Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stamped Driveways, comments on sealer

Here is an article that our own C.J. Salzano participated in ... C.J. was consulted on several topics regarding sealing driveway projects for this article ... Thought you might find it interesting.

Stamped DrivewaysIf your looking for a more realistic and natural stamped driveway, high gloss sealers should be avoided. “I hardly ever get any customers asking for a gloss look any more,” says C. J. Salzano of Salzano Custom Concrete in VA. “The trend is matte or a no-gloss look, very natural. After all, aren’t we trying to simulate natural stone? I don’t know many stones that are naturally glossy.” Sealers that provide color enhancement without producing a wet or glazed appearance can be found. These new-generation sealers for stamped concrete come in both solvent- and water-based versions, and they are gaining wider acceptance in the industry. You can also use penetrating sealers, which were rarely used in years past, but are also starting to gain mainstream acceptance.

Link to the article

Mobile Technology in the Construction Industry

Found this article on mobile technology in the construction industry. Thought is was interesting and eye-opening. Interesting to see the percent of use of these devices with construction managers and workers with storing contacts, use for email, and accessing information relevant to the job via the device.

Have a look:

Salzano Custom Concrete


Not real good about using Twitter yet. I have tweeted (is that a word?) a few times, but not sure anyone is twistening ....

Love it, will keep it up. If you see a tweet from us, let us know that you saw it, would give us a confidence boost!

Follow us at Twitter @SalzanoConcrete

Salzano Custom Concrete

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Interesting Article on Stamped Concrete
Found this interesting article about stamped concrete. I like it because is it quite unbiased from a third party reporter, just stating the facts.

What is Stamped Concrete?

Stamped concrete involves pouring slab concrete for driveways, walkways, patios, etc., and then impressing both patterns and textures onto the concrete before it is fully dry. For many years, a lesser form of stamped concrete was often seen that merely duplicated patterns. But the newer types of stamped concrete impart textures that duplicate many different surfaces such as cobblestones, brick, pavers, wood, seashells, and more. Also, pigment is usually added to stamped concrete to further duplicate the look of such patterns.

Read the entire Article here.

Feel free to call anytime to discuss these details.
Salzano Custom Concrete

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sprinkler Systems vs. patio projects

Wanted to post some information about sprinkler systems with respect to our patio and other concrete projects.

Typically, if we are doing a backyard patio installation a homeowner will advise us if there is an existing sprinkler system, or if one is planned.  If there is an existing system, we always advise that you let your sprinkler company know what your plans are for the new patio. Often, they would like to move or add heads or zones to better cover the area with the new patio. In terms of precautions for installation of the patio and not interfering with the sprinkler heads, pipes or other components, we recommend that you have your sprinkler company come out after we have all excavation done and form work in place, but before we have poured the concrete. This is good timing so in the event they want to make a modification to the system or if any repairs are needed, its much easier to do before the new concrete is in place.

Hope this helps.
Call anytime to discuss.

For general information on sprinkler systems, feel free to contact the sprinkler association at Sprinkler Association.

You can also contact any local sprinkler contractors. There are many in Northern Virginia. Here are a few:


KT Irrigation

Affordable Lawn Sprinklers

Long Fence and Irrigation

Allen Sprinkler

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Hey, do any of you use Facebook?
I guess that's a silly question these days.

We have a Facebook page that we put up about a year ago. Click here to see our Facebook page.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

PSI .... What is that?

PSI is the measurement of the strength of concrete.

PSI is an acronym that stands for Pounds per Square Inch.

It is important to know the PSI rating of your concrete. This is something you can discuss with your contractor to be sure you are getting the appropriate concrete mix.

The actual strength of a particular concrete mix is determined by many things most notably by the ratio of Portland cement in the mix ... This is the ingredient that makes the concrete hard and strong.

Similar to horse power n your car you want to be sure you have enough but no sense paying for more than you really need.

Concrete mixes or "recipes" can have PSI ratings that range from 500 to over 10,000. The PSI range most common for residential concrete work is 2,000 to 5,000. PSI ratings below 2000 and over 5000 are really reserved for specialty work.

So within the range of 2000 to 5000 is most common for residential work.

