With all due respect to “The Graduate,” sometimes the future really is in plastics.
Take, for example, this anecdote from Wagman Metal Products Inc. marketing manager Robert Bower: A huge discount superstore chain is planning to install concrete floors colored with an antique cork hue in many of its new locations. Their design scheme calls for a little bit of mottling and burnishing to add character, but not enough burnishing to leave ugly black marks.
Wagman’s plastic trowel blades for power trowels are the tools that make this possible. The chain is in the process of adding the blades to their job specs, Bower says. “What they’re doing is they’re running steel until they get the look they want. Then they are switching over and using plastic blades.”
Wagman plastic blades leave a hard, polished finish up to the standards of steel, but without the dark burnish marks that tend to show up when steel spins against concrete. This makes them a boon for decorative concrete contractors, who have more motivation to avoid unsightly black scuffs than just about anybody else in the industry. “Plastic will not leave burnish marks no matter how often they go over and over a hard surface,” Bower says.
Wagman introduced its first plastic trowel blade in the late 1990s, and the manufacturer unveiled a new generation, the Poly Pro, last year. The Poly Pro’s plastic blade is reinforced with a steel plate, combining the finishing capabilities of plastic with the rigidity, strength, and reliable flex points of steel. The reinforced blades can be used with heavier power trowels, and come in finish and combination blade styles.
Wagman still sells its original plastic blade without the steel. A third option, the DPRO, is made from stiffer, denser plastic than the other two. It’s the most expensive of the three.
The plastic in a Wagman blade was engineered to be abrasion-resistant. If it’s regularly used to float and finish, it may wear faster than a steel blade doing the same job, Bower says, but if it’s used only for finishing, it may last longer than steel. The Poly Pro can also be equipped with a steel clip-on float blade that covers the plastic, protecting it in the earlier phases of the job.
“There is no way to finish floors that are highly polished without burning them unless you get down on your hands and knees and finish it by hand,” Bower says. “You can get away with doing it that way, but it is very labor intensive.”
For more information, visit www.wagmanmetal.com or call (717) 854-2120.