Utah’s home market is hot right now. It’s a seller’s market for sure. But it doesn’t matter how high the market is – if your home lacks curb appeal or is in obvious need of repairs, potential buyers may not give it a second look.
Curb appeal can raise property value as much as 12 percent and increase resale value up to 14 percent. It also decreases the amount of time your home spends on the market. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Before you go crazy planting flowers to make things look pretty, let’s take a look at some ways to see actual return on investment.
Most buyers have a hard time seeing past messy landscaping, cracks in concrete patios and a cluttered home or yard. Savvy sellers know how to make their home appealing to buyers. This includes cleaning up landscaping, staging the interior, and making necessary repairs.
Concrete cracks raise a red flag for Utah homebuyers. If you notice cracks in concrete patios, sidewalks or walkways it’s important to repair them before they get worse. Also check for cracks in the foundation and remember, if the crack is wider than a nickel you’ll need to have it looked at by the pros.
A kitchen can make or break a sale. Potential buyers look for updated floors and countertops, and an outdated kitchen can affect overall home value. But you don’t have to spend all of your potential profits updating a kitchen you won’t be using once you sell. A minor kitchen remodel can result in 114 percent of costs recouped.
Concrete countertops are an affordable and creative way to update a kitchen for a completely customized look. The average cost of a standard thickness concrete countertop is actually less costly than granite, engineered quartz and other high-end materials.
This is another space that’s important to potential home buyers, and improvement dollars can yield a strong ROI. Materials will affect the price of the patio but using higher grade materials won’t necessarily give you a higher ROI. Decorative concrete is an ideal option for getting a high-end look without using materials that take more money out of your pocket than they will put back in it.
Fluids such as oil, gas and transmission fluid can leave stains on garage floors, driveways and patios. Whether a stain is new or old, it can usually be removed or lightened, depending on the surface.
To remove oil from concrete, an enzymatic multi-surface cleaner like Grime Monster can help breakdown oil and grease without leaving a halo effect. New stains can be covered with cat litter or baking soda prior, to absorb excess oil. Other stains may require a different process and products. An ICS concrete specialist can help you determine the best method to remove your particular concrete stain.
There are plenty of options to choose from to improve the value of your home. A little research on the best investment for your neighborhood and budget could pay off in nicely when it’s time to put your home on the market.
Using the right tools can be the difference between loving and hating rebar – and when you work with concrete, you need to love it!
1. HIT Cutter/Bender
If you have to cut and bend rebar on the job, make sure to bring your HIT cutter/bender (and a little muscle wouldn’t hurt!). With jaws made from high-grade alloy steel, this handy tool serves double duty as a rebar cutter and bender.
2. Rebar Ratchet Twister
There are so many ways to tie rebar. A rebar ratchet twister can make the process a little easier, especially when using pre-cut bar ties.
3. Dobies / Rebar Spacer Blocks
When using rebar or wire mesh in a concrete slab, you need something to keep it off the ground. Dobies, also known as dobie blocks or rebar spacer blocks, act as little chairs to help maintain rebar reinforcements at the correct height as the concrete hardens around it.
A few small concrete tools that make a big difference in concrete forming.
4. Pencil Rods
Thanks to its versatility and ease of use, pencil rod has many construction and industrial applications. Using pencil rod is especially ideal for those odd-shaped forming projects, where snap ties aren’t practical. It’s also a simple, economical alternative when surface appearance isn’t essential.
5. Cam Lock Bracket
When it comes to architectural walls, the Gates Cam Lock bracket is a proven must-have. The bracket engages the loop-end tie, securely holding 2×4 walers into place. Customizable and flexible, this system is adaptable to most types of wall forming systems, uses less lumbar and requires less nailing.
6. Chamfer Cutter
When you’re forming and need a perfect 45-degree angle, make sure to have a chamfer cutter in your bag. This deluxe hand tool creates precision miter cuts on the job site quickly and accurately.
7. Concrete Vibrators
Powered by a Honda GXH50, these are a must have for most concrete pours. But when you don’t have power, try a gas-powered backpack vibrator.
8. Husqvarna FS400 LV
Ideal for concrete repair jobs, this all-around push floor saw from Husqvarna offers power, perfect cuts, weight distribution and excellent stability. Features a 6.625-inch cutting depth, 11 hp, and an 18-inch blade.
9. Metabo Hammer Drill
Quality right from the start, this is one amazing hammer drill brought to you by Metabo North America. Metabo hammer drills are perfectly equipped for demanding applications on the job site.
10. Tiger Grip Gloves
Protect your hands with Tiger Grips. These orange nitrile gloves are powder-free with a raised, textured surface so hands don’t slip.
11. HEPA filters
Make sure that when you’re prepping floors, you have a HEPA filter in your vacuum. Remember, OSHA requires a HEPA-rated vacuum (99.97% efficiency at capturing particles greater than .3 microns) for dry cleanup work.
12. Joint Protectors
Soff-Cut joint protectors help eliminate incorrect breakage in concrete products to keep cross sections from blowing out. Why does this happen? If joint cutting isn’t done at just the right time, the concrete doesn’t have the tensile strength to survive the cross cut. Soff-Cut joint protectors apply just the right amount of pressure to keep concrete from cracking.
A few other products we recommend for tools and gear to make life easier on the job.
13. Keson Industries Giant Chalk Box
A chalk line is a very simple tool that performs an essential task: providing a perfectly straight line. When you need a longer, bolder line, reach for the Giant Chalk Box by Keson Industries.
14. T13 Tangs
Dayton Superior T-13 Tangs are designed for use in the floor slabs of tilt-up projects. Use them to securely attach and anchor wall braces.
