One concern was that any product used on the job had to have very little odor because the restaurant was to remain open during the application. Best's Jim Shaw decided to use an acid stain to achieve some color and then apply the low-odor 4001 and 5400 System offered by Versatile Building Products.

Why use a product applied in garages in a restaurant's outdoor patio? “I figured that since the 5400 waterborne urethane clear topcoat we install holds up to hot tires and chemicals found in garages that it should do just fine in a heavily used dining area,” said Shaw.

First we cleaned the surface by power washing and degreasing using V-100, and then we applied Etch Stain, a chemical acid stain to the concrete to give it a rustic appearance, Shaw explained. We allowed this to dry and then neutralized the material and power rinsed the remaining residual from the surface. The rinse water was recaptured for proper disposal later.

This left with a beautiful rustic concrete surface that had plenty of movement in the color shades. The next step was to prime the surface using Versatile's 4001 Waterborne Clear Epoxy Primer. The trick was to not put it on too thick since this area is outside and they did not want it to yellow.

Crews applied a chemical acid stain to Outback Steakhouse outdoor area to give it an attractive, rustic appearance.
Crews applied a chemical acid stain to Outback Steakhouse outdoor area to give it an attractive, rustic appearance.

The epoxy primer was spread at a rate of 400 square feet per gallon, which allowed it to penetrate the surface and not leave any build. The wet, glossy look of the epoxy was another benefit. “This really brought out the color of the concrete,” said Shaw.

The final step was to apply Versatile's 5400 Waterborne 2 Component Urethane. This was the easiest step, as the crew used the dip and roll method. It has a milky color before it crosslinks; most clear topcoats are as clear as water. They are difficult to apply because you can't see the spots that are missed.

The project was completed in two days and people could walk on it three days later. Now, Outback personnel have a much easier time keeping the area clean. The eating area has the same look and feel associated with interior floor surfaces.

For more information, contact Versatile Building Products Inc at 1-800-535-3352, or 310-632-6500 or

A Concrete Walkway for All Weather

Vestavia Hills City Center is a beautiful 378,000-square-foot shopping mall in Vestavia Hills near Birmingham, Ala. Stained concrete decorates the city center's pavement. But only two years after being laid, the concrete installation began failing.

Upon noticing the potholes and the crumbling concrete, project owner Baker AIG turned to Precision Concrete Construction for assistance. Precision's Mike Portwood chose MAPEI's line of Concrete Restoration Systems for the repairs.

Fifteen thousand square feet of bedraggled concrete required the expertise of Precision Concrete Construction's repair team, who used Mapecem 102 and Planicrete AC as the chosen instruments to do the job right. Upon completion of the restoration, in a unique finishing step, the concrete was stained. Vestavia Hills City Center is a success story that both MAPEI and Precision Concrete Construction take pride in sharing.

After removing 15,000 square fee of dilapidated concrete, the repair team proceeded with the restoration. Planicrete AC, a concentrated liquid-latex admixture, was added to Mapecem 102, a fast-setting cementitious mortar so that the repair, unlike the initial installation, would last for a very long time.

The installers applied and screeded the mixture on the mall's central area, which extended between the stores and around the fountains. The application went smoothly and easily.

Then the real challenge arose. This mortar had never been stained before. Portwood and his team were concerned about whether the staining would fail and compromise the appearance and coloring of the concrete. But as a cementitious product, the Mapecem 102 accepted the stain well.

Today, nothing but beauty and taste are evident in the stained concrete of Vestavia Hills City Center's walkways. In fact, the light brown color selected for the staining complemented the mortar very elegantly, and the light color variations are very pleasing.

Portwood plans to present the installation at an upcoming meeting of his regional chapter of the International Concrete Repair Institute.

The author is a marketing specialist for Mapei. For more information on these products,

Decorative Floors

Retailers such as Home Depot and Office Depot regard their floors as decorative elements.
Retailers such as Home Depot and Office Depot regard their floors as decorative elements.

Major retail chains finally realize their floors are more than just surfaces on which their customers walk. The have become decorative elements.

Stains of varying techniques, patterned concrete, integral color, shake-on colors, and polished or burnished concrete are increasingly becoming a part of a store's concepts. Proper planning and applicator experience are critical in creating a successful project and a satisfied customer.

For instance, only certified and trained applicators apply Certi-Shine, Vexcon Chemicals' sstem for polished concrete. They learn to evaluate the type of concrete on the job, its ability to be polished and densified, gloss expectations, and stain resistance before they start the job and communicate with the owner. The system is also low in VOC, making it an attractive option for the popular green building market.

Office Depot managers sought a low-maintenance, high-gloss, stain-resistant, colored concrete floor for one store, which also included a coffee shop.

First, the crew removed all of the existing floor tile and then ground the floor with a planetary polishing machine to properly prepare the surface for the color hardener and densifier system. They then applied the Certi-Shine Stain system and polished the floor to a high gloss finish.

Similarly, Home Depot managers wanted a floor that had better stain and gloss properties compared to other floor treatments that lasted only three to six months.

Vexcon recommended Certi-Shine FSR, a clear hardening and densifying system that resists staining. Like the Office Depot, grinding the floor prepared it for the Certi-Shine system. A crew then polished it to the desired gloss.

For more information,