Decorative Concrete Patios

A couple of months ago I posted an example of a concrete driveway enhanced by a decorative stamped edge. Alongside that photo was an example of a regular concrete driveway. The decorative driveway was more appealing than the plain concrete driveway and the same can be done with a back patio as well.
Rodrigo from Nevada sent in these photos of some work he had completed using the TTI Screedright Pro concrete screed.

This concrete patio was first formed up using a flexible forming system. Either an outside curb was formed first or Rodrigo simply leveled off the concrete in one flat pour. The crew used concrete stamps to obtain a cool texture to the concrete patio. Control joints were cut into the slabs to prevent undue cracking along the concrete slab. After the concrete had time to dry, the crew used concrete stain to place color on the patio. The rounder patio has a darker brown edging that helps the star in the middle to pop.

The rectangular patio was first formed up using wood forms. The concrete was screeded off and then allowed to settle some before stamps and color were added to it as well. I am a bit stumped as to how they obtained the “marbling” design in this example. Anyone out there in concrete world, please pipe in if you know how Rodrigo obtained that look!
And as always, happy screeding!

Sealed Stamped Concrete

Here is an update to my previous post on stamped concrete. The concrete contractor added a colored seal to the edging of the new concrete driveway for a new construction home. The contractor also included a little landscaping in the new home package.

The first thing to consider when looking for a concrete sealer is to examine weather the sealer will be applied indoors or outdoors.  For this project, the contractor was looking for a product specific for outdoor use.  Your product should have good UV resistance and also be waterproof.    Usually an area like this gets a lot of foot and vehicle traffic and the new homeowner should consider applying a new coating every couple of years or so.

Build Your Own House (using a TTI Screedright Pro)!

Some of you who follow our other blog, tipsbytom.com, may have notice a feature called “Do It Yourself Home Building“.  This story is based on emails received from Tom’s brother-in-law who is building his own home, green house and workshop in a town in northern Wyoming.  Chip, his wife Peg, and their two children have literally built these structures from the ground up.  We were there for a couple of days this summer and were amazed at their progress.  I took several pictures of their home, and shop area as well as some of the landscaping they have started in the yard.

They designed and built the home and shop area with sustainable concrete in mind.  All the floors are colored and stamped concrete.  The outside entertaining area is comprised of an outdoor concrete kitchen, stamped concrete patio and a fire pit/ seating area.  The yard also has a beautiful and functional handmade rock river flowing through it.  River rocks sit on a bed of formed concrete.  A natural drainage ditch runs through the concrete/rock river to create a natural river rock sound, as well as serve as an irrigation source for the yard.

All of the floors  in the house and the greenhouse/shop/garage were struck off using the TTI Screedright Pro.  Chip and Peg also used the concrete screed to level off the sidewalks and driveways as well.

It is a job well done!

Concrete Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor Concrete Fire Pit

New Construction: To Stamp or Not to Stamp?

I try and take a walk pretty much everyday. I have noticed a couple of new homes going up in our neighborhood. These are fairly similar homes, although one is a bit more high end then the other. Both driveways were poured about the same time. On one house, the contractor decided to stamp the edges and accompanying sidewalk. The other house has a traditional non-stamped drive. The stamped driveway does take a little more time and money to complete. On a new construction, it shouldn’t take that much extra effort though.

The first few steps are basically the same.  Forming the slab and sidewalk with wooden or plastic forms.  The concrete is poured, screeded off and floated in the same manner as well.  If a concrete contractor is looking to add extra decorative design, he or she will allow the concrete to dry just enough to be able to apply the concrete stamp.  At this point, the contractor can apply color if desired.  The stamp is usually a small rubber  form that lays over the concrete and is moved around to form a pattern.

More and more homeowners are adding a stamped design to their new construction as a way to spruce up the look of their landscaping.  What do you think?  Do you like the stamped look or a more traditional concrete flat work?

