BY: JEN LEVISEN, EDITOR AT THE FORUM, MORTARR
Tom and Jean Eaton have always been determined, self-driven people, so when their son encouraged them to attend a training seminar on all things cement overlay hosted by Granicrete International in the spring of 2008, they braved a snowstorm to get there. By the end of the seminar, they “just got it” and couldn’t wait to share the product and their new skills with others.
To say that this crafty husband-wife duo took their newfound skill and ran with it would be an understatement. It’s more like they took off at a dead sprint. The same month they completed training, they established Granicrete Minnesota, which is a distributor of Granicrete International. After only one year, Granicrete Minnesota became the #1 distributor of custom concrete overlay across the globe — a title they’ve proudly held for the past seven years. They’ve trained approximately 400 independent artisan fabricators and independent installers from Florida to Alaska and even Australia, some of which have opened their own Granicrete showrooms.
OUR PRODUCT IS HEAT RESISTANT TO 500 DEGREES, IS GREASE AND ACID RESISTANT, AND CAN STAND UP TO RIGOROUS CLEANING AND DAMPNESS.
So, what interested the Eatons most in concrete overlay? It was all the possibilities.
“Granicrete is a custom-made, durable polymer-modified concrete mix that coats new or existing surfaces,” says Jean. “When colored and applied, it can simulate virtually any surface — stone, wood, tile, and more.”
For Jean, this is where it gets fun.
“Colors, patterns, edges, and finishes are all customizable,” she says. “Virtually no two pieces are alike.”
Despite early adoption and notoriety in the residential world (hey there, HGTV!), cement overlay is still considered a relatively new product and process in the commercial construction and design industry.
And according to Jean, it’s the perfect product for the industry as well. Why?
“Despite the connotations of heavy concrete, Granicrete is applied in four, thin layers, which allow it to be durable and lightweight,” she says. “Our product is heat resistant to 500 degrees, is grease and acid-resistant, and can stand up to rigorous cleaning and dampness.
“We have been, and continue to be, approved by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), which means no bacteria and no staining," says Jean.
In fact, Granicrete Minnesota is the only cement overlay product in the United States to be NSF certified. To be certified, Granicrete Minnesota underwent product evaluation, product testing in a lab facility inspection, and annual plant inspection and retesting.
“Since concrete overlay sealers is nonporous and has no grout, it can be used on floors, walls, and counters in a variety of commercial spaces,” says Jean.
Read clinics, nursing homes, schools, restaurants, vet clinics, funeral homes, etc. More of those possibilities that the Eatons love.
Granicrete Minnesota has been a part of several commercial projects including:
Lake Time Brewery, Clear Lake, IA
“We helped transform a beautiful old funeral home into a new brewery and bar, including beer brewing epoxy flooring with no grout and a custom chiseled brew tap upstairs,” says Jean.
15 Church, Saratoga Springs, New York
“We created and designed the counters and used Granicrete plaster on the ceiling,” says Jean. “We partnered with Linda Grace Skinner from Studio M Interiors in Minneapolis on this historic restaurant renovation. The goal was to create a new, noticeably different restaurant — comforting, stimulating, and high-end.”
“We designed and installed all of the countertops, flooring, walls, window sills, faux rock wall, covered flooring, and tables,” says Jean. “Our product was specifically chosen for its durability, NSF certification, easy maintenance, and artisan look.”
Ag Power Enterprises, Owatonna, MN
“We laid the concrete overlay flooring in this spacious 9,000 square foot showroom, including hallways, bathrooms, offices, and a parts department,” says Jean.
Granicrete was chosen for the Ag Power project, because of the product’s durability.
"When we were pondering how to finish the concrete floor of the display and retail area of our new John Deere dealership facility, we weren’t sure we wanted to do what most of the newer facilities we looked at had done — stained concrete,” says Michael Veldman, Ag Power Co-Owner and General Manager. “I think our builder assumed that is what we would do, but one of our architect’s design people expressed doubts about it because of tendency to show wear patterns. We wanted a hard surface floor, but really didn’t know which direction to turn. We started looking into the Granicrete Minnesota product offerings and liked the potential of their product. We worked with them to do our entire display area, some hallways, and restrooms. The end result was beyond our expectations. The eye appeal is great, and it has held up to the traffic of our business. We have had countless very positive comments from customers and visitors to our facility. We love to show it off!"