Got Power? Understanding Volts, Amps and Generators

Contractors take several factors into consideration when choosing equipment for any concrete grinding and polishing jobs, including extraction systems with vacuums, extractors, pre-separators or HEPA air scrubbers. In addition to weight, motor size, overall size, working dimensions and type of abrasives makes a difference. Whether the machine is push, propel or ride-on, belt/chain, gear or direct drive, contractors must consider each power source required for all the various types of equipment.

Equipment Power Sources

Most machines are designed to operate at specific voltages. Power sources must supply 1) constant, 2) consistent and 3) correct voltage / current in order for the equipment to do its job properly. Electrical power sources such as batteries, wall outlets, generators and other power supplies deliver electrical energy — the starting point for any circuit, critical to how a machine runs.

Equipment is Powered By:

  1. cord electric
    1. 110 volt single-phase
    2. 220 volt single-phase or three-phase
    3. 460 volt three-phase
  2. battery electric
  3.  propane
    1. battery start, uses no electricity
  4. hydraulics

Amperage Requirements

Amperage requirements for cord electric equipment, meaning the required strength of an electric current measured in amperes, or “amps” for short, can range from 20 amps to 60 amps. Typically, high motor voltage equals lower amperage requirements and a smaller gauge power cord. Check the voltage required for the equipment to run before plugging the machine into a power source. For instance, a 220 volt electrical panel may only be pushing 208 volts. Either the equipment needs to run on 208 volts, or you need to invest in a transformer — sometimes called a buck booster — to increase the voltage to the required level.

Type of Job Matters

Is the job you’re working on a residential, commercial or a combination of both? You’ll likely encounter different types of power sources at different types of jobs.


  • Rare to find three-phase power
  • Avoid renting a generator by choosing equipment that runs on 110 volt or 220 volt single-phase power


  • Three-phase power usually only 220 volt, not 460 volt three-phase
  • Motors that run off of 220 volt three-phase power have high amperage requirements
  • Use four-gauge four-wire cable with long runs of power cord, which will add to cost

How Generators Work

Generators supply electrical power typically during a power outage but they are also used as a secondary or additional source of power in residential and industrial applications. An electric generator converts mechanical energy from an external source into electrical energy as the output. In other words, generators use an external electrical circuit, which supplies power to the generator, which then supplies a flow of electric charges to power whatever the generator is powering — otherwise known as electromagnetic induction.

Whether portable or stationary, all generators have customized housings for structural support and safety. The main components of an electric generator include:

  • Engine: runs on diesel, gasoline, propane or natural gas
  • Alternator: produces electrical output
  • Fuel System: keeps the generator operational for 6 to 8 hours
  • Voltage Regulator: converts AC (alternating current) voltage to DC (direct current)
  • Cooling & Exhaust Systems: water or hydrogen coolant and cast iron, wrought iron or steel exhaust pipes
  • Lubrication System: oil in a pump
  • Battery Charger: for battery start
  • Control Panel

It’s important for contractors to consider the power source for a generator in the same way as for other equipment used on the job.

If you are in the market for a generator, or professional grade vacuums, extractors, pre-separators or HEPA air scrubbers, Runyon Surface Prep has a full line of Ermator professional grade products — the perfect solution for cleaning and maintaining any jobsite or work environment.


The Runyon Team Expands Southwest With Its Newest Sales Rep Kevin Burell

Kevin Burell - New Southwest Sales RepThe Runyon Team is excited to welcome its newest southwest sales rep, Kevin Burell. Kevin is an experienced, knowledgable and driven individual, itching to get started. He comes with an extensive background in grinding and polishing, from his previous role as southwest sales and training representative for HTC. Kevin has intricate knowledge of tooling, grinders, polishing processes and an array of technological expertise.

In addition to his 6 year stint with HTC, Kevin also worked as a general contractor for 2 years. So Kevin is now adding to his range of perspectives…contractor, manufacturer and now distributor. As the Southwest Sales Representative for Runyon, Kevin will operate as point person for customers in The Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. Kevin is currently based in Las Vegas, but can travel to job sites or your office location if needed.

Kevin is ready to hit the ground running, so if you’re located in his territory and would like to introduce yourself, please reach out. He can be contacted via email at, or on his mobile at 317.408.5753.

Understanding the Products & Process of Colored Concrete

Colored concrete has been a decorative design choice for architects and concrete installers since the early 1950’s and continues to grow in popularity today, leading all other market segments of concrete construction. In addition to residential driveways and commercial building entrances, contractors now use colored concrete for patios, swimming pools, basement floors, walkways, garden walls and flowerbed edging, as well as pavers, masonry blocks and stucco. The ideas are limited to one’s imagination.

