Walt Tools Blog

Tips, Tricks, and Info

Vinyl chip floors have been, and continue to be incredibly popular amongst homeowners, designers, contractors, architects, and more for an array of reasons. As a chip garageseamless flooring option typically used in conjunction with epoxy floor systems or polyurea, or polyurethane, the present all the same benefits as other epoxy flooring and other seamless systems. Thee are commonly know as garage floor coatings.

Epoxy resin systems and poly systems are astonishingly durable, sustainable and easy to clean. These materials are built to last through all the wear and tear of anything from heavy factory machinery to tons of foot traffic. Cracking is especially rare, but easy to repair if it does happen. Stains, bacteria, and moisture are no match for seamless flooring. If something spills, wipe it up. It’s actually that easy. There is no grout or any pores for liquids to penetrate and ruin the surface. Even things like bleach and gasoline cannot match the strength of resin. This insane level of durability makes the flooring system so sustainable. These floors last decades with proper installation and care.

So what actually is vinyl chip flooring? Well, basically small vinyl chips that have produced with a mixture of pigment, resin, and other additives, and cut into random shapes are toss into a tinted epoxy base coat that has been applied to a floor. They tend to be randomly dispersed and then covered/sealed with a strong top coat. The chips come in literally hundreds of colors and color combinations, along with a variety of random shapes and sizes. They can be applied lightly to show more of the resin tint color, or broadcasted in full for a more textured pattern look. The total application process tends to be very quick - only a day or two until they can be walked on. They can also be applied in design or logo patterns for areas like a school atrium. In fact these floors are perfect for schools for a few reasons including: (1) you can easily show off school spirit with bright color combinations and logo designs, (2) the chips are like magic when it comes to hiding dirt, grime, and other imperfections on the floor, (3) the floors are so hard to destroy and they are a breeze to clean as stated before. 

There are a few other benefits to using vinyl chip flooring systems that are not as obvious. One of these is that the floors are easier on the feet and joints than other flooring like ceramic tile or marble. These floors actually bring an element of noise reduction too - this is another plus for places like schools! Fire resistance is another huge benefit for clear safety reasons.  Lastly, they’re genuinely affordable. The materials are way cheaper than marble or tile flooring and since the application process is so short, there’s no need to worry about outrageous labor costs. You won’t have to replace these floors for decades, so consider a vinyl chip floor for your next school, office, bathroom, garage, basement, etc project.

reax-stained-concrete-floorThe best thing about concrete is how customizable it is. Concrete can be usedforeverything these days. Not only can it be used for thoseplain gray sidewalks everywhere, but it can be used for countertops, indoor flooring, patios, vertical projects, sculptures, etc. It can be poured, molded, shaped, carved, stacked, or sprayed into nearly any pattern, texture, or shape you need. It is super durable and it is has SO much design potential with all the options for textures, colors, shapes, additives, coatings, molds, and more. Colored concrete (or any customization) will always add cost to the job, but its transformational quality is worth the extra cash.

Let’s talk break down the concrete coloring options one by one.

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Integral Color

Integral color is probably the most basic and simple way to color concrete. To use integral color, you just put the pigment powder bags into the red-mix truck (or whatever container it’s being mixed in) and make sure it is thoroughly blended with the concrete. When the concrete slab is poured it will have a nice uniform, monochrome , traditional look. It colors all the way through the concrete which makes chips less noticeable, so it is a good choice for high-traffic areas where the ground is more likely to get chipped.

Color Hardener // Dry Shake

Color hardener, also called dry-shake, will provide a similar look to that of integrally colored concrete, except that it is used after the concrete is poured and is being finished. The installer broadcasts this specialized color pigment cement blend onto the wet surface and works it in, usually through bull-floating, giving color to the top layer of concrete. Since it is not colored all the way through, it is usually less expensive but deeper chips will be more noticeable. Color hardener fortifies the surface, thus the name. It makes the surface more resistant to moisture and de-icing salts. Since the color sits on the top of the slab, grinding or polishing the concrete is not an option because the colors would be removed.

