Family Matters: Brian Kaufman Paves His Own Way In Maintaining a Legacy

Home & Yard Blvd. Section

Concrete is in Brian Kaufman’s blood. His grandfather, Nick, started Kaufman Concrete in North Dakota just after World War II. Some years later, Brian’s father took the company over, and still is running it today. Brian eventually founded his own Minnesota-based version of Kaufman Concrete, this one specializing in decorative detailing.

Photos by Brian Kaufman

“I’m a third-generation contractor,” Kaufman states. “I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve been doing concrete pretty much all my life, and now, I’m branching into the decorative world.”

What is decorative concrete?

Kaufman’s answer indicates appropriately concrete thinking: “Stamped patios—colored and stamped, colored and textured; decorative overlays where you stamp an overlay over old concrete to make it look new; and resurfacing, where we cover concrete with a polymer overlay, and bring it back to life.”

Where that rejuvenated concrete goes is no small consideration.

Kaufman points out, “We do concrete countertops. We do basement floors. We do acid staining and microtoppings. And we can get really creative with those works.”

That creative-getting assumes numerous manifestations—such techniques provide “a different modeling and variegation of colors,” according to Kaufman.

A complete and utter lack of color is another option.

Kaufman observes, “We also do your standard kinds of concrete: driveways, patios, and front steps.”

Most people don’t think of art mixing with concrete, but expression eventually blends into the latter stages of the decorative process.

“The artsy part comes really in the countertops and the acid staining,” Kaufman explains. “We can take stencils out on a concrete slab, take a sandblaster to that, and create some pretty neat looks.”

Those looks manifest in ways that are dependably wayward.

“There’s no ‘exact’ to any concrete,” Kaufman assures. “Let’s take for instance a colored patio. I could pour the same patio two days in a row—say, at one house and the house next door. I’ve got the exact same soil conditions. I’ve got the exact same air temperature. I’ve got the exact same wind speed, sunlight, mix of concrete with the same colors—and I’ll have two patios that are different shades. You can never guarantee a color. That’s the fun part about decorative concrete…but it’s also the painful part.”

Despite uniformity’s lack, trends develop in Kaufman’s line of work, and he describes the current floor-oriented fashions this way: “Everything starts on the coasts, and works its way in. Stamp patios and stamp concrete have been big for a number of years, but more people are beginning to find out about acid staining. It’s a very durable option. It’s a little cheaper than doing tile. And people who have allergies don’t have to deal with carpets.”

But floors are merely the foundation for a figurative tower of constructive possibilities.

“Another big trend is concrete countertops,” Kaufman notes. “That’s probably getting to be the biggest one coming around here. Every time I look online, or open a magazine up, I see new and exciting ways people are doing concrete countertops. It’s not looking like a slab of concrete sitting on your counter. You can embed glass; you can embed agates; you can embed coins—the list goes on and on. You can get some really, really neat looks.”

But achieving those neat looks can be quite taxing…and just as rewarding.

“Every day is a new challenge,” Kaufman says of his work. “The more of a challenge a homeowner presents me, the more hair I lose…and the happier I am at the end of the job.”

Kaufman Concrete
22432 Xenon St. NW, Elk River
(763) 242-6389

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