Let's tighten up this range of a little bit more. It is recommended that for most all residential walkway driveway or patio projects the practical minimum is 3000 PSI and max 4000 PSI.

Concrete is customarily ordered in increments of 500 PSI. So that leaves us with concrete with a PSI rating of 3000, 3500 or 4000.

So let's now throw in our recommendations to never use 3000 psi for residential concrete work.

So now we are really down to a choice of 2 concrete mixes one at 3500 and one at 4000 PSI.

Some contractors routinely use 3500 for all projects. Some other contractors may routinely used 4000 for all projects.

Another rule of thumb used by contractors is to use 3500 walkways and patios and to use 4000 for driveways, carports or other areas carrying vehicle loads. This is a very reasonable approach one that we use regularly.

Some customers want us to use the stronger mix at 4000 thinking that will prevent cracks. Concrete with stronger strength rating yes is stronger and yes is more resilient but certainly is not a guarantee against cracking.

In summary try to stay with either 3500 or 4000 strength concrete for most of your residential concrete project. As always remember to discuss these details with your contractor so there are no surprises.


Note: There are of course cases where 3000 or lower PSI rating is appropriate and also cases where 4500 or stronger PSI is needed. The notes in this posting cover most general presidential concrete project.

Hope this has been helpful.
Salzano Custom Concrete

Thursday, July 18, 2013


A well deserved shout-out to one of our favorite decorative concrete suppliers, Proline Concrete Stamp products.

See many photos on their Facebook Page

We have some of their stamping tools and use some of their chemical products.

Salzano Custom Concrete

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Surface color, vs integral color

Did you know there are 2 ways to color stamped concrete?

The base color, aka the predominant color of the patio can be infused into the concrete 2 different ways. (Yes, I'm sure there are more than 2, but for the purpose of this discussion, the 2 most common are addressed here)

First, the color can be mixed through and through into the concrete. This is referred to as "Integral" color. This is typically done at the plant when the concrete is ordered. So the light gray, or beige tone (or whichever color you select) is mixed in the "million dollar machine" at the concrete plant. So when the concrete shows up on the job, it is already pre-colored.  Contractors love this .... much of the work to color the concrete is already done!!

The other way to achieve that base color is to use a product called "Surface Color Hardener". This is produced my many decorative concrete chemical manufacturers. Surface color is a technique where the color is broadcast, by hand, out onto the concrete when it is still wet. The color, in powder form, is absorbed into the top surface of the concrete and worked into the surface with float tools by the concrete finishing crew. The surface color hardener technique increased the surface strength to 6,000 - 7,000 PSI. It essentially puts a hardened shell onto the patio. This color is permanent, doesn't chip away, doesn't fade and you can't wear through it.

Both coloring techniques are good, both are permanent, both are generally accepted in the industry.

There are many other pros and cons to these 2 techniques. Call anytime or ask more questions during your consultation. Happy to discuss this in much more detail.

There are many advocates of integral color, and many for surface color. Most people instinctively feel that the integral color is the better, more robust technique ... but when you dig into it, most would agree that surface color is the way to go!!

One of the common manufacturers of integral (through-and-through) colors is Davis Concrete Colors.

The surface color hardener products are also produced by many manufacturers. Some of the commons ones are Inicrete and Brickform / Solomon ... another is Butterfield and another is Scofield color

BTW, the highlight or "Release" color is most always put on as a powder ....

Feel free to call anytime to discuss.
Salzano Custom Concrete

Another happy customer!!

We are very appreciative of the time that customers take to write nice reviews for us.  Here is another example of the dozens and dozens of great online reviews customers have posted for us.

Here's what we got when we hired CJ Salzano and his team to cover 31 concrete steps and 55 feet of concrete walkway with flagstone in Arlington: superb workmanship, attention to detail, prompt and polite customer service ... and a fair price. Last but not least, the crew cleaned up so well, there's no hint that eight days of dirty, sweaty work had just taken place. If we need more such work in the future, there will be no need to obtain other bids. This is an outstanding, well-run company that understands just who pays their salaries. Marilyn and Joe  Superb, from start to finish. $15,000.00

to see others, check out YELP, and Angies List, and Better Business Bureau

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Main ingredients in Concrete

Did you know there are 4 main ingredients in concrete?

