Ethics Business Supplier

The Tipping Point

White Lie / Harsh Truth

As a young buck stepping out into the business world in the trades, I took strides through learnt lessons of text in how a business should aspire to greater heights. Expand. More employee’s. Tender contracts. Government contracts. Chase the dragon. Bottom line! bottom line! bottom line!

After several years stepping down said path, I came to realise I was just like all the other conglomerate assholes with no actual ethics within an astronomical unit of reality, solely existing to drive profits and not caring who we stand on in the process.

I still remember going to the local hardware in Nerang with my father. Asking the man who owned / operated the establishment what his thoughts were on the particular project at hand, to recieve knowledge not only greater than ours on the subject, but from someone who actually cared about the result…as opposed to modern day hardware employee’s who wouldn’t know their asshole from elbow (for the most part). Best just remaining quiet to prevent losing brain cells through in depth discussion with the resident slugs who make up the cogs of the ever expanding wheel of profiteering.

From those early lessons, then subsequently from my lessons learnt travelling the wrong path early on, I soon directed the business into a more personal establishment, where the crew might be small, but the experience high and someone you can trust when in conversation, every word from my mouth is honest and with your best intentions in mind for the outcome of your project.

I also tend to make this simple frame of thought expand thoughout my entire business. The material suppliers and manufacturers I choose to work with not only offer high quality products, but also value their customers and their business, along with their return business through a quality relationship.

My conrete supplier? 11 years I’ve been with them. The last time I spoke with their rep, I simply said “I’m not one of these guys who goes around several companies and plays one against the other, we’ve been working together for a long time, I think the prices have gotten a bit high, can you see what you can do for me?”. The next day my rep dropped the prices 15% all across the board, much more than I was expecting, but only received through an above standard relationship over the last decade.

My steel, resurfacing, epoxy and machine suppliers, are all leaning closer to 10 years working with me than anything else, hell, Ollie my longest employee has been with me for 14 years. I value long term relationships that I can trust. Which leads to me the point of this post.

Today, the line was crossed and I flipped. I don’t get angry often, so when I do, you should listen closely and take heed.

Now I’ve been in the game a really long time. I snicker when the concrete supplier, who is an hour late, tells me the “plant broke down”. If only I had a dollar every time huh?…

I have a laugh on the blue bird skies day when a machine operator says he got a puncture, knowning damn well he’s a fishmerman and always takes a day off on days like today. It’s cool. A common understanding. All little white lies with a little tongue in cheek. They know, we know, whatever.

But when you’ve expanded your business and your 20 yo is trying to tell me how to run my business, I get a little agitated. When that 20 yo, after a week waiting on a repair to my grinders, says that there’s no news yet and we need to wait a bit longer, I’m patient, I sit. When I  touch base again Friday, only to be told I’m being pushy and the repairer is waiting on parts to fix a $20 tag and test lead on the grinder which should have only taken 2 days….I smell and rat and get a little fucking frustrated.

When I finally get in contact directly with the 3rd party repairer you sent it off too, finding out the grinder had been repaired for the last 3 days and you simply haven’t bothered contacting them to find out, wasting my time and not appreciating the exxy profit I was prepared to pay you for the service, knowing I haven’t got a second to scratch myself at the moment with how busy we are to fix it myself? You’re lucky I didn’t come down there and ram the grinder up your ass. This isn’t a white lie, it is blatant disrepect for my money and my business, take your medicine boy.

All an old school bush kid like myself requires, is honesty. Tell me you’re busy and haven’t had a chance to follow it up. No problems. But treat me like an idiot and piss down my back telling me it’s raining, I’m taking my money elsewhere. Just between you and me, it’s not a small amount I spend on floor grinding.

I’ll explain that to your boss when he realises why I haven’t been in for a few months.

I suppose at the end of the day, I don’t expect your business to stay small, you travel your own path. But, I do require industry level respect. I’ve earnt that much through being a quality customer.

Fine Tuning

Back From Holidays and Doing Some Fine Tuning

Gears Starting to Grind Again

So here we are, back into the hamster wheel again and beginning to tumble towards our business goals. It was a long 4 months of Covid19 madness for us consisting of 70+ hour weeks for pretty much the entire 4 months, then 2 weeks of bliss as soon as they opened up travel again as we went north for boating, fishing and swimming relief.

The first week or so back has seen a few tantrums (by me of course), not wanting to let go of the holidays, but alas, my head and toes are all pointed in the same direction again.

