During the 2017 Concrete Decor Show, the resort was buzzing with people talking about the improvements that were transforming the grounds and some of the facilities on the resort. From pools and walkways to countertops and floors, projects were conducted by seasoned professionals and completed by novices and decorative concrete veterans alike. The results of the workshops, eight in all, were valued at roughly $104,000 in improvements.
Kevin Gioe, a general contractor by trade and now a building manager for the Hancock County Public Library in Greenfield, Indiana, was one of the attendees that sampled mostly all the workshops to help him come up with ideas of things like coffee areas and playscapes he could fabricate for his library system.
At the show in Indianapolis, he says, he went home with a Butterfield mold so he could make tables that look like big stumps. This year, he was interested in learning about color and stain and how to apply them effectively. Hands down, he says, the statue workshop was his favorite.
Adorned by Amethysts: Faux Bois Concrete Sculpture
Trainer: Cindee Lundin, The Studio by Cindee Lundin
And he wasn’t the only one who was mesmerized by the talents and vision of public works artist Cindee Lundin, who led the workshop outside the Innisbrook Resort’s Salamander Spa. Freely admitting she sets her sights on shaping visually pleasing works of art often shrouded in fantasy, Lundin doesn’t try to recreate nature. Her aim is to perfect it.
Assisted by a devout group of men and women, as well as her daughter/assistant, Lundin once again drew them in with her alluring charm, this time exploring faux bois, an artistic technique used to imitate wood and wood grains.
For the project EZChem supplied the faux bois mix, the Enviro Concrete Stains and Water-Based Sealer, and Metallic Pearls pigment in a variety of colors.
Budding and veteran artists helped Lundin create a concrete sculpture that started with an armature made from rebar, mesh, foam and recycled materials. They then carved and colored it to resemble a wooden feminine figure they lovingly called Genevieve.
When they were done, sweet Genevieve was adorned with amethysts and flowers, some gilded with gold. She’s depicted kneeling on a concrete rug for the enjoyment of passers-by and spa visitors alike for many years to come.
Design Versatility and Functionality of Microtoppings
Trainers: Brian Farnsworth, Cement Colors, and Troy Lemon, Cornerstone Decorative Concrete
Down the road, past the Wildlife Preserve, Brian Farnsworth and Troy Lemon led a workshop that involved rejuvenating the tennis center floor. The job’s particulars were decided weeks before.
“I’m a firm believer in producing samples beforehand,” Farnsworth says. “It makes the process easier once work begins and the end-user gets a finished product that looks like the sample approved.” The color, he added, was their choice.
After ripping out the carpet, participants used a ChemSystems stripper to remove the adhesive left behind before grinding with a Diamatic 555 and 18-grit metal-bond diamonds. After the floor was fully prepped, the crew installed ChemSystems Microtopping Interior in a custom-color dubbed Innisbrook Buff.
As part of that project, Farnsworth and his helpers applied a salamander stencil from Floormaps Inc. at the entrance and colored it with a mix of Smith Paint’s metallic pigments and polyaspartic. After hard troweling two different layers, the design was finished with a clear topcoat of Smith’s polyaspartic.
In an office further inside the center, EZChem metallic pigments were mixed with Spartacote polyaspartic from Laticrete and hard troweled over the microtopping. Tape was applied prior to the mix so when it was pulled up, the floor pattern resembled large tiles.
The entire project was then finished with a coat of water-based urethane from Arizona Polymer Flooring.
During the workshop and afterwards at the expo, Lemon demonstrated how microtoppings could be manipulated to form a variety of finishes on both walls and floors. “It was fun to have more of an emphasis on microtopping and show people ways they could use the stuff they hadn’t thought of,” Lemon says. “People came back day after day and sometimes we had 30 people (at the workshop).”