Gravel ..... and last, but certainly not least
Portland Cement

See this great article on Wikipedia.com on concrete.

YELP review filter

YELP is a popular review site. Many people use it to find a good local restaurant, hair dresser, plumber, or even a company to help with some decorative concrete work. YELP.com has become one of the most popular review sites on the web.

When a homeowner or customer uses a business, store, service, etc.. they go onto yelp.com and file a new report for that business. Sometimes raving about great food, or great service, and other times to complain about a bad experience. Yelp users, aka "YELPers" feel that they are saving other YELPers from having a similar bad experience if they post a bad review.

Many YELPers spend a fair amount of time writing these reviews for good or for bad to help build the YELP community.

YELP.com on the other end reads the dozens and hundreds of new reviews that are posted each day. These reviews are read electronically by a YELP filtering process. This software program(s), aka, filter, attempts to "weed out" reviews that it deems to be falsified, fake, or otherwise not having been created in a legitimate manner.

This filter has created a life of its own.....   This filter or filtering process has good intention, but has at the same time created major problems for many innocent bystanders.

Many YELPers are very upset that they spend lots of time writing detailed reviews and come to find out a day or 2 later, their hard work has been wiped out by the YELP filter.

The main premise of YELP, to facilitate freedom of speech, is by its own doing, by this now infamous filtering process, has silenced the same freedom of speech that YELP.com was created to promote ... how ironic ...

Many legitimate business owners have had good reviews left by YELPers, again, only to find out that a few days later, the reviews vanish ... swallowed up by the YELP filter.

If you do a Google search for "YELP review filter" you will find dozens if not hundreds of complaining users, both YELPers and business owners about what seems to be unfair business practice, as this filter, in all good faith tries to weed out the bad, but also inadvertently is weeding out the good.  Search Google here for YELP review filter.

YELP has many pages on its website that explain the filter ... sort of .... they explain what its for and how great its suppose to be, but go on to say that the details of which and why get weeded out are very proprietary, and they cannot go into any detail.  Click here for one YELP page on explaining the YELP filter explained

Try calling YELP to request putting legitimate review back online? Ha ... sort of a joke I guess. Really nobody on the other end of the phone to talk to ... other than those selling YELP advertising ... Hmmmmm ... some of the hits on Google when you search "YELP review filter" suggest that maybe, just maybe, those companies that refuse to spend money advertising on YELP are the same companies whos good reviews are being scraped away by the filter ... no way to prove such a thing ... and certainly would be highly unethical, and potentially illegal; but many Google'ers have come to this conclusion.

There are law suits pending, and some court cases on this topic ... not sure where this is going, but just wanted to give a shout-out to the YELP filter, and ask it to quit filtering out legitimate reviews for us and the YELPers spending time writing review and many other businesses effected by this ....

Salzano Custom Concrete

Salzano Custom Concrete, accredited business on BBB

Just a quick post to provide a link to show our accreditation with the Better Business Bureau BBB.

Click here to show the profile for Salzano Custom Concrete
BBB accredited company Salzano Custom Concrete

We are very proud to offer this new qualification for customers. This qualification helps to ensure customers that Salzano Custom Concrete is professional, insured and experienced company to fill your needs with any decorative concrete service.

Click the link above for the BBB site to see more information on the requirements to become an accredited business.

Great information in Concrete Decor magazine

Just wanted to give a shout-out to our friends over at the Concrete Decor magazine.

Click this link to their site:
Concrete Decor Magazine

This trade magazine is one of the voices in the decorative concrete industry. Month after month they publish great articles on various interesting topics on stamped concrete, concrete staining, concrete resurfacing, concrete polishing, and many other interesting services and techniques.

Take a look at this link when you have time.

Salzano Custom Concrete

Award winning project, Watergate complex in Washington, DC --- Salzano Custom Concrete

Click the link below to read an article on Concrete Decor magazine and website on a pool deck project we completed at the famous Watergate complex pool deck.

Watergate pool deck project by Salzano Custom Concrete

For this project we had to first prepare the surface to receive a new decorative concrete overlay. This is a cementious resurfacing product that we use to "coat" the existing concrete to give it a completely new and updated appearance.

