The third annual Decorative Concrete LIVE! at World of Concrete 2019 showcased a power-packed mix of the latest technologies in products, tools and equipment for residential, retail and commercial projects.
With demonstrations throughout the show, artisans from around the country wowed the contractors, architects and other visitors who numbered better than 5,000 with the many ways concrete can add beauty, sustainability, resiliency and energy efficiency to building projects.
This year, artisans focused on how decorative and architectural concrete can positively contribute to the wants and needs of an increasingly energy-minded society by using concrete below ground, on the surface, up the walls and in areas in between.
Insulated concrete forms — cast-in-place, reinforced concrete-filled building blocks — returned as a key component for today’s sustainable building practices. “There’s not a better way to tie decorative concrete products to energy-efficient building systems than with ICFs,” says Bent Mikkelsen, show organizer and publisher of Concrete Decor.
Artisans installed a variety of finishes both decorative and durable, including cementitious materials and lightweight stucco, on the ICF walls provided by Fox Blocks, the show’s builder partner. “These engineered products also offer vertical carving mixes a new market opportunity.”
And the versatile building blocks aren’t just limited to straight walls and 45- and 90-degree angles, he adds, as was proven by a round window crafted with ICF system components.
An air-heated radiant floor system from Legalett made to be installed in concrete slabs educated visitors on an alternative method to heat buildings. “No longer just a golden opportunity for decorative concrete applications, these slab-on-grade concrete floors can also greatly contribute to creating an energy-efficient building envelope,” Mikkelsen notes.
Artisans in charge
Heading up this year’s dedicated team of artisans was Emil Gera of Gera Concrete in Pennsylvania. “Small towns are often known for producing football legends, but they should also be recognized for the talent they bring to the concrete industry,” Mikkelsen says. “Emil’s humble leadership and ability to move a team of artisans to the finish line is just one reason he deserves industry recognition for his work at this year’s Decorative Concrete LIVE!”
Gera’s right-hand man, Matt Sampson from Florida, also is due accolades for his tireless efforts and dedication for a job well done, Mikkelsen adds. The dynamic duo was among the first to arrive each day and the last to put away the trowel.
Cindee Lundin of Arizona donated her time and talent to this year’s showcase with a project she dreamed up named “Sustaining Life.” Mikkelsen has nothing but praise for her and her trio of dedicated helpers. “When you ask Cindee to do her thing, that’s all you have to do because she not only knows the products of this industry, she knows how to make them perform in ways that simply push their boundaries.”
Notable demonstrations included:
- Danny Carrillo and his aides showed how applying proven materials with tools and equipment from Graco, the show’s tooling partner, can add productivity and profits to a project. “When they also create opportunities to deliver high-end finishes that weren’t previously marketable, that’s a game changer that deserves attention,” Mikkelsen says.
- Aquron’s Matt Desurne and Sam Syvrud, with help from their guru Scott Kummer and equipment from SASE, demonstrated how their products’ proven capabilities with pool builders was also an asset to installers of polished concrete and terrazzo.
- Debbie Ohland etched a stenciled design with a tool from Engrave-A-Crete, an artisan’s best friend for concrete carving, and Shellie Rigsby-Cordell stained it.
- Rick Lobdell and Tim Maloney drew on and cut up floor protection from Skudo that doubled as a tool to help them create a stencil of a knight logo for a high-end shot-blasting application.
- With the right products for the job, Marty O’Mara made stripping, waterproofing, enhancing and protecting decorative concrete look easy with Nox-Crete products.
The 2019 Decorative Concrete LIVE! — brought to you by Concrete Decor magazine, the Concrete Decor RoadShow and a host of top-rated sponsors — also held demonstrations that featured moisture barrier products, a waterjet-cut stencil, power troweling, polishing concrete, stamping concrete, forming radius walkways, molding decorative edges, seeding glass in countertops, applying metallic epoxies and effectively using accent colors.