Note: This coloring method is also very messy. Everything surrounding the area to be colored must be shielded from the pigment.

Colored Release (Accent Release)

When concrete stamping with texture tools, a release agent must be used to prevent the tools from sticking to and pulling on the fresh concrete surface. Traditional powder release agents are colored so that they provide a contrasting color, providing an “antique” look. Although it's considered a “messy” product, that contrasting look really contributes to the decorative aspect of stamped concrete. Liquid release is another option and is normally clear. This is often used when the installer plans to stain the concrete after the pour or must avoid the mess that of powder release. Some installers go a step further and blend a small amount of the powder release into the liquid release to add some color toning as they texture. This method of coloring can be used in conjunction with integrally colored or color hardened concrete.

Antiquing Agent (Tru Tique)

A less messy alternative for the antique aesthetic of colored accent release is Tru Tique. It is an antiquing agent that mimics the look of powder release. It is a colored powder pigment mixture that is added to water, liberally applied to the plain textured surface, and then spread around with a broom or brush. The specialized pigment settles into the low textures and is allowed to dry. The dried look is very close to the antique look done with powder release, but without the mess. This can be used with integrally colored or color hardened concrete as well.

Stain (Acid, Water-Based, Re-Ax Reactive)

Stain is a general term for any sort of liquid that is applied topically to the surface and leaves color. Stains are either reactive or non-reactive and will have different abilities to color depending on the makeup of that surface. Rough, smooth, indoor, outdoor, etc. factors all play a roll in concrete staining. 

Stains can be used on new or existing concrete AND they can be added on top of integrally colored or concrete colored with hardener.

Acid Stain

For the longest time, decorative concrete contractors have been using acid based chemical concrete stains, or simply, acid stain, to achieve rich, earth-toned color schemes resembling natural stone, marble, wood, or even leather. But today, contractors are no longer limited to earthy shades. Acid stains are created with a blend of acid, metallic salts, and water. The acid chemically reacts with the minerals within the concrete and the reaction creates a beautiful mottled surface effect.

Once stained, you will have to fully neutralize and clean the surface with a suitable concrete cleaner before applying your protective concrete sealer. They are classified as a concrete reactive stain. Concrete acid stains become a permanent part of the concrete. They're known for their durability and long-lasting color because cement stains will not fade, chip, or peel off. The color pallet is a bit limited but Walttools has the largest color range available. Concrete acid stains are known for their translucent color and ability to react differently creating one-of-a-kind color and patterning. These stains will require the user to take safety precautions, as the user is working with acid.

Water-Based Stain

Water-based stains are greatly expanding the installer’s palette with colors ranging from soft pastels to rich reds, oranges, yellows, and purples. In most cases, these newer stain products can be easier and safer to apply.

If you want to go beyond the drama and more limited color palette of reactive staining, consider using water-based stains. With Walttools offering 40 stock colors and custom blending available, they are and extremely popular choice for contractor and DIYer alike. Color is more consistent between surfaces and there are no harsh chemicals involved. Colors can be diluted, combined, layered, and manipulated in many ways to achieve the desired effects. Water-based concrete stains are suspensions of micro-fine or nano-pigments suspended in a water-based solution of penetrating and binding agents. Because pigment color choices are so plentiful there is a wider color variety to choose from. A good water-based stain will give you time to work with it yet be permanent when cured out. Water-based stains work by actually flowing into and filling the concrete pores and bonding into the surface. Because they are more surface dependent for soaking in, you need to be sure proper prep is done to open up the surface to allow for a good, deep bond in the pores. C-Etch is a great product for that by safely etching the surface giving you plenty of porosity.

Reactive Stain

Re-Ax Stain, exclusive to Walttools, is similar to acid stains in that it chemically reacts with the concrete surface, but different in that it does so without the extra work involved with acid stain cleanup. These are simply “apply, wait for the color change, and then seal” stains. They are especially potent in their ability to mottle the surface to produce the most variation of any concrete stain. As with acid stains, they will potentially react different on each concrete slab, so the chosen stain should always be tested for color reactivity before proceeding.

