Article No: 61

2006-05-01 12:25:28
Beauty can be only skin deep
By: Jennifer Fitzjarrell

Graphics. Art. Style. Beauty. Function. Design. Hard to imagine these words can be used to describe concrete. With the advance of micro-thin concrete toppings, concrete has shed the hard, cold personality it once was famous for and proven to be a naturally beautiful, incredibly versatile flooring option. Concrete can now lend beauty and elegance to any home.


From simple accenting to extravagant patterns, micro-thin toppings provide a durable, colorfast, high-strength splash of color to any home. It is this flexibility of design that gives micro-thin topping the extraordinary ability to achieve almost any look to unify and bring harmony to a home's interior.

Design possibilities are limitless and include graphics, swirls of color or marbleized hues that precisely mimic natural, more expensive stone. The design and color of the micro-thin topping can be created specially to work with any color scheme or theme, producing something that is so unique that no two projects are alike. Whether the intention is to design a warm, inviting environment or to create a trendy, upscale mood for a contemporary look, micro-thin concrete topping is a brilliant solution.

Fun, colorful, durable

When the homeowners of an award-winning basement project in Bloomington, Ind., first thought of redecorating their home, their goal was to create a fun, colorful, durable, kid-friendly space. Enter Linda Sievers, of Colour by Design, and Steve and Kathleen Harriman, of Harriman's Bomanite ( While the homeowners allowed designer Sievers a lot of creative freedom, it was the meticulous work, tremendous skill and quality product provided by the Harrimans that brought her magnificent vision to fruition. The estimated 1,500 square feet of micro-thin flooring involved in the project comprised four separate custom design patterns and eight different colors.

While creating a space that is colorful, durable, versatile and interactive was an ambitious endeavor in itself, Harriman's Bomanite also had to consider what product would best correct the problems the existing floor presented. The basement floor was riddled with cracking and stains. A micro-top overlay was an excellent fix for the problem floor, because it has the ability to easily cover defects. Micro-Top by Bomanite proved to be an incomparable solution, transforming the poorly conditioned floor into a profusion of flawless color and design.

Cost effective medium

Cost-effectiveness is another advantage of using a micro-thin concrete topping on floors. When a laminate floor or carpet is removed, no costly, abrasive blasting is normally required before an overlay is applied over the substrate, which saves both time and money. These overlays are troweled on at about the thickness of a credit card, so less product is used resulting in a substantial savings compared to typical concrete construction.

A micro-thin concrete topping offers the advantage of bonding tenaciously to a variety of stable surfaces, including existing concrete, wood, metal or asphalt. Because of this, it is not limited to use on floors. Micro-thin concrete toppings also allow for the addition of color and graphics to existing or surfaces where colors are not normally placed, such as countertops and walls. Concrete overlays can turn expanses of plain, dull spaces into distinctive and dynamic areas.

Micro-thin toppings are not the only products on the market that offer colored concrete. But with these toppings, homeowners are not confined to a standard color palette or to the limitations of other coloring products such as chemical stains. Therefore, micro-thin toppings succeed where other coloring methods fail. They provide a cost-effective method to achieve multiple colors and hard-to-produce graphics without the high costs associated with elaborate forming and design work.

Don't try this alone

While it is tempting to try applying micro-thin concrete floors without an experienced architectural concrete installer, working with any concrete product is an art in itself and requires the skills of knowledgeable concrete craftsmen. Concrete is not a forgiving product by nature, and micro-thin toppings especially should be installed only by experts.

When selecting an architectural concrete contractor, inquire about his/her installation experience and length of time in the architectural concrete business. Verify that the concrete contractor receives ongoing technical training to keep current with new products and techniques.

Jennifer Fitzjarrell writes about decorative concrete for the home. She may be contacted at 559-673-2411.