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The Many Faces of Concrete
March 24, 2017 | Uncategorized

Once upon a time concrete was gray, boring and strictly utilitarian. Modern advancements in concrete products have made decorative concrete one of the most desirable finishes—with the added bonus of versatility, durability and cost effectiveness. The many faces of concrete include stamped or textured concrete, stenciled concrete, patterned finishes, paint and stain. These decorative finishes can be applied to concrete patios, interior floors, countertops and more.

Stamped Concrete
Stamping is a decorative finish designed to mimic stone, slate, tile, brick, pavers, even wood. Creative and affordable, stamped (or textured) concrete offers great versatility when it comes to mixing pattern and color. Intermountain Concrete Specialists carries a wide selection of texture mats, skins and stamping tools for a variety of natural-looking and man-made pattern options.

Stenciled Concrete
As a decorative surface finish, there are virtually no limitations to stenciled concrete designs. Stenciling is fairly easy for DIYers, and pros are able to offer custom designs, making it a great alternative to the many faces of concrete.

Concrete stains and dyes | Many Faces of Concrete

Concrete Color
Color can be the most distinguishing trait of decorative concrete, and there are a multitude of color applications. With the exception of integral color, most concrete color methods can be applied to existing concrete. Concrete color methods include:

  • Integral color, applied when wet, achieves deep color throughout the depth of the concrete slab.
  • Stain imparts a deep, rich color that infuses into the concrete. Concrete stain comes in two types, acid-based chemical stains and water-based acrylic stain. Staining is a great way to bring new life to old concrete.
  • Concrete dye is a time-saving color enhancer ideal for vertical and surface applications, such as stenciling.
  • Hardeners are commonly used on industrial floor applications due to durability

Overlay concrete topping one of the many faces of concrete

Overlays / Microtoppings
Create a new blank canvas with microtoppings, a thin cement-based layer applied to existing concrete. Once the overlay has been applied, it can be stamped, stained or stenciled.

Bring life to decorative concrete ideas with the many faces of concrete. We carry the latest innovations in decorative concrete trends, including premium concrete stamps and texture mats, seamless texture skins, integral colors, color releases, hardeners, dyes and stains, coatings, sealers, border and accessory tools, forming equipment and much more. Visit an Intermountain Concrete Specialties location and let our expert staff show you how decorative concrete can enhance your space.

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Tilt-Up Concrete Construction

Tilt-up concrete construction has become the building method of choice for large-scale projects such as retail stores, schools, apartment and office buildings, warehouses, commercial structures, and even residential homes. Used since the early 20th century, tilt-up is a construction method where huge concrete panels are cast on site and then lifted up into position—think barn raising but with concrete instead of wood. Today, tilt-up concrete construction is used on virtually every type of large building project, due to reasonable cost, durability, and construction speed.

Tilt-Up Concrete Construction

Tilt-Up Prep
Much of the effort happens up front during planning, site layout and evaluation. This helps ensure that proper procedures and methods are followed, and that a safety perimeter is established for the actual lift. A flat work site is best (although not always possible) as the huge concrete panels are cast on site. Typically, wall forming occurs while laid out on the foundation of the building or on a temporary casting slab.

Tilt-up Concrete Construction concrete slabs laid flat

Construction Process
It’s not uncommon to lay the exterior façade, such as brick, on the cast concrete panels before tilt up occurs. If no façade is laid, a release agent is applied to the slab after proper curing. This helps the panels lift easier without breaking.

Steel reinforcements are installed in a grid pattern to add structural integrity to the concrete panels. Lifting/bracing sensors are secured to the reinforcements. A vibrator ensures even concrete placement throughout the panel. Contractors use laser screeds to improve the quality of casting slabs, and ride-on trowels to give the surface a smooth finish. Tilt-up forms are then laid out and measured precisely with laser technology. Engineering inspections occur at every step of the process.

Tilt-up Concrete Construction ICS raising panels

Upon curing, formwork is stripped from the panels and prepared for tilt up with appropriate lifting mechanisms, clutches and cables. Safety briefings are critical prior to lift, and one person is usually assigned to communicate with the crane operator. After an engineering inspection, the tilt-up crew guides the concrete panel into position and adds structural shims after precise measurements and placement are confirmed. Temporary braces hold each panel in place as others are raised.

Once all of the concrete panels have been lifted and secured, the project engineer inspects and signs off on the tilt-up construction so the building exterior and interior can be completed.

A crane lifts a concrete panel

Product and Equipment Innovations
The growth of the concrete tilt-up construction industry has led to many product, method and equipment innovations. Lifting inserts, braces, brace anchors, aluminum strong backs, rear supports, dobie, bolsters and spacers, bondbreakers, ground release and gyro tilt systems are just a few of the products available to ensure safe, efficient lifting and placement of the massive concrete panels.

Intermountain Concrete Specialties Tilt-up Concrete Construction

As experts in tilt-up concrete construction, we offer tens of thousands of products, vast project knowledge, and a continuous history of construction innovation. No job is too large or too small. Call Intermountain Concrete Specialties today at 801.486.5311 for the products and support you need for your next tilt-up concrete construction project.

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Self-Leveling Concrete

Self-leveling concrete is a polymer-modified cement that helps even out floors and create a flat, smooth surface. When properly applied, it has a similar compressive strength to traditional concrete. Depending on the type of self-leveling concrete used, it can be applied prior to applying a decorative finish or installing interior flooring.

Different self-leveling concrete formulas are recommended for different applications, finishes, and types of substrates. Here are three of Intermountain Concrete Specialties’ top recommendations for self-leveling concrete products.

Self-leveling concrete | Intermountain Concrete Specialties

MAPEI NOVAPLAN EASY PLUS
This easy-prep, self-leveling concrete underlayment and repair mix creates a high-strength surface for interior concrete and engineer-approved floors. NOVAPLAN’s high-strength formulation is ideal for direct application on clean, properly primed and securely bonded substrates. NOVAPLAN EASY PLUS can be used over radiant-heated floors, and is recommended for interior residential, commercial, and institutional locations.

W.R. MEADOWS FLOOR-TOP STG
This single-component, self-leveling floor topping and underlayment is ideal for smoothing out rough, uneven concrete surfaces or slightly deteriorated interior concrete floors. It can be enhanced with integral colors, dyes, acid stains, and sealers. FLOOR-TOP STG cures to a hard surface suitable for standard foot traffic and light rubber-wheeled traffic. We recommend FLOOR-TOP STG for residential, commercial, retail, and office applications.

LYONS FLOWCRETE
When you need a job done fast—and correctly—FLOWCRETE’s cement-based, self-leveling concrete formula is designed for rapid leveling of interior concrete floors. Use FLOWCRETE to level and smooth concrete prior to installing carpet, wood floors, tile and more within just 12-16 hours. FLOWCRETE is mixed with water, hardens through hydration, and does not require any troweling or curing.

We can help you choose the best self-leveling concrete for your next interior concrete project application. Visit your local Intermountain Concrete Specialties location for the expert advice, high-quality products and equipment you need to make your next concrete project a success!

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Choosing the Right Concrete Walk-Behind Saw
December 23, 2016 | Concrete Product Recommendations

At Intermountain Concrete Specialties, we know that a walk-behind saw is a handy piece of concrete equipment to have in your arsenal. When it comes to choosing the right concrete walk-behind saw for your construction project, here are three great options.

SRX Concrete Walk-Behind Saw

MK Diamond SRX-150
Compact and lightweight, the SRX-150 is a walk-behind saw designed for early entry dry cutting of crack control joints. The SRX-150 is effective within a couple of hours of concrete finishing, and features an upcut blade rotation and blade guard to help keep debris and dust out. The SRX-150 concrete walk-behind saw also features:

• Remotely mounted throttle with stop switch for quick operator access
• Folding handle for compact storage and transport
• Anti-spall quick-change skid plate

Blade shaft with self-aligning bearings, 3-inch non-marking wheels, and a poly V-belt for positive power transmission make this walk-behind saw powerful and operator-friendly.

MK Diamond CX3 Series Concrete Walk-Behind Saw

MK Diamond CX-3®
Engineered for small to medium jobs, the CX-3 Walk-Behind Saw is lightweight and compact for easy maneuverability. Small yet powerful, this walk-behind saw can be used for dry or wet cutting. A built-in water distribution system supplies water to both sides of the blade, which can be mounted on either side, and cuts within one inch of curbs or walls. The hinged, cast-aluminum blade guard allows for easy blade changes.    

Norton CG55 Concrete Walk-Behind Saw

Norton GC55
The Norton GC55 Walk-Behind Concrete Saw is engineered for tough jobs in a lightweight, compact design. Powered by a Honda 5HP gas engine, the GC55 is an early entry saw that can be used on green or cured concrete, and for decorative cutting. The small walk-behind saw has a low, wide profile and a fold-down design for easy storage. The weighted front blade mount and improved wheel design help guide straight cuts, so your concrete cuts have never looked better.  

Intermountain Concrete Specialties carries the MK Diamond SRX-150, MK Diamond CX-3, and the Norton GC55 Walk-Behind Saws. Stop by your local Intermountain Concrete Specialties for demos and expert advice about which concrete walk-behind saw is right for your next concrete project. 

