Outdoor grinding and polishing demonstrations are popular at the International Concrete Polishing & Staining Conference.
Tom Bagsarian Outdoor grinding and polishing demonstrations are popular at the International Concrete Polishing & Staining Conference.

Dave Michaud was a typical attendee at the International Concrete Polishing & Staining Conference (ICPSC). “I’m primarily here to gain more information about the polishing industry,” said Michaud of Damaged Masonry Technicians in Lewiston, Maine, who was at his second ICPSC. “I picked up something I can use at every seminar I attended.”

He was one of more than 200 concrete polishers and exhibitors who attended the third annual event in Duluth, Ga., Sept. 30-Oct. 3. Concrete Surfaces is the official publication of the ICPSC.

Although business for much of the construction industry remains slow, many concrete polishers are doing well. Michaud’s 15-person operation is concentrating on smaller jobs of 15,000 square feet or less, which “gives us a little more profit and control.” He also explained that after working on a 40,000-square-foot polishing project at a school, a custodian explained that the school district had saved lots of money by not having to strip and wax the floor regularly. “We’re selling the maintenance aspect of polished concrete,” said Michaud, who has been polishing concrete for eight years.

Indeed, maintenance was a theme that came up many times during the conference. Building owners must be made aware that a polished concrete floor requires follow-up care. “There is a level of maintenance to everything,” Scott Thome of L.M. Scofield Co., explained during a session on decorative concrete. “As a group, that’s something that has to get through. The floors are low-maintenance, but they still require maintenance.” Big box stores, grocery stores, and churches have become strong polished concrete markets, Thome said.

Twenty-five exhibitors display their equipment and services.
Twenty-five exhibitors display their equipment and services.

Les Davis, president of American Decorative Concrete, manufacturer of the Ameripolish system, emphasized the recent growth of decorative and colored polished floors. “Adding a color component to concrete has given us so many more opportunities than before,” he said. “It will blow your mind what people will pay for the artisanship.” By a show of hands, about one-half of the people in the room said they have worked on colored concrete projects.

Working closely with general contractors and others during the early stage of projects was another theme. “That concrete contractor is placing your canvas,” said Thome. “Attend pre-pour meetings. If they don’t invite you, then invite yourself. That’s your slab.”

In addition, many members of the Concrete Polishing Association of America attended. Jim Cuviello, a founding member of the association, spoke at the opening session.

Next year’s event will be held at the same location and venue, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 2011. For more information, visit www.icpsc365.com.

This new department is dedicated to concrete polishing. If you have company news or a recent polished concrete project you would like to share, e-mail cseditor@hanleywood.com, or telephone Editor Tom Bagsarian at 773-824-2490.