Concrete That Tricks Your Eye

Updated at: 03/13/2014 2:00 PM
By: Networx

Photo: GaggieTMI/FlickrSetting up for a home show is nervewracking business for designers, contractors, and other building professionals. They want to showcase the latest styles as well as innovative developments, but they're got a serious problem: tens of thousands of people will be walking through their displays, which means that they need to be able to withstand high-traffic uses.

Unlike your average home, where traffic on that level might occur over years of use, this can happen in just a few weekends, or sometimes even a couple of days. Many building materials aren't designed for that kind of use, even if they're absolutely beautiful and highly recommended for home use. So how do you get the industrial strength without the industrial feel? (Unless that's what you're going for, of course...)

Designer Toya Sparks was faced with this problem when she began preparing a model home for the Sumner Garden Estates, Concrete Ideas reports. She wanted a natural bamboo floor with all the beauty and warmth it adds to a home, but bamboo flooring isn't necessarily equipped to handle high traffic. It would have been scuffed and damaged by the end of the show, not a look you want in a model home intended to entice buyers, and it would have required a great deal of maintenance.

So she went back to the drawing board, wondering what her alternatives might be. Her solution: contact a concrete surfacing expert to get his ideas. She wanted a floor that looked like bamboo, but performed like something harder, although she was initially skeptical about whether a concrete floor could offer her what she needed. Her floor needed to have the rich, variegated green finish she'd specified in her original design, with the texture of bamboo flooring.

Her concrete contractor showed up with samples that convinced her he had what it took. Despite the fact that part of the flooring had already been laid, he was able to apply a very thin layer of surface concrete, with a green tint to give it the desired look. He added paint effects to give it more color and depth, and finished by hand to give it the textured feel of true wood. Then, he sealed it all up so it could stand up to serious foot traffic.

The floor was a total hit, and it illustrated how far concrete finishes have come. His skills could be applied in homes and businesses alike where people want a high degree of durability and beauty. As illustrated by his ability to work within very specific constraints, concrete is highly flexible and can be adjusted to meet some pretty exacting specifications.

Whether a new concrete finish is being applied or an existing installation needs to be repaired or resurfaced, there are lots of options for people interested in concrete flooring, countertops, and more for their Denver remodeling projects. This miracle material has been in use for thousands of years, and you can see why: is there anything concrete can't do?

Katie Marks writes for Networx.com.

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