2016 - A Year for Innovations
Over the years, the industry has produced many nice innovations for decorative concrete. This year I have seen some of the most exciting innovations take place in multiple arenas of the decorative concrete industry. I have always felt that Walt Tools has been a leader in the market place because many years ago, they offered to take my ideas and produce them. I’m speaking of the Wedge Tool, Texture Rollers for Vertical Concrete, Textured Trowels, The Exposed Stone Mold Set and The Three-Way Design Tools. I might also add that Walt Tools was the first company to produce the step liners that fit standard lumber sizes. They also created the first add pack to the industry that converts standard mortar and concrete bag mixes into counter top and vertical mixes. As of today, there are many companies who have followed their lead and have add packs for their product lines. Tru-Pac products are still the leading add pack in the Vertical and Countertop market place.
Walt has also released original stamps and pads for not just vertical but predominantly the flat work industry with over twenty-eight patterns not including seamless skins and boarder rollers. In 2015 they became the master distributor for Hardscape Systems, a company that utilizes foam core construction for seat walls and hardscapes.
Finally, we come to 2016. Even though all the previous releases are fantastic this year really takes the cake. First off, they have produced Heal & Seal Deco 2K, the industry’s first 100% silicon, clear coat, film forming sealer. Did I mention it was water based as well? Next there is the Ultrathane 1000, a single component urethan. This extremely low VOC sealer has great abrasion resistance, low odor, no fumes, easy to use sealer that can be used for interior or exterior applications.
This year Walt also reformulated their StampSheen 350 to create a much more durable sealer. Their main goal was the ease of use, using the highest-grade components available while effectively dealing with blistering, bubbling, peeling, quick set, flash dry, and other problems associated with low VOC solvent based sealers.
This year’s addition to the Step liners series is a two by four step liner, perfect for smaller slabs and patterned step liners which are new to the industry in general. When it comes to counter top decorative inserts they added eight more to the already large number produced in previous years.
Then there is the Pre-Cast Outdoor Kitchen Panel System. This system was release later in the year and was featured at the Landscaping / Hardscaping show in Kentucky. There are several systems for creating outdoor kitchens but non-as fast and easy as Walt’s. In addition to the original design there is also the scratch coated panels that allows a contractor to lay up cultured stone, stone veneer, textured plaster, stamped concrete, and hand carved concrete. We also cannot forget the Reax Stain system used to stain the panels and any other concrete substrate. This reactive stain system is a unique, nonacid, chemical reaction using an oxidation process with a natural color selection that patinas more naturally then an acid system.
We also must include the first square fire pit mold liner that was added to the several round fire pit liners already created by Walt. Then we get to the four unique bench molds also released this year specifically designed for DIY’ers and the extra mud left in trucks.
In conclusion, we come to my personal favorite, the Stone Matrix. In my opinion this tool alone will be responsible for adding many contractors to the vertical decorative concrete industry. Its simplicity and ease of use levels the playing field in the decorative concrete markets striping away the apprehensions of design a wall of mud.
These are the products and tools that make me feel that Walt Tools is the leading innovative company in the decorative industry. I already know several of the 2017 innovations and they are just as exciting.