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On the road with Wm R. Griffin

LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas, where what happens here, stays here — unless you are at the World of Concrete (WOC) show where you gather up and take with you all the latest information and samples related to concrete, one of the most widely used materials on earth.

That gray slab that we walk on each day is technically know as concrete — often incorrectly called cement — and turns out to be a phenomenal material with almost unlimited possibilities and uses.

Here are some of the trends that I noticed at this year’s WOC show:

• The use of decorative, coated, polished and densified/hardened concrete is continuing to grow as a common floor covering in both residential and commercial buildings

• There is a growing awareness that, although polished, stained and coated concrete floors may be low maintenance, they are not maintenance free: New products were displayed for recoloring, restoring and maintaining these surfaces and contractors were encouraged to be realistic in their sales presentations as to the ongoing maintenance needs for polished concrete flooring

• A slightly alkaline detergent, instead of a neutral product, should be used for daily wet cleaning of concrete floors

• Common cleaning industry manufactures such as Nilfisk-Advance Inc., Amano Pioneer Eclipse Corporation, Diversey Inc., Tennant Company and Malish Corporation are now participating in the show

• Concrete polishing and grinding has gone dry, and what used to be a wet process is now done without water

• High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration and dust containment systems have replaced the gallons of water and barrels that were a troubling and messy part of the process

• New, sustainable coatings, densifiers and cleaning products are entering the marketplace for concrete flooring

• Green and sustainable issues were of interest to some, but were not an overriding subject; in fact, a scheduled “greenwise” presentation and luncheon was cancelled for lack of interest

• The slump in the economy and building industry had an impact on attendance and exhibits at this year’s WOC show: There were definitely fewer and smaller booths, and the aisles were pretty bare by the end of the second day

• There continues to be a lot of interest in education at the show; a wide selection of seminars were well-attended.

When it comes to getting the latest information and products related to polished, decorative or coated concrete, the World of Concrete show is the place to be. Next year’s event is scheduled for January 24-27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.