The Decorative Concrete Makeover at the Charlotte Rescue Mission

Entrance to the Charlotte Rescue Mission with a stamped and stained logo.

The notion that decorative concrete can change lives might seem like a bold idea, but it has never been so apparent than at the Charlotte Rescue Mission, the recipient of this year’s community makeover courtesy of the Concrete Decor Show.

The nonprofit organization provides an intensive drug and alcohol recovery program to homeless or about-to-be-homeless men and women. Their goal is to address the spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, social and vocational issues of addiction with each person and return them as contributing members of society. Reportedly, 75 percent of the residents remain clean and sober one year after they finish the program.

Seven areas at the organization’s men’s campus, known as Rebound, were slated for the makeover as part of the Concrete Decor Show’s hands-on workshop component. It was here that artisans, contractors and manufacturers from across the globe came together to gain real-world experience while lending a helping hand to a facility in need.More photos and a list of manufacturers and suppliers that donated to each space are available at

Adding New Dimensions with Metallic Coatings
The buildings that make up the Charlotte Rescue Mission campus each have a colorful history. Troy Lemon of Cornerstone Decorative Concrete, Holland, Mich., chose to conduct his course, “Adding New Dimensions with Metallics,” in an old thrift store. Although the building is now used for storage, the Mission hopes to transform it into office space and conference rooms. While the rest of the building won’t be ready for a while, eye-catching metallic-coated floors are in place for the future.

Metallic epoxy installed in a future admin building.

Two men trowel the metallic epoxy on the floor of the abandoned building.

A unique metallic epoxy installation on an abandoned building will give it new life.

Decorative Effects for the Polishing Contractor
Playing basketball is a popular pastime for residents at the Mission. Wanting to spruce up the existing playing space, Jeremy Wilkerson, DreamKrete, Richmond, Va., teamed up with Clif Rawlings of HTC and Brad Burns of the Concrete Polishing Association of America to polish the existing concrete floors and create a basketball court. After polishing to 3,000 grit, the team used decorative saw cuts, stencils, and dyes to replicate a court using nontraditional materials. They were helped by the exposure of beautiful multicolored aggregate in the old concrete floor.

Attendees install the tape line for the polished concrete training class.

Polishing machine sits on the concrete slab while attendees look on.

Logo for the Charlotte Rescue Mission dyed onto the concrete slab an polished.

Creating a Concrete Fireplace Surround
Making a fireplace surround for a functioning fireplace can be challenge enough, but what about a fireplace that has been out of commission for years? Jeff Kudrick of JM Lifestyles LLC, Randolph, N.J., designed what he calls a “living-place” surround for the residents at the Charlotte Rescue Mission. The surround is designed to look like the base of two trees, and the mantel is full of green plants to complete the idea of the living-place.

Installing a piece of the concrete surround.

Forming the concrete outside of the space in pieces that will be brought in.

Fireplace surround that looks like the trunk of a tree.

Going Vertical in a Flat World
Wanting to highlight the doorway of the gymnasium where the newly renovated basketball court is housed, Nathan Giffin created an elaborate faux-rock entryway complete with a concrete barbell. Although rainy weather threatened to delay the project, Giffin and his students were able to catch a sun break and stain the rocks for a final touch. The door opens onto the Mission’s new patio, which was renovated as part of a preshow project. The organization is already thinking about ways in which they can fully utilize this new space.

Nathan Giffin forming the rocks for the door surrounding.

A look at the finished carved wall with a barbell also carved into the header.

Attendees work on scaffolding to put the color on the carved rocks.

Vision and Color in the Heart of the Mission
When residents of the Mission first enter the program, they are housed in the facility’s pre-program area. Thanks to Rick Lobdell of Concrete Mystique, Nashville, Tenn., the residents’ first impression of the Mission is one of hope and inspiration. The floors were shotblast, and a moisture vapor remediator and an overlay were applied. Then Lobdell and his team of students applied decorative saw cuts, dyes, and hand-painting to transform the surfaces.

The stained floor in the dormitory of the rescue mission.

Applying acid stain with a sprayer on the floor in this building.

A large dove was stained onto the concrete floor to inspire hope.

Attendee puts finishing touches on the concrete floor application.

Attendee applies color to the vertical wall.

A look at the completed concrete wall surrounding the rescue mission.

The Style of Venetian Plaster with Concrete
Much of the resident’s time is spent in the courtyard, where the men play games and relax. Once, a dull block wall surrounded the area. That’s not the case anymore, thanks to Tim Couse of Advanced Surface Solutions, Charlotte, N.C. The old wall has been covered in a vertical concrete mix and given new life. A variety of textures have been applied, including Venetian-style and knockdown, and the wall is colored in subtle earth tones to make it blend into the outdoor space.

Training from SureCrete working to restore the walls with a Venetian Plaster.

Shooting colored plaster onto the wall that surrounds the courtyard.

Creativity and Innovation in High-End Stamping Applications
The main entrance to the Charlotte Rescue Mission is now a show-stopping work of art thanks to Jason Geiser and the team at Deco-Crete Supply, Orrville, Ohio. Wanting to make a positive first impression on everybody from major donors to the garbage man, they tore up the old asphalt driveway and replaced it with a stamped concrete entryway. The team also added borders and faux grout lines for a high-end look. A red logo with the Mission’s name completes the project.

Fresh concrete coming down the chute of the concrete truck.

Guys from Deco-Crete Supply placing stamp mats to the concrete to texture it just so.

Screeding the concrete with a piece of wood while other workers fill in the concrete holes behind him.

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