I admit I’ve been rigid in my thinking about this decorative concrete industry. I know I’m repeating myself, but it’s important to note that I’m a tradesman first. Publishing Concrete Decor magazine came later in life.
To be proficient in any one area of decorative concrete, I think members of the trade must first understand the fundamentals of concrete placement, as well as how to restore and repair concrete.
When I started Concrete Decor, I was almost irritated with the term “decorative concrete contractor” because it alluded to a “subset” of the concrete trade. What I quickly learned was that decorative concrete and its diverse products was and is attracting a wide array of tradesmen, some already in the concrete industry, and all these people contribute to the industry’s ongoing improvement. Of course, there are just as many that bring problems to this industry, but that’s something every trade must negotiate.
Over the last 19 years, Concrete Decor has created a stronger sense of industry, but that has much to do with how the many facets of decorative concrete are so interrelated and dependent upon one another. Decorative concrete has accomplished much because this critical interrelationship has stimulated ongoing discussion between these groups of specialists. It also makes us competitive in the construction and renovation markets today.
Talking with industry colleagues at the recent DSSG event, we talked about polished concrete and how HTC equipment, in particular, has helped it become a polish-by-numbers application. While I still maintained my view of the trade, I had to step away and sleep on it before I could accept how technology is enabling individuals to achieve industry standards even if they don’t subscribe to my school of thought.
Trades have become more specialized, but I still believe if our industry is going to stay competitive and grow, its members must understand the nuances of concrete old and new. They must evaluate and recommend best solutions, even if that means that decorative concrete is not the best solution for a project (although I’m wondering where it’s not the best choice). LOL
Decorative concrete continues to gain the competitive advantage, thanks to contractors who never settle for second best, supply stores that sharpen their own teams’ understanding of products through training events and manufacturers who keep investing in their products to keep you, “the specialist,” increasingly capable of delivering high-quality work.
Enjoy this edition of Concrete Decor.