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Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes
504 East St. Charles Rd,
Carol Stream, IL 60188
Toll Free: 800-797-4305
Phone: 630-653-2400
FAX: 630-653-4671


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Decortive Artist School Decorative Arts marbling and graining techniques

Decortive Artist School Decorative Arts marbling and graining techniques

Unparalleled Possibilities with Concrete Floors

Concrete floors are giving wood floors a run for their money.  No longer are they used solely for commercial.  Residential consumers are jumping on the bandwagon as well and loving them!  The design potential is limited only by the imagination of the artist.  And the durability is unparalleled.  There is essentially no maintenance resulting in a huge overall savings for those cost-conscious consumers.

By replicating any look, the design possibilities for concrete floors are virtually endless.  Here are just a few:

  • Wood
  • Tile
  • Stone
  • Logos
  • Stencils
  • Staining
  • Polishing
    • High gloss
    • Low gloss
  • Marble
  • Borders

Kathy Carroll’s studio has recently gone through a floor transformation.  She explains the perils of having to deal with carpeting in her place of business.  “You walked in from the parking lot and picked up salt from the winter and grease and grime.  Then there was the back and forth from the warehouse and kitchen area.  It always looked really bad and dirty.  I constantly had to clean it.  When I decided to do the remodeling I knew that I did not want carpet or tile because I didn’t want chips.  I wanted something that I could manage.  That pushed me towards Granicrete or JewelStone.” 

Reaching her limit, Kathy ripped the carpet out.  This was an exciting crossroads since she had an opportunity to do something that would suit her business perfectly.  Kathy describes in detail what process she took to get such stunning results.  “In preparation for the flooring we put down a new subfloor followed by a hydro barrier to keep the moisture out.  Once that was in place, we put down a fiberglass mesh to allow the product to have a nice backing.  We then went to Home Depot and purchased Quick Set, which is a self-leveling concrete.  The building is old so we put down two coats.  The floor was as wavy as the ocean and we wanted to bury the mesh with the Quick Set and level some of the areas that were sloping.  After the two coats dried we troweled down our first coat of Granicrete Base Blend, which we made to be our grout color or joint color in between the slabs of our barn wood design.   We troweled that down and let it dry and did our grid pattern.  We then made smaller patterns with quarter inch fiberglass tape, adding grain for a fabulous texture.  We made that in kind of an orange color.  Once we got that down we pulled the tape, let it dry and then we color washed it.  Finally, we top coated it.  It is beautiful!  It is very durable and it will suit our needs just fine.”

The floor is incredible and Kathy was able to make the plank sizes exactly the way she wanted.  Being able to create a seamless floor with Granicrete in any color and design offered the perfect solution for Kathy.  As Kathy always says, “imagination is your only limitation!”  The durability and wash ability is exactly what Kathy needed for her business.  Especially when it comes to paint and plaster spills.  All it takes is a little soap and water!

Now that it is complete stop in and see it for yourself!  As always, we would love to see you here at Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes.

Above & Beyond

After recently being commissioned to install one of his older samples, Golden Sugarcane created in 2007, John Michaels came to Kathy to purchase the product he'd need for the job.  The finish had to match specific tiles in the client's home, so the colors needed to be matched carefully.  Since he first learned the finish at Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes, John decided to return there for help.  “I went to Kathy Carroll to buy the product and to get a suggestion to color match.  With Kathy, she drops everything to work on it with you and solve your problem.  It’s amazing.  I came to realize it would have taken me a lot longer on my own had she not insisted on working on the color there.  These decorative finishes are not standard; they're custom, unique colors.  It’s not a simple matter of just picking out a color.  There’s trial and error.  That’s what we did and the result was really good.  That just struck me.”  The color turned out so well that John’s client proudly posted a picture of them standing in front of the wall on his Facebook page.  “I plan on doing this in the future... Having someone who will spend the time with you to work on finishes is so valuable.”

Having made samples with Kathy, John finds the class environment and instruction at her studio exceptional.  “When she teaches a course she knows how to delegate the administrative and cleanup.  She focuses on teaching and has the students focus on learning.”

“Kathy’s sense of business is amazing.  When you walk in it is a real studio. With Kathy stepping up as IDAL Chapter President it’s really cool.  We get to use her studio for the meetings.  She does not have time for this but she does it anyway.  Just recently, we used part of the meeting where she donated glass bead gel and we made a beautiful board.  When I sell the board I will go back to her to buy the product.”

There is always something new happening at Kathy’s studio.  Come in for help with color matching, take a private class or explore the many exceptional products offered.  Here at Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes, you are always welcome; we look forward to working with you!



Faux by Kathy Quick Inspirtations
Click Here to purchase
Quick Inspirations

Quick Inspirations

February's Sample Pack
Keep your portfolio up to date with high quality boards sent right to your door each month!  Each Quick Inspirations sample pack includes a 9 x 10 sample with a recipe for the finish as well as three 3 x 3 color waves.  What an amazing addition to your portfolio without the demands on your time!

Try our sample pack for only $27.50.  For the most cost effective savings order a 12 month supply at only $260 and receive a new Quick Inspirations sample pack delivered to your door each month.  Call now, we look forward to hearing from you!

Click Here to purchase Quick Inspirations >

Would You Like to Be Artisan of the Month?Faux By Kathy Decorative Artisan of the Month

Have you ever wanted to be featured as an Artisan of the Month on our website?  Now’s your chance!  All you have to do to be considered is contact our office.  If you are selected, you will need to be available for a 30 to 45 minute phone interview and provide us with at least 10 pictures of your work, and a picture of yourself to be featured with your article. 

The increased visibility alone is worth it!  What have you got to lose?  Contact us today!

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