Until now, contractors have thrown shake-on color hardener onto concrete mainly by hand. It’s tradition, and contractors love tradition. But by its nature, throwing the color can be inefficient, wasteful, and expose workers to possible health risks associated with inhaling airborne silicates.
Scott Stephens, owner of Triple Hard Tools, developed The Colorspreader to combat this problem. The Colorspreader offers a mechanical alternative to hand-throwing. The contractor simply loads the powder into The Colorspreader tray, hits a remote-control button to start the vibrator, and pulls the tool across the concrete.
As the tool floats, the vibrator distributes the product onto the concrete in an even and consistent manner. The slower you pull, the more material is distributed.
“This tool allows pretty much any contractor, with or without hardener experience, to broadcast and get great coverage rates,” Scott says. “By hand, the range is only as far as you can throw, so you are limited by reach. The Colorspreader can broadcast as far as you can float. It can go out to 30 or 40 feet.”
Contracting outfit Highland Concrete Designs, in Loveland, Colo., added The Colorspreader to their lineup earlier this year after attending a demonstration of the machine. The company purchased the demo model and within the week were using it on the job site.
“It’s everything we hoped for and more,” says owner Bob Brown. “We have found we’re saving on the amount of hardener we use. The savings just about paid for the spreader over the summer.”
Those savings have made the company more competitive in their bids, but Brown has experienced other benefits as well.
“We don’t have stuff flying all over the place, and it’s a much more even spread. You don’t get a big variance in colors like you can with hand-broadcasting,” he says. In fact, he says homeowners have been so happy with the end results of recent projects, the company has gained a lot of new clients through referrals. He believes the quality control offered by The Colorspreader is a big factor.
For contractors who are interested in using The Colorspreader, Brown had some advice.
“Timing is kind of critical,” he says. “If you rush it, the float digs into the concrete.”
He also recommended cleaning it after use to avoid clogging, and he suggested buying an extra battery to avoid any problems mid-job. “It’s basically a cheap insurance policy.”
The Colorspreader was brought to market earlier this year. It’s primarily constructed of aluminum and is engineered to be light, durable and virtually maintenance-free. The Colorspreader comes in 24-inch and 48-inch models.