Having a second to breathe over holidays and our first week back, where the pressure of our schedule hasn’t been too crazy, has allowed me to see what is maybe a fault in the marketing of our designs and what we can offer our clients. If you look through our work on social media and website, we have a hell of a lot of pieces that are very customised throughout, but we have made the mistake of giving each artistic piece a design name. Now although this is really cool to name some of the creations I’ve delved into, I think there is room to separate the sections into categories.

So what I’ve done firstly, is just adjust our Custom Concrete Designs page to show the following area categories.

Natural Stone Designs

This design process if leaned towards what the name suggests, a more natural stone appearance. It consists of several blending tones applied through several layers and can be completed in several different colour and tone combinations. This allows us to bring this particular design process into any home or work place and allow it to flow with it’s surroundings.

Custom Concrete Resurfacing Stockholm Slate
Custom Concrete Resurfacing Sandstone Desert Dreams

Artistic Flow Designs

This is the design category where I work in depth with our clients to create something more directed towards artstic creation as opposed to a natural appearance. There is no end to colour combinations and flowing, either give me a little direction, work right alongside me or let me go with true autonomy to put a one of a kind piece of art onto your home or workplace setting.

Custom Decorative Concrete Installation Ormeau
Custom Concrete Sandstone Finish Ormeau

What's Next?

From here, we have an absolute nightmare schedule in front of us for at least another 6 weeks to get on top of things, then we can hopefully breath a little bit and maybe even work on some new designs. We’re booked pretty solid up until Christmas at present, but as always, we’re still quoting any potential clients who are firstly not bothered with the waiting period, or who are looking for that something different and unique to stand out from the crowd.

Keep up to date with what we’re up to on our Instagram, we post nearly everything up there.

Hope everyone out there is doing good with all the madness in the world at the moment. Victoria might be back in the shit again, but the night is darkest before the dawn, hang in there guys.

See you next time I find some mental energy to put some words on paper.

Sydney Kiddo

Our Cobblestone Pathway

Well paved, but trip hazards everywhere!

3 weeks with no days off. Or is it 4? 5? Who the hell knows. I do know however it’s at least over 3 months where 70+ hour weeks have just become so normal that the numb feeling above the shoulders blends into the same mundane mood the body portrays on a daily basis….limping and whinging as we stumble down the road ahead whilst telling ourselves we should be thankful for being so busy, there are plenty who aren’t.

Which of course, we are, but that isn’t to say my old body isn’t getting tired, along with the few braincells that still output some semblance of stability starting to spark failures.

Thanks to government incentives, effectively throwing money back into the general persons pockets (one could say lowering taxes *cough*), whilst cutting a little of the red tape and letting business go as hard as they can to try and limit what was seen as a devastating pandemic, turning it into a “possible” economic recovery…..from the GFC in 2008!

Yes, I said that correctly….2008. Maybe my mind is a little too analytical at the expense of common sense, but if you wish to have a further conversation on this topic, a concreter’s blog isn’t the place to do so.

Let’s just say, I’m noticing changes that “could” help re-adjust the inflation and wage disparity caused by the 2008 GFC, and bring things more in line with how the every day person lives their lives.

But I digress…

Since rebuilding after 2008 myself, I had a focus in mind for what I wanted to acheive with the business and we’re slowly making progress towards that. I have an end goal in mind, of staying small and providing quality, customised hardscape services to residential clientelle throughout South East Queensland.

My end game? Nothing but high end, decorative concrete, epoxy and overlay installations, booked steadily for 4-6 months at a time.

Whether we get there or not is one tale to tell, which we will only read about through constant and consistent hard work and dedication to our trade, projects and clients. We shall not fail this section through lack of trying hard enough.

But, in the mean time, we also need to tread carefully on the cobblestone road, because although it is paved, it is easy to stumble and slip in the joints when we’re too tired to take notice of the little things, the minor details that will cause a trip and take us backwards from our future.

After over 3 months without a break, we are now looking to take a small, 10-14 day “reset” away from work. We have clients and projects booked in until January now and we completely appreciate your bookings and your trust to have us complete your work, but, without a reset when we are exahusted, we will find ourselves (at times), tripping over the smaller details and not fully appreciating the workmanship that has gone into building the road in the first place.

We understand that some of our near future clients have been waiting patiently for us to start their projects. We also completely thank you for understanding that we need a break. If you can have just a little more patience, we promise to deliver to you a great piece of workmanship that is not only worth the wait, but that you can trust will remain that way for years to come.

We have about another week of work left before heading off (weather permitting). We will inform all of you as we make the decision and we thoroughly look forward to starting your project as soon as the brain (and body), have received a reset.

