So, you’ve decided to be industrious and do your own concrete work. You’ve done some research on what tools to buy, how much concrete you need and even scheduled a day off from work to bust out this project. Your friends and neighbors have chimed in with a mountain of tips and even offered up some helping hands. You’re ready to get rolling so you can have that patio you’ve always wanted for barbeques and entertaining friends. But wait—when can you actually use it? How long does it need to dry? Does climate affect it? These questions do need to be addressed before starting any concrete work in order to avoid problems.
Curing vs. Drying
Individuals who do not typically work in the concrete industry believe that once concrete feels dry it is ready for general use. This common mistake happens all too often, and unfortunately ruins a surface and its durability. Concrete can feel dry to the touch within hours of being poured, depending on the climate and time of year. However, concrete needs to do far more than just dry. For all poured concrete, big or small, a curing period is necessary to ensure strength and durability that will last over time and through inclement weather conditions.
So how long do you need to wait to get those patio parties rolling? Here are several factors that play into that answer:
With these factors in mind, the minimum curing recommendation is seven days—provided that the temperature is over 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Compressive strengths of concrete mixtures can vary and each one requires a different curing period so a good rule of thumb is to wait between 7–14 days.
What is the Process?
Do additional steps need to be taken during the hardening period? Indeed they do! Maintaining moisture while curing is key to the overall concrete strength and durability. You can leave the forms used to shape and hold the concrete in place to aid in moisture retention. You should also pay close attention to when and how additional moisture should be applied. If you pour your own small concrete projects at a residential site, a misting nozzle or some type of light spraying can help retain moisture. However, enough hardening must also be present to avoid surface damage. It is also recommended that water temperature be no more than 20 degrees cooler than the concrete itself, to eliminate chances of cracking—those pesky cracks! Some use large sheets of plastic to cover the concrete to discourage moisture loss. When used these sheets must be consistently saturated with water and can only be applied after the hardening stage is settled enough to avoid surface damage.
Temperature and Climate
Temperature and climate recommendations can vary and may need to be altered, depending on climate conditions in your area. Each climate has moisture variations that range from extra dry to very moist. Colder conditions can affect your concrete plan and the rate in which the curing takes place. The colder the conditions, the slower the cure rate. Curing agents and insulated blankets can be used when pouring concrete in less than ideal conditions. However, keeping the temperature regulated can be a tricky job. On the flip side, pouring concrete in extreme heat comes with its own set of risks; certain precautions must be taken to avoid rapid moisture loss. Wetting or spraying down the area before pouring concrete is recommended because it will aid in the curing process and help keep moisture from absorbing into the ground area. Once the concrete has been placed, it must be kept wet so it won’t dry out too quickly. Evaporation retardants are available for these circumstances and can certainly be of benefit when needed.
A Trial Run
For a project to look professional and hold up over time, knowing the curing process before pouring your concrete is a must. It may be a good idea to do a trial run on a very small mock area just to get some practice. You can familiarize yourself with the tools and the curing process—and how your climate will play a role in moisture retention. It might be extra effort on your part but can certainly make or break the outcome of your concrete experience
As an experienced concrete contractor or home renovator, you probably know what tools you need to get the job done. But having the right tools and the best products is essential to getting the job done not just right but in the best way possible. Here are some of our favorite concrete products that you didn’t know you needed.
Safety first. Next time you are cutting or grinding, make sure to put on one of these Gerson silica and concrete masks. Reduces exposure to respirable crystalline silica dusts and provides at least 99.97 percent filtration efficiency against solid and liquid aerosols.
MBW’s ScreeDemon™solves four problems that other wet screeds have. It’s lower maintenance, highly functional, lower vibrating and easy to assemble. Patent-pending mount retention reduces hand/arm vibration 50 to 90 percent. It’s everything you want in a wet power screed.
When it comes to adaptors for your tools, there’s nothing better than the Pro Tilt™ from MagVibe. Designed to be easily attached to all of your floats, the Pro Tilt features a gear-driven pivot, sealed bearings and Superior Innovation’s QAS™ quick attach system. Stop by your local ICS concrete specialty store in Utah or Idaho to see the difference for yourself.
Another awesome product from MBW, the 36-inch power trowel can edge right up against the wall. You heard that right. The built-in edger feature allows you to do what typically requires two machines to accomplish.
