ConcreationCanada Inc.

Offering Concrete Colouring Solutions

Trusted Since 1999

Things to consider when picking Concrete Colouring Solutions

In today’s growing hardscape designs, we find so many alternatives to applying standard grey concrete to landscapes and interior finishes. We continue to see a growth in decorative concrete both inside and out. With this in mind, we look for different ways to change the look of this grey finish to enhance and beautify the finished product. There are several options available to disguise the fact that you have a concrete finish based on the type of installation, and the look that you are trying to obtain. The option you choose will depend on the use of the finished installation from warehouse floor to decorative walls. I will try to explain how the different types of Concrete beautification process’ and when they should be used. Your choices are Concrete Colour Hardeners, Concrete Integrated or Integral Colours, Dyes and Stains, and Epoxies. Since, we at Concreation Canada Inc. specialize in Colour Hardeners I will start there. What Is a Colour Hardener Colour Hardeners are dry shake powders that are applied and blended into the surface of freshly applied concrete to add colour, strength, and abrasion resistance. It does this through a blend of pozzolans (admixtures), cement, pigments and sand. The sand and cement are just used as a delivery method to apply the pigments and pozzolans to the surface and aid in the blending of these products into the freshly poured concrete installations. While the pigments, a mixture of synthetic and natural oxides, supply the colour, the pozzolans are used to perform tasks like densifying the surface, making it more resistant to abrasion. These pozzolans or polymer admixtures react with unreacted Calcium Hydrate in the curing cement to add more Calcium Silicate Hydrates. The Calcium Silicate Hydrates create stronger bonds between the sand and other aggregates in the cement mixture to strengthen and densify the surface while still allowing the cement to breath and cure properly. Why Use Colour Hardeners Colour hardeners are used in several different circumstances. The most used purpose is in the Stamped Concrete Industry. Stamping a concrete surface allows you to change the look and feel of a concrete installation. In today’s industry a skilled stamp...

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Concrete is more than Cement

Assembled by Danny Masci With everyone ranting on how Concrete finishes are the most cost-effective way to create hardscapes there are a few things that people need to know to make sure that their hardscape is as beautiful and as long lasting as it can be. Here at Concreation Canada Inc. our business is Concrete Colouring and Overlay solutions. So, our focus is in how to make sure your concrete hardscape is the best that it can be. With this in mind, we need to understand what additives are used and how they react in the curing. Concrete sets in stages.  These stages will vary in time based on ambient temperature and humidity as well as the concrete mix itself. In most cases you can walk on a poured concrete installation 24 to 48 hours. Heavy traffic needs to be avoided for 7 days when the concrete is about 70% cured, with the full strength of the concrete being realized after 28 days. Controlling the moisture in the concrete is the most critical part of the curing process. Not enough water and the concrete will never get to full strength. Too much water and the surface will remain weak and cause flaking. Strength in the concrete is based on a combination of Air Void Clustering and the amount of unreacted Calcium Hydroxide in the cured concrete. Cement Manufacturers use Concrete Add Mixtures called Pozzolans to control the Chemical Reaction of transforming Calcium Hydroxide to Calcium Silicate Hydrates. These products control the water requirements in the mix and increase strength to the final finish. Pozzolans are created as a by product of other industries or are man made. These products effect the concrete in different ways. They are also known as Admixtures. Accelerating Admixtures are used to speed up the curing process. They do this buy increasing the heat within the concrete to speed up the chemical forming process. They are primarily used in colder weather. The most common of these products are Calcium Chlorides. As you can imagine, having Calcium Chlorides can also increase the corrosion of steel reinforcements in the concrete. There are other options available at a...

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

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...

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

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...

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

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...

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Planning Your First Hardscape? Prioritize Harmony and Blending

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...

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