Decorative Coatings, Las Vegas & the World of Concrete
Kim and I just returned from a week at the World of Concrete in Las Vegas. I’m really not trying to “rub it in” that we escaped the horrible cold (polar vortex) for 6 days. I just want to share some impressions and feedback from our trip.
The World of Concrete
This is one of the largest shows hosted in Las Vegas. If it has anything to do with concrete, it’s probably at the World of Concrete. Attended by about 50,000 people, the show features vendors and demonstrations on forming and pouring concrete, repairing concrete, polishing concrete, staining and dye work, decorative overlays and, of course, concrete coatings. The show is massive and requires about 3 days to walk through it all.
We got to see some of the truly artistic aspects of products we use, such as metallic epoxy. To the right is a picture where an artist used the same metallic pigments we use to do basements, offices and garage floors, but utilized them in highly decorative way to create a painting.
While the show is impressive, I have to admit that every trip to Las Vegas always impresses me because of all the types of decorative concrete finishes that are on permanent display on the Strip and elsewhere.
Decorative Coatings from Wheels Down to Wheels Up
If you have ever flown into Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport, then you have walked across hundreds of thousands of square feet of epoxy terrazzo. While most, larger airports in the United States seem to feature terrazzo flooring, I truly believe McCarran shows off how beautiful this type of flooring is (which is why our decorative ¼” chip and hybrid chip blends are modelled to look like epoxy terrazzo and are often referred to as faux terrazzo).
If you leave the airport for the Las Vegas Strip, you will encounter every type of decorative concrete I know of. Between the strip itself and inside the casinos, decorative concrete abounds in many forms:
- Epoxy coatings
- Epoxy terrazzo
- Stamped concrete
- Stained concrete
- Polished concrete
- Decorative, textured overlays
- Dyed and sealed concrete
Epoxy terrazzo is still the decorative finish of choice for many of the casinos. The casinos choose epoxy terrazzo for the same reason as the airports – epoxy terrazzo lasts longer than any other flooring I can think off while not showing the normal wear and tear. Why don’t we all use it? Because epoxy terrazzo is so expensive; it typically costs between $40 and $100 per square foot. There are other flooring systems which present more effective choices for residential and commercial flooring, such as decorative chips, decorative quartz and metallic epoxy.
Head down to the Freemont Street Experience (the “old town” section of Las Vegas) and you will the less costly, “faux terrazzo” decorative chip flooring. This is the same type of garage floor finish we apply to several hundred residential garage floors per year in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Granted, some of the coatings on Freemont Street could use a facelift, but they do face millions of footsteps, spills & splashes, wheeled carts and cleanings per year.
Outside of the casinos, you encounter a lot of stamped concrete which integrates stains or dyes to give it color and texture. While the newer pours look good, most of it still suffers the same problems we see here in the mid-Atlantic area: hazing under the sealers and fading of the colors.
That may be one of the reasons why I started to see decorative chip and decorative quartz epoxy coatings on the outsides of some of the casinos on the Strip.
If you get out to Las Vegas, remember to look down sometimes to see the beautiful decorative concrete options present at every turn. And don’t worry, you don’t have to look when you get on the gambling floors, it’s all carpet then.
Mike Mincemoyer is the President of Stronghold Floors and one member of the ownership team. Mike always enjoys visiting Las Vegas. He has been known to visit the Craps tables and pull the handle on a few slot machines.