Salt water pools and Stamped Sealed Concrete

Although many who read this especially those that install salt water pools will strongly disagree with this blog. I have been writing these types of informative articles for years now with my attempt to save both consumers and installers allot of unnecessary problems due to lack of proper installation practices or misinformation.

It seems that the water from salt water pools compromises the sealer used or if sealer is stripped and resealed the salt that has gotten into the unprotected stamped concrete once sealed over is sealed in and as water from below pushes the salt up under the sealer and you get a blushing condition similar to that of water being trapped as described in earlier posts.

  • See letter below from EZChem

Ted Mechnick

 

In regards to EZChem’s Perma-Pro Klear Koat VOC sealers and cure n seals, we have been manufacturing these great coatings for years with no problems. We sell a tremendous amount of these products both under our brand Perma-Pro and under private label in your area. After talking with you about your problem and you brought up salt water pools, I knew you had fallen victim to a problem contractors and home owners all over the country are having with salt water pools.

Since salt water pools produce chlorine, chloride damage accelerates the destruction of stone and cement. This also includes sealers placed over the stone or cement. Caustic Soda or Sodium Hydroxide is the other byproduct of this chemical manufacturing process. This caustic chemical is the main ingredient in Drano or Liquid Plumber. So, you can see the problems such as discoloration, whiting (blushing), scaling and de-bonding concrete products and sealers that surround the deck of the pool.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation in the marketing of salt water pools. People have no idea how corrosive and how many problems they cause. The bottom line is the sealer or your application of the sealer is not the problem. Using our sealers or any other sealer on new construction prior to the pool being filled and the chemical process being started will work in most cases, but the real problems occur when re-applying sealers or making repairs to the pool deck because of contamination of the chemicals outlined above.

Thank you,

Robert Levetan, PhD.

Lab director / Ezchem, Inc.

Salt water pools and Stamped Sealed Concrete

Although many who read this especially those that install salt water pools will strongly disagree with this blog. I have been writing these types of informative articles for years now with my attempt to save both consumers and installers allot of unnecessary problems due to lack of proper installation practices or misinformation.

It seems that the water from salt water pools compromises the sealer used or if sealer is stripped and resealed the salt that has gotten into the unprotected stamped concrete once sealed over is sealed in and as water from below pushes the salt up under the sealer and you get a blushing condition similar to that of water being trapped as described in earlier posts.

  • See letter below from EZChem

Ted Mechnick

 

In regards to EZChem’s Perma-Pro Klear Koat VOC sealers and cure n seals, we have been manufacturing these great coatings for years with no problems. We sell a tremendous amount of these products both under our brand Perma-Pro and under private label in your area. After talking with you about your problem and you brought up salt water pools, I knew you had fallen victim to a problem contractors and home owners all over the country are having with salt water pools.

Since salt water pools produce chlorine, chloride damage accelerates the destruction of stone and cement. This also includes sealers placed over the stone or cement. Caustic Soda or Sodium Hydroxide is the other byproduct of this chemical manufacturing process. This caustic chemical is the main ingredient in Drano or Liquid Plumber. So, you can see the problems such as discoloration, whiting (blushing), scaling and de-bonding concrete products and sealers that surround the deck of the pool.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation in the marketing of salt water pools. People have no idea how corrosive and how many problems they cause. The bottom line is the sealer or your application of the sealer is not the problem. Using our sealers or any other sealer on new construction prior to the pool being filled and the chemical process being started will work in most cases, but the real problems occur when re-applying sealers or making repairs to the pool deck because of contamination of the chemicals outlined above.

Thank you,

Robert Levetan, PhD.

Lab director / Ezchem, Inc.

People that you can count on in the Decorative Concrete Industry

I have met many men and women that I have respected and have come to trust in the Decorative Concrete Industry. Those that I have grown to respect are people like Joe DiMaio who over my 27 years in this business has never once misrepresented any product that he has sold me. Preparation is key. A quote from Joe.

 Of Coarse there have been issues with some of the materials that have been sold me and since we have a mutual respect for eachothers honesty and integrity he has made every effort to make good on those bad material related issues.

Joe went to work in another industry for a few years and I for one felt the void that he left behind. Although I am sure that he would have been open too helping even though we no longer had a customer-supplier relationship I never bothered him out of respect.

