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In this issue...
AGC Laborers, Carol Stream, IL
Ride for the Cure 2008 - Breast Cancer
Polished Concrete w/...Coloring Systems.
Skim Coats - Stains - Dyes, Kevin McGovern w/ Mirage Studios
Vacation in New York with the Cardone Family
Preitech, Cast-in-Place Countertops
The Calm Before the Storm
Bob and Lee Ann's Wedding!
DCI Meeting
Chemical Staining & Specialty Techniques
About Us
News from
The Decorative Concrete Institute

August 2008
Dear Bob,

We are sorry for the slight delay with our newsletter.  I can assure you the delay was not from taking some much needed time off sipping fu fu drinks with little umbrellas on the beach!  I suppose in theory that sounds refreshing however, it was quite the opposite.  Let's talk about our June and July bringing you up to speed on just a few little minor details that transpired during this time frame. Rest assured, this will be a longer than usual newsletter so, put on your reading glasses and here we go!

Be sure to
check out the training available on our website:
Decorative Concrete Institute

Bob Harris

AGC Laborers, Carol Stream, IL
June 2-6, 2008

We found ourselves once again back in Carol Stream Illinois teaching at the Laborers facility.  This was an action packed week starting on Sunday with the curriculum consisting of pre-cast concrete countertops using the Preitech forming system and enCOUNTER, stamped concrete, skim coats, decorative score cutting with stains and dyes. 

The weeklong program is designed to train the trainers so they can then return back to their local regions and incorporate what they have learned into their own teaching curriculum.  After starting each day off in the classroom covering the theoretical side of each application, the class was able to gain hands on experience applying each system starting with concrete countertops on Monday. 

The class was blown away (as they put it) with the beautiful counters they produced.  They all commented on how easy it was to form the counters and how the concrete mix produced such a glass like appearance.

All of Tuesdays focus was on stamped concrete and prepping for the following days skim coat installation. Pattern stamping as well as seamless textures were demonstrated using Brickforms color hardeners, release agents and stamping tools.  After a long dirty day of stamping, the evening was capped off with a couple of cool beverages and great conversation with the entire laborers group. 

Early Wednesday morning we were back at it installing ColorMaker floors skim coat material.  An area of roughly 500 square feet was resurfaced using Sgraffino and Pentimento.  Everyone involved as well as many passer bys were amazed at the transformation from old worn out ugly concrete to a beautiful new concrete surface at an overall depth of only 1/8" thick.  After all of the skim coat applications were complete and some cleaning and detailing on the previous days stamp pours, the group was ready to call it a day.  Thursday consisted of some design layout with decorative score cutting, stains and dye applications and then of course, the sealing of all of the work including the concrete countertops, stamped concrete and skim coated area.  After a long week of training, all attendees were able to unwind with a great dinner and an evening of cocktails karaoke.  I must admit that after maybe a few too many beverages they convinced me to have a go at karaoke.  Let's just say that we'll stick with concrete.

Ride for the Cure 2008 - Breast Cancer
June 7-15, 2008
We'll it's official, I am proud to report that Lee Ann and I completed our quest across country on our motorcycles finishing off with 3,900 miles on our rears (not fanny's).  Words cannot describe how proud of Lee Ann I am on this challenging major accomplishment.  She did awesome considering she had only been riding for barely a year!  We were a little concerned before we started our ride considering that our luggage was lost from our trip back from the Laborers training. 

The problem was that not only were our clothes gone but all of our maps for the trip since we used evenings to talk about and plan the trip.  The goal was to fly home Friday, do laundry and pack Friday evening and then get on the road around 9:00 am Saturday.  We received a phone call at 11:30 pm Friday night alerting us that our baggage just arrived In Atlanta and they would have it to us by no later than 2:00 pm the next day. This was unacceptable which meant that we drove back to the airport to pick up the luggage and with two hours of sleep and some clean clothes and maps later, we departed Temple Georgia at 10:30 am just a bit behind schedule.

