Choosing products as Facilities Managers and During Aging in Place Rennovation

Being "Labeled" is good when designing green buildings.  I make sure that weather or not I'm designing for LEED Certification of not, our company chooses products and practices that are environmentally responsible. The reason I choose green products and services, is that as a specifier, I have made a commitment to provide my clients with safe and comfortable products. You can too by checking for reliable labeling on such products. Check out a great  article explaining "The Rise and Signifigance of Eco Labels"at

Keeping in Mind Indoor Air Quality in the Shop

Chipboard Faced with Melamine Chipboard Faced with Melamine

Concrete Zen uses melamine and plexiglass in the forms which releases the concrete with ease which eliminates the use of a sprayed release agent. We also use water based sealers for the finished product. Our indoor air quality is not jeopardized as a result of our concrete production. During the finishing process we grind the concrete to a mirror finish. This does produce a lot of dust that is why we have exhaust fans that are very powerful. --Elizabeth E.

Beautifying Existing Concrete

Staining and engraving existing concrete can turn gray slabs into a focal point. With the right tools any design is possible. is a company that supplies the tools and training for those who want to create. They testify that there is no need for overlays, mixing new concrete, or concrete stamping. In order to engrave one must cut a pattern. Steps, risers, walls, patios, and interiors can be changed for the better forever!

Concrete Stain and Engraving Concrete Stain and Engraving

Concrete Overlays Provide a Unique Solution to Harmful Asbestos

When renovating or remodeling a space, contractors, homeowners, and trades people sometimes run into a very unforgiving obstacle -- Asbestos.  Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber that has a very high tensile strength and is heat and chemical resistant.  Because of its strength and durability, asbestos is used in many building materials such as roofing material, insulation, acoustical material, and flooring tiles.  However, the United States EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has banned many asbestos materials because of its harmful effects on those who may handle or be exposed to it.  Asbestos is mainly considered hazardous because it increases the risk of lung disease.  Individuals who breathe in asbestos during renovation, remodeling, or during the  production of asbestos materials may develop over the course of several years after exposure, Asbestosis, lung cancer, or Mesothelioma.

When an encounter with asbestos occurs on the job site, proper care should be taken in order to ensure that the health of contractors, workers, and anyone who may be in the affected area is not at risk.  Asbestos abatement, or removal, should be performed by a contractor certified to perform abatement, and involves several days of keeping the area sealed off, closing it to any residents, employees, or individuals who may occupy the space, and the use of special techniques and procedures by the certified contractor to rid the area of any harmful contaminates.

The other option is to leave the asbestos alone entirely, since asbestos becomes hazardous only when it is disturbed from demolition.  You can, however, cover old asbestos materials such as floor tile.  In Concrete Zen's recent renovation of the workshop, asbestos floor tile was found in a few areas.  An affective solution to these unsightly and harmful tiles was a concrete floor overlay that was poured over the entire shop floor, including the asbestos tile, to create one cohesive, flat surface.  The concrete overlay was performed using the same procedures as in any overlay, however, a stronger sealant was used over the asbestos tile to ensure a proper seal and installation.  As you can see in the pictures below, the overlay went over the existing tiles just as it would in any non-asbestos tile.  If you aren't interested in spending what may be several thousands of dollars and lost time spent on the closure of a space during asbestos abatement, concrete overlay may be a cost effective and aesthetically pleasing way to go.

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Custom Concrete Incline Sink in Shadyside


Concrete Zen created this one-of-a-kind concrete sink for a client in the Shadyside area of Pittsburgh, PA  as a part of a complete renovation in the summer of 2010.  The sink's faucet is placed on the right wall shown above, allowing water to cascade down the sloped surface to the drain shown to the left at the base of the sink for a truly exceptional design.   This custom incline sink is paired with a stunning glass faucet designed by a small company specializing in custom faucets.  The combination of this custom sink and faucet create the complete unique and luxurious statement that the client was looking for.  These striking photographs were taken by Barry Simpson of Simpson Studios in Pittsburgh, PA.


Creative Flowing Flooring Finish

Overlay captures unique finish Overlay captures unique finish

In our recent installation of a concrete overlay floor, we captured this flowing effect during the staining process. The result is a modeled, free flowing effect with contrasting hues. The stain's reaction surpassed our wildest expectations! To our surprise it was featured in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette!

Home Theater Floor Home Theater Floor During

Concrete Overlay with Recycled Glass

This week we finished a prototype overlay with Recycled Glass Aggregate.  It turned out great!  We used reactive staining with different time releases. Concrete Overlays can be as thin as 1/16" over top of a sound existing substrate. The example pictured had to be thick enough for glass broad-casted over top. - B

Concrete Floor

Check our our flickr account for more photos:

Why Concrete Countertops?

Hand cast concrete countertops have become the favorite of designers and architects because concrete can give the warmth and color depth not available in granite, marble, or Corian.  It adds richness to both modern and traditional interior environments of any room of your home or business.

Concrete offers a unique hand crafted, custom finish that is not possible with other materials. The colors, textures, and finish are original. Concrete is also very durable, heat resistant, timeless, and environmentally friendly.

Our hand crafted concrete creations are not only a superior alternative to other materials but also points us to a more "going green" mentality.

Your options are endless when it comes to creating your custom concrete creation.  We can fabricate to any size, color, thickness, etc.  Call us today!

Up to 21 LEED Credits for Design with Concrete

GFRC Rainscreen Panels on Anthropologie building in Scottsdale Arizona by Stronberg. GFRC Rainscreen Panels on Anthropologie building in Scottsdale Arizona by Stromberg.

Anne Balogh of Concrete Network points out that "of the 26 minimum points needed to obtain LEED certification, 21 can be earned through appropriate use of concrete."- Environmental Council of Concrete Organizations.

The U.S. Green Building Council started a committee (LEED-H) for bringing green homes into the market." LEED-H will reward homes" that use resources responsibly, efficiently and "safeguard" occupant health.--Elizabeth E.