Simply spray on the Re-Ax, work it in with a broom (optional), wait a few hours for the color change, and then seal it up. You could not have an easier process and, once again, there is no need to neutralize the surface like you must with acid stains. They are best for creating the "Old World" look on your project.

Dye

Concrete Dyes are very deep-penetrating colored solutions that are mostly used indoors and/or on very hard or polished concrete surfaces that are more difficult to penetrate with water-based stains. They are quite popular when doing concrete countertops because they can be polished after application without removing much color.

Dyes are definitely the most vibrant option. They are the best choice for creating bold graphics. However, they are not UV-stable, so they’re bad for outdoor use. The sun will fade the colors pretty quickly.

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unspecified-1.jpgWhen it comes to countertops, there are so many options for materials like marble, tile, granite, synthetic laminate, quartz, slate, and concrete. Each comes with its own pros and cons, so there are many things to consider when it comes to selecting a countertop material including cost, design and customization options, and maintenance. Concrete is an amazing choice of a countertop material and here we will explore why that is.

Cost

The cost of a concrete countertop is very similar to that of granite, so it can be fairly cheap or pretty expensive depending on how special you want to make it. If you want the simple, industrial concrete look with no special edges or intricate staining, your concrete countertops will absolutely be cheaper than any granite option, especially because that is a more DIY-friendly project. However, the more customized look you want, the more expensive the countertop gets. With a bunch of custom design details, you’re looking at upwards of $150 per square foot, which is comparable to importing or just buying the most unique and beautiful slabs of granite. 


unspecified-3.jpgDesign/Customization

There are unlimited design options with concrete countertops, which is simply unlike anything else. Yes, you can pick out amazing slabs of granite choose different colored tiles and customize your space like that, but concrete goes far beyond that. There are so many options for color alone. The concrete can be integrally colored, stained with a variety of stains, coated with a crazy metallic  epoxy coating, mixed with all kinds of colored (or not) aggregate materials, etc. The size and shape of these countertops are 100% customizable considering they are usually poured specifically for each individual project. Different textures can be added, or the surface can be sanded to be super smooth. The edges can be left plain and simple, or they can be formed into different designs depending on the artistic feel that you want. If you are new to this, using the Z Counterform forming system is a great way to start.

Maintenance

One downfall of concrete countertops is that they can scratch fairly easily. These scratches can be reduced or prevented with a proper sealer and/or wax coating. When resealed and/or re-waxed, the scratches disappear. The countertops should be resealed every 1-3 years anyway. Cracks or hairline fractures can form due to the natural settling of houses over time. Cracks can be prevented by using rebar, mesh, or fiber reinforcement during installation. Hairline fractures can be repaired pretty easily with a quick patching/filling and resealing of the area. Concrete can also get stained from spills, especially if the mess is left on the surface for a while. However, this is the case for nearly all concrete surface types, even granite, so it is not an issue that is unique to concrete. All in all, maintenance is pretty easy, though. Just reseal the surface every 1-3 years and wipe up the surface with soap and water like you would with any other countertop. If you take care of them properly, these countertops will last decades.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

  1. Though concrete is very heat-resistant by itself, sealers and coatings are not. You’ll have to be careful to not set hot pots and pans directly on the surface. You must keep trivets handy, or you can even build cool, customized trivets into the countertop itself to fix this problem. The heat will not break the counter, but it very well may discolor most sealers if if touches directly. 
  2. Concrete often countertops do develop a patina look over time, not unlike natural woods. This is a beautiful look to most, but if you are obsessive with the countertops staying the exact way they looked the first day, then you will really need to consider the sealer choices.
  3. Since concrete is so durable and heavy, it is hard to remove. This means the durability is a pro and a con at the same time. It will, in fact, stay strong and look good for decades, but if you like to redesign your whole kitchen every few years, this won’t be a fun option in terms of removal.

blend_1666803185.jpgMetallic floors present a worthy combination of art and durability, which is why their popularity has risen so much recently. They are a cost-effective and beautiful solution, perfect for a huge range of indoor environments. Before we get into metallic floors specifically, we must first talk about epoxy floors in general.

