Seventeen years ago, Tony Leos, owner of Custom Concrete Solutions in San Antonio, Texas, had no idea that his work as a contractor would lead to working with custom home builders. Back then, he was pouring concrete and working in commercial construction. But everything changed when, about five years ago, he started working for a construction company that just happened to be a distributor for Kemiko.

"There came a point at that job that things got slow, and I was interested in learning more about Kemiko products," recalls Leos. "So I studied the products and did some test projects that turned out well."

Leos also discovered that he liked scoring and staining—that the work was "second nature" to him, which was the catalyst for his deciding to go out on his own. "They were very supportive and still send me work," Leos says of the company he used to work for.

As for Custom Concrete Solutions, Leos says his goal is simple. "We strive to score perfectly," he states. As such, he says they always show the client the layout before any scoring begins. They also focus on precision. "Our cuts are one depth and always straight," Leos adds. "We're even brought in to score for other decorative concrete contractors sometimes."

Custom Concrete Solutions is also the go-to decorative concrete contractor for four custom home builders in the San Antonio area. "I work with four different custom home builders that use decorative concrete as their signature on their homes, and we do their work exclusively," he explains. "I like to concentrate on custom homes."

Leos says he did a lot of leg work to get in with the custom home builders, such as going out to meet with the builders and showing them his portfolio and DVD of 'before and afters.' "We did a lot of work to get in with our builders, and we do high quality work for them," he adds.

Although Leos says he prefers new construction, Custom Concrete Solutions also offers remodeling, overlays, stamping and staining, as well as scoring and sealing concrete. Their portfolio is split evenly, with 50 percent of the work on interiors and the other 50 percent on exteriors, such as patios and entry ways, in addition to floors for warehouses and restaurants.

The one thing Leos says he doesn't see a lot of is decorative concrete driveways, which he attributes to the rules and regulations of most homeowner's associations in the area. Custom Concrete Solutions has found a niche in commercial work—specifically breezeways for apartment complexes. "We stain and seal them and nothing can stick to the surface," adds Leos.

Currently, Leos is excited about a new look he's perfected—concrete that looks like wood floors. He says a 15–foot by 20-foot area took him about an hour to create.

First, Leos scored the floor by cutting offset joints, then cleaned it well and stained it. Next, he says he ran a graining tool over it and tooled the grain in to make the knots and wood-grain look, because the customer was looking for a smooth surface which could not be achieved by stamping. "Everyone thinks it's stamped," Leos says of the floor. "We can do it in any color to emulate different woods. That's what we're concentrating on."

While Custom Concrete Solutions gets most of its work through either word of mouth or The Concrete Network, Leos says that a good portion of those calls are repair work. "We get a lot of calls for repairing concrete—fixing staining or finishes gone bad, or lap lines, blops of sealer, unclean floors—stuff like that," he explains. "It's a shame, because in the end it costs [the consumer] double what it would have cost to do it right the first time, and it gives concrete a bad name."

That's why Leos says he hopes training will one day be mandatory in the industry. "I'm hoping we get to where the average guy can't do this without some sort of formal training," he concludes. "Plus, certification would help weed out the fly-by-nights...Then a lot of 40-centers would go away."

But in the meantime, Custom Concrete Solutions will continue to do what it does best, because, as Leos says, "Quality speaks for itself."

Custom Concrete Solutions
Selma, TX
(210) 651-5844 Office
(210) 651-5844 Fax
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