Decorative Concrete: Making History

Image of fallen leaves on concrete

Decorative concrete is as popular as ever, with a history dating back to the 19th century. Without the expertise of skilled workers to craft sturdy, long-lasting, aesthetically-pleasing concrete, people may not have been interested in using concrete in their home or office design plans.

What began as the innovative use of colors and stains ultimately created new artistic techniques, which appeared in publications during the 1800s. The evolution of technique has taken the industry to where it is today. Techniques included adding color to concrete, stamping patterns, chemical stains, overlay cement, paper stencil patterning, and polishing concrete.

In 1915 in Chicago, Lynn Mason Scofield became the first company to manufacture color for concrete. Other products available: chemical stains, color hardeners, colorwax integral color, and sealers. After moving his company to Los Angeles in the 1920s in pursuit of a better market, Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, and Mary Pickford were among his celebrity clients.

The next significant invention to generate interest in decorative concrete was a series of tools and a process for stamping patterns in the early 1950s. Brad Bowman developed aluminum platforms, and platform stamps made several pattern units at a time in concrete flatwork.

In 1970, the Bomanite Corp. used Brad Bowman’s patents to encourage contractors to install decorative concrete using his process. The late 1970s saw the development of a plastic stamp by Jon Nasvik, which was useful for stamping pattern and texture on fresh concrete.

Polished Concrete Takes Decorative Concrete to New Level

The polished floor trend began in Europe in 1991, about eight years before appearing in the United States. Originally, warehouse floors were polished in order to appease concrete moisture issues and high maintenance bills, but a Swedish manufacturer brought the idea to the United States in 1999. The installation by HTC in Las Vegas’ Bellagio was the first known and inspired the recognition for decorative possibilities. From embedded objects to color stains, polished floors are a great medium with which to experiment.

There are so many possibilities for decorative concrete! Call us at 512-331-5555 or contact us online for a quote to discuss ideas for your next concrete project.


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