Epoxy flooring systems are insanely durable and profoundly easy to clean, all while being remarkably sleek and professional. These floors essentially withstand everything. They are not only heat- and water-resistant, but oil, gas, transmission fluid, bleach and heavy cleansers, grease, and stains are all no match for the flooring system. The wear and tear usually caused by heavy factory machinery, cars, or heavy furniture will not crack the surface. Virtually any cleaner can be used to clean up any messes, and there’s no need to worry about things like grout or porous areas that make things like tile and hardwood so hard to clean. Epoxy floors do get scratched from time to time, but this can be prevented and/or maintained by taking the proper precautions, such as properly cleaning and waxing the floor at the appropriate times.

When properly installed and adequately cared for, epoxy resin floors can literally last decades without peeling or cracking. This, paired with the pro and polished appearance make it a solid choice of flooring for so many spaces including, but not limited to factories, salons, offices, schools, nightclubs, basements, kitchens, and garage floors. There are a variety of options for the style of epoxy floors like quartz, vinyl chips, and solid coloring, each with their own look and benefits, but this article will focus specifically on metallic epoxy floors.

Metallic floors are a brilliant option for commercial and residential spaces alike. The look of the floors is completely unique and customizable. Since the materials used generate natural variations each time they’re used, every single metallic epoxy project is different from the next. On top of that, the installer’s technique greatly effects the outcome and each puts their own personal touch to their projects. Also, keep in mind that metallic floors do not necessarily conceal blemishes in the underlying surface due to the high-gloss surface. These should be taken care of ahead of time or worked with in the process to incorporate them into the floor art. Imperfections and irregularities do make these floors even more cool and interesting.

These dazzling and sparkling floors have 3D and reflective effects that can be manipulated with a multitude of techniques for even more depth. It all starts with metallic mica powder being mixed into clear epoxy resin and applied to the floor surface. The metallics can be made to look acid stained, rippled, swirled, cratered, multicolored, etc. depending on the tools and artistry used. For instance, multiple colors can be dispersed throughout parts of the floor for a colorful, dynamic look, or denatured alcohol can be dropped into the metallic epoxy after being put on the floor to disperse the pigment into crater-like ripple pattern. These are just some basic examples of how to manipulate the materials. The creative possibilities really go on and on. The metallic pigment continuously moves with manipulation and gravity until the epoxy is 100% dry, so the end result is an exciting surprise.

 

Some things to keep in mind:

  • If you see a picture of a metallic epoxy floor you like, it will never be recreated. However, the installer can use the same/similar colors and try to recreate the technique used to get as close as possible. Don’t try to copy, just go with the flow of your own space and materials.
  • You can do a lot of things to enhance the look of metallic floors once they are done. For instance, you can use different types and colors of lights to alter the shine and reflections of the floor.

terra cottaConcrete integral color is the most common (and maybe still the easiest) way to color your concrete projects. Integral colors are finely ground oxide pigments that are thoroughly mixed with the concrete before it is poured, allowing you a wide range of coloration based on how much color is put on.  How much is put in is calculated by loadings based on total cement used in each yard of concrete.  1 percent, 2 percent, 3 percent and 4 percent are what you will find most of the time.

Economy loading 1 percent, is great for stamping purposes. They are softer colors that are just enough to remove the “gray” and work very well with darker, contrasting releases OR tique wash products like Tru Tique.  They also work well as providing a good colored “canvas” for various stain products like Tru Tint acid stain, water base stain or Re-Ax. Walttools has 13 standard colors that fit this category. At $12.50 per yard compared to $30 or more, the savings can get ridiculous for those doing a lot of concrete stamping. These colors are also great when one wants to add stains, borders, etc.

Double that up and you have 2 percent loading.  This is where the pigments become able to show themselves as they really are. The same pigments as one percent now produce stronger hues, overcoming the gray. These are more common when doing interior floors or a simple broom/trowel finish surface without using any contrasting color products like release or stains.

