There are plenty of reasons why so many people opt for architectural, stamped concrete when it comes to landscaping, driveways, patios and pool areas, but one of the most compelling is that it’s the closest thing to natural stone—and that’s high praise for a poured construction material composed of cement and sand.
Joe Guida, the president of Patterned Concrete, a North York-based company specializing
in high-quality architectural concrete, has been in the business for more than 40 years. “Out of all the products on the market, concrete is the best choice. Natural stone has a place, but so does concrete. Not only does it outperform, it has impressive longevity, it’s low maintenance and installations are a work of art,” he says.
Patterned Concrete has a remarkable history. The original owners registered the Patterned
Concrete name in 1972, before there was even a big market for stamped concrete. The family, who had a background in concrete, started developing systems and tools to make the material look more like natural stone. Meanwhile, the Guida family started in the concrete-installation business in the 1960s, and formed Tri-Con Concrete in 1981. It was during the boom in the 1980s that Patterned Concrete came into the picture. “A deal was made between Tri-Con and Patterned Concrete Industries and a new licensed contractor was formed in Toronto. “Having the background and experience, we had to go with the original name—Patterned Concrete,” Guida says, adding he bought the trademark in 2013. “Today, other companies use our brand name to describe their ‘patterned concrete’ finishes—what they’re referring to is the stamping. No other company has developed the tools, unique cuts and finishes we have. Patterned Concrete is who we are, it’s not what we do.”
From the beginning, the company has been all about quality. “Imagine pouring what is known as regular grey concrete and in a few hours, it looks like stone. You better know what you’re doing,” he says. But it’s not just about the pouring—imprinting the concrete is only part of a finished installation. “The detailing and finesse work that’s done once the concrete has hardened is what makes a world of difference.”
Guida says clients choose architectural concrete because it’s versatile, it offers a no-shine and non-slip finish, plus it’s easy to take care of. “It can also be custom. While the trend is generally for concrete to look as close to natural stone as possible, homeowners or designers can bring us their vision or pictures and, in most cases, we can do it.” Popular options include the look and feel of European cobblestone, herringbone patterns and sidewalk slate. “We are also using non-corrosive fibreglass rebar, salt-guard sealers, natural finishes such as GEMENTO and new modern-style imprinting tools,” says Guida. What’s more, concrete installations will go through generations. “It starts as one pour and ends up becoming part of the family’s memories; it’s something that never needs to be altered. It truly becomes part of the household.”