Cheers guys and chat soon.

My Daughter

A Price Paid

Oh! No! Another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody! - Cat Stevens

I’m sitting here on yet another “Saturday” night without you (actually Friday but I like that song), my daughter. I’m meant to be able to spend time with you on weekends at least these days. Even if just for a few days each week, at least it’s something for one of the few people in this world I actually give a fuck about. But it’s been so long since I’ve seen you, three months, feels like a lifetime……

But I understand. Covid has you worried and your mother moved so far away it’s hard…..I’ll be patient. I have no choice.

I do miss you though, with all my heart. Even just to be in the same house as each other, warmed my heart and calmed me. Not much else in this world has let me be at ease, but having you close by, has always made me feel full, complete.

Unbalanced

After I found out my girlfriend was pregnant, I was completely shocked to say the least. I mean, I know very well what unprotected sex leads to, I’m not a complete fool…..but when it happens at the dumbshit age of 23, it comes as quite an eye opener. I’m fresh back from Warranbool playing in the Hamptons League in Western Victoria following my 3rd knee injury, met the girl of my dreams (at the time) and one thing leads to another…..

I guess this kicked me into gear a little bit. I come from a family that swings to the right and is business orientated to the small to medium degree, so I guess I just followed my path laid out before me by my role models as I assumed everything should happen.

“Mother holds the child, Father holds the family”.

Fuck me! How much is that proverb completely out of fashion and almost sounds like rythmic swearing in the modern age?

Either way, this is the only path that I saw before me. I would put everything into my new business while my partner held our child.

But given the modern age, equality between sexes, political correctness and all that new age jibberish that a bush kid struggles to understand…….that old age adage just does not ring true anymore.

I spent four years at this stage, working like a dog. 70+hrs a week. Running a crew as all good dads should. Pushing. Striving. Defiant. Only to run into a dead end and be bitch slapped by the GFC. Fuck you bankers, you very well knew what you were doing. Shame on you.

Unpaid invoices. Insolvency. No money left after paying my men. Payment plans to no evail. Broke…..

But worse than all that? I lost you. My young, new family was broken. Your mother and I, we’re adults and we’ll manage. But your little face shadowing my every step in that amazing little fairy costume…..just brought me to tears.

Finding Balance

After all the smoke cleared and the bankruptcy took place. Your mother and I split with an arrangement for a 50/50 split on what we would provide you. Not just money, but time, effort and everything else involved….we BOTH, wanted the best for you in a bad situation.

I said at this stage I would never put working 70+hrs  a week ahead of spending time with my daughter again. My one and only daughter. My light in this dark sub-conscience state of mind where nothing else shines so brightly. I spend the next 3 years of my mandatory bankruptcy dedicating myself to giving myself to my daughter, as much as I could, while learning again, how to be a father.

Not long after this, your mother wanted to move away. She had found someone else and sought an opportunity away from the horrific Gold Coast that had tainted so much of our family in the past. But I refused. I refused to let you go. I refused to let you move away from a dad who was trying his hardest to be a “good” dad. I’d tell myself mothers don’t pull thier child away from thier father if the father wants to be there, trying to be good and do the right thing.

With my definance, that I’ve always had, I held on tight to you for a few years. Your mother moved away. I sacrificed business to make sure my dauthter did not get second place again. But alas. Puberty comes, you miss your mother and need more support from a closer aspect than your red neck, bush kid father can provide…..so I made the decision to let you go. To move with your mother down south and for me, to be become the weekend component in your life.

Roller Coaster

I return to the first section of this blog. “Oh no another Saturday night!”

After this stupid fucking Covid19, media shit storm hit…..you my daugher, the direct descendant of complete hatred of the modern, conglomerate system, has decided it’s better to listen to the media blackmail, sit tight and do exactly as this government tells you to do, only to not see your father for over three months now.

I sit here on one side of the fence, working my butt off making hay while the sun shines, back into that 70+hrs a week for lack of a better choice. Yet I find myself completely confused again internally with what balance I’ve been trying to find for the past 13-14 years, between family and work.

I hope through all this, it’s the little things that you’re able to appreciate if you get a chance to read dad’s fumblings. The little contextual components to writing, where you can see through the bullshit and take note of the simplest things, like I did my best to put family before work in every pretext of my life, as at the time, I understood throughout several generational changes in our life time.

Although I love my work and I’m so proud of how far this ugly bush kid has come in life….

It’s still you sweetheart. Until my dieing breath. You are my breath.

I love you.

