John Buteyn, senior technical manager at Colorado Hardscapes, has witnessed the progression of the concrete industry from standard concrete to decorative concrete, having worked at Colorado Hardscapes, Denver, Colo., since the early 1970s. The company is a Bomanite licensed contractor and offers flatwork, integral colors, shake-on colors, staining, polishing, stamping, exposed aggregate finishes, toppings and overlays, water features, and simulated rock work. Completing both residential and commercial work, the last 10 years has been more commercial work in places like museums, hospitals, schools and retail centers.
In a recent project, Colorado Hardscapes used the shotcrete process to complete a tree for the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. Buteyn believes that texturing skins are one of the most essential tools on such unique projects. “The texturing skins are a latex tool that has texture built into it allowing us to impress the texture on the wet surface to create a bark like look,” Buteyn says.
Colorado Hardscapes uses the texturing skins to make other impressions in the concrete including animal footprints and fossils as well as stone and brick patterns.
Buteyn believes that regardless of the type of project, finishing tools are the most valuable tools because they help ensure an end product that is quality work. “We definitely need the tools that help detail the final product to color it and finish it out,” he says. “Some of those tools are the small trowels, paint brushes, grinders and pigments used to touch up repairs.”
Additional finishing tools Buteyn uses are hand chisels and edge tools. “The difference between a great job and a mediocre job is how you address the edges and the details,” Buteyn says. He believes contractors will find true success in having the right focus on detail and being able to properly finish along edges and around columns and drains. The tools help to execute the vision.