Weekly Record Editor
Skip McTighe of Punta Gorda likes to inject humor in his work. That’s why he gave himself the self-appointed title of “Master Crackologist.” Skip is the owner of Concrete Maintenance Systems, specializing in complete concrete repair and restoration. “I have one of those Rodney Dangerfield senses of humor,” he said. “So I came up with the title, which is actually on my business card. Many people get a good laugh from it and it has been a good way to break the ice with a lot of customers, it’s great to see them smile.”
How did you arrive at this type of work?
Skip: I stumbled across this business while visiting an old friend in the northwest part of the country, who was having cracks repaired in his driveway while I was there. After talking to the person doing the repairs, I realized there was a market in Florida and decided to start the business upon my return. At first, I concentrated on repairing driveways and then found the pool deck and lanai market. My first customers were gained by tossing my flyer in weighted sandwich bags onto driveways that were badly cracked . After a few days, I started to get phone calls and Concrete Maintenance Systems was born.
What exactly do you do?
Skip: I basically run the operation and do all the repair work myself and interact with the customers including giving free estimates. My wife, Anita, is a great help with the bookkeeping, office management and in handling the phones and initial customer contact. The focus of the business is the repair of cracks in concrete such as pool decks, lanais, patios, driveways, walkways, docks — any concrete surface. We have done hundreds of jobs in the Charlotte County area. Our primary focus is on repairing cracks in residential pool decks and driveways. We also do jobs for condo associations and we do commercial work. We repair brick and stucco and also do exterior repairs to stop water leaks. We strive to make the crack repairs difficult to detect, once they are completed. The repaired surfaces look great after painting or staining. We aim at making every customer a reference and strive for their complete satisfaction.
How does the process work?
Skip: Repairing is a six-step process. First, the cracks are ground out with a high rpm (revolutions per minute) power tool designed for cutting concrete. The cracks are then cleaned with a high power vacuum. Next, a caulk-like product that creates a flexible, waterproof adhesive bond with the concrete is injected into the cracks and smoothed out with the help of a special finisher product; which also aids in the curing process. The final step is to double tool the repair to remove any excess product and make the repair flush with the concrete surface. Several days are required for the product to “cure” after which the repairs may be painted or stained. The product creates an extremely strong adhesive bond with the concrete that is waterproof. Water is unable to enter the crack, stopping crack expansion and erosion of the sand base under the slab. The key to our product is the fact that it never gets hard, remaining flexible, so that the crack repairs “flex” or move with the expansion and contraction of the concrete. The net result is that we are able to provide a three-year replacement warranty against recracking or product separation from the bond created with the concrete.
What has been the reaction from customers?
Skip: We have given many pool decks a face-lift resulting in a beautiful looking pool and lanai area. This is done at a fraction of the cost of decorative concrete coatings, pavers and other coating products. Customers often remark that the completed pool deck actually adds value to their home. Some have commented that the pool deck looks new. Once repaired and painted or stained, the concrete is much easier to maintain, keep clean and the life of the slab is extended. Concrete cracks left unattended can cause severe problems in concrete slabs, often resulting in complete replacement which is very expensive.
What challanges have you faced?
Skip: I found that I have had three challenges. First, the challenge of starting a business from scratch with very little capital and making it into a growing, viable complany while having to support my family solely from profits generated from the business. The business is now 1 1/2 years old, growing and we get quite a bit of referral business. The second challenge was the perfection of application techniques to make the crack repairs as invisible as possible. I have fine-tuned my techniques and added some finishing products that really work well in making the crack repairs difficult to see. I feel that the jobs we do are extremely good. The third challenge was creating a market or bringing people’s attention to the need to properly repair concrete cracks before they do any kind of resurfacing. Otherwise, the cracks will simply return in a short period of time.
What do you like about this?
Skip: I like to meet people and solve their problems with our economical concrete repair solutions that work. Also, I like seeing the smiles on their faces when they are looking at the beauty and quality of the finished job.
For more information, call (941) 639-4520.
By George Collins
For an interesting article from the Charlotte Sun, CLICK HERE