Humble Pie Exapnding Thank you

To Avoid the Inevitable – A Failure

First World Problems

Just to start this post off, for those who don’t know me, a little back ground.

I’m just a kid from the bush, jam full of ADHD to the point where education was as likely as Elvis entering a body building competition.

I’ve read a grand total of 4 books in my entire life.

1: The White Spider – Heinricch Harrer
2: Gates of Fire – Steven Pressfield
3: We Were Soldiers Once, and Young – Harold Moore and Joseph Galloway
4: Chicken Hawk – Robert Mason

Don’t ask me why these books drew my attention long enough to finish them. Maybe the sense of adventure through a world where society said it shouldn’t…..couldn’t happen. Absolute defiance just because the social norms said…….”you can’t”, fuck you!.

A single page can literally take me 20 minutes to read by the time I lose focus and have to restart it. But writing…for some reason, albeit with grammatical and spelling errors comfounded, have always come naturally and I enjoy telling a few tales for those interested enough to lend an ear.

I hate conformity. Whether it’s to do with my social limitations or my learning difficulties, I just hate it. Try and put me in a box, I’ll rip that damn thing apart and come out banging my chest like fucking the rock ape I am.

At one time though, I did follow that road. With youth, naivety and lack of a better role model, I started out my business following the corporate mentality to business SUCCESS!!!!! Pffft. What a fucking joke…..Take your corporate carrot and stick it up your ass.

2008. GFC. Nearly 100K in debt through builders and debt contracts following the yellow brick road….bankruptcy hit. What a drag. 3 years it took me to stabalise somewhat from that garbage. Just a young guy from the sticks trying to make it big in the city…..only to be slapped back to earth by the smarties working the system more effectively. Lesson learned. Never again.

After stablising, rebuilding, slowly. I have brought the business through a more secure growing phase, over several years.

I threw away the builders, developers and middle men and made myself that direct person that the residential industry can contact for all their concrete, decorative concrete, resurfacing and epoxy services, backed up now by a solid history of experience, through blood sweat and tears…..literally.

Servicing the Gold Coast only firstly. Booked 4 weeks sporadic. Then 4 weeks doubled up. Then 8 weeks sporadic. 8 weeks doubled up. 3 months sporodic before I started to branch out farther into the southern and eastern Brisbane regions. The same time frame before facing what we do now.

I have worked my absolute ass off not to expand the business in personel. To keep things “family friendly” so to speak. The contractor pricing your work, is the contractor completing your work. No sub-contracting, just straight up old fashioned service with a focus on quality and service. Now the problem presents of keeping the same philosophy, whilst being forced into a corner, having to punch our way out….

But there is a simple lesson I’ve learned. With the right mentality of the harder you work, the more you succeed, it is inevitable that we reach the point that my wife and I reached today….

The point where we put our hands up, surrender….and expand.

It’s just too much. 70+ hours a week, week after week after month……We’re tired and need someone to back us up. My lovely wife Camilla jumped on board about a year ago now to back me up and man, hasn’t she done a wonderful job…albeit to only make us busier and force us quicker into this position, devil’s advocate…..but a good devil to boot. I met her while she was working elsewhere with a very similar line…..it worked in a young, innocent enthusiasm at the time.

“A good woman will make you, a bad will break you”. how true can an old adage ring true”. Love you Sugar Tits.

As of today, the 15th of May 2020, we are facing down a work schedule on average 2 medium sized projects per week, until the start to mid of October 2020. Roughly 5 months booked ahead with double bookings each week.

I won’t lie, I’m comforbital with my masculinity…but I cried a little today. Cried because I haven’t a day off for fucking months and I’m exhausted. I cried because I’m so godamn proud an uneducated bush kid can actually get along in this world by sheer determination and hard work. So humble and proud of ourselves. Cheers to whomever is seeing us stand up to the “norm” and provide something a little different, at the risk of being different. Quality above quantity. End of story.

Facing the inevitable, we are now looking to “lightly” expand. A long term collegue and friend of mine is looking for other avenues in life. We have been working together for over a decade in the industry and friends for much longer.

At least this method of expanding, is still keeping the moral values of our business in tune. At least this way, we still stay that family friendly, old fashioned service without sending out sub-contractors to fuck things up and create more problems, than solutions.

Down to earth, professional, one on one service for your concrete and flooring needs throughout South East Queensland.

We will now be collapsing our 5 month schedule into a more compact schedule so as to keep clients from having to wait so long for our services and subsequently happier overall….

The next step? We’ll cross that bridge as we get to it.