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4 Products For Winter Concrete Projects

Mixing, curing, and sealing concrete properly is especially important when it comes to winter concrete projects. Concrete may be safely placed in cold weather, as long as necessary precautions and best practices are used. Here are some of Intermountain Concrete Specialties’ top product recommendations to help avoid surprises in your winter concrete projects.

1. Anti-Hydro® Admixture for Cold Weather

Anti-Hydro Admixture provides increased workability with lower water requirements, enhances internal curing time, and produces high strength concrete early in the curing process. This helps prevent damage due to frost and other cold weather hindrances. When added into concrete, Anti-Hydro Admixture produces dense, durable, water and damp-proofed concrete, while improving workability and reducing shrinkage and cracking. Fortify your concrete with Anti-Hydro® Admixture for cold weather. Learn more! 

2. Concrete Curing Blankets
Even mildly cold temperatures can affect concrete curing time. Concrete blankets provide warmth when Mother Nature can’t. Temperature is actually the number two cause of concrete sealing problems, second only to moisture, so cold weather protection is critical to winter concrete projects. Concrete blankets offer the R-factor necessary to prevent winter concrete projects from freezing, which can strengthen finished concrete. Click to learn more about protecting exposed concrete with concrete curing blankets.

3. FLOOR-TOP STG Concrete Floor Topping
If you’re moving indoors to work on winter concrete projects, here’s another ICS favorite from W.R. Meadows. FLOOR-TOP STG is a single-component, self-leveling floor topping and underlayment designed to smooth out uneven or rough interior concrete floors. FLOOR-TOP STG cures to a hard surface suitable for standard foot traffic and light rubber-wheeled traffic, and can be enhanced with integral colors, dyes, stains, and sealers.

4. CS309-25 Non-Yellowing Curing and Sealing Compound
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, W.R. Meadows CS309-25 is one of our all-time favorite exterior concrete sealers. This industrial-quality workhorse sealer is specially formulated with acrylic polymers that cure and seal freshly placed concrete for a durable, long-lasting finish.

 

Visit your local Intermountain Concrete Specialties location in Utah or Idaho for the best tips and product recommendations for your winter concrete projects! 

 

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Concrete Sealing in Cold Weather

As fall turns to winter, temperature plays a critical role in sealing concrete. In fact, temperature is the number two cause of concrete sealing problems, second only to moisture. That means taking extra precautions to make sure concrete sealing is done right in cold weather.

When it comes to properly concrete sealing, both air and surface temperature play a role in proper sealing. Why? Once applied, sealers create a chemical reaction and the outside temperature decides how fast that reaction occurs—or if it happens at all. Most manufacturers recommend 50 to 90 degrees as the ideal temperature range for applying concrete sealer.

So what happens if you apply concrete sealer outside of that 40-degree range? Extreme temperatures will cause the sealer to apply too fast or too slow. Sealer reaction can also be affected by humidity, wind chill factor, and even time of day sealer is applied.

High temperatures cause sealer reactivity to increase. That means the hotter it is, the faster you’ll have to work to get the concrete sealer applied. High temperatures can result in “spider webs” when the solvent flashes before the sealer can form a film, or bubbles when the solvent flashes too fast and traps air.

Alternately, if the temperature is below 50 degrees, the chemical reaction slows and the time needed to properly seal concrete increases. Every concrete sealer has a minimum film-forming temperature (MFFT). This is the minimum temperature needed for the sealer to form a film, cure, and harden. If too much time passes, due to a too-cold surface temperature, you’ll end up with a weak sealer. If the temperature is significantly below the MFFT, curing stops completely, and a white residue will be left behind on the concrete surface. This is why it’s important to seal concrete properly before cold weather sets in.

As we transition from fall to winter and temperatures continue to drop, consider using concrete curing blankets to make sure concrete is properly cured and sealed. Remember, the colder the temperature, the longer it takes to cure and seal concrete. Proper curing and sealing of any concrete surface is critical to the projects long-term durability.

Click here to learn about different concrete sealers, or visit Intermountain Concrete Specialties for expert tips and the best concrete sealers in the industry.

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Concrete History: Edison Portland Cement Company

Most people know Thomas Edison for the light bulb, but did you know the famous inventor also held 49 cement patents? An important part of concrete history, Edison’s patents included cement processing equipment, waterproofing cement paint, and even a mold for single-pour concrete construction. The visionary thinker imagined a future with concrete houses, concrete furniture, and even concrete pianos and refrigerators!

Edison developed an interest in cement after noticing the amount of sand waste produced by his ore milling company. He sold the fine sand particles to cement manufacturers for concrete production. In 1899, he created the Edison Portland Cement Company, based in Stewartsville, N.J.

concrete history
U.S. Patent 775,600 / Public Domain

Many of Edison’s inventions helped improve the cement production process. His New Jersey cement mill featured the longest rotating kilns in the world. At 150 feet long, these cement kilns were almost twice as long as standard cement kilns. Edison licensed the kilns to other cement manufacturers, which eventually helped his competitors improve their production but hindered his own company’s profitability.

Edison believed in concrete’s future capabilities but manufacturing processes had to catch up first. His premature vision of homes that would be both indestructible and affordable enough to help solve the critical housing shortage led to the idea of building houses with a single pour of concrete. His theory: a single-pour process would eliminate the labor involved with erecting walls, adding a roof, and finishing the interior.

concrete history

The homes could also be mass-produced. However, the mold itself, constructed of 2,300 cast iron pieces that could be assembled together and taken apart, was expensive and most homebuilders weren’t eager to spend $175,000 (equal to $2.5 million today) on the mold. Although very few concrete homes were ever poured, a handful still stand today in Phillipsburg and Montclair, New Jersey.

Teetering financially, the Edison Portland Cement Company was fortunately awarded a major construction contract in 1922: the original Yankee Stadium. As it happens, “the house that Ruth built” was actually built by Edison. Production on the big ballpark in the Bronx took just 284 days from start to finish, using:

  • 45,000 barrels of cement
  • 30,000 cubic yards of gravel
  • 15,000 cubic yards of sand
  • 500 laborers
  • For a total of 35,000 cubic yards of concrete

Edison’s concrete walls were so durable that they were left untouched when Yankee Stadium was renovated in 1973. The stadium remained in use until 2008, when the Yankees moved one block north to a new, more spacious stadium. The new Yankee Stadium features many of the same design elements as Edison’s original.
concrete history

Despite the success of Yankee Stadium, the Edison Portland Cement Company folded a few years after its completion, during the Great Depression. But between 1900 and 1919, Edison’s 49 cement patents contributed greatly to the future of concrete.

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Seal the Deal with CS309-25 Concrete Sealer

It’s time to seal the deal and get started on that concrete project you’ve been putting off—and Intermountain Concrete Specialties has a great incentive for you to put your concrete plan in action! For a limited time, we’re offering a free pail of CS309-25 Non-Yellowing Acrylic Curing and Sealing Compound with the purchase of any 10 bags of FLOOR-TOP STG and/or SPECTRUM RE-KOTE TF from concrete manufacturer W.R. Meadows.

Why is CS309-25 one of our all-time favorite exterior concrete sealers? This industrial-quality sealer is a true workhorse, designed to improve resistance to chemicals, oil, grease, deicing salts and more. It applies easily and dries quickly with a clear, non-yellowing, acrylic finish. CS309-25 concrete sealer is specially formulated with acrylic polymers that effectively cure and seal freshly placed concrete, to provide a durable, long-lasting finish.

As more states implement stricter air quality regulations, VOC laws are changing. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound—which basically translates to how solvents react with the atmosphere. The goal of improved VOC laws is less harm to the ozone layers, which ultimately affects air quality.

Fortunately, CS-309-25 Non-Yellowing Acrylic Curing and Sealing Compound is VOC-compliant to date, and Intermountain Concrete Specialties locations have it readily available in large quantities. It’s the perfect opportunity to seal the deal on your next concrete project.

Concrete Sealer

CS309-25 concrete sealer is the ideal concrete sealer when paired with W.R. Meadows FLOOR-TOP STG Concrete Floor Topping or SPECTRUM RE-KOTE TF Concrete Repair Mortar and Resurfacer.

FLOOR-TOP STG is a single-component, self-leveling floor topping and underlayment. Ideal for smoothing out rough, uneven, or slightly deteriorated interior concrete floors, FLOOR-TOP STG cures to a hard surface suitable for standard foot traffic and light rubber-wheeled traffic, and can be enhanced with integral colors, dyes, stains, and sealers.

SPECTRUM RE-KOTE TF is an ideal choice for smoothing rough surfaces and repairing or resurfacing deteriorated concrete surfaces. This easy-to-use, versatile concrete repair mortar produces a concrete surface suitable for rubber-wheeled traffic. Because of its excellent bond strength, breathable properties, and freeze-thaw resistance, SPECTRUM RE-KOTE TF may be used for interior and/or exterior surfaces

For a limited time, purchase 10 bags of FLOOR-TOP STG and/or SPECTRUM RE-KOTE TF and we’ll give you a free 5-gallon pail of CS309-25 concrete sealer! For every 10 bags you purchase, you’ll get one free 5-gallon pail — so purchase 20, get two! This is the perfect opportunity to
 stock up on CS-309-25. Intermountain Concrete Specialties and W. R. MEADOWS have you covered for all your flooring needs.

