THE CONCRETE SURGERY
Advice and guidance from Dr. Concrete
Built on 30 years experience in pattern imprinted concrete
At PICS we’re committed to the success of our customers. As well as investing in continual product development and offering a range of training options, our very own Dr. Concrete is on hand to provide advice and guidance here at the Concrete Surgery. If there is a question that you’s like answered that doesn’t feature here then please let us know and we’ll be sure to add it to the list.
No. Imprinted concrete is used repeatedly in areas of high footfall by the likes of McDonalds, KFC, Butlins, Pontins, all the theme parks throughout the UK, virtually every single zoo has some decorative concrete, public areas, and domestic driveways and patios. This would not be the case if imprinted concrete had a poor skid resistance value.
Pattern Imprinted Concrete, properly installed, requires very little upkeep. Good quality, well-laid plain grey concrete can be down for years and still maintain an excellent condition, the same is true for properly installed pattern imprinted concrete.
While it is fair to say that concrete doesn’t like salt, nor does it like freeze thaw cycles, if the correct concrete is used then neither putting salt on it nor freeze thaw cycles will damage it. If concrete wasn’t suitable to be used in areas where salt may be put it on it, then it wouldn’t be used in the construction of bridges, roads, sea defenses, and so on.
The polythene that PICS sell is far more cost effective than other polythene in terms of cost per square metre, because it is thin.
For covering up freshly laid concrete, thin polythene is far better to use than thick polythene. This is because when unfolded, thin polythene does not retain the fold lines, whereas thick polythene when unfolded, does retain the fold lines and these fold lines can mark the unhardened concrete surface with straight lines.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve had a good few days of sunshine and some high(ish) temperatures and unsurprisingly we’ve had our annual rise in calls regarding the concrete setting quickly and asking the question, how is it possible to get more time?
Following on from the recent tip about creating a shade to give yourself more time when laying concrete, I’ve had a few calls asking why I didn’t mention polythene?!
Well guys, this hot weather is continuing (no rain, great eh!), so I thought I’d continue down the hot weather tips. We’ve done the shades and the polythene, so let’s go onto a BRIEF bit on concrete, or more precisely, the cement in concrete.
Although it is impossible to guarantee against cracking, the chance of random uncontrolled cracks is greatly reduced by the introduction of contraction joints.
Acid Washing is one very critical part of the wash off process. Many people do it. Some do not. It is simple, easy to do, and costs very little to undertake, yet the benefits are very tangible.
Washing the Release Agent from the surface of completed PIC is an important part of the process and exposes the true colour and pleasing aesthetics of the paving and brings the PIC “to life”.
I know many of you guys know (and over the years have learnt!!!) the answer to this question. Nonetheless Dr Concrete often gets asked how much CSH should be used on an installation and the reasons why. So, I apologise in advance that this Dr Concrete may seem a little bit long winded.
We all know that to remove the release agent, the finished job needs to be washed off. Lack of care using the high pressure water jet or uncontrolled application of Acid Wash, will potentially result in damage to the surface of the printed concrete.
Now that the temperatures are dropping the pressure is off. It’s a different game. There’s little chance of the concrete “getting away” from you. In fact, as many of you will know, it’s quite the opposite. You’ve laid the concrete and then it’s a waiting game. And it can be a VERY boring waiting game.
This cold climate and freeze thaw issue has been around for as long as I’ve been involved in the industry (25 years) and as each year passes, I realise that when the job is undertaken to the correct standard, (as indeed the majority are) the concrete is not damaged by these conditions, whether that is in Iceland, Czech Republic or the UK.
We’re now starting to get some low or even sub zero temperatures and again it’s time to think about protecting our freshly laid concrete to prevent frost damage whilst it is setting.
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