Dan Bobilya, of Quality Coatings in Montpelier, Ohio, was among the faithful who kept returning. This is the fourth Concrete Decor Show he’s attended and he says it won’t be his last. Unlike manufacturers’ training classes that are held in controlled environments where everything goes according to plan, these workshops are more like real life. “At times things get very chaotic but the trainers and others know how to handle the situations. People step up, get the job done and it turns out great.”
The panels and the classroom presentations complement the workshops and complete the learning environment, he says. The organizers, teachers and trainers — some of the most reputable in the industry — are helpful and very approachable.
“At World of Concrete, I find it overwhelming because there are so many people,” Bobilya says. “This show is truly a family environment.”
Metallic Manipulations on Concrete
Trainers: Daryll and Cody Bates, Excalibur Surfaces
Excalibur partners and kin Daryll and Cody Bates worked their magic at the Lochness Pool by recoating several existing countertops with their company’s epoxy, urethane, polyaspartic and metallic pigments. Participants were very hands-on during this workshop as they swirled in the colors with a variety of tools and watched the trainers torch the coating for special effects.
During the workshop, the Bates unveiled their newest product, a urethane with a matte finish. “It’s more durable and scratch resistant than any finish we use,” Cody says.
Hailing from Lagos Island, Nigeria, Modupe Oloye of Interwork Co. can’t wait to take her newfound metallic knowledge back with her to West Africa. “It really brings out my artistic side,” she says.
In business for four years with five employees, she has mainly been involved with exterior concrete stamping jobs but would like to also offer interior services. In West Africa, getting materials is a major hurdle. “The colors are terrible,” she says. “They mess up my finishing.”
Exhibitor Henry Ashworth, owner of RedArt Technologies headquartered in West Bountiful, Utah, managed to squeeze in some face time at Excalibur’s workshop. Late one evening, he engraved the Loch Ness logo on one of the metallic countertops with his CNC Pro machine.
Polished Overlay to the Rescue
Trainers: Adrian Henry of Nex Systems and Mark Haen of Arizona Polymer Flooring
Although an overlay was supposed to be the rescue for this project, it turned out the overlay project needed some rescuing itself. The workshop was just like in real life when things don’t always go according to plan.
After the floor had been ground and prepped for the overlay, a few missteps happened that resulted in too many different height variances on the floor that couldn’t be ground out.
Workshop leader Adrian Henry had to leave due to prior commitments. Luckily, Mark Haen, an APF sales representative who had helped extensively with the prep work, stepped in and took over after extending his stay so he could get the job done.
Supported by his best bud Dana Boyer of Concretizen, decorative concrete guru Bob Harris of Structural Services Inc., show organizers Bent and Sheri Mikkelsen and other dedicated industry members who kicked into high gear and worked night and day, the problem areas were ironed out by lightly grinding the floor with a Diamatic grinder until all was smooth.
Plan B involved applying APF Epoxy 100 Primer, followed the next day with APF Epoxy 400 with Color Chrome metallic pigment in Pearl and Copper. Team members then dispersed denatured alcohol to move the metallics to get a mottling effect. The crowning touch was applying a finish coat of APF Poly 501, water-based satin urethane.
“All the products were low odor so the pool house could still run business while we were doing the floor,” Haen says. “I really enjoyed the challenge and being able to help. And meeting all the great people. That was the fun part.”
One of those great people was Kimberly Robles, a territory manager with All Star Rents in Vallejo, California. She attended the show mainly because she wanted to learn about overlays. Although she was only at the show for two days, she was glad she had the chance to come and help prep the floors in the Island Pool building.
She spent most of her time on the Island Pool house project but she was very impressed with all the trainers and networking opportunities.
“Everyone was willing to share information and tips on how to do the job better, even if you didn’t stay the whole time at their workshop,” she says. “This show is a more casual way to meet people, not like the World of Concrete. It’s so big and busy. Here, it’s up close and personal. I’d come again.”
