“Innovation” was the word of the day for Scofield’s 10th annual Decorative Concrete Awards which were presented during the 2018 World of Concrete in Las Vegas. Grand prize-winning “Scofie” projects in six categories were unique in their design and execution, with several recipients pushing the limits of their experience to try new things.
Decorative Concrete Awards – Artistic Category
Business Interiors Floor Covering,
Is there a coded message only programmers can decipher in the pattern of Xs in the corridor of Microsoft’s Boston office? If there is, it’s only readable thanks to the precision and accuracy of Business Interiors Floor Covering.
Working with the designer, the company ultimately went through seven different renditions before coming up with something it was confident it could execute well. To start, Business Interiors explained the parameter’s artistic concrete. For example, to match the dot pattern in the carpet tiles the designer asked for dots just 1/8 inch in diameter but Business Interiors’ testing showed that dots any smaller than ¼ inch would degrade the stencil and allow the color to bleed.
“We’ve done a number of large format designs before, but this is the first time we’ve gone after detail like this,” says John Gabaree, Business Interiors’ division manager for polished concrete and epoxy flooring.
Three-men crews worked nights applying Scofield Formula One Lithium Densifier and grinding the concrete to 200 grit. Then they carefully placed the stencils, often hand cutting them to make the tiny patterns line up exactly, and applied Scofield Formula One Liquid Dye Concentrate “Storm Cloud.”
In the beginning they were only able to complete about four sheets (72 square feet) per shift but eventually they got up to about 11 sheets per night, ultimately applying the pattern to about 2,700 square feet of the total 11,000 square feet.
The floor was polished to 800 grit and a Scofield Formula One Guard-W finish coat was applied. Besides the dots, they created chevron stripes and, of course, the enigmatic Xs. Do they mean anything? Gabaree doesn’t know, but he credits his crew with making sure the pattern is square, clean and crisp, just in case.
“After completing such a challenging job like this,” Gabaree says, “we know there’s no project we would not be able to handle in the future.”
Decorative Concrete Awards – Heavy/Highway Category
Utility Concrete Products LLC
A cresting wave cast in concrete — that was the architect’s solution to the threat of real waves crashing from Lake Michigan at the new Walter Athletics Center to be built by Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The concrete barrier is essential to protect the lakeshore building and the people enjoying its surrounding grounds when the lake gets choppy.
To achieve the multiple curves and tapering in two planes required to replicate a wave, the designers knew that cast-in-place would be nearly impossible. Something that unique could only be achieved in a controlled environment with precise forming — in other words, precast.
Utility Concrete Products cast 109 five-foot-wide segments, many as tall as 20 feet, to create the desired look. The artistry was completed by coloring the mix with custom-modified Scofield Integral Color SG in Sand Buff and finished with a sandblaster to match the building’s limestone.
Installation required some creativity, innovation and tight planning. The precast panels were mounted on a cast-in-place kneel wall using both column-base connectors on the land side and splice sleeves on the lake side. This unique system, developed just for this project, allowed the contractor to bolt the panels in place without using an interim bracing system.
Installing the wall as efficiently and quickly as possible was a top priority because work on the building couldn’t be completed until the wall was finished. Months of careful preplanning and coordination resulted in a quick fabrication/install time frame and the gorgeous wave wall was installed on time and within budget.
Decorative Concrete Awards – Stain Category
Capitol Decorative Concrete
Piedmont, South Carolina
Commanding attention on a hilltop in Greenville, South Carolina, the new Our Lady of the Rosary church is as impressive inside as it is outside with soaring arches, reclaimed glass windows and a beautiful marbleized stained concrete floor. At nearly 16,000 square feet, a marble floor was not in the budget, but fortunately, Victoria Simpson of Capitol Decorative Concrete had the experience and vision to provide an alternative that would both anchor and elevate the whole interior.
Simpson and her colleague, Dean Nash, installed and stained the entire project — organ and choir lofts, entryway and covered porch and, most impressive and challenging of all, the sanctuary. Impressive thanks go to Scofield’s Lithochrome Chemstain Classic in both Copper Patina and Fern Green, spraying into each other to create the marble effect.
It was challenging because half the sanctuary sits on grade and half sits on a suspended deck. The two sides cured differently and so took the stain differently. It could have ended up looking like a line right down the middle of the sanctuary, but Simpson used a misting spray in the seal coat to help the colors blend. She also used the spray to add highlights to other areas of the floor, unifying the overall effect.
