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ProCoat Systems SLC—Using Waterproofing Materials To Combat Concrete Degradation From Pollution

ProCoat - July 28, 2016

Waterproofing MaterialsWhen you’re thinking about waterproofing materials, such as we sell at ProCoat SLC, you’re thinking about safeguarding your project from cracking and spalling. The classical attack on concrete by water in colder climes is from the freeze/thaw cycle, and using waterproofing materials mitigates this damage. However, the Great Salt Lake basin has been booming of late, which is why we set out to help contractors with the best product selection and technical advice in the market, but that boom has had a very visible affect on the local atmosphere.

What’s In That Water?

As you well know, concrete is an aggregate material and can be no better that the sum of its constituents. If salt laden water is used, rebar will be attacked. If beach sand is used, again structural corrosion is a problem and organic bits, like seashell fragments, will eventually dissolve, disrupting the concrete matrix.

Done right, concrete is extremely durable, after all, the Roman Coliseum is made from the stuff, but with the “wrong” chemistry, gentle rainfalls can dissolve even the best concrete over time.

It’s no secret that the air quality in our region has been very poor at times, filled with particles of combustion, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and one compound we will focus upon, sulphur dioxide. The air pollution around the basin can form rain droplets that are literally breaking down uncoated or poorly protected concrete.

Dissolved Sulfates

The sulphur dioxide pumped into our shared sky by both vehicular and industrial hydrocarbon combustion easily dissolves into solution when it comes into contact with water droplets. When this polluted water falls as rain, and is not shed by old waterproofing materials, or falls on untreated concrete and penetrates it, the rain droplets begin working an irreversible chemical attack on the aggregate and its binders, weakening the concrete over time.

The water involved is really now a sulfate solution that attacks the bound calcium-based bonds of the concrete, accentuating cracks, promoting expansion, and altering chemical bonds by forming gypsum, which certainly doesn’t promote the strength of the concrete matrix.

Coat That Concrete

Until we arrive at a cleaner air future around the Great Salt Lake, concrete everywhere, in every application, is under attack. To prevent against premature degradation you should convince your clients that waterproofing materials are not just for decking. Wind blown rain, falling as a sulfate solution, will certainly corrupt the bonds of vertically oriented concrete if it is left unchecked.

If you ever have a technical question about waterproofing materials, feel free to contact our Salt Lake City contractor desk today at 801-410-4345 to discuss your project specs.

ProCoat Systems SLC—How to Spot Opportunities in the Stone Veneer Failures of Others

ProCoat - July 25, 2016

Stone VeneerAt ProCoat Salt Lake City, we entered this market because we saw an acute need to provide the construction industry with the best in stone veneer products, coupled with the hands on technical advice we perform. As you know, stone veneer, whether natural, or a cast concrete product, is a building material that can afford decades of beautiful service with a minimum of maintenance – if installed correctly.

Or, if improperly installed, it can become a very rapid nightmare for the building owner. It’s easy to spot a failing stone veneer installation if you know what to look for. The more easily you can spot the flaws in the installations of others, the more easily you can catch correctable mistakes in your own technique.

Signs of Impending Failure

The absence of visual water damage doesn’t mean that nothing is wrong or that the end user is imagining smelling mold or noticing other problems.

At the base of wood framed structures weep screeds need to be apparent as well as along the tops of all window and door penetration points.

At all junction points between dissimilar materials, or where stone veneer meets other cladding materials, all of those joints must be thoroughly and effectively sealed.

Stone veneer should never come in contact with the ground or pavement or roofing materials and kick out flashings should be properly installed everywhere they are needed.

When in Doubt Consult with Us

We obviously have a stake in the happiness of the end users of stone veneer installations. Doing things right the first time, and being able to spot, and correct, the installation failures of others is the key to gaining and keeping consumer’s trust in stone veneer.

We sell every conceivable support product needed to ensure a successful and long term stone veneer installation. Also, if you are ever at a loss on how to approach a particular problem, or if you just want to raise the skill level of your crew, we are committed to the hands on training of the proper installation of the stone veneer products we carry.