Stamping and Scoring a Serving Area Patio
Trainers: Marshall Hoskins and Keith Boudart, Butterfield Colors
This workshop began with participants helping to place a slab before coloring and stamping it. To demonstrate different techniques, Butterfield’s Marshall Hoskins, Keith Boudart and their helpers colored the two end sections with Butterfield’s powdered color hardener in Arena Buff. They integrally colored the middle section with Gull Gray and used a clear liquid release.
Tory Lawson of Tru Wash Detail and Lawn Care, who described the show as the “Super Bowl of the Concrete World,” attended this year’s event to learn more about the concrete business so he could expand his landscaping services in Houma, Louisiana, and work year-round. He made the rounds, sampling mostly all the workshops and pitching in to help wherever he could.
Lawson says he learned the most from Hoskins’ workshop, since he was especially interested in learning how to create the wood plank look. “I mean, it was like ‘whoa’ when we finished,” Lawson says. And even though the wood look is what he wants to specialize in when he officially starts his new company, “Mr. Marshall told me not to include wood plank in the name,” he says, as that would unnecessarily limit the scope of his business.
Building a Floating Bathroom Vanity
Trainer: Josh Thiel, Thiel Studio Designs
David and Julie Bancroft of Opus Stone partook in the floating vanity with integral sink workshop taught by Josh Thiel. In it, they made two GFRC sinks, one with a Buddy Rhodes mix and the other with a mix from SureCrete.
“Two days just scratched the surface,” David says, but they learned a new technique from Thiel on how to incorporate a slot drain that was a “plumber’s dream.”
“Some people try to keep some information close to the vest but he was the complete opposite,” Bancroft says. “He shared as much as he could to bring the industry together as a whole in an effort to help keep it healthy and viable.”
Applying the Salamander
Trainers: Steven Ochs, Southern Arkansas University, and Shellie Rigsby Cordell, Acanthus
At the logo-applying workshop, one interesting group of show attendees was from Bona, a Swedish company involved with hardwood flooring. “The parallels between our industries is obvious,” says Chuck Johnson, a company chemist, as both are involved with things like polishing and polyurethanes.
Three employees were partaking in the workshop that focused on applying stencils and coloring salamander logos on a pathway leading to a golf course. “We’re here to learn techniques that can be applied to our situations,” Johnson says. “There are business opportunities to be had by trying to do things differently. It’s part of the Swedish environment to be proactive and stay ahead of the game.”
Steven Ochs, one of the instructors, says he liked the idea of teaming up with another professional to teach the workshop. The pairing took some of the pressure off him and let him see how things were approached and handled by someone else, especially someone as talented as Shellie Cordell. “It was educational for us as well as the attendees,” he says.
Kingdom Products supplied the water-based acrylic sealer and Butterfield Colors donated its Elements water-based stains for this workshop.
Add Flagstone Finesse to Pool Deck
Trainer: Gregg Hensley, Stone Edge Surfaces
One of the raised decks at the Cypress Pool was the setting for the flagstone project that involved a scratch coat of Stone Edge Pro Bond top-coated with Stone Edge Pro Stamp Mix, an overlay which was stamped, carved and colored.
“The workshop went extremely well,” says trainer Gregg Hensley. “I was incredibly pleased with the turnout, outcome and participation of everyone involved.
Steve Scipelt of Amended Surfaces in Cincinnati, Ohio, spent most of his time going back and forth between the flagstone overlay and microtoppings workshops. He says he’s new to concrete, still getting his company name and logo pinned down, and plans to launch next year. In the meantime, he wants to learn all he can.
A Cincinnati firefighter for the past 36 years, “I’m learning so much from the best of the best here,” he says. “You just can’t get this from anywhere else.”
His biggest take away from the show was the realization that there were so many things that could be done with concrete. “The opportunities are endless,” he says.
Jamie Castro with Epoxy Artisan in Bradenton, Florida, was at the workshop with his boss, Elton John Strawderman. This was Castro’s first time texturing concrete to look like stone as he normally installs garage floors or works with projects involving Butterfield’s Gilpin Falls plank stamps. “This was new for me but I thought it was pretty simple,” he says. “I’ll do it again.”