For now, thank you to all our past, present and awaiting customers. I am so damn proud every time I hear you call up and accept our quotation proposal, leave a nice review or just generally work on your project while sharing a coffee and conversation.

I have met the best people of my life through work and business. I’m so grateful to you all.

Thank you all for my reasonable level of success to date, I wish you all the very best for your future goals you’re working so hard to acheive. Don’t let the goverment, society norms or other dictate how you lead your life.

Be free. Pave your own path. It’s worth effort.

No Articles

The Ability to Say NO! – Politely

It's a Subtle Art

Many moons ago, when I was a little younger, had much more enthusiasm and a shit load less security in my income, I found myself saying YES to pretty much anything I had to, to win the next project and move forward in my business endeavours.

Literally, if I was pricing to install your patio and you asked me hang your washing to win the contract, I washed those dirty ass long johns and hung them out again smelling like sunflowers.

But these days, things are much different and people should not get offended by it.

I did a bit of learning through a good friend of mine in the industry, cheers big Roddy, who really only taught me one thing….the ability to say NO and how to do it with ease.

Firstly. Get a bank roll. Set yourself up financially. You don’t need to be rich, I am faaaaar from it. But having enough bank roll to not “need” to complete the work being asked of me, allows me to say NO easily and move onto the next project.

Secondly, raise your standards of professionalism. Give yourself true credit for you abilities, and charge accordingly. I am here to install your decorative concrete to the best of my 20+ year ability, wash your own f*cking underwear.

I must admit, it did take a while to get there. Many years of sweat and tears, but I earned my bones thoroughly.

If you call up and ask me to do a slap job over your shitty looking concrete, cheaply, so you can sell your house and pass the problem onto the next person, you will politely get a NO as I walk away from you.

If I advise you why I won’t install a Stain to your concrete, because I don’t consider it a long lasting application for me to be taking your money for, but still ask me to do it anyways because you are selling the house, please don’t get offended by my abrupt NO.

If you’re someone who gets offended by being said NO to, then please just don’t ring us at all. We don’t want your work.

There are many things we say YES to. I’m a positive person and love a challenge. We love hearing from and working with clients who are genuinely serious about high quality, long lasting hardscape finishes, whether it is for themselves, or to pass onto the next person buying their home.

But when I say NO, there’s a good reason for it and you should take heed…..even though the next guy you get might do your cheap nasty job to get you out of trouble to sell your home…..Kharma’s a mean bitch and she slaps 10 fold. Don’t be a c*nt. You’re better than that…..

Custom Concrete Resurfacing Stockholm Slate

Weekend Watertank Workshop – Vol 1

Weekend Watertank Workshop - Vol 1

What I’m going to be doing is forcing myself to find time to implement a few of these new design ideas I have been (mentally) working on for quite some time now. We have been non stop busy for many years now and when we do finally get a few days off, the last thing I want to do is go to work again….but….I also love what I do artisically, so at least if I’m spending my free time creating something unique and inspired by my vision of designs, it turns out I really don’t mind at all working on days off.

I’ve litteraly put about a dozen layers of epoxy down in my garage, my patios have been ground back far too many times and my driveway is a wreck that needs a final design put down (I’ll get to that one day). So what I’ve decided to do, is visit my lovely parents up in the mountains and use their water tanks. Old, busted ass tanks that out date me and are probably going to fall over under the weight of the new overlay, but at least they forefront a lovely green hillside behind, making for somewhat decent photos of our new designs that I can put forward to customers, then obviously use their implementation as our proper photos and displays, eventually not needing these initial design photos.

I’ve named these “Weekend Watertank Workshops”. Please excuse the shitty looking tank lid along with the several cus words throughout my articles as we work on bringing forward some new lovely designs for our customers to choose from (and of course customise to their needs, nothing is set in stone……not even Stockholm).

Supplier and Contractor Coming Together

Over the last few years, I have been mostly getting negative feed back on my main suppliers colours in regards to missing a particular tone of colouring. The similarly toned colours to this have had a little too much brown or peach in them, and been hard for my more picky customers to pull the trigger, somtimes resulting in having to use a different supplier from time to time.

We started discussions with Concrete Colour Systems in regards to introducing a light grey tone leaning away from the brown and peach undertones, along the typical “French Grey” line, and after a few months we finally got our hands on some samples from them to test out…and I’m glad to say, they frigging nailed it. So much so, we decided it is the perfect colour we have been looking for to implement one of our new designs, based around this colour.