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Build a Concrete Fire Pit

Roasted marshmallows, S’mores, spending quality time with friends and family. We can think of many reasons to build a DIY concrete fire pit this summer. Fire pits are an affordable way to add cozy ambiance to any outdoor setting, and extend the use of your outdoor space well into colder months.

Things to consider when building a concrete fire pit are: permanent vs. portable, budget, location, safety* and style. Design can be as simple as a concrete fire pit bowl filled with lava rocks or gel candles, to more elaborate set ups with decorative concrete finishes and built-in seating. Design possibilities are endless. Consider the design of your home and landscaping when deciding on the style and size of the concrete fire pit.

Tools, materials and concrete accessories will vary depending on the type of fire pit you’re building. Intermountain Concrete Specialties can help you decide the best products and tools for your concrete project. Typically, a DIY concrete fire pit project will require marking paint or chalk, tape measure, shovel, level, pointing sand, general purpose sand, a bowl for the form or lumber for the framework, nails, L-brackets, fire bricks or a fire box, sealer, and of course, concrete. Additional products may be needed for your particular project.

One of our sales reps recently built this backyard fire pit using stone, Quikcrete Polymeric Pointing Sand, Quikcrete General Purpose Sand, and Creto Masterseal Stone Sealer. This permanent structure has plenty of area for seating, and a flat stone finish. A similar look can be achieved using decorative concrete for the surrounding platform.

DIY concrete fire pit

The basic steps for any DIY concrete fire pit project include:

  • Determining location
  • Marking out the fire pit dimensions
  • Leveling the ground to create a solid foundation
  • Building concrete form boxes (or shaping a concrete bowl)
  • Reinforcing the form with rebar
  • Pouring, curing and finishing concrete
  • Adding lava rock to get the fire pit ready for use

Stop by any Intermountain Concrete Specialties location with your design idea, and we’ll help you choose the right products and equipment to build a concrete fire pit that will have friends and family gathering, and building memories, for years to come.

*Check with your city or county for ordinances prior to building a fire pit, and practice proper fire safety when using a fire pit.

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Concrete Resurfacing

Concrete resurfacing brings new life to old concrete. Are you tired of looking at a drab concrete patio, cracked driveway, or discolored garage floor? You may be able to restore and resurface existing concrete, without having to replace it with the best concrete supplies.

Is my concrete suitable for resurfacing?

The answer is usually yes if your concrete is in fairly good condition but needs minor repairs and an updated finish. Concrete can usually be resurfaced with some of our concrete supplies if it has minor cracks or discoloration, but not any major damage such as sinking, missing pieces or major cracks.

Concrete Resurfacing Preparation is key

properly prepared surface makes all the difference in the final result when it comes to concrete resurfacing. Start out by completely cleaning the concrete surface using an appropriate solution (Intermountain Concrete Specialties can guide you on choosing the best product). Next, repair any cracks. Priming isn’t typically necessary if you’re staining concrete, but other finishes may require profiling. The best advice is to follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Concrete resurfacing

Photo by NewLook International

What are the options for concrete resurfacing?

Just about any concrete surface can be given a makeover, including concrete driveways, patios, walkways, and pool decks. Concrete resurfacing options include:

  • Concrete overlays / microtoppings is the application of a thin cement or polymer-modified layer over existing concrete to upgrade the appearance of a concrete surface. After the overlay has been applied, it can be stamped, stained or stenciled to mimic the look of brick, slate or stone.
  • Stamped/textured concrete is a creative and affordable option for beautifying outdoor areas such as patios and walkways. Stamped concrete is usually more affordable than tearing out existing concrete and replacing it with new materials. Modern concrete resurfacing methods can easily replicate the look of stone, slate, tile, wood, brick and more.
  • Staining adds color and brings new life to old concrete. Stain can be used on existing concrete or on concrete overlays. Concrete staining also works well in conjunction with stamped concrete.
  • Other decorative finishes such as stencils and borders are a great way to stylize existing concrete while adding color and personality. 

What else do I need to consider?

Proper curing and sealing of any concrete surface is critical to the long-term success. Most concrete surfaces are resistant to stains when properly coated with a protective sealer. The type of concrete sealer you choose is largely dependent on your project. Learn about different concrete sealers here, or visit an Intermountain Concrete Specialties location near you for tips and advice.

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Concrete Surface Sealers vs. Penetrating Sealers

One question we get asked often at Intermountain Concrete Specialties is which concrete sealer is best. Choosing the correct sealer depends on the type of concrete project, which usually dictates whether a surface sealer or a penetrating sealer is the best option. Surface sealers work in one of two ways: by forming a protective, impermeable layer on the concrete surface, or by blocking the pores in concrete to prevent water absorption. Penetrating sealers absorb into the concrete, and are ideal for protecting exterior concrete surfaces from damage due to exposure such as rain and ice.

SURFACE SEALERS

For decorative concrete, ICS High Gloss Non-Yellowing Sealer enhances the surface with a high-shine, glossy finish. Formulated to seal and protect concrete surfaces by producing a hard yet breathable, high-sheen finish, this non-yellowing, acrylic-based, sealing compound is transparent, durable, and easy to apply. Use ICS High Gloss Sealer on decorative concrete for a quick-drying, high-gloss finish, and improved resistance to UV light, water, alkalis and more.

When it comes to curing and sealing exterior concrete surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, driveways and patios, CS309-25 Non-Yellowing, Acrylic Curing and Sealing Compound provides a durable, long-lasting finish. This industrial-quality sealer by W. R. Meadows is a true workhorse, formulated to improve resistance to chemicals, oil, grease, deicing salts, and abrasion. CS309-25 applies easily and dries quickly with a clear, non-yellowing, acrylic finish.

Also from W.R. Meadows, VOCOMP-25 is a water-based, acrylic concrete curing and sealing compound ideal for sidewalks, patios, pool areas, and commercial/industrial flooring. Available in a quick-drying, ready-to-use formula, it enhances surface appearance and improves resistance to rain, sun, freezing temperatures, many chemicals and acids, deicing salts, and abrasives. VOCOMP-25 applies with a blue cast for easy-to-see coverage and then dries clear with a medium sheen. The more coats applied, the higher the sheen. What makes VOCOMP-25 a standout is that it can be used on new, old, interior, exterior, horizontal, and vertical concrete surfaces.

penetrating concrete sealer

PENETRATING SEALERS 

Masterprotect H400 40% silane penetrating sealer provides long-lasting protection against moisture, freezing and thawing, and chloride intrusion. For interior or exterior use, Masterprotect H 400 is an ideal penetrating sealer for concrete highways, parking garages, stadiums and other high-traffic concrete surfaces.

When you need to protect concrete surfaces against damage from severe elements, such as heavy wind-driven rain, freeze/thaw cycles, and intense moisture, turn to Pentra Sil 244+. This premium hardener, densifier, and concrete sealer reduces permeability and protects concrete surfaces with a single application. It works by reacting with free calcium to form insoluble calcium silica hydrate, making concrete more water-, stain-, and abrasion-resistant for easier maintenance and durability. Pentra Sil 244+ can be sprayed on new or existing concrete.

concrete pool sealer

If you’re looking to protect concrete pool decks, around waterfalls, and other concrete surfaces prone to water exposure, choose DECK-O-SHIELD by W. R. Meadows, Inc. This ready-to-use, water-based sealer acts as a water-repellant. DECK-O-SHIELD works by penetrating the concrete surface to form a barrier against moisture, and helps protect against salt staining, rust, and spills. Best of all, it won’t alter the color of your concrete, so the appearance of decorative concrete surfaces stays true.

Creto Deep Penetrating Sealer is another option for waterproofing new or existing concrete. Creto DPS goes deep to form a gel under the surface of the concrete to block moisture from migrating to the surface, while still allowing concrete to breathe. Creto DPS is ideal for home and commercial use on concrete sidewalks, basements, retaining walls, highway bridges, garages and more.

Decraseal WB is a non-yellowing, acrylic-based, curing and sealing compound for decorative concrete. Clear, transparent and easy to apply, Decra-Seal offers improved resistance to water, alkalis and mild acids with a hard yet flexible, clear film. Decra-Seal is specifically formulated for decorative concrete.

See our guide to Choosing the Right Concrete Sealer, or visit any Intermountain Concrete Specialties location in Utah and Idaho to speak with one of our concrete experts.

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Transform Dull Concrete Into A Gorgeous Patio DIY

Spring is the perfect time of year to transform a dull concrete patio or walkway into a real showstopper. Learn how to give your boring gray concrete slab a facelift with a decorative concrete finish that can change the look of your yard.

Prep is the key to success for any concrete project. First things first, completely clear the space, then sweep the concrete surface clean, and power wash if necessary. Next, scrub away removable stains with a heavy-duty concrete cleaner like W.R. Meadows Ultrite Degreaser & Stripper. This biodegradable concrete degreaser penetrates concrete to soften, lift and remove oils, grease and dirt, plus existing curing compounds and seals. We typically don’t recommend priming concrete for staining; just make sure the surface is thoroughly clean before application.

Now it’s time to apply your decorative finish. One thing to keep in mind is that here in the dry Utah climate, paints don’t adhere very well to concrete surfaces. Instead of painting, we recommend a quality concrete stain that infuses color deep into the concrete, instead of covering the concrete on the surface.