Remember, we have a stake in your success, because it reflects on us too. If you ever have a technical question about stone veneer or its installation, never hesitate to contact our Salt Lake City contractor desk at 801-410-4345 to discuss your project or particular situation.

Retaining Wall Blocks

ProCoat Systems Denver—Retaining Wall Blocks—Where Are Your Limits?

ProCoat - July 22, 2016

Retaining Wall BlocksPerhaps you got your start making low decorative features using retaining wall blocks, ones that only required a zoning permit from Denver so long as you stayed below four feet and otherwise had your occupational paperwork in order? Maybe now you want to, or need to, raise your wall building skills, no pun intended? How? Well, that’s what ProCoat Systems of Denver is here for. Whether you find yourself needing to build taller retaining walls, curved walls, tandem walls, and ones with graded slopes behind them that require signing off from a civil engineer, we have the expertise to help you achieve your goals as a contractor.

As you know, there are all manner of paperwork requirements that have to be in hand before you apply for a building permit to assemble a retaining wall using retaining wall blocks at a height in excess of four feet high. Then you have to also have stamped, wet signed engineered drawings to submit for review.

Is Your Wall Terraced?

This is a trickier question, but only because if you are away from the street set back, you could have multiple walls below 4’ in height, each of which don’t trigger the building permit requirement. However, if you are substantially altering the original grade of the property, it would again be wise to have on hand a set of stamped, wet signed engineered drawings to ensure you are in code compliance..

Will The Retained Soil Be Supporting Significant Weight?

If the notion exists that the property owner might be depositing a heavy object, like a shed, on top of the soil retained by the wall, that is yet another circumstance where a consultation with a licensed engineer is good advice. Around here, nature may also be placing a substantial snow load onto the proposed retaining wall too. The last thing you want is a claim from an angry home or business owner because you followed some rule of thumb rather than got the numbers run by a civil engineer.

When in Doubt, Call Us

While we aren’t lawyers who can help you after a mistake has been made, you can sound us out about whether you should call an engineer before you start a project. Remember, if you have to ask that question, the prudent answer is always, “yes.”

For more information regarding Belgard’s line of retaining wall blocks, contact ProCoat Systems, or come by and see us at either 4343 Holly St, Denver CO 80216, 303-322-9009, or 825 S.W. Frontage Rd., Fort Collins, CO 80524, 970-484-5557

ProCoat Systems Denver—Using Patio Pavers Over Patio Concrete

ProCoat - July 18, 2016

Patio PaversCome summer, many Denver homeowners will look at that slab of concrete in their backyard and wish they had one with patio pavers such as the ones we carry. The cost of demolishing and disposing of that slab has killed many dreams of an alternate hardscape for lots of homeowners. Fortunately, with our expertise in both waterproofing and patio pavers, you can come to the rescue. It is entirely viable to repair and waterproof the existing concrete slab and then turn it into the base of a new look using an overlay of patio pavers.

The uniformity of manufacturing tolerances that Belgard is famous for makes their patio pavers perfectly suitable for a mortar based overlayment of existing concrete.

Before proposing this project to an inquiring home or commercial building owner, you have to make certain that the existing concrete surface to be covered has a grade capable of doorway clearance or diverting water from where it is unwanted to avoid troublesome accumulation.

If you aren’t totally familiar with professional-grade waterproofing materials and techniques, first be  sure that the existing surface is free of foreign substances that may prevent proper paver adhesion. Dirt, oils, paints, or old sealant will have to be thoroughly removed as prep work to the application.

As an overlayment is a permanent installation, pre planning the course of the patio pavers is critical prior to setting them into mortar. As later corrections are difficult, it also pays to lay out a grid to ensure the well guided placement of patio pavers.

Since mortar is susceptible to disruption by our vicious freeze/thaw cycles, it is critical that the mortar is flexible enough to deal with these conditions and still adhere to the substrate. For an extra measure of weather protection, when cured, the whole project should be water sealed to prevent moisture penetration, and frost heaving during cold weather.

As always, if you need any product specific or technical assistance on a project such as this, be sure to contact us. We are always eager to help because our mission is to help contractors and homeowners succeed in their building projects.

For more information regarding Belgard’s line of patio pavers contact ProCoat Systems in Denver, or Fort Collins.

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