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Everything you do in the finishing process of concrete is all about timing. When to use a float or switch to a trowel, when to use an edger or a jointer. All of these tools must be used at the appropriate time. Timing is important with the “the colorspreader™” as well. Most decorative contractors apply color hardener as soon as the bullfloat has closed up the surface. Using this tool you will want to wait 15-30 minutes for the initial set of the concrete, allowing bleed water to develop. If job site allows, push the tool across the pour empty, vibrator in the OFF position, and load the color from the opposite side. When you begin pulling the float back, turn on the vibrator using the remote. The rate of speed you retrieve the tool determines your coverage rate. If job site conditions don’t allow you to load from the opposite side, stage the buckets of material on the near side with a laborer to load the tray and move the tool over for your next pass. It’s that easy!
There are some in the Decorative Concrete Industry that would say that Color Hardener is the catalyst of most decorative concrete processes. Color for concrete was first developed around 1915 by the L.M Scofield company and Color Hardeners were developed during that period. As the name implies, hardeners increase the abrasion resistance, and decrease permeability, which obviously increases the lifespan of the surface of horizontal concrete or “flatwork”. Because of their shake-on application, color hardeners are generally limited to flatwork applications. While primarily perceived as color, hardeners are also used in commercial applications, using metallic and non-metallic aggregates to increase surface density, or increase reflectivity.
As the term “Shake-on” implies, the application of color hardeners, or floor hardeners, have historically been applied by concrete finishers with varying abilities. There has always been a learning curve to broadcasting a dry material into a wet or plastic surface. The application rates recommended by either the manufacturer or the specifier was and is, subject to the abilities of the crew applying the material. How far one could reach by “throwing” the material often times dictated how a pour was accomplished. Often times finishers would be forced to apply the product early which would result in more product needed to cover high slump design mixes. Another challenge in this setting would be pigment loss due to material going airborne, jobsite masking to protect the surrounding areas and finishers being required to wear dust masks or OSHA approved devices. A respected consultant in the industry was recently quoted “The two main disadvantages of color hardener are the labor and the mess. Most manufacturers of color hardener recommend applying color hardener in two separate applications, or “shakes,” instead of applying the entire recommended dosage all at once. This gives the hardener a chance to “wet out,” or absorb water. After each application, the hardener must be worked into the surface with a float.” He also says that “it usually takes six man-hours to spread color hardener on approximately 500 square feet of concrete.”
While I would personally disagree with this person’s assessment, (Six man-hours to cover 500 square feet) The moral of the story here isn’t the “time” it takes to apply Color Hardener, it’s the months or even years it takes at being proficient at it. All of these situations, and many more not mentioned, have always begged those involved to take a serious look at the ease of using integral color forgetting all the benefits that Hardener/Color provides.
Triple Hard Tools is a company that is comprised of people who understand the demands of the workplace. We believe that innovation and hard work yields results. The proof of that is the release of a new tool that has taken several years to perfect. Working with real concrete finishers and industry professionals, “Triple Hard” has developed an innovative tool that levels the playing field. Concrete Finishers that have experience using a “bull float” but that have never broadcast color hardener by hand, can now use a material or product that has always been reserved for the “professional” or finishers with years of experience “throwing” color.