The Marshalltown magnesium Mag Float is a must-have for contract contractors. High-strength, lightweight magnesium construction delivers faster, smoother floating. Make sure you have one of these in your bucket.
Keep walls straight and plumb. Turnbuckle form aligners are an essential part of wall forming.
Reusable concrete stencils take decorative concrete to a whole new level. Designed to be floated into freshly placed concrete, the stencils can pulled up once concrete has hardened, leaving a crisp impression behind.
Decra-Seal Natural is low-VOC, water-based sealer that enhances the natural color and features of decorative concrete. The penetrating water repellent formula chemically bonds to the substrate for a durable, reliable finish.
There’s nothing worse than wet concrete when it shouldn’t be. Hydrophilic waterstop is a high-quality, cost-effective solution to ensure water doesn’t get in where you don’t want it.
Quit falling and stay on your feet. Next time you need to seal concrete to high-traffic areas, add Sure Step non-slip additive.
TYTAN Foam Bond 60’s innovative formula bonds architectural foam shapes, boards, trim and panels in just 60 seconds, becoming fully secure after five minutes. No solvents means no offensive odor. Bonding foam to concrete has never been easier.
W.R. Meadows Pourthane Non-Sag and Self-leveling Joint Sealant comes in 11 different colors and in convenient pouches. Ready-to-use without mixing, there’s no easier way to fill cracks and joints with a colored caulk.
Also from W.R. Meadows: HS-1 SL one-part, self-leveling, SMP-based sealant. Yes, this is colored self-leveling joint sealant in a bag.
Last but not least: power trowels. Designed for continuous use on large floors, these amazing machines offer precision handling for professional concrete finishers to apply an ultra-smooth finish to concrete slabs. Stop in and tell us your favorite brand – and we’ll tell you ours.
When quality and service count, contact one of Intermountain Concrete Specialties’ knowledgeable product and tool specialists.
For a building material that’s been around seemingly forever, concrete is constantly being improved, repurposed and reimagined. We dug up these emerging trends for contractors, interior designers, DIY homeowners and anyone looking to improve their space with an interior or exterior concrete update.
This concrete trend has been around for a while, but new developments in coloring and texturing agents keep decorative concrete constantly evolving. While concrete’s traditional gray hues suit current interior design trends like the farmhouse look, homeowners have endless possibilities when it comes to color, pattern and texture. Decorative concrete also enhances outdoor spaces, such as patios, walkways and decorative curbing made with reusable stencils.
Typically associated with outdoor utilitarian uses like patios, driveways and foundations, concrete has made its way indoors thanks in part to the popular industrial design trend. From concrete flooring to countertops and furniture to accessories, interior concrete can be customized to suit any décor style.
Tilt-up construction is soaring to new heights with a recent record lift of 100 feet. Thanks to new developments, products and processes, the tilt-up industry is shaking up conventional labor and production on these large-scale building projects.
The latest trend in concrete formwork, load-bearing walls utilize an innovative tunnel-form method that allows walls and slabs to be poured simultaneously. This means faster setting and removal of wall forms to allow for acceleration of construction projects.
Performed on the job site, post-tensioning reinforces concrete with extremely high-strength steel strands and bars. Post-tensioning with a combination of concrete and steel creates an incredibly strong component that allows for a final product that is stronger than ever.
Emerging trends in concrete are changing not only what we can build, but also how we build it. Here are two new concrete trends from cement.org.
This highly workable, durable, ultra-high strength concrete eliminates the need for coarse aggregates. With a potential compressive strength of 30,000 psi, reactive powder concrete’s tensile strength is on par with steel fibers.
Adding optical fibers to a concrete mix creates a “see-through” effect that challenges the opaque nature of traditional concrete. Thanks to the optical fibers, light is conducted through the stone from one end to the other.
New advancements in concrete and concrete products are completely changing design and construction. Stop by your local ICS showroom in Utah or Idaho and let us help you decide how to make the latest concrete trends work for you.
Concrete sealers provide more than just protection from the elements. They can also improve the appearance of your concrete. Knowing which product to choose for your particular project is essential for getting the finish you want and concrete that will last.
Choosing a concrete sealer isn’t a one-size-fits all solution. There are a wide variety of sealers to choose from. Some work well on exterior applications, while others are designed for indoor use. Sealers may be chemical-based or water-based. The final appearance, such as a natural or high-gloss finish, should be factored in. The type of concrete project also dictates whether a surface sealer or a penetrating sealer is the best option.
