DECORATIVE CONCRETE SYSTEMS
Blue Mounds, Wis.
Dave Lorenz, owner of Decorative Concrete Systems in Blue Mounds, Wis., has been working with decorative concrete since 1991. Lorenz is a licensed Bomanite contractor and installs colored and stamped floors, stained interior floors, polished floors, overlays and toppings, concrete countertops, and other Bomanite systems such as Bomanite Exposed and Grasscrete.
Lorenz's favorite decorative tools, which he finds himself using over and over on every job, give him high quality results that set his work apart from his competitors - a chisel and a "pizza roller" for detailing stamp jobs. "Detailing is what makes a good stamping job great," Lorenz emphasizes.
With detailing so important to Lorenz's finished product, he has come up with some inventive alternatives for finishing and detailing when he's been left without his chisel and pizza roller. "You can use your pen like a rat's tail, and if you have a Fritos bag you can crumple it up and use it for texture," he explains.
But for Lorenz, his most important tool can't be bought in stores, furnished from any household items, or stashed away in a toolbox. "As a boss, my biggest tool is employees who love what they do and whose pride shows in all their work," he says.
DAVE'S TOOLBOX INCLUDES:
DONLIN BUILDING, INC.
Mike Donlin, owner of Donlin Building, Inc., S.D., has worked in the family-owned business since 1976 and has been in the decorative concrete business for about five or six years. Currently, his company has six employees. Donlin Building offers decorative services including stamped concrete, stencils, stained concrete, vertical decorative concrete and concrete countertops.
Donlin says he has the usual assortment of tools used for decorative concrete: bull floats, hand floats, steel trowels and Metal Forms flexible forms for forming patios. He also says he uses Black Beauty screeds for screeding off the concrete. He owns five different patterns of stamps and several non-reusable stencils. Donlin also has a total station - a layout tool used for foundations - which he uses to measure how much concrete needs to be ordered for unusually shaped projects.
Donlin's favorite tool is his 16-ft. long ToolTrailer. The two-axel, pull-behind trailer has doors on all four sides that open, allowing for easy access to all the tools. "Literally all of our tools get carried to the job with that tool trailer," Donlin says. That way no tool is forgotten for a job. Plus, having access from all four sides means no one will have to climb all the way in the trailer to reach a tool. Donlin's customizable trailer also has electricity, a microwave and a propane grill - which gets a lot of use from his employees. Other tools that top Donlin's list of favorites are the Black Beauty screeds and an electric rebar cutter that cuts or bends rebar and is very appreciated by all the employees.
Donlin has adapted one unique tool to leave his mark in his creations. "I go to Hobby Lobby, and I buy some plastic ferns that I stamp in each job," he says. He puts one fern leaf underneath one of his stamps and then stamps it in a corner of the concrete as an unobtrusive yet unique signature.
Mike's Toolbox Includes: