Your Finish Is Only As Good As Your Care. Part 3.

Posted by on Jul 24, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Your Finish Is Only As Good As Your Care.
Part 3.

 

In colder climates we have issues with maintaining our hardscape surfaces. With freeze thaw cycles and different ice melting products available how do we know what is best for our concrete hardscapes?

The goal is to offer you, the client, tips for the best looking and longest lasting finish for your concrete hardscape installation.

This article describes the effects of different ice melting products and what the potential effects of these process will be on your concrete hardscapes.

There are 4 basic types of De-icing products and each will affect the concrete in different ways and will eventually cause scaling of the surface.

SODIUM CHLORIDE (ROCK SALT) is the most common de-icing product available. This is generally used by most cities and municipalities on roads and sidewalks. The watery BRINE solution created is the most corrosive and damaging of all Ice Melting options.

CALCIUM CHLORIDE is generally a white pellet product. This product was originally marketed as a safe ice melt product for concrete pavers and concrete walkways. This is the most commonly used product for Impressed Concrete. It will work in temperatures as low as -30 C.

Potassium Chloride has been developed to be safe to plants and will not irritate your skin. It is generally marketed as a Pet Friendly Ice Melting product. This combination melts more slowly than the others and will not work if the temperature drops below -10 C.

Magnesium Chloride is the newest form of De-icing product. Its composition is deemed to be the least harmful of all de-icing products. It has the highest melting point and will not work under -6 C.

DO NOT USE Ice Melting Products.

I know this is hard to fathom but products that melt ice are very bad on Concrete and Hardscape surfaces. You should not use any type of melting products on concrete surfaces for at least 12 months on new installations. If you must then you need to use as little as possible and clean off any slush or excess as soon as possible.

It is not the De-Icing product that damages the surface but the melted slush that sits on the surface of the concrete. This slush finds it’s way into the concrete pours and will then freeze causing the surface to flake off. Using a High Quality Silicate Based Penetrating Sealer will help deter this.

The length of time required to cure concrete will vary based on the weather and the Concrete Mix but is generally 28 days. After 7 days, concrete has usually reached about 65% of its full hardness. After 14 days it typically reaches about 90%, and the final 10% is around the 28-day mark.

With any concrete surface and more so with Decorative Concrete, Freeze Thaw Cycles will cause the surface to FLAKE. This FLAKING process is called Scaling. Concrete will eventually form a ROCK-HARD surface, but this is performed over time. Concrete completely sets in about 28 days but will continue to harden over the following months. During this time, it is important to protect the surface so that you do not see the scaling.

Using De-Icing products creates a FALSE Environment of Freeze-Thaw cycles. Potentially hundreds per day. These cycles can force water into the surface of the concrete causing scaling.

Some contractors have written in their contracts and clearly advise their customers of the dangers of using these de-icing chemicals to the concrete surface. This education will help prevent damage, call backs and result in a better-looking job and less callback’s.

Your Finish Is Only As Good As Your Care. Part 2.

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Your Finish Is Only As Good As Your Care.

Part 2.

Sealing with Water Based Sealer

In colder climates we have issues with maintaining our hardscape surfaces. With freeze thaw cycles and different ice melting products available how do we know what is best for our concrete hardscapes?

The goal is to offer you, the client, tips for the best looking and longest lasting finish for your concrete hardscape installation.

WATER BASED PENETRATING SEALER

Water Based Sealers are created using silanes, siloxanes, silicates and siliconates. These are very small particles which fill the air gaps within the concrete surface and PENETRATE becoming part of the concrete. A chemical bond is formed leaving the concrete with a hydrophobic surface (repelling water). The finished look of the hardscape is a more MATTE or NATURAL finish. This Natural Finish does not adversely affect the Slip Resistance of the concrete or hardscape surface.

With its breathable abilities these types of sealers can be applied prior to the completion of the curing process. The concrete surface retains its ability to allow moisture and heat to be released. It is still recommended to allow the concrete to cure for at least 7 days prior to applying.

The length of time required to cure concrete will vary based on the weather and the Concrete Mix but is generally 28 days. After 7 days, concrete has usually reached about 65% of its full hardness. After 14 days it typically reaches about 90%, and the final 10% is around the 28-day mark.

Water Based Silicate Sealers are also more VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) compliant. They are virtually odourless and are great on interior surfaces as well. Concreation offers a GreenSil Primer (WA), for protection on newer/greener concrete and GreenSil Sealer (WSR) for concrete cured for 14 days or more.

Application of Water Based Sealers is more forgiving than Solvent Based. After the water has evaporated any leftover residue can be wiped off to leave a clean surface. Water Based Acrylic sealers require a little more care in application. Because the Acrylic is topical you still need to follow the thin application procedures (as Per ConcreteNetwork.com). Tests shows that these products have a longer life cycle per application but can turn cloudy during high moisture conditions. This discolouration will disappear when the surface dries.

