Industry News

Concrete Decor Show Offers Decorative Tips for Contractors

The eighth annual Concrete Decor Show takes place this week at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Florida. The show is home to the largest focused gathering of expert decorative concrete trainers, educators, and practicing artisans from around the world, according to event organizers.

Attendees include product end-users such as contractors, along with manufacturers, design professionals, distributors/suppliers, resellers, and retailers. At the show, attendees can learn about topics including insulated concrete forms (ICFs), wall coverings, specialty mixes, countertops, flooring, and polishing concrete from more than 50 exhibitors displaying goods and services.

Several outdoor demonstrations are scheduled throughout the 2017 show, headlined by applications of decorative treatments to ICFs and power trowel polishing to showcase Lavina attachments, slurry management systems, coverings, guard applications, and more.

“Concrete is a proven superior material that can stand up to most anything,” said Bent Mikkelsen, Concrete Decor Show promoter and publisher of Concrete Decor magazine. “Besides being used structurally with excellent results, it also can project high aesthetic value. When used as an architectural finish, builders have less materials to inventory and haul to the jobsite.”

ICFs Save on Labor, Time

Often hailed as “big boy Legos,” according to event organizers, ICFs are double-insulated reinforced concrete blocks that can be used below grade as well as above grade for everything from homes to commercial buildings. Just like Legos, they come in an assortment of shapes including straight, curved, and corners to accommodate architectural design features.
“Our ICFs are a five-in-one system: concrete form, plastic rebar holders, insulation for wall, furring strip for attaching drywall, and an air and vapor barrier,” said Mike Kennaw, vice president of marketing and sales for Omaha, Nebraska-based Fox Blocks, an exhibitor at the show.  The company has 22 manufacturing plants around the United States.
“Instead of having five trades coming in to do work, you’ve accomplished all those steps in one fell swoop,” Kennaw added. “The labor savings are significant.”

John Riddle, vice president of business development for Turning Leaf Construction in Sanford, Florida, said his company is a Fox Blocks distributor as well as a custom home builder that has used ICFs for nearly 10 years. “In Florida, you need something that will stand up to large wind volumes,” Riddle said. “But even more importantly in this market, you need to have properly insulated walls because of our constant warm, moist environment.” 

ICFs are seen as ideal solutions because of their combination of insulation on the interior with exterior walls and concrete in between, event organizers explained.

During the show, Fox Blocks will demonstrate how ICFs are stacked and rebar is placed. Experienced concrete contractors and framers typically find it to be a user-friendly building process, Kennaw said.

“It saddens me that people keep rebuilding the same way repeatedly, although the technology is out there to build structures that will withstand these high wind and heavy rain events,” said Riddle, who plans on attending the exposition to discover other ways concrete products can benefit his company.

High-Performance Mix Designs

According to Mikkelsen, concrete products are constantly being improved upon from the standpoint of mix designs. One such company in this space is Throop, Pennsylvania-based Kingdom Products. At this week’s show, the company is debuting a fast, self-leveling polishable overlay. In a demonstration, the group will floor the inside of a car with a cementitious product made to look like textured wood.

Meanwhile, another product from the company that could catch attention from contractors is an ultra high-performance mix design that cures to between 15,000 and 20,000 psi and beyond.

“It can be cast into anything,” said Bart Sacco, founder and owner of Kingdom Products and Concrete Texturing LLC. “It can be used to cast shutters for window coverings. Or it can be used to make siding.” 
Siding and shutters made from this product would be hard to destroy with a sledge hammer and virtually impenetrable to flying debris, he added.

According to Sacco, the mix comes in one-component and two-component variations. “We’ve got a mix where you just add water or it can be formulated to accept other liquid additives,” he said. “A precast operation we supply casts a 23,000 psi self-compacting mix. This is a crazy strong mix — with the proper fiber additions, a mix design of this nature can be virtually indestructible.”

Exposition, Educational Tracks

The exposition portion of the show will be held from noon until 6 p.m. local time on Wednesday and Thursday. Tickets to the two-day exhibits event are $25 in advance and $35 at the door. 

Meanwhile, in-depth educational offerings will be held each day from Monday through Thursday. For attendees interested in learning about a particular area of decorative concrete, there are a number of hands-on workshops, educational seminars, and panel discussions scheduled each day. Subject areas covered include coatings, countertops, hardscaping and vertical, overlays and toppings, polishing, staining and coloring, and stamping.

In addition, to help promote networking and coating technologies education, education pass holders are invited to a sneak preview of the exposition’s exhibits at an exclusive party on Tuesday evening, complete with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails on the show floor.

For more information, contact: Concrete Décor Show, (877) 935-8906,