Read the article for many details about the project.

Salzano Custom Concrete

Award winning project, Manassas, Va

Salzano Custom Concrete, award winning custom stamped concrete project in Manassas, Va.

Click on the link below to see a write-up and details on our custom stamped concrete project in Manassas, Va. Worked with this homeowner to design and build a very unique multi-color stamped concrete backyard patio space. This project included 2 staircases and a 2-tier patio area.

Take a look at the photos to see the various coloring effects that were done on this project. We have done many others like this, but each one is different, unique, and creates a custom space.

Concrete Decor project awards

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pool Decks by Salzano Custom Concrete

At Salzano Custom Concrete we can build your next new pool deck or provide renovations to your existing concrete pool deck.

Here is a great picture on pinterest.com of an existing pool deck that we renovated with a decorative concrete resurfacing application. Wow ... what a great transformation!


Revitalizing the contracting experience

Revitalizing the contracting experience

This sounds sooooo cliche!
I know that, but really ..... this is our objective and the way we are rooted.

We come to your house to see the project. Our initial consultation is typically 1+ hours long, and free of charge. We want to be able to meet with you, see the project area and help you come up with some great ideas for your new space.

We will come up with 3-4 different design ideas, sometimes more. We will leave copies with you of our design sketches to let you have time to decide the size and style you'd like.

Hard sell ???  Not here..........
We are anxious to work with you, but will never put you under pressure to "decide right now". We never require both spouses to be home ... normally a sign of high pressure to come ... we provide all information, provide you with a one-hour education on decorative concrete so that you can make a more informed decision.

Our objective is to provide as much "hand holding" as you need throughout the project. Stamped concrete is new to most everyone so we know you will have questions and be anxious about the whole project. So the more education we can give you in the beginning and help you to understand what to expect, the more pleasant and stress-free the experience will be for everyone.

We do our best to keep you informed, before and during the project by email, phone, text, etc.. as to schedule and progress details so you know what's going on at all times.

Changing prices? Raising prices?  Not here......
The price we quote you in the beginning is the final price!   Except of course if you change your mind along the way and want the project larger or smaller, we would modify the contract to suit.

Wrapping up the project ... we will meet at the end of the project for a final walk-through if you'd like. Happy to answer any questions you might have. We will also go through the maintenance items for cleaning, resealing etc....

We always want you to be comfortable with your new purchase so that you'd get many years of use out of your new space.

Thanks for reading!!


Lots of photos and useful information also at

Read some great articles on Concrete Decor website.

Salzano Custom Concrete

Creating a new generation of stamped concrete!

Modern stamped concrete has been around for over 30 years. The original discovery and trials of stamped concrete dates back even further. Over the past five years, stamped concrete is more and more, becoming a household term, just like flagstone and brick.

The traditional installation of stamped concrete has included one base color and one highlight color. The base color is typically the lighter color and the highlight color typically the darker color. The highlight color is also referred to as the "release" color. The base color can be introduced into the concrete as an integral color that is mixed "through and through", or can be applied as a surface color hardener. These are both good techniques, both strong, durable, and considered to be permanent. Most people "instinctively" feel that the through-and-through coloring method is better, but once you understand the details, you'll agree that they are both good, and to many in the business, the surface color method actually takes the edge. (see other articles and blogs on the topic of integral color vs surface color hardener).

Using the traditional 2-color process, the concrete can be stamped with any of dozens of stamp patterns. Most commonly Ashlar Slate patterns, Random Stone and brick patterns. For nearly every style of natural stone, brick, slate, wood, tile, etc... there is a corresponding stamp pattern to match. Stamp tools are actually made from real stone, so they produce a very life-like appearance.

Our unique new generation of stamped concrete introduces real grout in between what appears to be stones and also introduces many accent colors. This makes the stone pattern more detailed and as many customers have said "nearly indistinguishable from real stone".

We always use matte finish sealer which is the lowest gloss available. We agree that making stamped concrete too shiney makes is look fake. Stamped concrete is sealed for many reasons, and as long as we use the low gloss matte finish sealer, the stamped concrete retains a very authentic look.

Give us a call anytime for an appointment to discuss this further.

Hope you have found this informative and helpful!
Salzano Custom Concrete