When using a Water Based Silicate Sealer, you can add a Solvent Based Acrylic Sealer or Water Based Acrylic Sealer only after the concrete has been allowed to fully cure (no less than 28 days). Water Based Silicate Sealers SHOULD NEVER be applied over an existing TOPICAL or Acrylic Based Sealer. The Topical Sealer must be completely removed, and the pores of the surface open, before applying a Water Based Silicate Sealer. Re-Applying Water Based sealers can be done when required based on the wear of the hardscape surface again, providing the surface of the concrete is clean and the pores are open.

Your Finish Is Only As Good As Your Care. PART 1.

Posted by on Jun 26, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Your Finish Is Only As Good As Your Care.
Part 1.

In colder climates we have issues with maintaining our hardscape surfaces. With freeze thaw cycles and different ice melting products available how do we know what is best for our concrete hardscapes?

The goal is to offer you, the client, tips for the best looking and longest lasting finish for your concrete hardscape installation.

Sealing with Solvent Based Sealers

Solvent Based sealers contain acrylic particles mixed with solvents that COAT the surface. Because of the nature of Acrylic, it has the effect of leaving a WET LOOK on the surface and enhancing the existing colour on the concrete. Acrylic sealers are sometimes available in different levels of gloss from matte to high gloss.

Due to the nature of topical acrylic sealers it is NOT RECOMMENDED to apply them to uncured concrete. The length of time required to cure concrete will vary based on the weather and the concrete mix but is generally 28 days. After 7 days, concrete has usually reached about 65% of its full hardness. After 14 days it typically reaches about 90%, and the final 10% is around the 28-day mark.

The government regulates the amount of solids in these Solvent Based Sealers in order to control the VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). A LOW VOC Sealer must have less than 350 g/l or 35% solid content. The better sealers available will be between 18% and 24% solid content. CCI-1000 Driveway Sealer is approximately 20% solids which when applied with 1 coat provides excellent protection with minimal slip factor. Depending on the amount of traffic, sun exposure etc. reapplication is required typically every 2 to 4 years.

Acrylic Sealer should always be applied in thin coats. It is recommended that the thickness of the Acrylic does not exceed 2mm (as Per ConcreteNetwork.com). Signs of over application range from cloudiness of the finish too bubbles that may eventually cause the sealer to flake off and also an increase in the SLIP FACTOR of the concrete when applied too thick.

Anti-slip additives can be used to increase the Slip Resistance. A caveat of these Anti-Slip additives is they can decrease the life of the sealer and increase the chance of separation of the Acrylic from the concrete surface depending on which product you choose. Try to avoid any additives made from PVC particles, as they have proven to be problematic. It is safe to stick with fine silica sand, which is available at Concreation Canada.

It is important to be aware that acrylic sealers will not protect against exposure to some de-icing agents. Advise your clients not to use these the first winter and after if ever used, to rinse off the concrete surface after they’ve done their job to avoid damage to the sealer and eventually the concrete surface.

See our next article on Water Base Penetrating Sealers for some tips on prevention of this sort of damage and future articles on De-Icing Agents on Decorative Concrete.

Planning Your First Hardscape? Prioritize Harmony and Blending

Posted by on May 24, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

I would like to thank Doug Carlton of Carlton Construction in Wyoming for putting this article together. Have a read, print it out, use it to help your design. It has a lot of very useful information about designing your Hard Scape projects.

A pleasing hardscape is no accident. It is the culmination of preplanning and design that works harmoniously with a surrounding structure. A hardscape should never stand out, nor should it be so insignificant that it can easily be ignored. Nailing this balance project after project takes great effort, but the reward is far more than monetary. Concrete hardscapes last decades, and so do the reputation of the concrete artisans who successfully pave their way into decorative history.

Over the next few paragraphs this article will describe why some decorative concrete hardscape projects look appealing and why some don’t. The lesson of past mistakes, both mine and others’, can enhance your opportunity to transform shades of color into eye-catching spaces of hardscape elegance.

If you plan to make a living by way of decorative concrete, you will eventually have to completely grasp a hardscape’s blend of natural color and design. Please don’t underestimate this concept, because a failure to grasp the need for pleasing combinations will often lead to an unnatural blend of hardscape and structure, which will result in a less-than-appealing outcome. If you remember only one point please let it be this: The structure or building always dictates color hue and design, but only after functionality. This also means that the hardscape should not be a shrine to your flamboyant artistic concrete ability.

The design
Rarely will a project’s decision maker produce a complete set of working plans that include color, texture, pattern or finish. This is far too often left to the hardscape artist — you — who in return must muddle through many design options before unloading the first tool onsite. Seasoned decorative concrete professionals often refer to this period as “front-end work.” This part of the hardscape design process could take one afternoon or it could take months, depending on the complexity of the project or decision maker. It is never recommended that you rush through the front-end design stage of any project.

The top two components to consider when designing a hardscape project are functionality and taste. For instance, an aggressive cobble stamp pattern is not a good idea when designing the hardscape for a local assisted living project, nor is including too many elevation changes or narrow pathways. The intended function of the project should supersede all other design considerations.
The design plan should include three components; flow, texture and color. Flow involves the formation of the hardscape and the course of travel through it. The purpose and function of the hardscape project should dictate the hardscape’s configuration. For instance, a patio area should comfortably hold tables and chairs for seating but not be overtextured so that surfaces are unleveled. Walkways or pathways should connect to the patio with flow that is organic but does not encroach upon the patio’s seating arrangement. This transition from patio to pathway is a great opportunity to introduce another pattern, texture, band, color, or anything else that the decision maker finds functionally appealing.