15. Joint spatulas
Albion Engineering joint spatulas are used by professionals to make the job a little easier. Comfortable curved handle and rounded tip for standard application, precision ground for optimum flexibility for perfectly finished joints.
We have all of these tools and products available at all Intermountain Concrete Specialties locations, plus just about any other specialty concrete tool you can think of. Stop by and see your local concrete specialists.
There’s no time like the present to seal concrete, and it’s a step you just can’t skip on any project. Properly sealing concrete surfaces keep them protected from dirt, moisture and excess wear while enhancing appearance.
Keep in mind general temperature guidelines when sealing for the best possible application. Ideally, surface and environmental temperatures should be between 50 and 90 degrees. Any colder or hotter and the concrete may not penetrate or bond effectively.
The type of sealer used also makes a difference in the protection and appearance of the final concrete product. What’s the difference between penetrating and surface sealers? We’ll break it down for you, and share some of our old favorites and newest innovations in concrete sealing.
Penetrating sealers absorb into the concrete to protect exterior concrete surfaces from damage due to exposure to the elements. Ideal for exterior concrete surfaces, penetrating sealers form a chemical barrier that protects against ice, moisture, deicers, excess wear and more. Here are some of our top picks:
Pentra Sil 244: The best choice for protecting concrete against extreme elements. This premium concrete sealer reduces permeability and protects concrete surfaces with a single application.
Pentreat 244: This penetrating, 100% active silane sealer inhibits water and chloride ion penetration, helping to prevent rebar corrosion and concrete scaling, spalling and freeze-thaw damage. Excellent choice for parking structures, driveways, patios, median barriers, ramps and loading docks.
Creto DPS: The top choice for waterproofing new or existing concrete, Crete DPS penetrates deep to form a breathable yet moisture-blocking gel barrier.
Intraguard: A water-based, penetrating sealing compound for exterior concrete. Weatherproofs and protects concrete surfaces such as driveways, walkways and exterior walls from moisture and de-icing chemical damage.
Masterprotect H400: This deep-penetrating, heavy duty sealer provides long-lasting protection against moisture, freezing and thawing, making it ideal for concrete highways, stadiums and high-traffic outdoor concrete surfaces.
SharkSeal™: Designed for surfaces that require a high-end, yet cost-effective finish, SharkSeal penetrates deep into porous interior or exterior concrete surfaces while enhancing color. This low-VOC sealer from NewLook is breathable, dries quickly, repels water and dirt, and protects against the freeze-thaw cycle.
Surface sealers work by forming an impermeable protective layer on concrete surfaces, or by blocking the pores in concrete to prevent water absorption. Surface sealers are great for high-traffic areas, concrete countertops and decorative concrete surfaces.
Decraseal 100: A premium, non-yellowing, acrylic curing and sealing compound designed for exterior concrete such as driveways, sidewalks and pool decks. Cures, seals and protects concrete with a hard clear surface film that creates a high-sheen finish.
ICS High Gloss 100: Formulated to seal and protect concrete surfaces by producing a hard yet breathable, high-sheen finish, this non-yellowing, acrylic-based, sealing compound is transparent, durable, and easy to apply. We also recommend ICS Premium Gloss Sealer 100 and ICS ColorSeal.
CS309-25: This is one of our all-time favorite sealers, a true workhorse. CS309-25 is only available until our supply runs out due to changing VOC laws, so stock up while you can.
VOCOMP 20: A water-based, acrylic curing and sealing compound from W.R. Meadows that resists yellowing from ultraviolet exposure and provides a durable, long-lasting finish that offers improved resistance to chemicals, petroleum, and abrasives.
VOCOMP 25: This water-based, acrylic concrete curing and sealing compound is ideal for outdoor areas, industrial flooring, and vertical surfaces.
Decraseal WB: Specially formulated for decorative concrete, this clear, transparent and easy to apply sealer offers improved resistance to water, alkalis and mild acids with a hard yet flexible, clear film.
Smart Seal WB: This premium water-based sealer from NewLook creates an abrasion-resistant film that provides weatherproof protection against sun, rain, most acids, industrial chemicals, oil and grease.
Visit your local Intermountain Concrete Specialties store to speak with one of our experts to find the right sealer for your concrete project.
Once upon a time concrete was gray, boring and strictly utilitarian. Modern advancements in concrete products have made decorative concrete one of the most desirable finishes—with the added bonus of versatility, durability and cost effectiveness. The many faces of concrete include stamped or textured concrete, stenciled concrete, patterned finishes, paint and stain. These decorative finishes can be applied to concrete patios, interior floors, countertops and more.
Stamping is a decorative finish designed to mimic stone, slate, tile, brick, pavers, even wood. Creative and affordable, stamped (or textured) concrete offers great versatility when it comes to mixing pattern and color. Intermountain Concrete Specialists carries a wide selection of texture mats, skins and stamping tools for a variety of natural-looking and man-made pattern options.
As a decorative surface finish, there are virtually no limitations to stenciled concrete designs. Stenciling is fairly easy for DIYers, and pros are able to offer custom designs, making it a great alternative to the many faces of concrete.
Color can be the most distinguishing trait of decorative concrete, and there are a multitude of color applications. With the exception of integral color, most concrete color methods can be applied to existing concrete. Concrete color methods include:
Overlays / Microtoppings
Create a new blank canvas with microtoppings, a thin cement-based layer applied to existing concrete. Once the overlay has been applied, it can be stamped, stained or stenciled.
Bring life to decorative concrete ideas with the many faces of concrete. We carry the latest innovations in decorative concrete trends, including premium concrete stamps and texture mats, seamless texture skins, integral colors, color releases, hardeners, dyes and stains, coatings, sealers, border and accessory tools, forming equipment and much more. Visit an Intermountain Concrete Specialties location and let our expert staff show you how decorative concrete can enhance your space.