Different stains are appropriate for different projects and yield different looks. NewLook Original Solid Color Stain, Smart Color, and Faux Fusion, and Innotech Concrete Acid Stain and Color Easy each create different types of finishes that works well in our climate. Since each stain varies in result and application, ask an Intermountain Concrete Specialties expert to help you find the best option for your project and desired look.

concrete stain

Tracy in our Ogden Intermountain Concrete Specialties showroom recently completed this backyard patio DIY at his home. There are a few ways to create this look. into newly placed concrete using Innotech Integral Dye to color the concrete, and then use Innotech Powder Release to highlight the grain of the wood texture stamp. If your concrete is already poured you can use Innotech Stampable Overlay over the existing concrete to give you texture and color. You can also refresh your concrete with a new color by using the NewLook concrete stains mentioned above.

Most importantly, make sure to protect your investment by applying a high-quality sealer once staining is complete. ICS High Gloss is a great outdoor sealer for decorative concrete. Formulated to seal, protect, and enhance colored and stamped outdoor concrete surfaces, ICS High Gloss Sealer creates a durable, breathable, non-yellowing, high-sheen finish. Best of all, this acrylic-based liquid sealing compound is easy to apply and dries quickly—so you can get outside and enjoy your newly transformed concrete patio!

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7 Outdoor Concrete Projects for Spring
March 24, 2016 | Spring concrete projects

It’s officially spring, and we’re ready to get outside and tackle those outdoor concrete projects we’ve been dreaming about all winter. True, you can never say never when it comes to spring snow in Utah, but it’s a great time to start planning for outdoor concrete projects big and small. From sprucing up a drab concrete slab to DIYing a fire pit, here are seven great ideas for outdoor concrete specialties projects for spring.

1. Give your boring patio a facelift.
You don’t have to be stuck with that drab gray concrete slab in your backyard. Transform your dull, stained, or just plain boring patio with a decorative concrete finish—and change the look of your yard in the process. Stained, stamped or polished, decorative concrete finishes can transform a concrete slab with sophisticated looks that mimic natural stone, slate, wood, and tile—without the steep price tag and upkeep.

concrete specialties

NewLook decorative concrete refinishing

2. Don’t have a patio? Make one!
Concrete is a cost-effective and versatile way to add value and appeal to your home. Your patio can be the focal point of your backyard, so it’s important to do it right. And you can, when you have the right products, tools and prep. Just ask any of the experts at Intermountain Concrete Specialties what you need to get your project off (or on) the ground.

3. Concrete stepping stones
Now that you’ve built your patio, you need a pathway to get there. There are so many options for concrete stepping stone molds, you can create any look you like, and place them anywhere you need them.

4. Concrete planters
Outdoor planters can be pricey, but with a little extra concrete, some creativity, and inspiration, you can DIY them. Concrete planters can vary in style and size, so decide whether you want to create small accents or larger statement pieces.

5. Outdoor concrete furniture
Forget overpriced patio sets from the big box stores. Create your own custom outdoor concrete furniture instead. Durable and weather-resistant, concrete is a great choice for outdoor furniture, plus you can customize it to fit any space you need. Benches, tables, seating, there are so many possibilities.

6. Fire pit
DIY a concrete fire pit to add instant ambiance to any outdoor space. Adding a fire pit is both functional and attractive—plus, it can extend the use of your outdoor space into cooler weather.

concrete specialties

7. Outdoor kitchen
The patio’s in place, now let’s get cooking. While a patio gives you the space, an outdoor kitchen can be the thing that really brings people together. Bring the heart of your home outdoors, and create great food and unforgettable memories with the people who mean the most to you.

Remember, concrete is affordable, durable, and versatile. When done right, it can have lasting impact on your home’s value. Need some inspiration? Check us out on Pinterest, then visit Intermountain Concrete Specialties to get the products, equipment and know-how to get your spring outdoor concrete projects off (or on) the ground.

 

 

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Intermountain Concrete Specialties Product Roundup

Concrete can be backbreaking work. It’s heavy, messy and requires a lot of stamina. But we love it (and we know you do, too) so we’ve rounded up some of our favorite solutions to everyday concrete issues with our concrete products roundup—and to help you lighten your load.

Speaking of heavy loads…

First in our concrete product roundup, capable of hauling up to 750 pounds per load, Overland Electric Wheelbarrows are powerful yet simple to use. Simply load up an Overland Electric Wheelbarrow, push the throttle, and go! Multiple wheels keep larger loads steady, and power assist helps you get up inclines and rough terrain without a problem. Features include a heavy-duty steel frame and an enclosed gearbox to resist water and mud. Capable of traveling up to 2.4 mph, Overland’s Electric Wheelbarrows emit no fumes and virtually no noise. All electric power means zero emissions, zero fumes—and full power all the time.

Having water issues due to porous concrete? Go below the surface and block water from the inside with Creto Deep Penetrating Sealer. Creto DPS offers crystalline waterproofing for new or existing concrete slabs, going deep to form a gel under the surface of the concrete creating a barrier to stop water. How does it work? Creto DPS reacts with the free line and alkali-forming insoluble calcium silicate crystals to block moisture from migrating to the surface—while still allowing concrete to breathe. Creto DPS is ideal for concrete sidewalks, basements, retaining walls, highway bridges, garages and more.

Another in our concrete product roundup, made from high-quality materials for the everyday contractor, the No. 29 Line Concrete Finishing Brush by Magnolia is designed especially for putting the final touches on concrete work. The lightweight, soft horsehair concrete finishing brush can also be used to sweep fine particles on smooth floors. Magnolia brush brooms are finishing brooms at their best.

concrete product roundup

Cracked concrete? No problem! Ultrabond 365CC  to the rescue. This code-compliant, hybrid-anchoring adhesive offers the highest elevated temperature creep performance on the market today. Nobody wants to come back to a job two or three days later when you can finish in the same day. Ultrabond 365CC delivers a full cure in 45 minutes!

Do you have old, dried concrete lingering on your tools, equipment, or even your work truck? Skip the harsh chemicals and reach for the RoMix. RoMix Back-Set Molecular Cement Dissolver turns hard-set cement back to rinsable mud by breaking down the ionic bond in Portland cement to completely dissolve and release the hardened cement from any surface to which it is adhered. Best of all, Back-Set is biodegradable and environmentally safe, free from muriatic, hydrochloric, hydroflouric, sulfuric or phosphoric acids. Learn more about this green concrete remover:

Questions? Intermountain Concrete Specialties showrooms are a great place to find out about the latest and most reliable concrete products. Stop by any one of our six locations to speak with a product expert!

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Effects of Deicers on Concrete

Deicers, such as the salts used in snow melt products, can have an adverse effect on concrete surfaces, showing up as cracks or scaling. Scaling is the flaking or peeling of a finished concrete surface, and is typically a result of the presence of moisture and deicing salt on concrete during freezing and thawing.

According to the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, most scaling is caused by:

  • Excessive application of calcium or sodium chloride deicing salts, especially if concrete does not have adequate air entrainment or hasn’t been properly cured.
  • Insufficient curing, which leads to a weak surface skin.
  • The use of non-air-entrained concrete.
  • Bleed water that’s been worked back into the surface, causing a high water-to-cement ratio.

So how can you prevent concrete scaling?

  • DO practice proper curing practices; this ensures the proper reaction of cement with water, thereby creating a stronger surface.
  • DO allow adequate air entrainment
  • DO protect newly placed concrete from harsh winter weather and freezing temperatures with concrete sealers or concrete blankets.
  • DON’T overwork the concrete surface during finishing. Overworking can reduce air content, leaving the concrete slab susceptible to scaling when temperatures drop below freezing.
  • DON’T use deicing salts, such as calcium or sodium chloride, within the first year of freshly placed concrete. Instead, use sand to increase traction, and hose off surfaces to remove salt deposits left behind by cars.
  • DON’T use ammonium sulfate or ammonium nitrate as deicers; these aggressive chemicals will destroy concrete surfaces.

Concrete placed during spring and summer will usually have enough drying time to survive freezing and thawing, whereas concrete placed during fall won’t have the same advantage. These tips go a long way toward protecting concrete surfaces against scaling from freezing and thawing. Questions? Stop into any of Intermountain Concrete Specialties’ six locations for expert advice on the best way to protect your concrete slabs from the potentially harsh effects of winter weather and deicers and prevent concrete cracks and scaling.

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These Are A Few of Our Favorite (Concrete) Things

Make your next concrete project easier with some of our favorite construction tools and concrete products, available at Intermountain Concrete Specialties, your concrete supplier.

Use the GC55 Concrete Saw from Norton Construction Products on green, cured, and decorative concrete, and for cutting expansion joints. The GC55 Concrete Saw features a compact, lightweight design, backed by a reliable Honda 5HP gasoline engine for superior performance. This small push saw has a low, wide profile; improved wheel design for stable cutting even over debris; and folds down for easy storage and transport.

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The last thing you want to worry about is a complicated system for containing and removing hazardous waste from home concrete projects and job sites. Outpak Corrugated Concrete Washouts are designed to provide portable, cost-effective, EPA-friendly solutions for safely removing washout materials such as concrete sediment, stains and paints. The washouts are made with heavy-duty, water-treated fiberboard, yet are light, durable, and fold flat for storage. Setup is quick and easy. After the washout has been filled with runoff material, allow the high-pH wastewater to evaporate, leaving only solid concrete waste, then load it up in a flatbed for easy transportation. Outpak Concrete Washouts are available in 30”x30”, 4’x4’, and 6’x6’.

