Broadleaf, A Flooring Company, to the Rescue – A Cautionary Tale

Broadleaf to the rescue

For many years I watched cracks around two drains in my garage increase in size.  They needed to be repaired and when I received a flyer stating the company specialized in repairing garages, I contracted with them.  I believed that cracks would be repaired. Instead, I was scammed and my garage was unusable because the company skim coated the floor and left a rough and dangerous surface that peeled off.

The floor is dangerous and unsightly

 It is hard to believe that in this day and age with all kinds of reviews available, I managed to get myself into a terrible situation.  I hope that my story may save others from being taken.  Trying to make lemonade from lemons, with my daughter’s assistance, looking in all the right places,  we located Broadleaf, a four-star flooring company, that came to my rescue and I now have a functional and beautiful garage floor. Broadleaf is not only skilled and efficient but also caring and able to work “miracles”.

My word of warning and do note this:  If you find a flyer from Carmen and Sons Concrete, do what I did not do.  Throw it away.  I was told this company goes back generations and specializes in garage repair.  How bad could they be, I thought.  And then, I found out.  It was a nightmare and I needed to do something to improve this.  What should I do?

Removing the unsightly floor

Enter Jason Czajka from Broadleaf who came to my house quickly, explained the process needed to remove the unsightly and dangerous floor and the process required to create a beautiful and functional floor.  Arrangements were made to have the work completed within a week.  Raul and Amadeo arrived at the time designated, ready to work.  They were professional is every way. After a day and a half, with much of the first day directed to  removing the ARDEX material that was applied by Carmen and Sons, and after many steps were completed, the garage floor is lovely to look at and pleasant to walk on.

Creating a clean, smooth surface

Jason generously agreed to answer some questions about Broadleaf.

How did Broadleaf come into being and when?

Broadleaf has been around in some incarnation for over 15 years, but was officially recognized as a formal business in 2012. During its humblest beginnings prior to 2012, Broadleaf was simply our owner Chris Collopy working out of the back of his old Toyota as a one-man crew. In 2012, after a huge growth in business, Chris acquired his first shop and grew to really kick-off the Broadleaf legacy. We expanded our operation in 2017 with the acquisition of Crest Concrete growing to over 25 employees, and two offices, both located in Broadview IL. There are current plans to grow even further, combining both offices under one roof in our new Building in Westchester IL, where we are set to move into next month. 

Patching the cracks

In what way was the current process for restoring floors developed?

Broadleaf is a floor coatings company providing a variety of solutions to meet the needs of various businesses as well as residential customers. This includes everything from epoxy coatings, poly-urethane coatings, concrete grind and seals, concrete polishing – the list goes on. Our primary focus, especially in a residential setting, is epoxy floor coatings.  Commercial and Residential epoxy use has been around for decades – nearly 75 years.  While the chemical composition has remained relatively unchanged over the years, there have been advances in it’s make up, improving its durability and UV stability.  There have also been changes in the application of the product over the years, especially in regard to how floors and surfaces are prepared to accept the epoxy coatings.

Applying the epoxy

What kind of changes have taken place over the many years you have been in business? (techniques, patrons, etc.)

Harkening back to my previous comment, epoxy has remained mostly unchanged for decades. However advancements have been made to the UV stability of the epoxy product preventing epoxy from “yellowing” or “discoloring” in short time. Additionally, the preparation of the flooring surfaces has improved over the years and now involves a process known as “shot-blasting” and “diamond grinding” to prepare the surfaces to accept the epoxy.

Chips that add color

Are there any jobs that Broadleaf has completed that stand out?

Throughout the years, Broadleaf has worked on MANY commercial and industrial jobs all throughout not only the Chicagoland area, but the Midwest as well.  We’ve developed a relationship as their preferred flooring company with the restaurant “Whalburgers” which has multiple locations throughout the area and is owned by the famous family of actors the Whalberg’s  Our owner is also a huge advocate for pet shelters and dog daycare facilities and has donated many hours and product to renovate and beautify various facilities throughout the Chicagoland area.

Throwing the color chips onto the epoxy

Do you have any interesting stories about the workers who create the beautiful floors?

Unlike some others companies of this nature, Broadleaf does NOT sub-contract any of their work –  all installers work directly for our owner and many of the over 16 installers have worked with us for almost 10 years, providing our customers with YEARS of experience and professionalism

Applying the protective coat

How long have you been working for Broadleaf and what brought you to the company? 

 I’ve been with Broadleaf for almost two years. Originally, I received my Associates degree in Radio Broadcasting with an emphasis in Public Speaking.  After some time trying to break into the industry, I decided to pursue a degree in education. Having spent many years as an educator working in a special needs classroom in the West Suburbs, I went back to school to obtain my business degree in Small Business Management. Through that experience, I’ve found myself working mostly in a sales capacity. For almost 10 years I’ve sold everything from school field trips, powder coating supplies, furniture and lighting for major hotel chains and now…epoxy!  Broadleaf is by far one of my favorite jobs, not just in sales but in my lifetime! The culture at Broadleaf is like a family environment. Chris has provided me with every resource and nearly complete autonomy so that I can succeed in this role and continue to present the Broadleaf solution to homes and businesses all throughout the Chicagoland area. Throughout all my sales roles, and now with Broadleaf, I’ve prided myself on my ability to present products to customers truthfully and honestly, always trying to find the most economical solution for customers, instead of trying to squeeze every dime out of them. A happy customer who managed to save a penny has always been most important to me, and it has helped Broadleaf continue to grow into one of the most trusted and number one flooring companies in Chicago!

Finishing the apron with a weatherproof process

Notes on the installation process:

*First – All debris is removed from the floor.  The floor is prepped through a both sand blasting and the use of a diamond grinder. Through the use of vaccums attached to our equipment, dust is very minimal.

*Next – the crew will make any repairs to the floor to ensure that the substrate is as smooth as possible.

*Then – A base coat is applied evenly across the surface

*Then – a broadcast (whether flake or sand) is distributed across the surface covering every square inch

*Then – the floor is sanded again to ensure that the floor is flat and level. All additional broadcast materials NOT absorbed by the base coat are vaccumed up

*Finally – a clear coat is applied to the surface to seal everything in and a slip resistance material is added to prevent slippage.  

In just 48 hours the job is complete and the floor is ready to be used after 24 hours of curing!

Voila! A floor to enjoy

Jason

Photos: B. Keer and Trish Munro

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