Custom Concrete Patio Exudes Simple, Clean Perfection

From CSolutions in Atlanta, GA
By Bill Palmer, Concrete Network Columnist

Read about Tim Blankenship's favorite concrete products and tools.

Decorative saw cuts were used to separate the colors.

CSolutions, Atlanta, Ga., performs primarily commercial decorative work across the southeast United States. But when the right residential project comes along, they are able to use their experience to create extraordinary work, such as on this elegantly simple 1250 square foot patio at the Byrd residence in Middle Georgia.

CSolutions workers placed and finished the concrete during the first week of June with temperatures already into the high 80s. After placing the 3000 psi concrete, workers broadcast and floated in an ash-white color hardener (Scofield's Oyster White Lithochrome*). "The slip resistance was achieved by applying a sweat finish (a mix between a float and a trowel finish) to the color hardener," says CSolutions' Tim Blankenship. They then saw-cut contraction joints at 4 feet 3 inches on center using a Soff-Cut saw then covered the slab for 30 days with curing blankets.

After 30 days, CSolutions workers returned, pulled the curing covers, and saw-cut the 1/8-inch-wide decorative cuts for the 26-inch squares with a dustless saw and the 6-inch squares at the intersections with a 4-inch mini-grinder. "After we saw-cut we pressure washed it to open the surface a bit so the water-based stain would penetrate better," says Blankenship.

"We taped off for one color in a checkerboard pattern," Blankenship explains, "sprayed it and let it sit then came back the next morning, rotated our protection over and sprayed the other color. Then that afternoon we stained the little squares by hand." The three stains were all Scofield Tintura water-based stains in Deep Charcoal, Burberry Beige, and Steadman Buff. "We typically spray the Tintura," says Blankenship. "On this project we were training our crew so we used an HVLP sprayer for one color and an airless sprayer for the other color then used foam brushes for the third."

The owners were thrilled with the results and loved the colors. "A funny thing about this house," says Blankenship, "was that the owners took the color samples for the patio to the paint store and got the paint for the outside of the house to match the patio."

"One thing we found is that our commercial place and finish guys show up and expect to just do place and finish, whereas the CSolutions guys need to be multitalented. We self perform our grade work and formwork, our placing and finishing-everything." CSolutions did about $2 million of decorative work last year and expects that to rise to $2.5 or $3 million in 2007. "There's a lot more work out there and we are traveling more to get it," says Blankenship.

CSolutions, a division of Middle Georgia Concrete Constructors, Inc. performs architectural concrete and hardscape installations including unit pavers and natural stone. CSolutions is also a licensed Lithocrete installer. "I manage the daily operations of CSolutions," says Blankenship, "and my partners Scott Truax and Paul Mandall operate Middle Georgia Concrete Constructors. We've worked together in the industry for about 15 years."

*The products used on this project are: LITHOCHROME Color Hardener, LITHOCHROME Tintura Stain and SCOFIELD Selectseal-W, registered trade names of the L. M. Scofield Company.

CSolutions, Inc.
Atlanta, Georgia

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