High-traffic commercial areas, for example, will require a different finish than a decorative patio or a concrete countertop. Indoor concrete flooring will have different requirements for durability and appearance than an industrial floor or a stamped concrete walkway.
Surface sealers can form a protective layer on the concrete surface or block the pores to prevent water absorption. Penetrating sealers, on the other hand, absorb into the concrete and are a great option for exterior surfaces that can be affected by the elements. Two of the most commonly requested sealers in Utah are W.R. Meadows for commercial and industrial application and ICS High Gloss Sealer for decorative concrete applications.
Once your concrete is prepped and dry, you’re ready to get started. Follow manufacturer’s instructions closely. Depending on the type of sealer, you may be applying it with a roller or pump sprayer. If required, apply a second coat.
Applying concrete sealer varies by type. A solvent-based sealer might be sprayed on an indoor microtopping or decorative concrete floor and requires good ventilation. Outdoor sealers may be rolled on and should be UV-stable and durable enough to stand the test of time.
Applying a concrete sealer to old or new concrete is always a good idea. When you create beautiful concrete, the last thing you want is the product to start degrading over time. Even light to moderate traffic areas should be resealed every three to five years. Frequent cleaning keeps outdoor concrete surfaces looking their best. Practicing basic maintenance, such as cleaning concrete surfaces immediately of spills and debris, can help minimize damage.
Do your homework and choose the appropriate sealer for that specific application. This will help keep your concrete in the best condition possible, so you can enjoy it for years to come. Visit your local Intermountain Concrete Specialties location in Utah or Idaho so we can help you choose the best concrete sealer for your specific needs.
There’s been a lot of excitement buzzing around ICS lately, with the opening of our new Intermountain Concrete Specialties Draper, Utah location, and open house events at our Ogden and Orem locations.
We are excited to announce the opening of our brand new Draper location on June 11, 2018. The new store is located at 441 West 12300 South, Suite A600. We decided to open the Draper location to serve our loyal customers around the south end of Utah Valley. You asked for it, we listened, we built it!
Our annual ICS Ogden open house event is always a customer favorite, featuring representatives from favorite concrete product manufacturers, product demos, giveaways and, of course, lunch. This year’s open house event was held on May 30, 2018 and featured product demos from Husqvarna and W.R. Meadows.
The Orem, Utah store branch open house event was also a great success. Held on May 17, 2018, we celebrated with more visits and demos from our top manufacturers, plus prizes and lunch.
Intermountain Concrete Specialties would like to extend a huge thank you to all of the customers and vendors who attended our open house. It’s always an honor to host you, and we look forward to celebrating future successes with you.
Utah’s home market is hot right now. It’s a seller’s market for sure. But it doesn’t matter how high the market is – if your home lacks curb appeal or is in obvious need of repairs, potential buyers may not give it a second look.
Curb appeal can raise property value as much as 12 percent and increase resale value up to 14 percent. It also decreases the amount of time your home spends on the market. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Before you go crazy planting flowers to make things look pretty, let’s take a look at some ways to see actual return on investment.
Most buyers have a hard time seeing past messy landscaping, cracks in concrete patios and a cluttered home or yard. Savvy sellers know how to make their home appealing to buyers. This includes cleaning up landscaping, staging the interior, and making necessary repairs.
Concrete cracks raise a red flag for Utah homebuyers. If you notice cracks in concrete patios, sidewalks or walkways it’s important to repair them before they get worse. Also check for cracks in the foundation and remember, if the crack is wider than a nickel you’ll need to have it looked at by the pros.
A kitchen can make or break a sale. Potential buyers look for updated floors and countertops, and an outdated kitchen can affect overall home value. But you don’t have to spend all of your potential profits updating a kitchen you won’t be using once you sell. A minor kitchen remodel can result in 114 percent of costs recouped.
Concrete countertops are an affordable and creative way to update a kitchen for a completely customized look. The average cost of a standard thickness concrete countertop is actually less costly than granite, engineered quartz and other high-end materials.
This is another space that’s important to potential home buyers, and improvement dollars can yield a strong ROI. Materials will affect the price of the patio but using higher grade materials won’t necessarily give you a higher ROI. Decorative concrete is an ideal option for getting a high-end look without using materials that take more money out of your pocket than they will put back in it.