We have decided to name this design “Stockholm Stone”, which is intended to be a more toned down version of our “Stormy Skies”, lending itself well to modern version of Hampton Styled home designs. My lovely wife is also from Stockholm, Sweden, and this design seemed fitting to name after her heritage, along with trying to bring forth the feeling of stone architecture, blending naturaly through several different undertones.

Concrete Colour Systems new “French Grey” is the star of the show, complimented with a soft “Off White” blend, a “Blue Stone” modified soft swirl, patching and flecking, all held together in an expanded Offset Tiles design.

So far, we love the outcome, but as with all our custom design, it will probably undergo several changes over the first several installations until we’re truly happy and consider it finished.

We hope you guys like it too and we look forward to implementing this design at your home soon.

Custom Concrete Resurfacing Stockholm Slate
Custom Concrete Resurfacing Stockholm Slate
Custom Concrete Resurfacing Stockholm Slate
Custom Concrete Resurfacing Stockholm Slate
Custom Concrete Resurfacing Stockholm Slate
Custom Concrete Resurfacing Stockholm Slate
Custom Concrete Resurfacing Stockholm Slate
Daydreaming

Daydreaming

Packing the ute, rods on the rack, hook up the boat, get going…don’t look back.

Sliding into Airlie Beach as the sun rises after a long 14 hour stretch in the car. Rolling over that first hill after Cannonvale, seeing that Turquoise ocean confronting me for immediate stress relief.

Seemingly floating on down the main road past the wannabe Surfers Paradise vomit, then drifting through a small rainforest mountain until I hit Shute Harbour and feel like I’m jelly sinking into my car seat.

I reverse in the boat, throw the dogs and wifey in the back, turn the key and the last 14 hours in the car seem meaningless. A quick full throttle stretch across to South Molle and I’m in Coconut Cove, a 2500sqm crystal clear cove, about 2 meters deep without another single human being in sight. My happy place. I fall backwards into the water and shed a tear. A tear that all my hard work was worth it. That it means something…..

Only in my dreams can I separate myself. But unfortunately, when the world revolves around money like it does, it allows inspiration to primarily come from monetary reward, which removes passion. Without passion, human beings cannot reach their full potential, because it’s always guided to another point of value, opposed to true inspiration.

Daydream with me for a second. A brief second where money doesn’t come into the equation. A problem arises which is a mutated form of a virus spreading throughout the world. The biggest problem we are faced with, is trying to solve the problem.

The smartest people on earth are simply looking at the problem and trying to solve it, without thinking of the cost. The hospitals and nurses first voice isn’t “we need more respirators”. The Scientist working on vaccine research aren’t limited to a budget value on their research.

Don’t tell me for a second that once all this shit reared it ugly head, the media and food supply conglomerates didn’t subtly wink at each other and ride that money train all the way down to hell where the evil fucks belong. Don’t even get me started on the big Pharma companies, fuck you.

Fear monger. Public sheep will follow suit. Advert click baits. Grocery shelves empty. Stocks up 300%. Fuck you cunts hey.

But I guess it’s hard to climb back out of hole once you’ve dug it so deep. Scratching and clawing I fear the human race will never reach it’s full potential because they……..simply can’t afford it.

But I also don’t have the answers for a better system. I’m just a bush kid trying to double step the city dance. Fit into your society, no matter how much my entire being screams to run back to Coconut Cove.

What a shame.

I will play your game with my hands bound. Defiant against your regime, yet fully aware I need to play the game to survive in it. I will walk into your garden, but at no stage will you take away my dreams. It is where my mind can exist without the need for money. It will always make me smile. It will always allow me to do something different than everyone else. Something unique that very few acheive.

To be myself.

careface cracks concrete

Technical Report – Cracking, Rising Damp, Structural Integrity

Welcome to the darker side of decorative flooring

I want to cover a few topics here in a very blunt and direct nature, offering explanations on why these things occur and where it leaves us as professional installers with often, a very tough decision to make.

First I’ll cover cracking and the patching “repairs” of said cracks. Followed by a few things that only pop up from time to time, but need a little technical coverage because on the rare occasion when they do pop up, they can be confusing and hard to manage.

Maybe other professionals in the industry might be able to use this blog format to pinpoint what is happening on their project, or at least I can direct any clients of mine towards this blog to review some technical information from a 20+ year veteran.

So without further adieu and a 0% blood alcohol reading, lets get started.

Patching Repairing of Cracking

To be fair, this topic is such a blatant “logically makes sense” issue, it really does suprise me on the odd occasion when someone doesn’t understand that the decorative overlay and patching that has been applied, doesn’t stop the concrete underneath moving and the crack opening up again.

