Wet-play spaces like these at the Tandy Family YMCA, in Tulsa benefit from Bomanite’s Sandscape, which can be combined with a Revealed treatment to create safe, slip-free surface with a sparkling luster.

Designers at architecture and landscape architecture firms across the country and around the world continually search for innovations that improve projects and impress clients. Today’s holistic approach to design considers seemingly every surface sacred. From countertops to floors, plazas and courtyard escapes, human-centered design spirals outward from purpose to place.

When it comes to hard surface innovations, Bomanite® makes it easy to keep up with the curve. Working with designers, builders, and owners, custom concrete solutions are being developed to respond to a diverse range of drivers including aesthetics, ADA compliance, wayfinding, emulation of nature, and safety concerns in wet play areas. Professionals across the building industry will benefit from knowing more about Bomanite’s new decorative concrete finish techniques and the challenges they solve.


Sandscape® Texture is the base product of a line that combines locally sourced aggregates, colored sands, and custom glass to create a granulated surface texture speckled with shiny glass jewels. The textured effect is similar to what happens when concrete is sandblasted, except more uniformly controlled and the glass jewels don’t get frosted by the blasted sand in the process. More importantly, Bomanite’s OSHA-compliant process of using a chemical peel to expose the concrete surface eliminates respirable crystalline silica, a dangerous byproduct of sandblasting linked with lung cancer. Among the many uses, Sandscape’s hard, gripable surface has a coefficient of friction that makes it ideal for bare feet in wet play areas. GH2 Architects selected Sandscape Texture in combination with Revealed™ to introduce a dynamic new splash pad at the main entrance to the Tandy Family YMCA in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“This project called for high-impact, aesthetically pleasing, and long-lasting architectural concrete,” says Jeremy Carlisle, associate principal with GH2 Architects. “Perhaps just as importantly, we needed it to be installed by a team with the technical knowledge to tackle a challenging configuration and complex coordination.”


Sandscape Refined adds a surface applied color hardener to Sandscape’s base process to create a more durable, abrasion-resistant surface. Sandscape Refined allows designers to use much lighter and brighter colors in their concrete palette because only the upper third of the finished surface requires color, which contributes to cost efficiencies. These products are generally applied in warmer parts of the country to avoid potential freeze/thaw damage. A project in Louisville, Colorado, featuring Sandscape Refined used a Cappuccino color hardener with flecks of mirror and blue glass adding a sparkle to seat walls, planter walls, and concrete columns.

Special places require special details and at the Northside Church activating a baptismal plaza using Bomanite products was easy for the landscape architect and cost-effective for the owner.


Sandscape Alloy builds on the base process by broadcasting aggregates onto the surface as it is being poured. Making the exotic affordable, Bomanite’s surface-seeded aggregate introduction delivers a high-impact look for just a few dollars a square foot more than the Sandscape base product.

Revealed represents the line’s top shelf and most expensive choice. The Revealed finish incorporates large, exotic aggregates delivered in a pre-mixed engineered bag to ensure precise proportions. The result is a surface more akin to terrazzo than traditional concrete. The Revealed finish requires a specialized applicator, a well-trained and equipped team, and a client willing to make the investment.

Sandscape can also be delivered through Micro-Top XT® Spray Top systems using a cementitious topping that tenaciously bonds to virtually any substrate. Less than 1/8-inch-thick, Micro-Top XT won’t create elevation changes that cause design revisions. Micro-Top XT Spray Top systems can be applied to concrete, wood, metal, plastic, or asphalt surfaces and areas like stairs or stem walls for a finish that is virtually indistinguishable from flat Sandscape surfaces. Done in a three-part application with colors incorporated into all three levels, the spray allows continuity across otherwise challenging vertical or expensive flat spaces.


Bomanite’s inventory of pre-qualified aggregates is sourced from an international pool of vendors including quarries across the U.S. and specialty glass manufacturers around the world. Designers benefit from centralized knowledge and direct access to specialized granites, marbles, quartzites, ceramics, recycled glass, and other exotic materials.


Another innovation in exposed aggregates, the Antico process creates fissures, voids, and other random imperfections simulating a semi-worn stone surface comparable to natural pitted limestone or a travertine tile. The application has been adapted through the addition of various color schemes to meet owners’ needs and has found a niche as a pool deck hardscape, where light colors and softer surfaces mean happy feet.

When the Northside Church in Clovis, California, decided to reinvent the plaza space in front of the church as a dynamic new baptismal center, their primary goal was to create a place where people feel welcome and connected. A combination of the Sandscape Refined Antico finish in Bomanite Light Brown and three integral colors all with Sandscape Texture finish were incorporated to get the cohesive yet varied look they wanted.

“Decorative concrete is wonderfully flexible in terms of being able to create virtually any combination of color and texture and shape imaginable at a reasonable cost,” says Terry Broussard, principal with Broussard Associates, who led landscape architecture services for the redeveloped space in front of the church. “Bomanite’s products are a very viable solution for public spaces where design matters and ordinary broom finished concrete isn’t going to feel special.”

About the Author:

Sean O’Keefe has more than 18 years of experience articulating the complexities, challenges, and comraderie of construction and design. He writes Built Environment stories for owners, architects, contractors, and product manufacturers and can be reached at

Modern Contractor Solutions, June 2018
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