3 and 4 percent loading produces quite strong colors that give a bold statement. They are less often used for stamping because they may not allow enough contrast from release or antique products. The price on these amounts can start to get pretty high. Still, Walttool Tru Hue colors such as Brick Red and Charcoal will run $50 per yard but that compares very well to $65 to $80 or more from others. They do very well when machine troweled giving a very bold, burnished look.

Walttools Tru Hue colors are packaged PER YARD so you do not have to worry about any math except making sure you have the same number of bags as yards of concrete.  Lastly as a general rule to calculate yardage, plan for each yard of concrete occupying 80 square feet(82) when doing a standard 4 inch pour. So if you measure for your pad and it’s 20 feet by 30 feet, then multiply 20 times 30 and get 600.  Divide 600 by 80 and get 7.5 yards.  They will round up to 8 so order 8 bags of the color you want.  

When it comes to coloring your concrete in the simplest manner, Walttools Tru Hue integral color is the best choice going. 

So good, its almost divine.....

museum of the bible constructionA little over two years ago Walttools sent some bags of Tru Pac X out for review by a theming company. This is not out of the ordinary, but always raises some curiosity. The only info we had then was that this involved a large project and the company wanted to be sure that the material would do what they needed. It was a comparison of many vertical mixes, from east coast to west, to be sure it suited their needs. Once the comparative dust settled, the project began with an order of Structure Coat and Tru Pac X. A month later, another order. Then another. Then another. A phone call to see how things were going, and if there was anything else we could do, was met with a simple, "... everything is great, just keep it coming when we need it, we are on a schedule..."  Soon thereafter, we learned this was for a project in D.C - A museum, an not just any museum, the Museum of the Bible. Much of this project was being built off site and would eventually make its way further east to be installed in its proper place. The regular check-ins with the company were always met with positive feedback along with the eventual prospect of completion!

Should I Use Paint or Stains When Coloring Vertical Decorative Concrete
By: Nathan Giffin of Vertical Artisans 

tru tint stain on vertical concreteThis is a tough topic to talk about. There are many angles to this conversation, but I can only offer up my experience over the last two decades, and hopefully you will walk away with a little more understanding on the topic.

When I first started my career in Vertical Concrete Systems there were very few options. Color technologies were evolving, but the standards were acid stains, integral color, color hardeners, colored release, and household paint that you thinned out.

Acid stains did a good job but were dreadful to work with on vertical concrete. Every drip was a problem and you had to be very careful that it would not bleed into protected areas. That is still true to this day, so not much has changed. There have been some advances with taking acids and mixing them with a jelly that then can then be applied to the wall without dripping. This method of a spreading the jelly on the wall and staining is not the most efficient. There is a considerable amount of labor and cleanup to follow. You still should neutralize unless you have the time to wait for it to self-neutralize. Early in my career I used acids in spray bottles to speed up the process and then go back and touch up areas that had drips. It’s a long process and troublesome at times. I do not have any desire to go back to that process today.

Concepts on Mix Designs vs Bag Mixes and Add Pac’s

by Nathan Giffin of Vertical Artisans


Tru Pac x vertical concrete mix“What do you use?” is the most frequent question I have been asked over the years. It has been a journey, I must say, but I feel after twenty years of sculpting concrete, I should be able to weigh in on some of these issues that frequently pop up in various circles.

I would like to take some time to identify a seeming blind spot to most newcomers in this unique market we call artificial rock, stone facing, vertical decorative concrete, and various systems. There are a few myths in the industry. Some don’t need to be promoted because they are ingrained in the mind already and others are promoted out of personal gain.

Let’s look at some interesting statements and questions:

If I make my own mix will I save money?
This is probably the biggest question in people’s minds. The reason this statement is often believed is because there is a certain level of truth to the concept of saving money by making something on your own. An analogy I sometimes use is don’t buy a car filled with gas just to get the gas from the gas tank. There are several factors that must be put into place to properly access the truth of this statement. What seems to be the overwhelming direction to go, more often than not, turns out to be a crucible most are unwilling to finish. Why?