You May Never Own a Lamborghini…

Lamborghini. The ultimate name in luxury and success. The company began in the 1960’s by Ferruccio Lamborghini, a profitable tractor company owner. He debuted his first car in 1963 at the Turin Auto Show. Legend indicates that Lamborghini had a “falling out” with his friend Enzo Farrari and vowed never to drive a Ferrari again. The rest, as they say, is history.
While the company has ebbed and flowed throughout the past 40 sum years, they have survived because they turn out cars individually and with great care. A few websites I visited noted that just a hair over 2,000 Lamborghini’s were sold in 2006. That’s world wide. One site said that 2007 numbers looked like they may reach 2400. That’s world wide. And those are “record-breaking” numbers.
Each car means something. Each car is carefully and meticulously, built, detailed, delivered, and presented to it’s new owner. Each car will require a six figure check! Doing another simple “google” of “Lamborghini prices” leaves ones mouth open. For the price of a house… you too can own a Lamborghini… did I mention they were “sold out” for ’08?
If you are the type who really would rather not LIVE in your car… (although, we are talking about a Lamborghini here)… maybe you ought to consider your options.
Trade Tool Innovations would like to think of its self as “The Lamborghini of the Concrete Screed World.” While we didn’t get into the business due to a dispute with anyone… let alone swear off Ferrari’s… we had in mind the same business model as Lamborghini when we rolled out our first prototype concrete screed in 2004. It was blue, and was demoed right here in our hometown. The first one we sold went to New Jersey!
Since then, we continue to manufacture, box and ship each one from our shop. If you want one then you’ll have to call us. While we probably didn’t sell as many concrete tools as the “big guys” last year (just a note… we had our own “record breaking year as well) each one we sell has a name and location associated with it.
We only make so many per year. That’s the way it is. Concrete season is just around the corner. I suppose you could either look into buying a car you’d have to live in… or buying a tool you could make a living with.
Consider it your personal “Lamborghini” of sorts.

Why Housewives Need Concrete

Concrete IS the housewives new best friend!  As any wife, mother or female married to her house knows… there is a lot to take care of.  Why worry about extraneous things like counter tops and floors.

Most new homes and upgraded additions include concrete floors and counter tops. It is both a simple and worry free way to have that “designer look” with out paying the big price…

Renee is in the middle of adding a living room/master suite onto her house.  She has wisely chosen to use concrete as a basic medium for each room. She loves the versatility and durability that concrete provides. She has also discovered the rich  beauty of concrete.  Her entire living room floor is made of concrete formed to look like natural color marble.  She has carried that look up sweeping circular stairs that lead into the existing front room and dining area.

The master suite includes a large sleeping area, private office, and an outdoor inspired master bath. The overall plan includes a large concrete counter top to accent the sink.

We’ll keep tabs (and more photos) on the project as it continues to unfold!
Why not consider decorative concrete on your next home project!

Beauty’s got to start somewhere!


Concrete is used as a decorating accent in many of today’s homes and yards.  From flooring to outdoor art work, the unique qualities of concrete add to the homeowners experience.  It seems that decorative concrete is everywhere these days. It is no wonder that the concrete industry is leaning more and more into the “fashion” world! 

 Just try searching for a concrete contractor in your favorite search engine.  A whole host of companies pop up specializing in concrete decoration.  Let’s just call this type of work “Cinderella Concrete”… well… beauty has got to start somewhere!  I admire all of those “Fairy Godmother” contractors out there who can work their wonders with the slushy grey stuff! Have you ever seen concrete come out of a truck?

Of course you have, your reading this blog aren’t you:)!  At any rate, even Cinderella got her start by hanging out with the Step Sisters.  This blog will attempt to explore all aspects of the concrete industry.  My interest is peaked MOST by all of the media that is being generated toward contractors, homeowners and the like.  Websites, magazines, direct mailings, concrete training seminars (or as one guy calls it: demonars… I like that one). How is a guy (or a concrete gal) suppose to sift through all that “noise”?

 Well, like I said, beauty’s got to start somewhere! If you are the concrete contractor, it most certainly starts with the pulsing beep… beep… beep… and then, well, you know, out comes the slush!