,
Photo courtesy of Lisa Field,

San Diego County is known far and wide for its beautiful weather, interesting people and endless summer atmosphere. So it was with great anticipation when San Diego was picked as the site for the 2016 Concrete Decor Show Sept. 25-29 that it was destined to be one showstopper of a show. And all indications point to that premonition coming true.

Just to set the stage, take a look at some of the decorative concrete projects we discovered in the area. When the show is over, we’ll have left more behind at The Bannister Family House, a facility at UC San Diego Health that houses relatives of acute-care patients. The show’s hands-on workshops will transform the house’s ordinary courtyard, retaining walls and walkways into concrete artistry that will help brighten the stay for many patients’ families.


La Jolla Village Square
8657 Villa La Jolla Drive, La Jolla

photos courtesy of Westcoat 

The biggest challenge facing General Coatings of San Diego when it came to the La Jolla Village Square Mall was it had to be resurfaced while the very popular shopping center was open for business. To accomplish the task of resurfacing the 28,000-square-foot interior flooring, crews worked split shifts, with most of the work done at night.

“It was a pretty straightforward job,” says Todd Seaboch, general manager of the architectural coatings division of General Coatings — one color, no border, no stamping, no saw cuts. “We came in on time and on budget.”

The company placed Westcoat TC-4 overlay on the existing slab and applied a skip trowel texture by hand. This finish was best suited for the job, Seaboch says, “because the texture allowed us to blend all the stop and starts” seamlessly.

Low VOC products were a priority since mall life went on as usual during the duration. The floors were colored with Westcoat’s SC-35 water-based stain in Onyx, coated with EC-32 clear epoxy and sealed with a final coat of SC-66 satin water-based polyurethane.

Work on the floors in common areas of the mall was completed in December 2015. “The only thing we didn’t do was the escalator,” Seaboch says with a laugh.


SeaWorld San Diego
500 SeaWorld Drive, San Diego

Concepts in Concrete Construction has been working with SeaWorld for the past several years says Rick Gardella, company president whose been involved with decorative concrete since the late 1970s. “Every year we go back and tear out the old dilapidated concrete and replace it with texture imprinted concrete that has integral color and a color hardener.”

Photo courtesy of Concepts in Concrete Construction

The park started extensive renovations in 2014 and built a new section in 2015 called Aquatica. “It’s got the biggest waterslide they have,” Gardella says of the new mat racer ride. For that project, he used Light Tan from Solomon Colors to integrally color the mix and Stamped Concrete’s Canyon Tan color hardener with the same company’s Autumn Brown antique release.

“SeaWorld wants color throughout the concrete and a color hardener. That’s one of their requirements,” he says. “They want the best of both worlds: colored all the way through and a hardener that gives you a nice finish and doesn’t fade.”

Gardella says his company, which he founded in 1986, has done the concrete work for SeaWorld’s last three biggest projects: Shipwreck Rapids, the Dolphin Stadium and Manta, the new roller coaster. “There’s tons of stamped concrete on that one,” he says, and lots of stained areas, too. His company used a Bomanite Coquina texture on that job with broadcasted beach glass and mother of pearl shells. It also helped create the black room with black concrete where riders view a movie before getting on the ride which launches them through a tank of manta rays.


Photos courtesy of Concepts in Concrete Construction

San Diego Zoo
920 Zoo Drive, San Diego

Apart of the mountain lion exhibit at the San Diego Zoo, a new viewing platform was installed in 2014. Concepts in Concrete Construction, with concrete delivered by Hanson Aggregates, finished the new slab with a 6-inch wood plank pattern stamp from Bomanite. The concrete was integrally colored with San Diego Buff from Davis Color and accented with a Walnut antique release from Stamped Concrete in Oceanside.


Photos courtesy of Covert Coatings

Coronado Best Western Plus
275 Orange Ave., Coronado

When it came to sprucing up the courtyard at the Best Western Plus Suites Hotel in Coronado, Covert Coatings was up for the challenge. With a two-day deadline and only a five-hour window each day to apply the coatings, the company was on a very tight schedule with a small crew of three. The hotel had been painting the old-style steel-stamped concrete in the courtyard every other year and the thick paint layer was peeling, which made it hard to repair the damaged surface.

“We tried sandblasting it but ended up damaging the surface before it would strip out the bottom of the grout lines,” says Barak Covert of Covert Coatings. After realizing the surface had to be stripped, the hotel manager decided to have his own men do that part of the work in small sections the week before the scheduled coating.

“That was a crazy job,” says Covert, adding that he heard the task involved 40 gallons of stripper and three applications. Even after all that, “We still had a lot to remove with the pressure washer but it came up with a good spinner tip and steam.”