I actually don’t even know if I need to go into further detail other than that…..The Majority of people will get the point. But, for the those special few who don’t, lets talk more.

Cracking in concrete is considered by both amatuer installers and double decade structural engineers as normal and typical and nothing done during the installation of said concrete is to prevent cracking. On the contrary, everything that is done is to “control” cracking. Where, how far, what angle, what stress levels etc etc. From steel reinforcing holding the crack together, to control joints specially put in to make the concrete crack where we want it to….cracking to concrete is like bubbles in your champagne, you don’t get one without the other.

Legally from the standpoint of Australian Standards, if the control measures installed into the concrete are working effectively on the crack that has appeared, then the crack is to be considered “non structural” and not a problem. In turn, if the control measures are not working effectively, it is to be considered “structural” and in need of rectification. Either way, the warranty provided for the cracks in your concrete, is supplied over a 7 year basis by the contractor who installed your concrete.

Crack Repairs Concrete Resurfacing
Concrete Refurb Grind and Resurface Wellington Point
Epoxy Flake Floor Ormeau
Epoxy Flake Floor Ormeau

Filling Your Crack - Pun Totally Intended

THIS IS NOT A REPAIR!!!! (big letters in bold with exclamations for emphasis!)

This system of what we do is specifically called “patching”. It is common in the industry and quite normal from home domestic jobs to large commercial sites. Yes, you will have one or more of your chosen contractors come out to quote with a droopy mouth and a few missing teeth and tell you they’ll repair your crack and you won’t see it agian, but that is an absolute load of shit and you should just smile while you subcontiously tell yourself to run for the hills.

Honesty.

Simple huh? Someone like myself, makes this one of the main talking points of your project during our initial consultations. Ask any of the quotes we do. I make this topic so blatantly obvious to the client, that no confusion can be present.

“What I am doing, is patching and filling your crack with epoxy and silica sand, the strongest method I have available to do my absolute best to try and have that crack not return. BUT, you should expect that crack to return, because once you start driving your 2 ton car over the concrete again, it will supress the ground underneath, cause the concrete to flex and tension again, which will reinstate the inital reason why your concrete cracked in the first place. The good news is, WHEN your crack returns, it will look somewhat like the picture above, a relatively hairline crack that is no worse than it already was, more often than not better.”

I can and might some day, go into a hell of a lot more technical detail on cracking, but I think this part of the blog at least describes things in enough detail so the few who can’t see anything with reasoning, might have a second opion to go through.

PS: Contractors. Stop calling these things fucking repairs. Be professionals and speak from experience. I guarantee very few of your “crack repairs” remained hidden for more than 6 months.

Rising Damp - Lack of Vapour Barrier

This one here is very uncommon. In the last 20 odd years, I think I’ve come across 2-3 of my own works that have encounted this, along with another contractor sending me some photos asking me what it was, which I was happy to explain to him the details, coming directly from experience.

This is called “Rising Damp”. I just had my latest one pop up from a lovely client that we completed some work for last year, which again, due to having dealt with this before, the cause was very straight forward.

Basically, when concrete is installed that is going to be tiled or basically be an internal floor to have coverings, as a concreter, the engineering dictates that a vapour barrier be used (Visqueen). This prevents rising damp which will in turn pop your tiles off over time, and in this case with resurfacing products, leave the sealer looking a little cloudy in the areas that it is rising.

Unfortunately, not being in control of the inital installation for the concrete, we have absolutely no idea during your surface refurb if this is going to occur or not. This latest one, has shown it’s face after we have just received 500+mm of rain in the last wet season down pour, and has primarily occured on the outer areas of the patio, along with control joint and crack patches where moisture can rise more easily from the sloppy ground under neath.

Damp Rising Concrete Resurfacing
Rising Damp Sealer

Here is another example sent through from another contractor. They applied a clear sealer to coloured concrete roughly 6 months ago, basically now again after the heavy down pours, the rising damp is starting to cloud the sealer on top appearing to change the colour of the concrete.

Unfortunately with this problem, there is no real fix. The only method of work available, is to firstly try and use solvent to dilute the sealer on top, hoping that the moisture in the sealer will be removed. If / when this fails (rarely does the job), a choice needs to be made to either redo the area in question, or leave it as is because, through no fault to anyone it will only keep occuring whenever heavy rains are received through outside factors that your resurfacing installer cannot control.

I know we’re always looking for someone to blame in modern society, but sometimes, accepting that shit happens, is the only thing to do when no one is to blame.