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Perfect for mapping out project sites and underground utilities, Arvoe Construction Marking Paint is the manufacturer’s flagship marking paint—and for good reason. This high-quality construction marking paint is designed to meet upside-down marking applications while providing excellent color visibility lasting up to three months. Arvoe Construction Marking Paint is available in a variety of colors.

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Nothing is worse than doing all that hard work only to notice your project isn’t level! With digital accuracy of 0.1º at level and plumb, the Kapro 985D Digiman Professional Magnetic Digital Level is one of our favorite simple, yet necessary, tools when it comes to highest accuracy and angle measuring. This Kapro level features Plumb Site® Dual-View™ vial, solid acrylic vials, Ergo Grip™ handles, shockproof end caps, tilted LCD display with backlight, recalibration function, and a 180º readout display that remains straight when the level is upside-down. Large silicone buttons make this level easy to use while wearing gloves.

concrete supplier

What do you do when the grips wear out on your valuable tools? Don’t replace: Re-Grip! This revolutionary product allows you to replace and/or improve the grip on any cylindrical and semi-cylindrical tools, handles and levers while enhancing safety and comfort. Re-Grip can be used on axes, crowbars, hammers, rakes, ratchets, shovels, trowels, jackhammers, levers, drills, wheelbarrows and more. Simply pull a tab to unwind the coil, allowing the grip to shrink and compress securely to size. Learn more:

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Pros of Concrete Countertops

When it comes to countertops, there are a lot of options on the market these days: granite, quartz, laminates, wood and concrete are just some of the possibilities. So why are so many homeowners choosing concrete countertops? Decorative concrete offers a creative and affordable way to change up the look in your kitchen and bathroom while delivering advantages that other materials can’t, especially when it comes to versatility and practicality. Concrete countertops can be designed to order, including color, shape, size, finish and edge, bringing a completely customizable look that can be tailored to your home’s design style.

VERSATILITY

Color options. Decorative concrete countertops offer endless color options, including integral color chemical stains and water-based stains. Prepare samples ahead of time so you know exactly what the final color will be. Color can enhance the pattern and texture of decorative concrete, bringing a huge impact to the overall design effect.

Texture / Pattern.  Texture and pattern set the tone for the overall look of any decorative concrete project. Herein lies the beauty of concrete countertops, which can be created to mimic slate, granite, natural stone, brick, antiqued finishes, and more. Concrete countertops can be further customized with inserts and inlays, such as pebbles, sea glass, mini tiles and more.

Shape. Concrete countertops can be cast in any shape and size. This goes a long way in allowing homeowners to customize kitchen and bathroom countertops to their space and personal needs. Concrete countertops can also be created with custom edges. The design possibilities are truly endless when it comes to decorative concrete countertops.

PRACTICALITY

Heat and stain resistance. Concrete is naturally heat resistant, but it’s also porous. Applying a surface sealant will increase stain resistance. Once a sealant or wax treatment is applied, avoid placing hot pans on the sealed concrete surface.

Minimal seams. Depending on the size of the concrete countertop, they may have to be cast in smaller sections. However, visible seams can be minimized with the use of a concrete filler that matches the color and texture of the rest of the countertop. And unlike tile countertops, there won’t be any crumb-catching grout lines.

Cost effective. The average cost of a standard thickness concrete countertop is cheaper than granite, engineered quartz, and other high-end materials. Best of all, you can achieve the same finished look with concrete as you can with more expensive materials. While laminates and other synthetic surfaces may be cheaper, they generically don’t have the same overall versatility as concrete.

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Design Trend: Concrete Furniture

Decorative concrete has gained popularity over the past several years, and now another design trend is on the rise: concrete furniture. Once a staple material for sidewalks and driveways, concrete’s versatility has found it’s way indoors.

Concrete is an easy, affordable and creative way to design and build custom furniture that brings a modern look to home décor. With its ability to be formed into just about any shape, concrete is an ideal material for crafting coffee tables, dining tables, seating, bookshelves, office furniture, even bed frames. And we’re not talking boring, gray, utilitarian furniture. Today’s advanced decorative concrete finishes such as concrete paint, stains, and stamping tools can create a high-end look that mimics slate, tile, stone and other sophisticated finishes—without the high price tag.

The versatility of concrete lends itself to furniture that can be created to beautify any type of décor. Whether your style is modern or contemporary, industrial chic or rustic, concrete furniture can be custom created for any room in the home, with a custom decorative concrete finish that complements your home décor style. Polished concrete, for example, adds a high-end designer look. A decorative slate or tile adds sleek, contemporary style. A decorative wood-finished concrete piece can look like the real thing, and be created to match rustic or modern styles. Minimally finished concrete furniture complements loft-style spaces. Painted concrete furniture is pure personality.

A variety of concrete furniture shared from ConcreteNetwork.com

A variety of concrete furniture shared from ConcreteNetwork.com

Where to start? As with any furniture, first define your style, then design your room piece by piece. One thing to consider with concrete furniture is placement. This will not be a piece you’ll be rearranging often! Then accessorize just like you would any other piece, with blankets and pillows to soften the look of seating, or with knickknacks to add your personal touches of style.

Intermountain Concrete Specialties carries the latest in decorative concrete finishes, as well as tools, stamps, and molds to create any project you can dream up. Visit your local Intermountain Concrete Specialties showroom for advice on integral colors, paints, stains, dyes, sealers, forming equipment and more.

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Concrete Curing Blankets — Concrete Cold Weather Protection
October 13, 2015 | Concrete project tips

Cold weather is just around the corner but that doesn’t mean you have to take a break from concrete projects. While cold weather does have an effect on newly placed concrete, concrete work can continue late into the season with proper planning, supplies, and curing.

After concrete has been poured and set, curing begins. Proper curing ensures maximum concrete strength, durability, and crack resistance. The longer concrete cures, the stronger it becomes.

Even mildly cold temperatures can affect concrete curing time. At 50 degrees, for example, it takes nearly twice as long to cure the same concrete project that would take three days to cure at 70 degrees. Once temperatures reach freezing or below, concrete curing time is significantly longer and concrete may even freeze due to water expanding and contracting. This can cause fracturing down the road.

Cold weather protection of your concrete project is critical — and concrete curing blankets provide warmth when Mother Nature can’t. They work by holding in heat and keeping cold out. This method if insulating concrete is a viable alternative to changing up the cement/water ratio or using a heating source in an enclosed work area.

Concrete blankets offer the R-factor, a.k.a. thermal resistance, needed to keep concrete projects from freezing. Midwest Canvas 6-layer foam concrete curing blankets help prevent freezing and cracking, and maintain optimal curing temperatures, with multi-layer foam materials that provide insulating value. Tough and flexible, Midwest Canvas 6-layer foam concrete curing blankets conform to poured concrete surfaces to provide even better insulation for your cold-weather concrete projects.

Don’t get left out in the cold! Intermountain Concrete Specialties carries the best concrete curing blankets from Midwest Canvas, Power Blanket, and Concrete Curing Technology. Visit the ICS showroom location nearest you to get the concrete curing blanket just right for your job.

 

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Choosing the Right Concrete Sealer For Your Concrete Project

Choosing the right sealer for your concrete project is an integral part of finishing the job right. This final layer of protection can:

  • Enhance the appearance of decorative concrete work
  • Block moisture, dirt, oil, and stains
  • Protect against excess wear

The type of concrete sealer you choose will depend on the type of project. Two of our most commonly requested sealers are W.R. Meadows CS309-25 for commercial and industrial application, and ICS High Gloss Sealer for decorative concrete applications.

DECORATIVE CONCRETE SEALER

ICS High Gloss Non-Yellowing Sealer enhances the architectural and aesthetic qualities of decorative concrete surfaces with a lustrous, glossy finish. ICS High Gloss Sealer has been formulated to seal, protect, and enhance concrete by producing a hard, breathable, long-lasting, attractive, high-sheen finish. This non-yellowing, acrylic-based, liquid sealing compound is clear, transparent, durable, and easy to apply. The quick-drying, high gloss concrete sealer can be used on colored and stamped concrete surfaces and may brighten the natural coloration.

ICS High Gloss features superior moisture retention, but should not be applied to concrete that will be exposed to excessive moisture. It offers improved resistance against UV light, water, salt, oil, alkalis, mild acids and petroleum spirits. ICS High Gloss Non-Yellowing Sealer can be applied to horizontal or vertical surfaces.

INDUSTRIAL SEALER

In contrast to ICS High Gloss Sealer for decorative concrete surfaces, CS309-25 Non-Yellowing, Acrylic Curing and Sealing Compound is a “workhorse” sealer used to simultaneously cure and seal exterior concrete surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, patios, parking areas, and other typically gray concrete surfaces. The use of CS-309-25 on any exterior concrete surface provides a durable, long-lasting finish that offers improved resistance to chemicals, oil, grease, deicing salts, and abrasion. This W.R. Meadows sealer applies easily and dries quickly for less down time.

