Concrete makeover cheap and gorgeous

Concrete makeover cheap and gorgeous

TRENDS: Transform that grey surface

Jane Cardillo

For CanWest News Service

June 5, 2005

EDMONTON -- If the word "concrete" conjures up images of drab sidewalks and endless kilometres of grey highway, you haven't seen Karren and Jordan Beasley's floor.

Large squares of what appears to be stone tile in varying earth-tone shades make up the floor in the walkout basement of the Beasleys' 4,000-square-foot home.

A wide border with a pattern that resembles crown moulding is etched into its perimeter.

But this is no rock dug from a quarry or hewn from a mountainside. It is a slab of regular concrete dressed up to look like natural stone.

A pattern mimicking granite tiles was cut into the Beasley's existing concrete floor. Then a chemical was applied to give it an earthy, natural colour.

Guests love the floor in the home's bright, spacious walkout level, which is destined to be a games and workout area when construction is completed, says Karren Beasley.

"It actually looks like slabs of tile," she says. "We have a lot of people come to the house and everybody goes, 'Where did you get your floor? It's so amazing.'"

Decorative concrete is riding a wave of popularity as a fashionable floor covering these days, wooing homeowners with a staggering selection of finishes and colours.

Cutting designs into an existing floor and treating it with an acid stain to change the colour -- as was done at the Beasleys -- is one way to achieve a stone look on concrete.

Another is to stamp a pattern into freshly poured coloured concrete. Patterns include brick, cobblestone, slate and tile. There are more than 20 colours from which to choose.

Both applications are tweaking the interest of people who used to think of concrete only as a sidewalk material, says Felix Esteves, owner of Lions Gate Concrete, the company that did the Beasley's floor.

Esteves describes how one customer reacted to his suggestion that he pour a floor of coloured, stamped concrete in the walk-out basement of his new house.

"He (the customer) said, 'You want me to do what to my $600,000-house?'" says Esteves.

The gold-coloured floor, stamped to look like tile, "Turned out just beautiful," says Esteves. "It is a floor that would blow your mind."

© The Vancouver Province 2005