Our first day's ride was a beautiful 95-degree day that took us through Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, finishing in Arkansas.  Day two brought us into Missouri and after one wrong turn, we ended up on highway 5 (not planned), which was a beautiful winding road through the rolling hills, 460 miles later we stopped in Lawrence Kansas for the night just in time. As we pulled under the porte-cochere of our hotel, a terrible storm hit with baseball size hail.  After a beautiful 508-mile day we ended up in Ogallala, Nebraska for the night. Our next day was one of the most scenic starting with a visit with friend John Ainken of the Laborers union at his Job Corp training facility in Chadron, Nebraska. 

After a great visit, we were back on the bikes touring through Custer Park and Mt. Rushmore. 

We did see some huge Buffalo as you see in the picture.  I had to hurry and start the bike after this quick photo since I think the Buffalo may have thought my motorcycle was a female if you catch my drift.  After a quick exit we road in to Rapid City, through Sturgis and shut down for the night in Sundance, Wyoming.  Our goal the next morning was to ride to Yellowstone however, Mother Nature had different plans for us.  Since a bad storm closed Yellowstone due to snow, we had to ride directly down the State of Wyoming in to Casper headed towards highway 80.  It was this ride that gave us the most trouble with horrible wind gusts of 45 miles per hour.  Little Lee Ann on her little 883 Sportster had one heck of a day battling these blustery conditions. As she put it, had there been a truck and a trailer available, she would have stopped on the spot for the day.  I must admit, these were some of the toughest riding conditions I have ever ridden in.  We made it to Rock Springs, Wyoming with some very sore shoulder blades from battling the winds.  The next morning we unfortunately spent half of the day at the local Harley shop getting a new front tire for me while Lee Ann's bike needed a new push rod seal to stop a minor oil leak. 

After our shortest days ride, we ended up in Montpellier, Idaho.  What a beautiful location!  Day 7 was a long 530-mile day stopping in Boise for lunch and visit with family friend Clancy.  After a great visit and cool ride through the mountains of Oregon we ended up in Burns for the night.  The eight-day of our ride was beautiful taking us up through the snow-capped mountains on highway 126 close to Lebanon.  After a quick decent in to the Eugene area we stopped for a short visit with Bent Mickelson and family.  Thanks for the cool drink and Bent, your newly sealed front sidewalk looked great!  Our days ride ended in Florence, Oregon, which was as far west as we could go.  This was cause for celebration ending the night with a great dinner and a bottle of wine.  Our next morning's ride was a chilly one down 101.  The cool conditions were easily forgot about with the incredible scenery down the coast.  Do yourself a favor and consider taking this route (preferably on a motorcycle) if you have never seen this area.  It is incredible scenery!  After a quick stop at the California/Oregon border for some photo opportunities we continued down 101 calling it a day in Fortuna, California. We could not believe that we were now down to our last day of riding.  After continuing down 101 and coming across the windy Richmond/SanRafael bridge we stopped for a short visit with friends Jerome and Ollie of the AGC laborers in Pleasanton.  It was great seeing you guys!  This was it, down to the remaining 40 or so miles to Mom's house in Brentwood.  I got tell you; this was a pretty emotional ending to a trip of a lifetime!  Lee Ann and I would like to say thank you so much to all of you who donated to a very worthy cause and also followed our path across country. After some great family time we were on a plane homeward bound since we unfortunately had to ship the bikes back do to scheduling.  Stay tuned for more, we are already in the planning stages for next years major ride!

Polished Concrete w/
Coloring Systems

June 26-27, 2008

After day dreaming about our ride it was time to get back to business.  With a new sense of motivation we were right in to a polished concrete class.  This was an awesome class!  We dyed and polished a floor that was in terrible shape. 

When the concrete was poured the finishers allowed the concrete to freeze that night which made for a soft surface full of random map cracking.  On this 1100 square foot section we actually had to densify twice to try and harden the surface back up enabling us to color and polish. Clif Rawlings and Howie Davidson of HTC America helped with this two-day seminar. 

We started in the classroom covering the important aspects of grinding and polishing with topics ranging from diamond tooling, floor hardness, the proper chemicals to use as well as how to run the equipment. After classroom time, we were off and running starting to work on our floor.  Once instruction on proper densifying considerations was discussed, the students were able to run the HTC 800 using the 150m metal bond diamonds. While half of the group was busy running the equipment the other half were helping with laying out the design.  After all of the decorative score cuts were made and the floor was all ground to a 150, it was Miller time and the end of a very productive day. 