CS309-25’s clear, transparent, ready-to-apply, non-yellowing liquid compound is formulated from special acrylic polymers and quick-evaporating solvents that effectively cures and seals freshly placed concrete. When properly applied, CS-309-25 produces a hard, dense, high compressive strength concrete that offers improved resistance to chemicals, oil, grease, deicing salts, and abrasion. CS309-25 Non-Yellowing, Acrylic Curing and Sealing Compound will minimize hair-checking as well as premature cracking, dusting, spalling, and other common defects that result when concrete is not properly cured.

Both CS-309-25 and ICS High Gloss sealers are VOC-compliant.

Remember, no one sealer is right for every job. Not sure which to choose? Visit the Intermountain Concrete Specialties location nearest you to speak with one of our experts to find the right sealer for your concrete project.

 

 

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Utah’s Unique Concrete Structures
September 10, 2015 | Concrete structures

Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world, and has been for thousands of years (in one form or another). Innumerable famous structures around the world have been built using concrete—and there are some pretty impressive concrete structures right here in Utah!

Sun Tunnels
Sun Tunnels is a large-scale earthwork created in 1976 by artist Nancy Holt. Located in remote Lucin, Utah, four massive concrete tubes are laid out in an X configuration that lines up perfectly with the rising and setting sun during the summer and winter solstices. Holes are drilled in each nine-foot diameter by 18-foot long concrete tunnel, to correspond with the constellation patterns of Draco, Perseus, Columba, and Capricorn. The holes and the Sun Tunnels themselves act as frames through which visitors can view the dramatic sky and landscape of the Great Basin Desert.

Utah concrete structures

Ratio
Some people call Ratio a “big pile of blocks.” Others see it as high-concept land art, and still others see a resemblance to a Mormon temple. As for Ratio patron Herbert Steiner? He simply wanted to leave a legacy. Herbert Steiner was 88 years old and blind when he commissioned artist Andrew Rogers to create Ratio in Green River, Utah. One of the most impressive Utah concrete structures is based on the Fibonacci sequence, or the Golden Ratio. Constructed of 53 massive concrete blocks made from white cement powder, each weighing 4.5 tons, Ratio stands 44 feet high and 42 feet wide and can be seen from the highway and the Green River train station. Capped with a 23-carat gold-leaf covered concrete block, Ratio is one of 48 large-scale structures Rogers has created around the world as part of his Rhythms of Life project.

Utah concrete structures
Tree of Utah
Metaphor: Tree of Utah is an 87-foot sculpture made mostly of concrete created by artist Karl Momen to bring “bold color and beauty to the stark, flat, salty landscape.” Situated in the Salt Lake Desert about 25 miles west of Wendover, the artist was motivated to create this concrete sculpture after driving through the barren Bonneville Salt Flats in the 1980s.

Utah concrete structures
Comet Bobsled | Utah Olympic Park
Without a doubt, the Comet Bobsled is Olympic Park’s most visited activity. Designed for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, the Comet Bobsled races down the track with notable G-forces. During the summer, the bobsleds are modified with wheels to roll down the track’s 0.8-mile concrete surface at 60 mph in less than a minute!

Utah concrete structures

Price Municipal Domes and Genola Domes
The Public Works Department in Price, Utah operates in a municipal complex consisting of four interconnected, monolithic concrete domes. A similar setup exists at the Centro de la Familia in Genola, Utah, designed as a facility for Utah’s migrant workers.

Utah concrete structures

And speaking of concrete domes…
Utah architect Leland Gray is designing thin-shell concrete domes for use in schools all around the U.S. The monolithic form makes the school practically indestructible and the concrete naturally keeps the building at a comfortable temperature.

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Things We Learned From Our First Concrete Projects

Whether you’ve just moved into your first home, or you’ve been settled in your forever home for years, you probably have a list of home improvement projects you’d like to tackle. Chances are there’s at least one concrete project on your to do list, whether it’s an aesthetic home improvement such as decorative concrete countertops in the kitchen, building an outdoor kitchen, or applying a decorative concrete finish to your floor, or a more utilitarian application such as pouring a new concrete RV pad or repairing a cracked backyard patio slab.

Even the most experienced DIYer can be overwhelmed at tackling their first concrete project, so we asked some of Intermountain Concrete’s most experienced employees what they learned from their first concrete project. From doing your research to making sure you have enough materials, time and help to complete the job, here’s what our experts had to say:

Preparation is Key
With more than 40 years experience in the concrete industry, Intermountain Concrete Specialties President Tony Frazier says that the first key to a successful concrete job is doing your homework. “More preparation is always better than hurrying to finish,” he says. “Make sure you have enough materials to complete the project, and allow enough time to complete your project before dark.” It’s also important to make sure the temperature is right for your concrete job application. Testing a sample area first can help you determine whether conditions and materials are right for the job.

Tony notes that his best tips are usually the results of his own trial and error! “For everything I have learned, I probably had several failures because I didn’t follow my own learned lesson,” he says. “My latest was staining a new addition to my patio. Instead of testing a sample area to see if the color matched the stain I had applied three years earlier, I pushed through and the color doesn’t match at all!” Tony says. “I’ve also run short on one of my concrete pours.” He’s learned over the years that planning helps, and so does sharing your failures and successes with others. It never hurts to ask for advice!

concrete project tips

Do It Right From the Start
Idaho Falls Store Manager Gary Dumont says one of the first things he learned about working with concrete is that you’ll need more help than you think. “Try to get one or two people on your crew that have experience doing the work you are doing,” he says, “such as flatwork, walls, footing, etc.” He also offers these tips for a variety of concrete projects: 

  • Brace your forms well. It is much better to be over-braced than under-braced.
  • Double-check your formwork for bracing, level, plumb. size, reinforcing, etc. the day before you order concrete.
  • Use compacted gravel under any concrete work and provide for water drainage where necessary.
  • Tell your concrete dispatcher what type of concrete you are pouring so he can use the proper mix design for your application.
  • Don’t skimp on the PSI of the concrete you order.

Ask for Help
“The first thing I learned is to have enough help and equipment to do the job, “says Kelly J. Harman, Vice President of Sales at Intermountain Concrete Specialties’ Salt Lake City location. “Concrete can get away from you if you don’t have enough help on the job.” He notes that all the effort you put in to have a beautiful, durable job that you will want to enjoy for years and show your friends will be of little value if you don’t have the right tools to get the look you want. “Your local ICS store can help you with the right tools and equipment,” says Gary, “but you’re on your own to make friends!” he jests.

Come See Us
While we can’t supply you with the crew, Intermountain Concrete Specialties does have the tools, materials, equipment and know-how you need. Visit any of our six locations and we’ll get you started on the concrete road to success!

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Concrete Wall Forms

Understanding how to pour and handle concrete safely and efficiently goes a long way toward getting the job done right. Concrete wall forms are used to hold poured concrete in place as it hardens in order to create strong, stable, exact forms. One cubic foot of concrete weighs about 150 pounds — that means an average concrete project may have thousands of square feet of concrete walls that are going to need a lot of support as they’re being formed.

Concrete forms are typically made of strong wood or metal; which type of concrete form to use usually is determined by the amount of concrete it will need to support. A concrete form supporting factory walls, industrial buildings, bridges or large foundations, for example, will need much more support than the shallow, flat forms used to create a concrete driveway or patio. In the former case, steel-reinforced forms are often used to support the massive weight of the concrete. Plastic and fiberglass forms may also be used in some concrete wall forming applications.

concrete forms

ICS was able to help Jeff Call Construction from Preston Idaho with the forming supplies on this project.

Intermountain Concrete Specialties carries thousands of concrete forming products, ties and materials, including snap ties, wall ties, form cleats, brackets, lifting hardware, inserts, spreader cleats or flat ties. We also have a complete line of concrete wall forming rental equipment, including plywood concrete forms with Jahn bracket clamps and snap ties.

Our concrete wall forming and equipment lead the industry in quality, safety and ease of use. We represent the finest manufacturers, tools and equipment, so you can rest assured your concrete forming product will be exactly what you want it to be. We offer a wide variety of Gates Concrete Forming Systems concrete forms, from residential handset to heavy commercial gang form solutions. This Basics of Concrete guide by Gates helps contractors and DIYers understand the nature of concrete and how to best manage concrete pouring, pressure and support. Dayton Superior concrete wall forms deliver precision endurance, performance and strength. Their Symons brand of concrete forming systems has been a preferred solution for the past century.

concrete formsFrom the smallest do-it-yourself project to the largest project in your city, we have the wall forming supplies and equipment to get the job done right. Visit the Intermountain Concrete showroom nearest you for rental equipment, wall forms and more.

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W.R. Meadows Concrete Curing, Sealing and Masonry Coatings

As a leading supplier of concrete products to the Intermountain West since 1950, we appreciate working with companies that have been in business for a long time. Intermountain Concrete Specialties is a proud supplier of W.R. Meadows premium-grade construction products, as part of the many concrete product lines we carry.

W.R. Meadows has been family owned and operated since commencing business in the concrete industry in 1926. In line with our founding principles, W.R. Meadows is dedicated to being a valued supplier of specialty concrete construction materials while valuing quality, service and integrity.

