Contractors get hands-on with concrete countertops

Concrete contractors in Wisconsin got a chance to learn about concrete countertops and Buddy Rhodes mix at a seminar in Milwaukee on March 5. Presented by Specialty Concrete & Tool Co. and taking place at the company's shop, the all day class was taught by Heriberto Esquivel of Concrete Concepts & Design. Esquivel previously worked for Buddy Rhodes and still teaches Buddy Rhodes seminars around the country.

The seminar was a mix of demonstration, question and answer, and hands-on learning. The attendees ranged from seasoned contractors with prior experience to those just getting interested in concrete countertops.

The small class allowed for a free-flowing environment of conversation throughout the entire day. Warren Dutter, a contractor who attended the seminar, said this aspect of the seminar was most beneficial for him. "I've always had questions, and now they are getting answered," Dutter said.

Topics covered in the class included molds, reinforcement, mixing and floating, how to create a pressed countertop, polishing, and pasting to fill holes and gaps. The use of Buddy Rhodes Countertop Mix was at the center of all these lessons.

The class gave attendees the opportunity to learn hands-on what it takes to create a concrete countertop. Members of the class took turns placing concrete into a premade mold, adding reinforcement and floating the concrete to ensure flatness.

The class also got a chance to get a little more creative. Using a colored concrete mix, the class learned the proper technique for placing concrete for a pressed countertop look. After practicing on smaller tile molds, the class created its own countertop with an integral concrete sink. Esquivel will take the class's creations, including the sink, with him for use as examples in his next concrete countertop seminar.

Though most of the class time was spent on creating countertops, the attendees also had the opportunity to experiment with some finished samples from a previous class. Those samples were used to demonstrate how to fill voids in pressed concrete with Buddy Rhodes paste. Other samples were polished on site to show the class what a finished, filled and polished sample can look like.

With customers becoming more knowledgeable about the decorative concrete industry, contractors can reap many benefits from a class like this one. Aside from the opportunity of getting some hands-on learning, contractors were able to answer each others questions and share techniques and ideas.

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