Concrete Overlay Is a Kaleidoscope of Color

A hair salon floor takes color to the max with an epoxy overlay enhanced by swirls of vibrant metallic pigments
Project submitted by Don Pinger, Custom Concrete Solutions, West Hartford, Conn.
By Anne Balogh,

The challenge

The owner of the Image Company Hair Salon in Rocky Hill, Conn., wanted to completely transform the existing concrete floor and make it the salon's main attraction. "The customer wanted the floor to be somewhat shocking, and would then design the rest of the d├ęcor around it," says Don Pinger of Custom Concrete Solutions. "He wanted color, and lots of it! He wanted the floor to be fun and attractive for kids as well as adults."

Adding to the challenge was the poor condition of the existing 1,500-square-foot floor. Previously covered by carpeting, it was marred by globs of carpet glue, poorly installed self-leveling patch work, and nail holes galore.

Design goals

"The owner saw a tanning salon floor we did recently and wanted something that would be similarly colorful and unusual," says Pinger. "I made them a handful of samples that I thought would work. They loved all of them, but left it up to me to make the final decision," he says.

Pinger achieved the desired look by applying an epoxy overlay with Reflector Enhancer metallic pigments from Elite Crete, using a palette of eight different colors, along with a bit of blue dye. The base color was Gunmetal, a dark silvery-black metallic additive. This was applied in a thick coat with a small magic trowel. "We added the other colors working on our hands and knees, using small wallpaper brushes to swirl the colors around," Pinger explains.

Secrets to success

To prepare the floors, Pinger eliminated the grunt work of grinding off the carpet glue and filling nail holes by coating them with Seams Perfect primer from Specialty Solutions Mfg. "It's a special primer membrane used in lieu of grinding that works great. It can be applied right over glue or mastic, providing that the glue is fairly even and thin," says Pinger. The floors were then covered with one coat of Elite Crete's Thin-Finish polymer-modified overly, pigmented in black to bring out the semi-transparent Reflector colors that would be applied later.

With so many colors involved and a short window of time in which to apply them, being well-prepared was crucial. "To do a floor like this, I had to take myself back to my days as an executive chef and employ the centuries old concept of mise en place, a French cooking term that basically means to have everything in its place," says Pinger. "We had about 70 1-quart containers set up with epoxy and the different Reflector colors mixed in. Then we also had about 20 2-quart containers set up with the base color. We had two guys doing the mixing and cleaning containers, and two guys on the floor putting the material down."

Blending and swirling all the colors to achieve just the right effect was a combination of science, art, skill, experience and a lot of luck, according to Pinger. "The colors smear together somewhat, but we want that. When blending two colors, you end up with three-the two you're using and the third that gets blended. And some look like they are blending when being applied, but when they finish curing, they tend to separate a little due to the specific density of that particular metallic."

This floor pops!

What did the owner of the salon think about his newly transformed floor? Here's an excerpt from a review he wrote and posted on Google Local:

"Poppin' Floor!Yes, this floor pops and is the focal point of my salon. The vision I had in the beginning was quite ambiguous and I was thinking to myself, how is this going to be possible? When I walked into the salon for the unveiling, I was shocked to see that the floor exceeded my expectations. I can almost always find something wrong, but not this time. The floor was done to my exact specifications and more..."

Materials used

Primer: Seams Perfect from Specialty Solutions Mfg.
Polymer-modified overlay: Elite Crete Thin-Finish, pigmented black
Color additives: Elite Crete Reflector Enhancer, in Gunmetal, Russet, Blue, Sky Blue, Red Purple, Cairo and Silver.
Dye: AmeriPolish, in blue
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Custom Concrete Solutions, LLC
West Hartford, CT 06107

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