World of Concrete 2018 exceeded everyone’s expectations in January by attracting more than 58,000 registered professionals and nearly 1,600 participating companies, including about 300 brand-new exhibitors. The 43rd such show to date, the signature event encompassed almost 750,000 square feet of exhibit space, of which Decorative Concrete LIVE! claimed nearly 4,300 square feet as its own in a display of decorative concrete a la retail style. Decorative Concrete LIVE! is brought to you annually by Concrete Decor magazine, the Concrete Decor RoadShow and a host of sponsoring partners.
With so many things to see and experience, it was hard to take it all in and a real challenge to keep up the pace during the show’s five-day marathon. Here’s a sampling of the products, machinery and tools that wowed Concrete Decor staff and others who made the annual trek to Las Vegas.
Riding on the wave of the power trowel’s popularity, Diamatic demonstrated its Velox power trowel with its patent-pending active planetary gear box. With this made-in-the-USA ride-on machinery and the Silex Power Trowel Polishing System, contractors can polish 4,000-5,000 square feet per hour.
Aztec showed off its new LowRider, a high-speed propane burnisher with an ultra-low profile designed to burnish hard-to-reach areas. Options include a built-in dust control feature that meets certain green building credit requirements, as well as a spray-mist feature that can shave off time and labor where maintenance is concerned. Also in Aztec’s procession was the versatile Refresher (above), a propane-powered machine that can be used to strip, deep scrub, hone, polish and burnish concrete and terrazzo floors.
With a very innovative take on grinders, Prep Tech Systems has come up with an interchangeable grinding system that should entice small business owners trying to build up their fleet. The company has 25-, 30- and 34-inch heads that all fit on the same-size frame. So rather than buying a complete machine if you need something larger or smaller, you can simply purchase the needed head.
One vacuum system that got the crowds buzzing was attached to the CPS Rover, a ride-on grinder/polisher/burnisher introduced at the show last year by Concrete Polishing Systems. The new self-contained, labor-saving VacPac lets an operator vacuum as he rides along, without having to stop and move cumbersome hoses. The vacuum bag just needs to be changed when it’s full. CPS also debuted Aqua Hybrid Resins, a new line of tooling designed for wet polishing.
Superabrasive’s big hit this year was a smaller, lighter, customer-requested grinder. The 20-inch Lavina 20G-X propane-powered grinder is the first of a new generation of machines with many new features, including a closed-loop fuel-management system, a variable-speed engine, a dust suppression/misting system and a completely redesigned grinding head with low-friction chain gear planetary drive.
Graco’s ToughTek CM20 was put to work at Decorative Concrete LIVE! A real labor- and timing-saving machine, the continuous mixer eliminates measuring and adding water by hand. Just set the water flow rate for a preblended mix, pour in the bag’s contents and the machine automatically churns away.
You’ll never have to wonder the whereabouts of the Bosch Brute Turbo Breaker Hammer with its GPS tracker that pinpoints its location 24/7. The tracking device, which is also available beginning in May as a retrofit for current Bosch SDS-max hammers, automatically charges when the tool is plugged in. Other notable newbies include the Bosch GWS18V-45C grinder, equipped with a powerful brushless motor and advanced safety features such as automatic shutoff if the tool is dropped or jammed. It also has plug-in connected-ready capability and can interface with Bosch’s optional Bluetooth. In the vacuum department, Bosch reports vacuum sales have increased more than 1,000 percent from last year because of the new OSHA standard. And finally, the Bosch Blaze outdoor lasers are designed to provide accurate measurements in any kind of light. They rely on a 5.0-megapixel camera to find virtually any laser target at up to 400 feet away. One of the versions stores photos on the device.
At the Kraft Tool booth, comfort was at the forefront of the company’s tool line as it expanded its offerings in cork-handled tools to include edgers and groovers. The company’s Elite Series tools, which includes cork-handled trowels and now cork-handled floats, are already broken in when they arrive and are ready to use out of the box.
Among DeWalt’s newest offerings was the 9-inch 60-volt Max Cut-Off Saw, part of the company’s growing Flexvolt System that offers “the freedom of power without gas.” The saw, which can cut up to 3¼ inches deep, can be used in both horizontal and vertical positions. Another Flexvolt product line, the SDS Max hammers, includes “the highest performing rotary hammer on the market.” It’s outfitted with the E-Clutch System, a bind-up control feature that senses a stall during use and manages torque accordingly. To better keep up with all the battery-powered tools, DeWalt introduced the 4-Port Fast Charger that can be used to recharge a wide variety of batteries, including four Flexvolt batteries in one hour. All in all, DeWalt debuted 100 new power tool, accessory, storage and anchoring solutions, including the newest 20-volt Max Bluetooth-enabled green and red rotary lasers.
Bon Tool debuted a heavy-duty PVC Bull Float Carrying Case which holds one 8-inch bull float or channel float with a bracket attached and four handles. Its built-in feet keep the case upright on level surfaces.
Smith Performance Sprayers unveiled its new 2-gallon acid sprayer equipped with acid-resistant seals and a pressure release valve for safety. It’s also outfitted with a quartz glass-weighted flexible dip tube that sways when the sprayer is tilted to ensure contact with the contents inside. The company maintains it’s the only company in the U.S. that manufactures a handheld acid mister.