Our second day started immediately with applying DCI'S water based dyes in a variety of colors as well as application techniques.  We even did some airbrushing using DCI'S solvent-based dyes creating some interesting graphics.  Once the polishing was complete (1500 grit), the students had the opportunity to engrave graphics in to the polished surface creating some great looks using Engravacretes Barracuda.  After a quick cleaning of the floor was clean, the floor received a coat of DCI'S Polish Guard and a quick burnish which really made this floor pop!  Everyone was amazed (including me) at the transformation of this weak ugly floor to a durable aesthetically pleasing floor. 


We finished off the day with the application of a decorative metallic epoxy border to compliment the shiny polished surface.  As you can see, the students were able to learn many interesting techniques in addition to the polishing process.  Great job guys!

Skim Coats - Stains - Dyes, Kevin McGovern w/ Mirage Studios
June 30 - July 1-2, 2008


Lee Ann and I and son Robby headed to New York to teach a Skim coat stains and dyes class featuring ColorMaker Floors products. 

The class was held at host Kevin McGovern of Mirage Studio's location.  Kevin's company is already well established in the faux finish and concrete countertop community and wanted to take on the ColorMaker line adding to his distribution side of the business.  ColorMaker Floor representative Victor Pachade also helped teach this class as well as lend a helping hand.

This class of thirteen or so students had the chance to work with Sgraffino and Pentimento skim coats.  Considering the condition of Kevin's existing floor with many pit's and divots not to mention being way out of level, his new floor turned out beautiful.  After the newly skim coated floors had sufficient cure time, we used Patina etch and Deco dyes as the main coloring system.  The group also had a go at some decorative score cutting as well as some unique texturing tricks mimicking flagstone using Sgraffino. 

Kevin overheard Lee Ann mention about the possibility of attending a Yankees game one evening after class.  After a few phone calls, he had us sitting just above third base in some incredible seats.  We can't thank you enough for this special treat! 

It was great visiting Yankees stadium especially since the old stadium will soon be a thing of the past.  Thanks for all of your and John's hospitality and we can't wait for you to visit us here in Georgia.

Vacation in New York with the Cardone Family
July 3-5, 2008

After a successful skim coat class with Kevin and staff, we stayed with family friends, the Cardone family and celebrated the fourth of July together. 

Rob had never been to New York so this was a great opportunity to visit the great city of Manhattan and spend some quality time with friends.  After a whirlwind tour of down town seeing such sites as Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty and Wall Street, we had a wonderful seafood dinner and a great evening out at time square. 


The fourth was an awesome day that started off with a visit to Coney Island riding the Cyclone and then finished with a barbeque fit for a king.

This was a great visit with our close friends Dom, Janine, Little (BIG) Dom, Nick, Pete, and Tomasina.  Thanks and you guys are the best!

Preitech, Cast-in-Place Countertops
July 17-18, 2008

Our cast in place counter top class produced some over the top counters.  In attendance was the owner of Preitech Mike Eastergaurd offering advice on how this unique forming system works. 

The class was able to see how both reusable molds worked as well as the custom foam sinks and edge forms. Doug Bannister's enCOUNTER bagged mix was used along with their admixtures enFLOW, enFIBER and air minus producing a glass like appearance that produces a surface that does not require polishing.


The class was able introduce crushed colored glass and a geo fossils that was later exposed on a few of the pieces. In addition to producing some stunning vanity tops, we poured top mount sinks without the plumbing knockouts that we then used as displays at our shop. 


Other demonstrations included casting backsplashes using the reflective casting mat.  Once the backsplashes had cured, we then colored them with DCI dyes and sealed it with water-based epoxy.  Mike commented that he had never seen that much light reflection on any pour he had previously done which was largely a function of the sealer we used. After demonstrations on coloring techniques on a custom Harley sink we cast during the class were shown, the group then sealed their projects. 

