A head in the clouds is bad for business. Luckily, the Kolleck family does not have that problem. They have focused on floors for six decades, and their business, Seamless Floor Coatings Inc., is successful because of it.
Paul Kolleck founded Seamless in 1939, coating metal ship decks for the military. In 1942, he expanded into a new niche, coating concrete floors at airplane hangars.
Years passed, bringing new generations of Kollecks, and Seamless coated countless square feet of concrete and metal flooring in the meantime.
Today, vice president Tommy Kolleck, 28, son of current president Tom and great-grandson of Paul, is taking the family business in a more decorative direction for the twenty-first century.
Seamless began exploring architectural coatings about a decade ago, when Tommy joined the company. “That's where I came in — bringing the company to the next level, trying to keep up with everybody else,” he says.
Kolleck is especially proud of 90,000 square feet of floors recently placed for Saleen Inc. at the Irvine, Calif., headquarters of the high-performance car company. Seamless laid 18,000 square feet of metallics for a showroom and put down a gray layer of 100 percent solid epoxy in a warehouse.
Seamless has also become a contractor of choice for a few chain retailers, including Charo Chicken, which asked Seamless to hand-match its signature purple, red and yellow colors on restaurant floors. Seamless has replaced tile and carpet at Nutri Shop sports nutrition and supplement stores with an acid-stained surface that is cheaper and easier to clean than the tile.
Seamless has also specialized in taking on coating jobs that nobody else would want to do, Kolleck says. For example, when the company was called in to give the acid stain treatment to one future Nutri Shop site, workers were confronted with patches of exposed wood on a floor that was otherwise epoxy quartz. A pizza restaurant had formerly occupied the space, and the holes were footprints left by equipment removed from the old eatery. Epoxy quartz doesn't easily take to acid stain in the best of circumstances, and with the patches, the task looked daunting.
But Seamless pulled it off. Workers deep-filled the exposed holes with overlayment until they were level with the quartz, then diamond-ground the entire floor. A layer of 100 percent solid epoxy was poured over the surface and topped with 60-grit silica sand broadcast almost to refusal. After set time and a good sweep, the resulting floor took nicely to three coats of microtopping and an acid stain. Another coat of 100 percent solid epoxy sealed the surface.
The company also recently finished a waterproofing and microtopping job at an office and parking complex in Garden Grove, Calif. When the office building began to leak, its owners couldn't just tear out and replace the concrete, because the concrete was supporting the building. The seal work done by Seamless preserved the structural integrity of the building while protecting it against leakage.
“We have a lot of projects where a lot of people are like, ‘ehh, we don't know what to do with that,'” Kolleck says. “And we do it for them.”
Seamless also manufactures two kinds of decorative coatings: a metalized epoxy and a translucent epoxy that looks like an acid stain after application. “We're always playing around with different things,” Kolleck says. “That's almost what I specialize in, is trying to make something that isn't out there.”
What they don't make, they tend to get from Floric Polytech Corp., a supplier that Kolleck says has been instrumental in helping Seamless grow over the years.
Seamless Floor Coatings doesn't do floors exclusively. The company will overlay tile, wood or metal countertops with microtopping materials, and even pour a new top if specs and aesthetics call for it. A division of the firm takes on commercial painting, coating and waterproofing jobs. But floors are the company's bread and butter. “We do floors over concrete, over wood, over tile, pretty much anything,” Kolleck says.
On the other hand, the company's first line of business, ship decks, is fading. Getting deck contracts involves plowing through too much bureaucratic red tape these days, Kolleck says, and besides, there's more work in decorative concrete flooring. “We still do hangars for the military, but it kind of has to be the right job. Plus, that really doesn't allow me to be creative. It's kind of the same thing over and over.”
What's good for Kolleck is also good for Seamless, as the decorative concrete industry continues to grow. “If you're not keeping up, you're going to be left behind real quick,” he says. “We're shifting gears to the more functional, architectural side, where you can pound on it but it still looks good.”
The floors at Saleen are living up to that description. Someone recently dropped a brake rotor directly onto the concrete floor, and the impact from the heavy chunk of machinery dented the concrete. But it didn't tear Seamless' topping. “The concrete failed before the coating did,” Kolleck notes. “That's a pretty good testament.”