Curing, Sealing and Protection
Keeping your concrete job protected during the curing stages is critical as curing is an essential step in producing strong, durable concrete. Once properly cured, protecting the concrete with a proper sealing compound is required to insure resistance to staining and premature degradation. We carry a variety of concrete curing, sealing and protection products, including the best-selling DecraSealTM by W.R. Meados. Decra-Seal is a non-yellowing, acrylic-based, high solids, liquid curing and sealing compound for decorative concrete. Clear, transparent and easy to apply, Decra-Seal offers improved resistance to water, alkalis and mild acids with a hard yet flexible, clear film. Decra-Seal is specifically formulated for the decorative concrete market.

 utah concrete staining

W.R. Meadows DecraSeal

Once you have that beautiful concrete floor protected by a W. R. Meadows curing and sealing compound, how do you maintain that look? Here’s some tips on proper floor maintenance after the application of our product. Watch this video to learn more:

Joints and Cracks
Keeping moisture out of cracks and joints in concrete can be challenging at best. W.R. Meadows joint sealants hold up to the most strenuous of environmental factors and situations. We carry a variety of self-leveling and non-sagging joint sealants in a variety of colors and finishes. Backer rods are also a critical component to proper joint sealing. W.R. Meadows’ closed-cell foam technology eliminates air and moisture entrapment, installs quickly, is easily compressible and stays in place. Finally, to help prevent your concrete from cracking, we carry a variety of expansion materials including foam, rubber, ceramar, metal and composite.

utah concrete staining

W.R. Meadows Concrete Backer Rod

Masonry Coatings
Looking to seal a basement? A high-rise parking terrace? Bridge or plaza decks? Take control with masonry coating and concrete damp-proofing products. For over 85 years, W. R. Meadows has been recognized as the leader in developing and producing quality concrete waterproofing products for the construction industry. We supply the W.R. Meadows complete moisture control package, backed by our know-how to help your job be successful. Watch this video to learn more about concrete waterproofing.

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Intermountain Concrete Specialties Open House Celebrations

Intermountain Concrete

Intermountain Concrete Specialties would like to extend a big “Thank You!” to all of our valued customers, especially those who attended our two Open House celebrations, commemorating Intermountain Concrete Specialties’ 65 years in business. Open House dates were May 19, 2015 at our Logan showroom, and May 21, 2015 at our Salt Lake City location.

A combined total of more than 500 customers attended our Logan and Salt Lake City Open House events for lunch, door prizes, and a chance to visit with top manufacturer representatives.

As a leading supplier of concrete products to the Intermountain West, our Open House celebration welcomed representatives from Innotech, Quikrete, WR Meadows, Hi Country Sales (representing Kraft Tools and Spectra Lasers), Aspentown (representing Marshalltown and Diamond Products), Mapei, Dayton Superior, Lyons Manufacturing, HH Sales (representing Brentwood and Swiss Sprayers), Crete/Commercial Building Solutions, Brad Steele/Chapin Manufacturing, Sika Corp/Greenstreak, US Spec, BASF, MBW/Clipper (represented by Lew Hudson) and more. Reps were on hand to share knowledge about the latest innovations in concrete products.

 Logan Open House — May 19, 2015

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Mapei rep Jeff Walker at ICS Logan Open House

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Visiting with reps at the Logan Open House — Intermountain Concrete Specialties 65th anniversary

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Kraft Tools representative Mike Harrison

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ICS General Manager Mark Brewer with representative from Dayton Superior

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SealTight representative at Intermountain Concrete Specialties Logan open house

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Megan Lord from US Spec — ICS Logan 65th anniversary open house

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Dayton Superior at ICS Logan Open House

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Contractors visiting with concrete product reps | Intermountain Concrete Specialties 65th anniversary, Logan, Utah

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Serving up lunch with a smile!

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Contractors and customers enjoying lunch | ICS 65th anniversary, Logan, Utah

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ICS Logan store manager Travis Johnson with Paul Jackson

 

Salt Lake City Open House — May 21, 2015

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Intermountain Concrete Specialties 65th Anniversary Open House, Salt Lake City, Utah

intermountain concrete

Checking out the latest and greatest in concrete products

intermountain concrete

Customers visiting with concrete product reps at the Salt Lake City ICS open house

intermountain concrete

Concrete manufacturer product display

intermountain concrete

Intermountain Concrete Specialties sales rep Tony Frazier with concrete manufacturer product representatives.

intermountain concrete

intermountain concrete

Serving up the World’s Best CornDogs

intermountain concrete

Enjoying lunch and catching up with buddies at the ICS Open House in Salt Lake City

Thank you to all of our customers and representatives for 65 great years in the concrete business!

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Founded in 1950, Intermountain Concrete Specialties continues to carry on its tradition of supplying the concrete industry  in the Intermountain West with state-of-the-art concrete products, tools and know-how, all backed by superior customer service. Stop by any of our six locations throughout Utah and Idaho to find out about the latest and most reliable concrete products on the market today.

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Concrete Hand Tools

Simple concrete hand tools are an important part of any concrete job, even with today’s high-tech tools. Whether you’re smoothing a slab, leveling a driveway, edging a sidewalk, patching a wall or performing delicate detail work, there’s simply no substitute for a skilled concrete craftsman with a high-quality hand tool.

It’s especially important to use high-quality hand tools when you’re putting the finishing touches on any concrete project. Concrete hand tools can vary in quality, and that’s why Intermountain Concrete Specialties has chosen to partner with top concrete hand tool manufacturers and suppliers like Kraft Tool, Marshalltown and C.H. Hanson. You name it, we carry it: trowels, fresnos, edgers, groovers, floats, brooms and many other types of concrete hand tools.

It’s essential to match the right tool to the right job. This is especially true in the case of finish work, as the work immediately following concrete placement is critical to a successful finished product. These concrete hand tools essential to any concrete project:

Floats
Hand floats and bull floats are used for leveling a concrete slab. Bull floats are wide-bladed concrete hand tools used on the first pass after screed work. Magnesium floats are smaller, hand held floats used for finishing exterior concrete. A laminated wood bull float works well for smoothing and leveling interior concrete surfaces. A variety of blade types allows for different concrete finishes.

concrete hand toolHand Trowels and Fresnos
As one of the final hand tools used in the concrete finishing process, trowels are used to achieve a smooth texture and level surface. Trowels bring water to the surface of concrete. Different types of trowels are used for specific concrete projects. A fresno looks similar to a bull float but is actually a large trowel with a long handle and a tempered steel blade. Fresnos are for use on concrete surfaces that have been floated with magnesium or wood bull floats.

concrete hand toolConcrete Edgers and Groovers
A concrete edger has an L-shaped edge on one side to separate the slab from the forms. The other side has a tapered edge for a rounded edge and professional finish. Concrete edgers are used when the concrete begins to dry.

concrete hand toolControl Jointers
Grooving a concrete surface can help prevent cracking as the concrete dries. A control jointer directs the concrete to crack in a joint, rather than in the center of a slab.

concrete hand tool

Brooms
A concrete finishing broom adds texture to concrete. This adds skid resistance to the concrete surface. A broom finish is a traditional finish look for concrete, but can also be adjusted for a smoother or more creative pattern.

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With six locations across Utah and Idaho, Intermountain Concrete Specialties has the concrete hand tools you need to finish any concrete project.

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Open House — Intermountain Concrete Specialties Celebrates 65 Years!

Intermountain Concrete Specialties

In 2015, Intermountain Concrete Specialties is celebrating 65 years in business! As a leading supplier of concrete products to the Intermountain West since 1950, we invite you to celebrate with us at our Logan and Salt Lake City stores:

Open House Dates
May 19: Logan
May 21: Salt Lake City

Please join us from 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. for lunch, door prizes, and a chance to visit with top manufacturer representatives. We value our customers and would love to celebrate our 65th anniversary with you!intermountain concrete specialties

Intermountain Concrete Specialties was created in June 1950 to fill a specialty need in the Salt Lake City construction market recognized by company founder Allen Terry. Beginning with one small office in downtown Salt Lake City, Intermountain Concrete Specialties quickly expanded. By 1959, ICS moved to its current Salt Lake City location at 425 West 1700 South, and we’ve stayed there ever since. Today, Intermountain Concrete Specialties has six convenient locations across Utah and Idaho.

Terry’s original vision to fill a niche in the market was driven to success by a strong commitment to superior customer service, and the desire to make a meaningful contribution to the concrete industry by supplying state-of-the-art concrete products, tools and know-how. We continue this tradition today by educating ICS employees in the latest concrete technologies, and training them to provide prompt, efficient service and expert information to our customers.

True to Terry’s vision for Intermountain Concrete Specialties, we buy in volume and passing the savings on to our customers. We represent many manufacturers and provide thousands of products and tools. In other words, if it’s a concrete specialty, we have it! Both professionals and do-it-yourselfers benefit from our large selection of concrete supplies, backed by exceptional customer service. We also maintain our own rental inventory and shoring products and operate our own rebar fabrication facility to provide customized rebar products.

Learn more about us by visiting any of our six showrooms, or during our open house celebration!