To become an expert in producing beautifully colored decorative concrete projects requires an understanding of:

  • color theory
  • different processes for coloring concrete
  • use of each process
  • factors affecting the final color

1. Integrally Colored Concrete

Integrally colored concrete uses natural or synthetically manufactured iron oxide pigments. Available in powder, liquid and granular form, the smaller iron oxide pigment particles cover the larger cement particles when added to any cement-based mix to create color that is uniform throughout the concrete. Iron oxide comes in four colors: black, red, brown and yellow. The blending together of these basic colors produces a variety of other colors. Cobalt and chromium oxide are used for blue and green pigments.

Integrally colored concrete will not fade over time, but will change due to efflorescence, pollution, dirt and traffic. Typically a good cleaning and sealing will bring back the original color.

Natural Versus Synthetic Pigment

  • Chemically the same — iron oxides in both are lightfast and UV stable
  • Natural pigments are less expensive
  • Limited color range for natural pigments versus more color options with synthetic
  • Natural pigments produce warmer colors — synthetic pigments produce vibrant colors
  • Natural pigments do not have the tinting strength of synthetics

Water to Cement Ratio

  • Critical factor in producing consistent color
  • Added water permanently changes concrete, typically lightening the final color
  • Use a surface evaporative control agent instead of water to slow the hydration of concrete in hot windy conditions, or if the concrete surface is drying out

Gray Cement Versus White Cement

  • Use color samples instead of color charts to determine desired color
  • The gray color of cement mixes with the pigment to make the final concrete color, usually darker earth-tone shades
  • Not all shades of gray concrete are consistent — maintaining batch-to-batch consistency by using gray cement from the same lot
  • Proper curing is required to produce consistent color — use a matching colored curing compound or color wax that are non-yellowing, blush resistant or for decorative concrete
  • To obtain a truer or lighter color, use white cement, a more expensive option

How to Save Concrete with Inconsistent Color

  • Hide color with one or two coats of a tinted sealer
    • Higher solids water-based sealers are more opaque
    • Lower solids solvent-based sealers are higher in gloss level
  • Change slightly varying color with a translucent water-based penetrating stain or a topical acrylic stain
  • Fix inconsistent color with a polymer modified thin section topping, available in any color that can be finished to look like concrete

2. Acid Stained Concrete

Acid-based chemical stains permeate concrete to give it a rich, luxurious color with luminous, translucent tones that can’t be achieved with any other process. Depending on the surface they are applied to and the application techniques used, acid stained concrete can look like polished marble, tanned leather, natural stone or stained wood.

Concrete stains are semi-transparent, soaking into existing concrete to enhance what’s already there, and will not hide cracks, blemishes, texture issues or an underlying color. Proper surface preparation is critical for full color penetration, including the cleaning of dirt, grease, glues, coatings, curing membranes and sealers.

Acid-Based Chemical Stains Versus Water-Based Acrylics

  • Acid stains react chemically with the concrete, etching the surface, a permanent color won’t fade, chip off or peel away
  • Acid stains are ideal for producing earthy tones like tans, browns, terra cottas and soft blue-greens
  • Water-based acrylic stains also penetrate the concrete to produce permanent color and are available in dozens of standard colors, offering an alternative to earth tones
  • Both can be applied to new or old and plain or integrally-colored concrete
  • Both are ideal for revitalizing dull, lackluster surfaces
  • Both have excellent UV stability and wear resistance
  • Both can be used on interior or exterior concrete

3. Concrete Dyes

Concrete dyes do not react chemically with concrete, so the color that you see applied is the finished color. Tinting strength and penetration will vary depending on the characteristics of the concrete. Because concrete dyes are available in almost any color, they can expand a project’s color palette, creating subtle effects not possible with other coloring agents, or fix problems with acid stain applications.

Dyes can be used with acid stains to provide accent colors, color layering and depth. Used alone, they can be layered for an artistic variegated effect. Dyes are either water-based or solvent-based, in solution, powder or liquid concentrates.

Water-Based Dyes:

  • come in mix-yourself and ready-mixed basic colors
  • can be diluted for less saturated color
  • create a pastel, watercolor look, ideal for color layering
  • create faux stone or weathered stone effects
  • evaporate slowly and will leave rings if allowed to pool

Solvent-Based Dyes:

  • come in primary and secondary colors, mixed to form other colors
  • can be diluted for less saturated color
  • produce bold colors when used at full strength
  • create dramatic looks
  • evaporate rapidly and require a deft touch
  • can be hazardous to work with; prevent vapors from igniting

Concrete dyes behave differently than stains because they don’t bond to concrete. They can be applied like stains using airless sprayers, brushes, rollers and sponges, but an understanding of color theory is required to mix colors successfully. Dyes are not as resistant to ultraviolet light as acid stains and are more like to wash away, so they require a UV sealer when used indoors or outdoors.

Here at Runyon Surface Prep we carry a wide range of concrete color products from Ameripolish, Prosoco, Convergent, Dayton Superior and Scofield. For any questions you have on integral color, stains, dyes, applying color, etc. please feel free to contact us.