GOOD NEWS:

Joe DiMaio has found his way back working for Solomon Colors and admitted that although he enjoyed what he was doing, he missed the industry with all its highs and lows. Glad to have him back.

It is my hope that Joe will become an integral part of theconcreteprofessor commenting and even sharing through some articles that I hope he writes to help those in our industry understand better the pitfalls of using the wrong products but also to help consumers better understand what they should look for in selecting a concrete contractor for their projects.

If you would like a copy of  HOW TO SELECT A DECORATIVE CONCRETE CONTRACTOR please email me at Ted@split-rok.com and I will send it to you.

Welcome back Joe and hope that we can get together to better educate those who are interested in what we do.

Ted Mechnick (The Concrete Professor)

American Concrete Institute ACI Membership

The American Concrete Institute known to use in the industry as ACI has been in existence since 1904 and although most of those in the concrete industry are familiar with its function in the Concrete Industry, many in the consumer market don’t realize how hiring those who are Members and those who have been Certified as Flatwork finishers are the best people to hire.

The American Concrete Institute sets the standard in the industry regarding the proper way to install all types of concrete. They are used as the Building Standard in all construction projects. Local,State and Federal Projects use these standards to insure that a quality long-lasting job will be delivered.

Most Architects today specify that ACI Certified Finishers be used on their projects. If you are a homeowner you should also insist on these type of finishers on your job or at minimum have and ACI Certified Finisher who supervises your Project.

Prior to going into business for myself I was in a Cement Finishers Union here in New Jersey. I did an apprenticeship for 4 years and thought in so doing that I was being taught the correct way of installing concrete. Not until I took my first cerification test was it that the TRUTH was revealed. I was amazed to find out that my mentors although respected in the Union were not teaching me the correct way to install concrete. There were many bad practices that they were using for years that were being passed along to new guys like me.

I’m glad to say that the Union has since changed this by making ACI practices part of their Apprentice Programs.

I feel that if you are a Concrete Contractor that is serious about your business and want to give your clients the best job possible that you should look into getting certified. It not only gives you credibility but keeps mistakes and call backs to a minimum when you follow Good Concrete practices. You can find your local branch of ACI and call to see when they are testing. You can also take the test at The World of Concrete.

If you are a homeowner why not use ACI Certified Finishers. Hire the best. People who care about giving you what you expect. In life there is always a price to pay for doing the wrong thing. We all know the difference of what is right and wrong. The same rules apply to installing concrete. Cut corners and problems not might happen they will.

Use Certified Finishers and increase your chnaces of getting the best that your money can buy.

Ted Mechnick

The Concrete Professor or contact Ted@split-rok.com

Removing Sealer from Stamped Concrete

I am happy to report that I have successfully removed the sealer from my own driveway that had a whitening condition due to incompatibility of sealers. I had explained that I had stripped I thought all the sealer off  in the past only to reseal again and have the same problem come up.

This process was not only time-consuming but messy and as I said did not work. I happy that we found this solution that in my opinion is both fast and cost-effective as a solution too this problem.

I will follow-up with pictures in the future and a complete explanation of the procedure.

If anyone out there is having the same problem please let us direct you on how to do this since it will save you a lot of aggravation and unnecessary cost.

I can always be reached at Ted@split-rok.com

My thanks goes out to Tim in Colorado for this suggestion. Amazing how well it worked

The Best Stamped Concrete Installation Process

Split-Rok Construction has been in the Stamped Concrete business for the past 26 years and we are recognized as not only an Industry Leader in this field but recognized both Nationally and Globally as an Authority in The Decorative Concrete Industry.
Although there are many articles that promote the idea of using Integral Color as the type of concrete to be used for Stamped Concrete for the following reason I am writing this to inform those who are thinking of using it as to its Limitations.
Statement of Installer:
The color mixed throughout the entire load insures that should you get a chip or gouge
in your Stamped Concrete will not be that noticeable since the color goes all the way through.
Although the color does go all the way through the mix there are many downsides to its use and disadvantages long-term that may insure that what you paid for today might and will likely not be even close to what it will look like in the future.
ADVANTAGES OF USING COLOR HARDENER vs. INTEGRAL COLOR
Color Hardener as its name implies is a Hardener with Pigment added to give you a more dramatic Artistic and Realistic look that will be able to last and be repaired should that be necessary to do so should some mishap such as Chipping, or gouging occur.
This is possible since we at Split-Rok Construction Company document all colors used on your projects and can easily match colors years later if a repair is needed. Usually at no cost to you if it is minor.  THIS CANNOT BE DONE WITH INTERGRAL COLOR. You have to live with imperfections.
Ask yourself?
Do you expect your Stamped Concrete to look as great years later, provided you maintain it? Of course you do. You spent your hard-earned money for something that should last the test of time. Unfortunately the truth may come to visit that Integral Colored Concrete fades more dramatically than Color Hardened Concrete and if you have any damaged areas like chips or gouges you likely have to live with them due to the inability to match the color to repair them.
It’s next to impossible to match Integral Color years later if not only weeks later.
The use of Color Hardeners remove the following possible problems that may occur in installing Stamped Concrete with Integral Color.
1.      Mismatched Colors from load to load due to improper mixing of Integral Color
2.      Colors that fade. I have installed jobs 10-15 years ago with Color Hardener with little or no fading.
3.      Hardened Surface due to surface strength being about 7,000-8,000 PSI   (L.M. Scofield Company.
4.      Easily repaired if necessary
5.      We can provide a LIFETIME WARANTEE since we are confident that you will not have problems and if you do they can be and will be addressed.
6.      During the Stamping Process things happen since this is a manmade product not factory manufactured should accept as a consumer. Chips from incorrect lifting of stamps and poor placement. Cannot be fixed due to the inability to match the color using Integral Color.
Many in my field do not use Color Hardener due to contractors never taking the time to learn the proper use of Color Hardener and also due to it being harder to do. There is a definite technique to using Color Hardener. There are those who are committed to providing the best Stamped Concrete Installations possible. They are the Contractors that you will see using Color Hardeners.
Using an example at today’s prices and using 500 square feet for this discussion. Assume that you paid $8.00 per square foot for a job that could have been Color Hardened and would have likely cost .50-$1.00 per square foot more. Wouldn’t it pay to spend a bit more to get a better job that has all the Advantages listed above?  
We use only the Highest Quality Color Hardeners by L.M. Scofield Company. One of the reasons we use them is because they are the ones who have been in the Color Concrete business the longest and are committed to providing the best product.
We use their Color Hardener because we have tried others and have found that they lack the consistency that we require.
We use their Integral Color when we are doing a Colored Concrete application due to them providing a Product called Color wax that assures a better match of color.
Let’s assume that we are pouring an Integral Concrete job using either a Magnesium Finish or Broom Finish that needs multiple loads of concrete delivered. Ex. 60 C.U.Yards.
Assuming that all loads were 10 yards the chances of getting a good match from load to load are decreased due to human error or just plain not caring enough to mix each load uniformly. It’s all about consistency.
There are many out there who even though they have a License in the State of New Jersey have never had to qualify at any level to do this type of work. They have been taught and in most cases incorrectly, the wrong way to install Stamped or Colored Concrete.
We at Split-Rok Construction are not only recognized for the quality of our work but for our in-house training given all employees and my ACI (American Concrete Institute) Certification that I must qualify for by retesting every 5 years along with our Membership in ASCC (American Society of Concrete Contractors).
If you were building a High-Rise in Manhattan or a Large Project that required someone who had a good grasp and knowledge on the proper installation procedures that are required to install good concrete you would specify on those who were ACI Certified.
Over my 26 years in business and over 35 years total in the Business of installing both Decorative Concrete and Concrete in general I have always put quality at the head of the list.
My intent here was only to clarify what the reasonable expectations are in using Integrally Colored Concrete as a media for the Installation of Stamped Concrete. There are those who are skilled as we are in the proper mixing procedure and the correct method of installation using Integrally Colored Concrete.
If after reading this you are still skeptical or on the fence as to what media to use please ask those who you are thinking of working with to see some large projects that they have done using Integrally Colored Concrete. Ask to see some that are a few years old. If you can see a mismatch of colors or excessive wear you might want to consider hiring a Contractor that uses Color Hardener instead.
Ted Mechnick
Split-Rok Construction Company