This was a great class with a bunch of concrete being poured.  Stay tuned for our next pre-cast class; you won't want to miss it!

The Calm Before the Storm
July 22-26, 2008

This was a busy week to say the least.  Not only were we preparing for our major event on the upcoming Saturday (we'll get to that in a minute) we had a few rocking parties that I think we are all still recovering from. 

Both Lee Ann's family as well as Bob's family came in early in addition to close friends the Cardone Family, John Tutunjian and Kat, Marvin and Tina Brooks, Barb and Sarge Sargent, Mike Eastergaurd, John Anderson Mark and Debbie Haen, and I'm sure I'm leaving out a ton of other people (sorry). 

Let me just say, I'm glad we have such good neighbors on the other side of the lake (Patsy and Gerald Allgood).  Dominick Cardone (with helpers Rob, little big Dom, Pete, Nick) put on the most awesome fireworks display that would easily compare against any major city's fireworks display! 

The show went on for an hour and I'm pleased to report, we had no visits from our local law enforcement. Whew!

Bob and Lee Ann's Wedding!
July 26, 2008

Well, for all of you that know us you are probably saying, "it's about damn time"!  I'm proud to say that on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon in Temple Georgia, Lee Ann officially became Mrs. Harris. 

It's hard to believe that we are actually hitched but, it feels great and we love it!  Mrs. Harris was a beautiful beaming bride that took my breath away. She looked beautiful!

The day started off with a crystal clear warm day at 90 or so degrees. We were so happy how the ceremony went considering the relaxed atmosphere with no rehearsing and everything just falling in to place.  The setting was great and if you can believe it, we were married on top of stained and stamped concrete.  Go figure!


After the ceremony was over and everyone had eaten, we had a steady rain, which helped cool things off a bit.  Once the rain stopped, the weather turned great once again with the party continuing well in to the wee hours of the morning.  3:30 am to be exact.  Ouch!!

We feel so privileged that our family and friends helped in sharing this special day with us.  It is a day (ok, week) we will cherish for a lifetime.  Whew whew !!

DCI Meeting
July 29, 2008

DCI hosts meeting with special out of town guests to discuss future projects and possibilities.  Unfortunately, you will have to stay tuned in upcoming newsletters for this potential major news. 

Chemical Staining & Specialty Techniques
July 31 - August 1, 2008
Finally, our last story of the newsletter.  If any of you actually read this entire newsletter to this point, leeAnn and I will treat you to your next beer while at DCI.  Of course, make sure you bring your coupon. 

The Monday after the wedding we are back at it pouring a slab for the upcoming Kemiko stain class.  If you can believe it, Barb And Sarge Sargent and Nephew Mason are back to DCI four days after the big wedding to help with the stain class.  What a great class it was! 

We started like we normally do in the classroom discussing all of the dos and don'ts associated with the stain market.  This class was very inquisitive wanting to have a clear understanding between Acid stains, dyes and water based stain.  After classroom time, we spent roughly one hour with a tool demonstration using the 4" grinder, The Crack Vac, the Barracuda, The Wasp and the rest was history. 

This class really took advantage of using the previously demonstrated tools.  We also had training on proper staining techniques and covered the of Modello stencils with gelled acid as well as Engravacretes re-usable stencils. 


We finished off the last day covering sealers, buff in wax, mop down wax as well as grouting techniques.  This was a busy two-day class not leaving much out.  Hat's off to the class, you did a great job!

That's it for now.  Sorry for the length of this newsletter.  Hopefully the next newsletter will be back to normal.  Time to get back to school.  See ya!

About Us

The Decorative Concrete Institute continues to provide consulting, education, installation and training to marketplaces across the United States and Internationally. DCI places its focus on Architects, Artists, Concrete Finishers, Faux Finishers, General Contractors, Interior Designers, Ready Mix Producers, etc. to bring them knowledge and offer advice on the demands of Interior and Exterior Architectural Design.

DCI has worked with and continues to work with a diverse range of industry professionals catering to the individual needs of each project focusing on products and designs that are conducive to the particular environment they are working in. DCI consults with on-the-job applications and installations and provides the technical expertise to complete jobs successfully.

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