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Concrete Tools for Spring Projects

It’s spring — and that means its time to start planning your spring and summer concrete projects and getting the concrete supplies needed! Both residential DIYers and commercial contractors have been visiting Intermountain Concrete Specialties showrooms for concrete tools, supplies and project advice. We carry hundreds of concrete tools just for DIY Spring projects, including Marshalltown and Kraft Tool. Both of these high quality brands are proudly made in the U.S.A.

concrete tools

Marshalltown Concrete Tools
In business for 120 years, Marshalltown has set a high standard of quality for its tools since day one. Beginning with a line of plastering trowels for masonry in the late 1800s, Marshalltown’s tools now include high quality concrete tools used by professionals and homeowners. Intermountain Concrete Specialties carries over 100 Marshalltown tools, including screeds, hand groovers and edgers, pool trowels, bull floats, finishing trowels, concrete form stakes, contractor grade shovels, corner trowels, curb tools, stake tools and pullers, straight edges, placers, tampers and much more. As dependable as Marshalltown itself, these American-made tools are made to last!

Kraft Concrete Tools
Kraft Tool Co.® has been a leading manufacturer of concrete products for more than 30 years. We carry Kraft concrete tools to help you through every phase of your concrete projects — from spreaders and placers to lay your concrete, to Kraft’s signature flat trowel with a ProForm® handle. Here’s a sampling of just some of the Kraft concrete tools you’ll find at Intermountain Concrete Specialties showrooms:

  • Brooms, brushes, adapters and handles
  • Concrete chutes and accessories
  • Bull floats, brackets and adapters
  • Concrete stamps and texture mats
  • Curb tools, edgers and groovers
  • Decorative concrete supplies
  • Elite Series Five Star Concrete Trowels™
  • Rebar Benders
  • Screeds and straight edges

For the commercial contractors to the beginner home DIYer to and everyone in between, Intermountain Concrete Specialties can provide the concrete tools and know-how to complete any project. Visit a showroom near you and talk to our expert staff!

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Innotech Concrete Chemical Stains
March 27, 2015 | Decorative concrete

Stained concrete is an exciting way to create an infinite array of decorative effects on both interior and exterior concrete at minimal cost. Chemical concrete stains do more than just add color – they infuse color into the concrete to create a rich, variegated finish. Instead of covering the concrete on the surface, like paint or other coatings, chemical stains penetrate or etch into the concrete, allowing the characteristics of the concrete to show through. The distinctive effect of chemical stain creates a timeworn patina that complements many decor styles, making it a favored choice for decorative concrete projects.

concrete chemical stain

Concrete chemical stains can be either acid-based or water-based. Innotech chemical stains are created with combination of metallic salts in a water-based solution. This slightly acidic solution creates a reaction with the lime content in cured concrete, and may be applied to new or existing concrete that is free from sealers, paints or other coatings. Innotech acid stain products actually penetrate and remain in the pores to become a permanent part of the concrete, and therefore won’t crack, peel or fade.

Chemical concrete stains can be used on walls, floors, countertops and other concrete surfaces. The ultimate effect will be determined by several factors, including the concrete’s age, composition, porosity, and base color (click here for an interactive color chart). Because concrete chemical stains are translucent, they incorporate the concrete’s surface (including cracks and other flaws) into the finished effect. It’s important to use proper tools and application techniques, or an experienced professional, to achieve desired results, since once the chemical stain is down on the concrete, the color is permanent. It’s important to keep in mind that no two surfaces will come out identical, but this is the true beauty and appeal of concrete chemical stains.

Innotech water-based chemical stain is available in a variety of colors, and can be combined with other Innotech products to produce a wide range of color finishes. For tips on how to use Innotech concrete chemical stains, visit an Intermountain Concrete Specialties showroom.

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NewLook Concrete Color Stain

NewLook International is a leading manufacturer of decorative concrete color stain and restoration solutions, including premium architectural and specialty decorative concrete coatings. Intermountain Concrete Specialties is proud to be an official seller of these convenient and affordable products, which have been used by concrete industry professionals for more than 25 years.

To create a beautiful concrete finish, you need an exceptional product. NewLook Original Solid Color StainTM gives old concrete a facelift by changing the color without changing the texture. The non-acid concrete color stain is water-based and breathable so it penetrates the surface of porous concrete to create just about any color. Original Solid Color Stain’s revolutionary formula can be used to cover concrete problems such as oil and rust stains, faded concrete, and to match concrete colors. Original Solid Color Stain is not a paint, but utilizes an advanced polymer-modified formula to create a completely opaque yet breathable finish that does not require an additional sealer.

 See more NewLook Original Solid Color Stain before and after pictures .

 

Features and Benefits:

  • Change any color of concrete without changing the texture, so it looks like integral colored concrete. Most people can’t even tell if the concrete was poured or stained.
  • Water-based, non-acid stain penetrates the surface of porous concrete.
  • Breathable formula allows the stain stay in the concrete for a uniform finish.
  • Easy to maintain and reapply without stripping or sanding.
  • Completely covers any color of concrete (even light colors over dark), and is easy to repaint if you make a mistake or change your mind.
  • Water-based concrete stain formula is eco-friendly, without VOCs or toxic fumes
  • Hundreds of color options are available.
  • Can be applied over and over again, even same day.

NewLook Original Solid Color Stain features a two-coat application process to ensure an even finish. During the process, be sure to keep the product well-mixed with a NewLook broom applicator.  The tools you use can greatly affect the outcome of your decorative concrete projects. We carry a wide range of NewLook products and tools for the most effective application. Visit our website for video tips on applying concrete color stain.

Intermountain Concrete Specialties showrooms are a great place to find out about the latest and most reliable concrete products. Stop by any of our six locations to learn more!

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Decorative Concrete: Choosing Texture, Color and Pattern
February 24, 2015 | Decorative concrete

Decorative concrete is one of the hottest trends in home design, thanks to its versatility, durability and affordability. From decorative concrete patios, pool decks and driveways, to interior floors, countertops and more, decorative concrete can turn boring gray concrete into a design statement that wows. Choose from a multitude of concrete textures, patterns and colors to create a unique concrete design element for your home, office or place of business.

Choose a texture
Slate, granite, natural stone tile, brick…the design possibilities are endless. Choose a texture to fit your design theme, or mix and match textures for contrast and style. Often, the project will dictate the texture. For example, a smooth texture works well for a countertop or driveway, while a textured, porous surface may be more appropriate for a pool deck. Intermountain Concrete Specialists’ expert staff can help you choose the right texture for your decorative concrete project.

decorative concrete

INNOTECH Decorative Imprint Tools

Decide on a pattern
Pattern sets the tone for the overall look of any decorative concrete project, so this decision requires a look at the big picture. Is the surface interior or exterior? How large is the area? While larger, grouted patterns are more pleasing to larger areas, smaller patterns can be more appealing on interiors, patios and garden pathways. Geometric patterns with hard edges often work well in interior spaces and driveways, while curved patterns can create a serene outdoor space. Intermountain Concrete Specialists carries a wide selection of texture mats, skins and stamping tools for a variety of natural-looking and man-made pattern options.

decorative concrete

INNOTECH Liquid Dye Concentrate

Pick a color
Colors enhance the pattern and texture of decorative concrete, and have a huge impact on the overall design. Different color materials achieve different effects. Choose from integral colors, chemical stains, acid stains, water-based stains, color hardeners, antique releases and colored coatings to create natural or engineered color surfaces. Be sure to prepare a sample, so you know exactly what the final color will be.

Seal it
Concrete sealers can beautify and enhance your project, just like varnish on wood. Sealers provide protection from sun and water damage, oil stains, dirt, tire marks, and even graffiti. They can deepen and enrich colors, and can even be given a color tint. Choose from high, medium or low gloss, as well as slip-resistant and water-based environmentally friendly sealers.

 

Visit the Intermountain Concrete Specialties showroom nearest you where our expert staff can show you how decorative concrete can enhance your space. We have a wide supply of architectural and decorative concrete products, equipment and knowledge to help you create any project!

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Decorative Concrete Trends
February 12, 2015 | Decorative concrete

 

decorative concrete ideas

Concrete Stamp Overlay | INNOTECH

Today’s home owners, designers, custom home builders and commercial contractors are turning to decorative concrete as an easy, affordable and creative way to spruce up both interiors and exteriors. These days, decorative concrete trends include stained, stamped, polished and other decorative concrete finishes creating a fresh, modern and updated look on patios, pool decks, countertops, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, garage floors, office floors, showrooms, home entryways and more. Decorative concrete finishes can transform boring gray, utilitarian concrete into expensive-looking finishes that mimic sleek slate, warm tile, natural stone, wood and other sophisticated textures — without the high-end cost.

decorative concrete ideas

Liquid Dye Concentrate | Microtopping | Color Hardener

Advancements in concrete tools, stains, stamping, textures and patterns have made concrete one of the most versatile, durable and cost-effective materials on the market today, bringing to life your decorative concrete ideas. Sustainable and economical, decorative concrete finishes can be applied to new concrete or overlaid on existing concrete surfaces, providing significant savings over common hard-surface materials such as granite. Microtoppings, for example, are a low-cost and environmentally friendly way to overlay or replace flooring, countertops, and even exterior surfaces. Take a look at just how easy it is to apply:

For the beginner home DIYer to commercial contractors and everyone in between, Intermountain Concrete Specialties can provide the finest materials, latest tools, and know-how to create any decorative finish you can dream up. We carry the latest innovations in decorative concrete trends, including premium concrete stamps and texture mats, seamless texture skins, integral colors, color releases, hardeners, dyes and stains, coatings, sealers, border and accessory tools, forming equipment and much more. Visit a showroom near you and let our expert staff show you how decorative concrete can enhance your space!

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