The company used Concrete Solutions WB Epoxy Primer as the first coat, followed by an application of Concrete Solutions Spray-Top in Tile Red over the existing European Fan pattern. The borders were finished with a custom color that was slightly darker. To finish the job, they used two coats of Concrete Solutions Acrylic Urethane and a light layer of aluminum oxide was broadcast for slip resistance.

The job began the first day of the year and was completed by 4 p.m. the next day. “We ended up doing the pool deck there two months later,” says Covert.


From simple and chic to bubbly and sleek,

San Diego Area Hospitality Shines

by Jacqueline Valle

Photo courtesy of Westcoat

Brian Oberman, who has been in the concrete industry for 25 years, merged his company with Life Deck Coating Installations about three and a half years ago. Today, as general manager, he’s had the chance to work on projects such as Coasterra, the Beach Terrace Inn and Westroot Tavern.


Coasterra Restaurant
880 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego

Coasterra, a “restaurant, lounge and floating event center” that specializes in modern Mexican cuisine, opened for business last summer. Situated on Harbor Island with beautiful views of the bay and San Diego skyline, it’s part of the Cohn Restaurant Group that operates more than 20 eateries in Southern California and Maui.

For this destination dining experience, the long-established restaurateurs wanted a sleek, minimalistic setting that would complement, not compete, with the location’s stunning panoramic view. They also wanted stylish flooring that was long lasting, durable and easy to keep clean. A simple, smooth grind-and-seal concrete finish was selected.

Life Deck ground 12,000 square feet of concrete with large planetary grinders of 30-40-diamond grit. Next the three-man crew patched small holes with Westcoat’s TC-29 Concrete Patch and sealed it with two coats of Westcoat’s clear SC-67 water-based polyurethane sealer. As a finishing touch, the crew broadcast 30-grit sand to increase the surface’s slip resistance.

As is the case with most commercial jobs, scheduling was probably the most challenging aspect Oberman says they encountered. Since the crew couldn’t do the job all at once due to logistics, it was segmented into five or six phases and later tied in together. The job was completed in a two-to-three-week span in November 2015.


Westroot Tavern
6025 Village Way, San Diego

Photo courtesy of Westcoat

An upscale shopping center called for new construction of a 2,400-square-foot two-level gastropub called the Westroot Tavern. It features two large patios with fire features, weekly live music, two full-service bars, 30 beer handles and a chef-driven menu. Like most popular requests for projects, the bar owners opted for a grind, stain and seal process. For color, Oberman used Westcoat’s SC-36 Gray Fast Stain, a deep-penetrating dye that dries to the touch in seconds when used with acetone.

To start off, the concrete was initially ground and patched with Westcoat’s TC-29 then colored with SC-36 Fast Stain. It was then sealed with two coats of water-based polyurethane SC-67 in semi-gloss, the same sealer used on the Coasterra job.

From the dining area and bar to the bathrooms, a small crew of two performed this job in segments in a span of two weeks.

“We work around other trades,” says Oberman, with this one in particular very challenging because of a tight schedule. “We always come in at the end and that’s the prime time when it’s the most hectic.”

The tavern opened in March 2016.


Beach Terrace Inn
2775 Ocean St., Carlsbad

Located on the cliffs by the beach in Carlsbad, the Beach Terrace Inn is graced with an entryway that literally bubbles over with uniqueness.

The design was requested by the boutique hotel’s manager who was smitten with a similar floor pattern he’d seen during a trip to Arizona. He showed a photo he had taken to the project manager and the Life Deck team was tasked with coming up with a way to replicate the look for the inn’s 400-square-foot entryway.

Photos courtesy of Westcoat 

The extremely challenging project started with removing the existing coating and then prepping the surface with grinders and scarifier to achieve the perfect adhesion profile. Texture-Crete, Westcoat’s textured concrete overlay, was applied next along with Westcoat’s water-based stain in Onyx. The area was then sealed with Westcoat’s SC-70, a very quick-drying acrylic lacquer sealer.

Next, using various sized grinder attachments and following a mapped out custom design, each bubble was created by hand. Similar results could have been obtained with stencils or tape, but they chose that method because “We wanted it to look consistently inconsistent,” says Oberman.

Oberman recounts that it was extremely challenging and tedious for the installers. Creating and coloring each bubble individually by hand ensured the pattern didn’t look uniform. After the grinding process, each one was stained in Ivory to create a strong contrast to the Onyx water-based stain that was first applied. Lastly, the entire surface was sealed again with SC-70.