Given there was a whole building committee and a general contractor involved in the project, Simpson made a lot of samples and various colors, including Antique Amber and Dark Walnut, were used in different spaces. But in the end, Simpson says, “My favorite color of Copper Patina was the main theme for this beautiful edifice. The color selections made were colors that most people are afraid to try, but it truly was magic as it all came together.”
Decorative Concrete Awards – Stamped Concrete Category
Ozark Pattern Concrete Inc.
Replacing an old brick patio and steps with stamped concrete is an improvement. Stamped concrete that looks as beautiful and natural as slate goes beyond improvement to enhancement. Ozark Pattern Concrete Inc. did just that for the Hunt residence in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Once the owners made up their minds to use stamped concrete, OPC created a series of 3-by-3-foot samples with different patterns and colors. The final finish was selected by architect Georg Andersen, noted for designing luxury commercial spaces and homes in New York, Arkansas and throughout the country.
Then OPC got to work placing and stamping. They used a slate stamping pattern and colored the concrete with Scofield Lithochrome Color Hardener in Platinum Gray and with Lithochrome Antiquing Release. The seal and detail crews created variation and highlights by hand staining random stones with Lithochrome Chemstain in different colors and dilutions. They grouted the joints in a natural gray color.
The biggest challenge was creating the 1-inch cantilever edge on the steps. OPC used small, square forms to get that edge to come out over the top of each stair, just as if it were a slab of stone. Varying the color slightly, changing the direction of the imprinting tool from one stone to another, and grinding and grouting the joints are all extra details that add to the impression that this is the real thing.
Decorative Concrete Awards – Polished Concrete Category
The Spieker Co.
“The biggest challenge we faced was working through the cold, snowy Northwest Ohio winter,” says Jeremy Aschemeier, concrete superintendent for The Spieker Co. Winter weather may not be what most contractors expect when polishing interior floors, but the new Hull Prairie Intermediate School under construction in Perrysburg, Ohio, was open and exposed to the elements.
To add to the challenge, the color selected was Black Scofield Formula One Liquid Dye — a beautiful match for Hull Prairie’s black and yellow school colors but so intense it could easily show scratches, flaws and damage.
The Spieker Co. prevented problems by enclosing the building with tarps and using multiple curing blankets. It also used Scofield Proguard Duracover, a removable membrane, to protect the floors from the elements before they were polished and from other trades after they were finished. Aschemeier also credits Husqvarna HiperFlex dry polishing pads for hiding scratches inherent to the polishing process.
Now the school has the tech-looking, long-lasting, easy-cleaning floor the district wanted when it selected polished concrete over carpet or vinyl. And The Spieker Co. has a unique project to show off.
“I think the reason this project was award winning was because of our crew,” Aschemeier says. “The company is fortunate to have a lot of talented employees that take great pride in their work. The project manager was very involved and helpful throughout the process. And our material supplier, Brad Chevalier at Chas. E. Phipps Co., was instrumental to our success. Every time we had a problem he was there with a solution. We are very lucky to be surrounded by ambitious and successful people.” Students in Perrysburg are lucky, too.
Decorative Concrete Awards – Integral Color Category
Hemma Concrete Inc.
It’s attention to the small things that counts in a project as large as the new Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Georgia. First was the color. The customer wanted a tan/brown concrete for walkways and stairs to complement the colorful brick exterior.
The general contractor worked with the architect to choose just the right integral color — Cox Beige, a custom formulation of Scofield’s Chromix Admixtures for Color-Conditioned Concrete. They also settled on a light acid-etched exposed aggregate finish with natural stone inlay accents.
From there, the genius was in the details. Consistency was key. Hemma Concrete had to make sure all the forms were consistent and that the mix was the same from truck to truck. Hardscape Project Director Carrie Roberts-Poppe says, “We count on the fact that the concrete trucks will come on time so we can do a continuous, consistent pour. We had extra manpower on this job to check forms while the pour was going on.”
Project Superintendent Sehrudin Sahbaz had to keep three balls in the air — managing the workers checking forms, the crews finishing the concrete and the company delivering the concrete. In particular, the stairs — given their size, color and orientation — had to be planned out correctly and precisely. “Consistent, consistent, consistent — that was a make or break factor on this job.”
In the end, Roberts-Poppe says it was the team’s attention to detail, a timely and consistent concrete supplier and high-quality Scofield products that made this project a winning job. “It could not have been done if one of those pieces had fallen short.”