Ryan Reedy, president, Metro Properties Group, a developer in Kalamazoo, Mich., created an entertainment center from a half block of older downtown buildings. The project began with a piano bar and loft apartments. Reedy discovered decorative concrete while researching products on the Internet. He used an overlay of stamped concrete for the piano bar floor and the apartment kitchens and bathrooms. After seeing the apartment installation, Reedy approached Todd Scharich and Thomas Richael, owners of Decorative Concrete Resources, Saginaw, Mich., to explore decorative concrete options for the rest of the project. The result is a project featuring stamped concrete in the parking lot and the sidewalks around the block, and 400 lineal feet of concrete countertops, a stained interior floor, and cementitious wall treatments for the bar Wild Bull.
The parking lot and sidewalks used 6-inch-thick, 4000-psi concrete with integral color and 6% air entrainment. The air entrainment, which protects against spalling in freeze/thaw climates, was a concern because of the amount of integral pigment required to achieve a deep gray color. “When a large amount of integral pigment is added to the mix, it can reduce air entrainment,” says Scharich. “Ready-mix providers typically batch 8% to 9% air entrainment to achieve the desired 6% or 6.5%.” Jackson Concrete Battle Creek, Mich., teamed with Decorative Concrete Resources to install the sidewalk in near freezing conditions. The 75-yard parking lot was stamped in a single day with a six-man crew and protected with heat blankets.
“The building that was to become the Wild Bull bar had a floor with character to the concrete,” says Scharich. Chemical stain took differently in various parts of the floor and in the new room with a freshly placed concrete floor. A dilution of Brickform, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., mission brown chemical stain applied for the first coat covered all the floors. The second coat, applied at full strength, gave depth to the color. Reedy was not interested in a solid floor color but liked a dark worn look a forgiving floor for foot traffic and food. After the stain process, solvent-based sealer Vexcon's Certivex, Philadelphia, was applied on all of the interior and exterior work.
Walls in the patio bar area were finished to look like Venetian plaster with cementitious grout Spray Texture from Cem Tec, A.W. Cook Cement Products, Hoschton, Ga. The knockdown finish was chemically stained with a blend of two colors plus stain mule gel to keep the stain from dripping. It was hand sponged and ragged onto the wall for a mottled look.
The concrete countertops required careful forming with good support for the 4-inch cantilever and the removal of 18 inches of support after the concrete was set. Reedy did not want customers to see wood underneath the bar. The countertops created onsite were reinforced with 4x4 gauge wire mesh. Jackson Concrete used a pea stone mix with a low water-cement ratio to minimize cracking for the countertop's 2-inch thickness and 3-inch thickness at the cantilevered portion. The light tan colored concrete was vibrated and consolidated to avoid bugholes. Forms were removed early and the vertical edge aggressively rubbed with trowels and edging tools to create a crisp corner. The joints have flexible epoxy caulk between sections to allow room for movement. An FDA topcoat epoxy coated the concrete bar.