This leads me to my final topic of discussions…….

Risk VS Reward

There is no point making something look amazing if it’s not going to hold together. – Me (all the time).

We do some awesome designs and quality of work. I know I say that about myelf being a little pretentious, but I am just ask quick to point out a negative as I am to verbally uplift my own workmanship.

We do however run into tough decisions from time to time that clients sometimes don’t fully understand. There is a point where we need to leave well enough alone. To fiddle, is to lessen the structural integrity of the product, and lessing that integrity will lead to problems in the future that shouldn’t need to arrise. I’m not talking about the warranty periods that we’re responsible for, I’m talking about the long term integrity of your product install.

Take for instance the cracking issue, there is nothing that can be done to stop concrete from cracking, apart from removing the actual concrete and replacing it with new concrete…..which will most likely crack somewhere else then….because….it’s concrete ffs.

Rising damp. We hate to see this as much as you do. It sucks. All that hard work put in. But to play with the surface to try and rectify a small colour clouding issue, and run the risk of having your product not last 10 – 15 years like it should. To try and fix something that is just going to come back again next time it rains…it’s just madness.

If something does need to be done, there is a limit to how much can be done. Scuff grinding and re-coating a section that was showing an obvious miscolouration, is sometimes worth the effort in the attempt to bend over backwards to keep a customer happy. Re-doing that same process a second time to the same concrete, is most often not worth the risk for the reward that will be achieved, as further degredation to the product is only going to bring forward failures at a later date for the client.

Our goal should be giving our clients a structurally strong, hard wearing coating to their concrete that is intended to last 10-15 years at least with simple maintenance, and then worrying how pretty it looks.

If 95% of that floor looks great with 100% structural integrity, the job is complete. Perfection lies in more important areas than a shade of colour from a certain angle.

Sometimes, a stand needs to be made to ensure the client has a long lasting finish, even in the face of criticism from them.

After all, there is no point making something look amazing if i’ts not going to hold together.

smell the roses walker concreting gold coast

An Encouraging Scent

Holy freaking bejingles what a roller coaster the end of 2019 was.

We got smacked in the ass early into the 2nd quarter and put our nose to the grind for what seemed an eternity busting our butts to put ourselves in front again, or at least level pegging, then finally Christmas came and we found ourselves with a few weeks to unwind and relax.

Enter the Dimentia zone.

You see, nothing we do in our Walker family is….normal. We’re either smashing our heads into the brick wall in top of 5th gear at full throttle, or laying face first unable to reach the accellerator, middle ground just doesn’t exist. So when our parents decided old age wasn’t enough and they needed something to be cared for, they both decided Dimentia….at the same fucking time was appropriate.

This pulled our holiday up by a few weeks and back to reality to try our best to support / guide the situation, but I think with all situations with Dimentia, it quickly becomes apparent that the person suffering, can’t be saved, just cushioned as they enter the next stage of their life.

That’s enough about that though, no need for too much solemn text. My parents have had a full life lived rich in travel and experiences, even if the remaining years are clouded with Dimentia, I know many a soul envious of their endevours.

Given this situation, it’s brought us into 2020 with such a confused outlook. We’ve worked so hard for so long with the business, house and all of things that are life, that we’ve finally reached a stage where we can let off the throttle a bit, take a bit more time off, go fishing a bit more and re-find a balance between life and work that we all strive for. At the same time though, the inevitablity of where life is headed is in our thoughts constantly. It’s actually a little surreal and for the first time in my life, leaves me with uncertainty of how I should handle my life.

2020 so far, has begun with countless quotes, slugging it out 6 days a week and back into the usual grind that is modern day business. The fragrant aroma of promise though is in the air and pushing us towards “us” time that we haven’t had in years. There’s just a feeling in the air, that we’re reaching the peak of our climb and the sunrise is looking pretty damn good.

Today for example, we finished off a lovely project in Wellington Point, everything went swimmingly, then to do our usual 3-4 quote inspections on the way home. Camilla got an address wrong for an inspection, I maybe said a few little cuss words towards her, we rocked up to the wrong house, apologised to the home owner, to which he wanted a quote for something he was thinking about, only to have it approved on the spot for another mid sized refurb project. Pretty uncanny, but we’ll take the good when the bad doesn’t seem to give a shit what time it hits.

If that isn’t circumstancial prosperity filled with optimisim for the year to come, then I’m a Tooth Fairy wearing a fucking mini skirt.

The smell of 2020 so far is sweet, lets hope people don’t cover it in shit.

Good luck to you all for the year to come.