Expansive, or wide, hardscape areas will need multiple forms or shapes of interest. Large areas of concrete hardscape are less appealing without shapes of contrasting texture, pattern or color.
The opposite is true with long, narrow pathways or walkways. Design linear hardscapes for narrow pathways that include interlocking imprint stamping or a tightly spaced transverse pattern of some kind. Keep straight formwork crisp and free-flowing curves smooth. Regardless of the design, the texture must be consistent in the pattern’s depth and layout parallel to the abutting structure.

The abutting structure should play a major role in both design and color. Some architectural building designs will limit pattern and texture choices. For example, a colonial home will look odd with a Paris fan stamp pattern but fine with a brushed finish over a colored concrete surface. Of all stamp patterns, texture patterns are most universal and compliment a wide variety of architectural designs and structures.

Let the structure’s facing elevation help determine a hardscape’s design. Pay close attention to the building’s architecture, shape and style.

The color
Color is the catalyst of an appealing hardscape project. Again, a hardscape color hinges on the structure’s hue and should never compete with it. The hardscape color, or colors, should be at least a shade lighter than the dominant structure color, and the only exception is a secondary release, or antiquing, hardscape color. This can sometimes be challenging in new construction because many times the hardscape is installed before the structure receives its permanent color. Be sure the decision maker chooses at least the structure’s dominant color before finalizing hardscape hues.

Color is a vital part of a hardscape’s natural order. The hardscape must organically blend with all landscape surroundings, in good harmony. Many people who are new to the decorative concrete profession find it all too tempting to use a hardscape to grab attention. This seldom works and is rarely recommended outside of theme parks. Keep colors natural when designing in a natural environment and watch how many favorable comments arise from those who truly enjoy the appeal of a professionally planned hardscape project.

New colours for 2018

Posted by on May 24, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Concreation Canada is proud of the exciting new colours we have added for the 2018 season. Can’t wait to see the creative ways you decide to use them.

The Building Show – November 29 to December 1, 2017

Posted by on Nov 21, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Come visit us at The Building Show.

We will be in the World Of Concrete Pavilion.

Located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in the South Building Booth Number 10.

Different uses for CCI-400 Bond Coat & Broom Finish

Posted by on Aug 29, 2017 in Blog, CCI-400 | 0 comments

CCI-400 Bond Coat & Broom Finish is a very versatile product. We have noticed that our customers are using this to create and repair a number of different Concrete and Masonry applications.

In this post we will look at some the different ways CCI-400 Bond Coat & Broom Finish can help create the perfect finish for job or application.

We look forward to your comments on these examples. If you have any ideas you would like to share please send us a message and we will post it for you.

USING CCI-400 BOND COAT & BROOM FINISH AS A FINISH

In the pictures above you can see how CCI-400 Bond Coat & Broom Finish can be applied to an existing damaged concrete surface to create a clean long lasting finish. Specially formulated polymers in the mixture creates a strong bond between the existing and the new surface without the need for any additional adhesives or additives. Just add water to the dry powder and apply. As long as the surface is clean of any dirt, grease or oils and stable CCI-400 Bond Coat & Broom Finish will adhere. Using CCI-750 Cleaner will help to neutralize any acid built up on the existing surface prior to starting your job.

USING CCI-400 BOND COAT & BROOM FINISH AS MORTAR, THIN SET, OR ADHESIVE

Weather you are repairing an stone overlay installation or creating a new look on an existing cement staircase. CCI-400 Bond Coat & Broom Finish is the perfect ADHESIVE for the job. Once again there is no need for any additional admixtures to the product. Once you have a clean and stable surface CCI-400 Bond Coat & Broom Finish will create a solid bond between your existing Concrete surface and your new stonework.

USING CCI-400 BOND COAT & BROOM FINISH AS A BONDING LAYER

.

The BEST use of CCI-400 Bond Coat & Broom Finish is as a Bonding Layer to adhere a new surface to an old, worn, and damaged concrete installation. Weather it is a Warehouse, Store, or Basement. Use CCI-400 Bond Coat & Broom Finish to fill in any Cracks in the existing floor and then apply a very thin layer to the surface before adding your new finish. The new finish can be any of the CCI-400 Overlay products, CCI-400 Self Level Overlay, CCI-400 Stamp Mix, or CCI-400 Bond Coat & Broom Finish. This process further enhances the bond between old and new surfaces.

Welcome To Our New BLOG

Posted by on Aug 2, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Here at Concreation Canada Inc. we value your input. We have developed this Blog as an interactive tool to share projects as well as information about how to use our products.

Let everyone know what works for you and what TIPS and TRICKS you can offer others to make sure that their concrete installation is as good as it can be.

We welcome all your input and look forward to working with everyone.