While most tilt-up buildings are still finished with paint or other coatings, the wave of innovation in the industry has introduced integrally colored concrete as an alternative for high-quality tilt-up projects.Integrally colored tilt-ups can benefit concrete producers in three ways
- Colored tilt-ups help increase the overall use of concrete in a community
- By strategically promoting colored concrete tilt-up and developing a reputation for product quality, a ready-mix company can position itself to become the preferred supplier to tilt-up contractors in its community
- Many ready-mix producers report more profit from value-added services like colors than from the concrete itself
The success of a colored tilt-up project depends on the use of consistent materials, mixes, and workmanship throughout a project. Large samples, often reviewed at the jobsite, help owners and architects visualize a completed structure and feel comfortable that it will fit its surroundings. The Tilt-Up Concrete Association estimates that tilt-up construction is increasing by about 20% a year. Much of this increase is due to the growing use of tilt-up for architectural projects. While a rising tide benefits all ready-mix producers, the greatest rewards go to producers who cultivate the trade.If the concept of using colored concrete in tilt-ups is still new to your community, work with designers and developers who are in the planning or design stage of a tilt-up project. Show architects samples of colored concrete and discuss the aesthetic potential of color and texture. Demonstrate how, as one approaches a tinted concrete structure, the richness and subtle natural variations in a concrete surface have a visual appeal which cannot be matched by the flatness of a painted surface. Stress to developers and building owners how integral colors are permanent and will eliminate the ongoing maintenance cost of repainting a building every 5 to 7 years. Identify contractors who share your commitment to craftsmanship; explain your quality-control programs and discuss how partnering can enable you both to deliver value-added concrete and services. Color additive manufacturers can also be asked to conduct training programs for your customers.Another way to get the ball rolling is to propose colored concrete as an alternative bid. Subtle colors, made with as little as 1 or 2 pounds of color additive per sack of cement, typically add less than a dollar per square foot to the cost of a building. Eliminating the expense of painting also reduces this cost. Once you have a few colored tilt-up projects in your portfolio to show customers, you should be well on your way to creating a lucrative niche for your firm in the growing market for architectural tilt-up. The article includes a full page of tips for coloring tilt-up. Examples of integrally colored tilt-up construction by Lathan Construction in Alamonte Springs, Fla; Korte Construction Co. in Fort Myers, Fla.; and Colonnade Development in Ottawa are also shown. . A graph shows the steady growth of tilt-up over the past 4 years.
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