First let’s look at the obvious – Materials
There are many factors when talking about materials. You have the sand itself and there are many sands to choose from. This is a science in and of itself. Then there is portland cements, plastic cements, lime, various clays, polymers, fillers, sand replacements, lightweight aggregates, water reducers, retarders, plasticizers, various fibers and potentially many other elements depending on how sophisticated you want to get.

Who is the chemist on the job site?
All of these elements require a good understanding of how they work together and what is the best or least expensive way to get the objective completed. They also need to be organized and orderly to ensure an element doesn’t forget to find its way into the mix. Even if you have a good formulation that you feel works good for you, there is still the guy who is mixing the ingredients and must get it right each and every time. I speak from experience when I say that anything and everything can take place or go awry when mixing the raw materials together. Consistency is paramount. Everything effects the mix. The sand effects the mix whether it is dry, damp or wet. If you are loose or have too much water in the mix, throwing more wet sand in the mixer is not a quick fix. I mean, it’s already damp so you are not really improving the consistency of the mix, you're changing it to solve a problem. So, you must add more dry cement or portland to make up the difference. If you run out of an ingredient you are also dealing with more in the field changes and alterations. This is a hassle for even the most experienced artists and companies out there. I recall once on a project the “mixing guy” decided he didn’t like the mix design I had, and he changed it. Well, during the project I could tell where the design changed. There were noticeable problems with the mix. Another time we ran out of a crucial ingredient and nobody told me until we broke for lunch. This is not good. These changes could include more surface cracking, a change of color, and even a weaker mix in those areas. There are so many variables that can cause problems and create a loss of time when you do not have the time to spare.

How to Effectively Use Texture Rollers
By Nathan Giffin of Vertical Artisans

tru tex rollers on countertopThis may seem like a silly statement but many who buy texture rollers are only getting the obvious use out of them. The simple release and roll over fresh mud is the obvious method for using a texture roller but is there more to these simple tools.

Keeping your rollers clean and free from cement build up is important. It’s easy to just throw the rollers back in the bucket when you are finished, but once cement has a chance to really lock on to your roller even with release it tends to grab or tear the design as your using the tool. If that does happen you can use a mild cleaner for breaking down concrete material such as C-Etch. This will not harm your rollers (or any of your finishing tools).

It’s also important to note that texture rollers are a wonderful asset to flat work contractors, as well as vertical decorative concrete contractors. Adding texture to patterns and corrective measures using these rollers is very effective. Edging your pours with texture is invaluable. A roller can be attached to a telescopic pole and corrections can be made.

Over years of using texture rollers I have a few things that might just offer you some neat concepts and add more value to that texture roller.

1.) Choose a very aggressive roller and texture the mud as normal but then go back with your trowel and lightly cover up your work or knockdown the texture design. It is a good idea to do this in the same direction of the roller if you can tell. The look will offer a travertine effect or a cut stone revealing the organic natural pits and depressions. These types of finishes will color up nicely and create depth in a relatively flat surface. Flat work users can take full advantage of these techniques and interior flat work can be coated with solids or epoxy finishes for even more depth effects.

2.) Use your texture roller for color. Yes, instead of covering the entire wall with a powder or liquid release, lightly roll the texture roller in a favorable colored release and then texture your wall randomly. You will have to reapply the same amount of release each time to allow proper color to show up evenly. The heavier the texture, the better the effects. If you use very light texture like in the soft roll technique, then this method will not work out very well because the texture is almost like a sand finish. The Coral or Heavy roller would be perfect for this effect.

3.) Are you bored with the patterns? Try rolling another texture roller over the same area just rolled. You can create unique patterns that are effective and contrasting with everything else in the wall.  

4.) Roller over roller techniques can be used but in striated stone patterns you can use roller next to roller designs to help define the sedimentary lines. This is a great way to stay consistent with texture on stone or rock work where this effect is needed.