Jitterbugging will be a thing of the past with the Rattle Stick, a concrete vibration tool that can be used with floats, jointers, edgers and screeds. Now, it’s more powerful than it’s ever been with the company’s new Super Snake upgrade and Slump Buster. The stick also now comes in an array of bright colors.
Coatings and related products
From Hybrid Coating Technologies, the Green Polyurethane line offers installers nontoxic products that protect a floor with just one coat. Of particular interest is GPEC a new monolithic epoxy-urethane that’s many times over stronger than traditional concrete and even more durable than polymer concrete. It also has other marks in the plus column. Rather than looking synthetic, it looks natural and can be polished. And the product is environmentally friendly with its zero VOCs and isocyanates formulation.
Butterfield Color was out in full force with an array of new products, including Clear Guard First Seal, a penetrating sealer formulated to go on unsealed concrete as early as 48 hours after it’s placed, and a brand-new evaporation retarder. Primarily designed to be used on hot or windy days, TEC Film — as in Topical Evaporation Control — slows down moisture evaporation during the concrete finishing process. This attribute makes it a welcome addition when stamping concrete as it effectively reduces surface cracking at the edges of grout lines. Speaking of stamps, Butterfield also showed off its new stamp and texture skin, a 9-by-54-inch Bluestone and a Travertine Texture.
The Concrete Protection Process developed by Redi-Mix Colors was demonstrated during WOC at the Decorative Concrete LIVE! exhibit. The brand-new system, which aims to protect areas such as quick service restaurant’s drive-throughs, goes down in four steps: clean and prep surface, apply black stain, coat with specially formulated urethane and finish with a proprietary abrasion-resistant product. The stain mitigation and abrasion resistance of this promising process aims to keep dining establishment grounds as pristine as the day they opened.
Also unveiled at Decorative Concrete LIVE!, the Speedymason mortar bed panel system offers a quick and easy method for contractors to install thin brick on a new or existing building’s exterior or interior wall. The patent-pending panel made in Wisconsin features brick seating for each row of brick. Once the first panel is level, you’re good to go. No weeping system behind the panel or special tools are needed to install.
If you’ve been looking for a way to get rid of oil stains, Ameripolish has a solution. Its Oil Ingester is an active enzyme-based product that lives off the oil without damaging or affecting what’s underneath, be it a colorant, sealer or stain protector. It’s biodegradable and can be left on the surface for days until it gets the job done.
Nearby in the same lot, SealKrete showed off its newest product, StrataShell, which was drizzled on top a black and blue metallic base coat of Epoxy-Shell 1000 while it was still wet to create a shiny reflective floor. The company also presented Flex-Coat, a primer and base coat rolled into one that works well in a wide range of temperatures.
Mapei introduced a bevy of new products to protect and restore concrete, including Planitop 18 TG, a trowel-grade cementitious repair mortar that gains strength rapidly. Treated areas can be open to traffic in as little as two hours after application. The one-component mortar is best suited for horizontal concrete repairs from ½ to 2 inches thick. The company also debuted Topcem Pronto, a screedable mortar with more than 60 minutes of working time. It can be applied from 3/8 to 2 inches using a float or a screed. It’s good for repairing interior and exterior installations such as sidewalks, balconies and walkways.
Among the new products Quikcrete displayed was an improved formulation of Concrete Resurfacer. The miracle product that renews old worn surfaces is now longer working, produces a smoother finish and delivers three times greater bond strength.
Hi-Tech Systems displayed how stealthy its Spall-TX3 could be. You can barely see where the polyurea concrete repair material was used on this surface as it literally makes the repaired area disappear. This rapid-set, 100 percent solids material is designed to rebuild and repair broken control joints and spalled concrete. On top of that, it’s polishable.
Scofield debuted a new line of solvent-based acrylic sealers that are high solids, high gloss, durable and UV resistant. They were developed to beautifully protect all walks of concrete, from plain, integrally colored and stamped to acid stained and exposed aggregate. Also for aggregates, Scofield’s new Lithocast Surface Retarder can consistently deliver an exposed aggregate finish — a fantastic look for both residential and commercial customers. The spray-applied surface-set retarder allows users to easily produce variable-etched concrete surfaces. Available in six formulations, each one is color-coded with a fugitive dye that disappears after application, allowing you to see how much you apply where.
The design potential for freshly poured concrete just got wider thanks to Concrete Dimensions, a new line of Brickform stencils from Solomon Colors that offers custom designs as well as a selection of compass roses, medallions and intricate borders. The highly durable urethane stencils are designed to be rolled up after use while retaining their shape and flexibility and reused hundreds of times. Simply float them in and pull them up the next day to reveal clean, crisp imprints.
If you’re in the market for a vibrator, Vibco Vibrators has a line that may fill the bill. Stik-It concrete vibrator mounts attach to concrete forms without brackets, welding or drilling. Using an air system to create suction, they work well with all types of concrete forms including insulated concrete forms, concrete countertops and curved columns and footings. The vibrators and mounts are available in various sizes.
One of the chicest accessories on the floor had to be the Veratti Tango line of safety glasses from Encon Safety Products. Some of these unisex spectacles are specially coated to absorb moisture so they don’t fog up when things get steamy. They also have a ratcheting template to ensure a better fit.