People outside the industry laughed at me when I said I was spending the week in Vegas attending the World of Concrete. I can understand how that might sound a little funny but open your curious mind and it doesn’t take long to discover a wealth of innovation. While concrete may be a just dusty gray powder that gets hard when you mix it with water to the uninterested, there’s little you can’t do with it. To go along with the possibilities of concrete are a wealth of tools, techniques and products that improve your productivity and make the job a little less back-breaking.

That said, here’s a look at a few products we liked at World of Concrete this year. Because there’s SO MUCH to absorb, this is by no means a definitive list.

  • Zip level let’s you skip the math in surveying a job site. Letting you work alone and quickly, it’s extremely precise – down to 1/8” and isn’t hindered by obstacles in your line of sight like laser levels. I particularly like the fact you can measure over any material or elevation without having to tune up your math skills.
  • Wouldn’t it be nice not to worry about cracking in your concrete projects? Ferro-Green is a synthetic reinforcing fiber by Forta made of copolymer / polypropolene that increases the toughness of concrete for airport runways, septic tanks, etc. that can reduce the need for steel reinforcement, saving labor and time.
  • Drivable Grass is a permeable concrete paving system that allows you to create a nice grassy surface to drive on that won’t turn to mush when it rains – something we here at Viewpoint see more than our share of. The cool thing about it is the curve edges that allow grass to grow through compared with the hard edges of others. For those conscious about building green, it’s a great way to create a permeable alternative to asphalt or solid concrete.
  • Speaking of draining, Aco Qmax is a nice balance between ease of installation on the job and high capacity, durability. What I thought was cool was the continuous beam on the top that connects beautifully with the pavement making for a stronger surface. It’s often what you don’t see on a project that makes a difference and this is a perfect example of that.
  • This year there’s been no shortage of rain around the country and Armorcast introduced an interlocking block system made of UV stabilized Polyethelyne that installs really quickly – much like building with Legos. Used for most any above-ground containment, you fill the blocks with water or sand. They’re using it a lot this year to contain flood waters in North Dakota and Pennsylvania.

This barely scratches the surface; there are also a huge array of specialty surfaces from highly polished to stamped, swirled and in between and all the tools you want to tear things down and start anew. If you found something you thought was particularly noteworthy at the World of Concrete this year – jump in!

Posted by Patrick Prothe