5.) Close up your design lines creating a dry stack look. If you're stamping, use your roller while the mud is still very soft. Release the roller and the desired area including the joint itself. Lightly close the joint until the two stone barely touch. This effect creates a closeness and hair line split between the two stones giving the appearance that the weight is being distributed over the surface of that stone. This effect looks great for dry stack designs.

6.) Don’t think your roller is just for stone effects. I have textured whole areas the same for a simple texture plaster look. Faux finishers in the painting industry get paid big money for creating the simplest textures with dry wall mud and finish trowels. Our texture rollers deliver the dreamiest impressions that faux finishers can do by hand.   

7.) If you are vertical stamping (or Stone Matrix), make good use of texture rollers to place random texture on your project prior to stamping. That will give you more texture variety in the project and removes the worry if may have missed the impression on every last inch of those mats.

8.) Another cool effect for an Ashler Slate type of design is to use rollers but to use them in random directions. The square and rectangular stone designs can seem mundane but when you use a variety of texture rollers and choose random directions over each stone the effect is realistic. Don’t make the mistake of just using 45-degree angles left or right. Introduce 25-degree and even 15-degree angles as well. Real stone will be even more random than this and it’s important to create the most realistic effects possible. Texture rollers really help us in our quest of simulating rock and stone textures. These tools however simple can unlock profits in future projects.

9.) Countertops. Don't forget countertops. Rollers are perfect for applying both bold or sublime textures on concrete countertops. Similar surfaces such as step treads and border effects deserve the same treatment.

Look for ways to offer “upgrades” for particular textures and multi-step methods using texture rollers. 

 
Perceived value IS value.

Outdoor kitchens are not something “new” and, in fact, have been around far longer than indoor kitchens. If you recall, when people were having their wooly mammoth roasts, just after the dinosaurs, it was not likely indoors...maybe a cave at best. It took a very, very long time before cooking became commonplace indoors, and now, there is a big push to return cooking to its roots, the great outdoors. There is one caveat though, we want the same civility we have come to enjoy from our indoor kitchens.

outdor kitchen category pic

Backyard grilling has always been a mainstay of summertime, but now we are seeing that rusty old grill replaced by fully functional cooking stations that become the focal point and extension of one’s indoor entertainment space. Today’s outdoor kitchens have changed dramatically in the last decade and can be created in many budget ranges. Unfortunately bigger and bolder usually means a busted budget. You can always use the stacked paver systems if you are okay with the same thing your neighbors have. Even the prebuilt packages available online provide little in the way of design or finish options.

If you really want a custom look kitchen with freedom of appliances, your choice in surface top, and not need a mortgage, look no further than the Walttools modular panel system.

This innovative lightweight concrete panel system allows you to set up a custom kitchen in a weekend that will certainly help make your backyard be the talk of the neighborhood.

Building a stone style outdoor kitchen with a granite, slate top or concrete top can be quite expensive using conventional methods. With the Walttools modular panels, you get that look without the extensive time and labor. You can put that labor cost savings toward the appliance budget.

The simplicity is in the precast cut stone panels. They are made in two sizes and allow you to configure most any shape you want. In an hour or two you can make your appliance cutouts where you like and either install a natural surface top or form up and pour a concrete countertop. They can be placed on any sound patio, even wood decks in some cases.

Is it permanent? Yes and no. They can be constructed both ways. The larger designs would be considered permanent, although they could be disassembled and rebuilt especially if they were completed with a top such as granite or slate. The smaller islands can be built on a pre-made frame and moved around intact if you insist on mobility.

Whether you want a small grill island or a full three-sided kitchen with a raised bar, this clever system can help allow you to achieve that far easier than you expected. They are available in predetermined package designs or as individual panels, both with or without appliances, and can ship right to your door for your assembly. It’s time to get your grilling clothes on!

outdoor u shape kitchen blog

 If you choose appliances thru Contractor Source, we support two excellent, high-quality lines. Coyote and Delta Heat.  Either has a great selection of everything you may need for your outdoor cooking dreams. If you do not find what you need, let us know so we can track it down for you.

For a video to see how to assemble one of these kitchens, check out this You Tube video

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