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Pools Decks and More from Decorative Concrete of the Tri-State
Dave Sparks, owner of Decorative Concrete of the Tri-State in Ashland, Kentucky, is good with numbers, but it was corporate downsizing that led him to where he is today. After he got an accounting degree, Sparks worked for a Fortune 500 company for many years. And when they started offering employees incentive packages to downsize, he decided to use the opportunity to try something new.
That decision led Sparks to Border Magic, where he began working with decorative concrete in 2004, primarily creating landscape edging and curbs.
"It was a natural progression from there," he explains. "People would always ask about what else we could do on sales calls, so we got into overlays with Increte. That led to stamped concrete. And now we're getting into countertops."
Decorative Concrete of the Tri-State currently produces 80 percent flatwork and 20 percent overlays. Sparks has one crew that does nothing but borders, one that does overlays only, and two crews that are dedicated solely to flatwork.
The company serves the tri-state area, which includes West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, with most of the work concentrated in the Ashland (Kentucky), Huntington (West Virginia), and Ironton (Ohio) areas.
While decorative concrete is still fairly new to the area, Sparks says he has noticed some trends developing, such as a preference toward stamped work and overlays, with the look of flagstone.
Interior work and acid stains have yet to hit the area, but as customers see what can be done from both what they see on the Internet and HGTV,Sparks says he is poised to meet the demand.
With 95 percent of the work in residential, the company has answered a need for decorative pool decks and patios, some stamped in flagstone patterns with each stone hand colored, and others tinted with acid stain.
In Barboursville,West Virginia, Sparks created a 1,700-square-foot pool deck with an attached sports court. The deck was stamped with Increte Maplewood color hardener and Increte Dark Gray release, and Increte's Large Random Flagstone stamp was used for the pattern.
For a 400-square-foot patio in Ironton, Ohio, Sparks created contrasting borders and a 4-foot center circle, all with Increte products. The color of borders and circle are brick red and charcoal, and he used a running bond brick border and cobblestone circle. The color of the interior is pewter with charcoal release, and the stamp pattern is ashlar slate.
"The house is pre-civil war, and we had to excavate a 10-foot diameter by 6-foot deep cistern, which required 15 tons of compacted gravel," addsSparks. "The bonus for us was recovering over 60 vintage bottles covered over at the turn of the century."
Over in Chesapeake, Ohio, Sparks worked his magic on a 300-square-foot patio with a matching sidewalk, all done in Increte Maplewood color hardener and dark gray release with ashlar slate stamps. "This customer wanted just a nice little patio in the back yard and was extremely happy with the result," Sparks recalls.
And in Proctorville, Ohio, for a 2,100-square-foot pool deck overlooking the Ohio River, Sparks stamped using sun buff with clear liquid release in a large random flagstone pattern.
"After stamping, we waited two weeks to color the deck," he explains. "Each stone was hand colored with various shades of Increte acid stain. After coloring, the deck was washed, and assorted stones were antiqued by hand with charcoal to give them a more natural look. The coping was hand-tooled and acid stained with two coats full-strength acid."
Next up for Decorative Concrete of the Tri-State is concrete countertops and concrete polishing, both of which will add to Sparks' interior portfolio.
"We do exterior work mid-March to November. This will give us something to do the rest of the time," Sparks laughs.