Making concrete match stone
Decorative concrete contractors are always looking for their next source of inspiration. For Kevin Percy and Percy Concrete & Design, Inc., Wrentham, Mass., he found it in a homeowner's stone fireplace and exposed stone chimney. Percy, who was creating a vertical stamped concrete overlay on an outdoor barbecue, came up with the idea to match the overlay on the barbecue to the stonework on the homeowner's chimney to carry the stone theme throughout the backyard.
This was Percy's first outdoor barbecue, which he says he approached in a design-and-build-as-you-go manner. But that doesn't mean he didn't start the job without planning and research. Percy used a computer software program to lay out the project and determine the basics of design. From there he moved on to the physical work.
The outdoor barbecue included a grill, sink, wood box and wood burning fireplace. The whole piece was 22 feet long and between 4 feet and 8 feet tall.
Percy's first step was to pour a 1-foot-deep concrete footing. He then used 8-inch concrete masonry blocks to build the structure. "We laid the blocks out in a semi-arc design. We drilled rebar into the footing in every cell of the block, and then we stacked the block around the perimeter to the exact heights that we wanted," Percy says. He then filled the blocks with concrete to create one structure.
He used a hopper gun to spray Butterfield Color T1000 Sprayable Overlay over the block as a scratch coat. "Sometimes block lines will profile through so we put the scratch coat on to hide everything and give a monotone color all the way around prior to applying anything else," Percy says. He then sprayed Butterfield's T1000 Primer over the scratch coat.
For the actual overlay, Percy used Butterfield's Cantera Vertical Wall Mix - about 25 bags total, Percy says. He used an electric paddle mixer to mix the Cantera with water before troweling a thin layer over the whole wall.
To create a unique look, Percy used five different Butterfield Uni-Mix Integral Dry Colorants, mixing each in its own bucket. The color was added to water and then mixed with the Cantera using the paddle mixer. Percy says for this type of overlay you want a "thicker than pudding" consistency with your mix. The colors used included Santa Fe Buff, Sandstone, Autumn Oak, Salt Marsh Gray and Pewter. Some stones were left just the gray of the Cantera mix.
Percy and his crew hand applied the colored Cantera to the wall. "I'd completely walk around the unit with one color and place it randomly all the way around," Percy says. Once all five colors were placed, he went back and filled in the rest of the stones being careful not to have too much of one color in an area. Percy also embedded black glass in some of the concrete stones to give them a quartz look.
Following behind Percy were two crew members with Butterfield stamping skins. They pressed the skins to the recently applied colored Cantera to create the stone shape and texture. A third crew member followed, carving the details to make the stones look like they were embedded into the scratch coat. To do this hand carving Percy suggests using a wooden dowel and a chipping brush to chip off any extra concrete.
After drying for a day, Percy mixed Butterfield's Elements water-based, transparent stain in Stygian (sort of a chocolate brown) with the sealer and sprayed it on the concrete. This applied a protective sealer and gave the stones an aged look, he says.The total project took Percy and his crew about nine days to complete, and the result was a custom vertical stamped overlay that is almost impossible to duplicate.
Creating a concrete Italian villa
How do you get an Italian villa outdoor kitchen in Florida? With a vertical stamped concrete overlay, that's how. Decorative Designs, Ocala, Fla., recently completed a vertical concrete overlay on both walls and columns for a homeowner's outdoor kitchen, says Decorative Designs president Laura Howard. The job involved lots of color, lots of drama and little limitations or restrictions.