Fluids such as oil, gas and transmission fluid can leave stains on garage floors, driveways and patios. Whether a stain is new or old, it can usually be removed or lightened, depending on the surface.
To remove oil from concrete, an enzymatic multi-surface cleaner like Grime Monster can help breakdown oil and grease without leaving a halo effect. New stains can be covered with cat litter or baking soda prior, to absorb excess oil. Other stains may require a different process and products. An ICS concrete specialist can help you determine the best method to remove your particular concrete stain.
There are plenty of options to choose from to improve the value of your home. A little research on the best investment for your neighborhood and budget could pay off in nicely when it’s time to put your home on the market.
Outdoor concrete is an investment – and one that is often at the mercy of the elements. Protecting this valuable investment is essential to preventing trouble down the road. With proper curing, sealing and maintenance, concrete is an asset that can last for years to come. We’re sharing 7 tips to help you maintain your outdoor concrete.
1. Know your environment
Here in Utah, we have extreme temperature variables throughout the year. Outdoor concrete surfaces can take a beating, especially in summer and winter. Snow run-off and spring rains can cause damage if it sits on the surface too long. Be sure to slope concrete away from the home to prevent water damage to the surface and the foundation. Rain, snow, ice and heat can affect concrete curing times.
2. Pouring and curing
The ideal temperature for pouring and curing concrete is between 50 and 90 degrees. Extremes in either direction may compromise the final product. Too cold and the freeze-thaw cycle can cause concrete to expand and contract, creating cracking and spalling. Too hot and the concrete will set faster but may compromise strength. In other words, concrete must be cured properly to achieve maximum durability.
3. Sealing concrete
Choosing the right sealer for your concrete project is an integral part of finishing the job right. This final layer of protection can enhance the appearance of decorative concrete; block against moisture, dirt, oil and stains; and protect against excess wear. The type of concrete sealer used will depend on the type of project. Two of our most commonly requested sealers are W.R. Meadows for commercial and industrial application, and ICS High Gloss Sealer for decorative concrete applications. Find the right sealer for your project here.
4. Keep it clean – basic maintenance
Practice basic maintenance by cleaning concrete surfaces immediately of spills and debris to minimize staining or other damage. This includes weeds and grass, oil, tire marks and more. Frequent cleaning keeps outdoor concrete surfaces looking their best. Once your patio is clean and repaired, protect it from future stains and damage with a concrete sealer.
5. Apply a fresh finish
A clean surface is key to properly staining or painting concrete. Before applying a top coat, stain or other decorative concrete, sweep and pressure wash the concrete surface. Recoat concrete every three to five years to protect the surface, especially in high-traffic areas like driveways, walkways and patios.
6. Check for cracks
Check concrete foundation walls, floors and slabs for cracking, heaving or deterioration as part of routine maintenance. Some cracks are minor and can be repaired. If the crack is the width of a nickel, it’s time to call a professional.
7. Consult an expert
Intermountain Concrete Specialties has locations in Utah and Idaho where our concrete experts can help you make the most of your investment by providing maintenance and protection solutions for your specific concrete needs.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keep these 7 tips in mind when pouring, curing, cleaning and sealing concrete for a concrete investment that lasts.
Spring has sprung in Utah and the arrival of warm weather makes us want to head outdoors. It’s the perfect time to clear out the clutter and start fresh, but save the closet organizing for rainy days. Instead, tackle these outdoor spring cleaning and home maintenance projects to get your home ready for spring.
√ Decks, Patios and Porches
The first step to deck, patio and porch maintenance is a good spring cleaning. Sweep and power wash, clear weeds and debris, and check for loose steps or railings. If you notice cracks in concrete patios, follow the same steps we recommend below for sidewalks. Once your patio is clean and repaired, protect it from future stains and damage with a concrete sealer. Consider beautifying with decorative stamped concrete to enhance home value and appearance.
√ Concrete Sidewalks and Walkways
Concrete sidewalks can take a beating in winter. The first step to spring concrete maintenance is a good cleaning. Sweep away any debris so you can get a good look at the current condition. Next, carefully inspect concrete, checking for cracked or crumbling areas. Visit one of Intermountain Concrete Specialties six locations in Utah and Idaho the products, tools and tips you need to repair concrete cracks before damage progresses.
Check concrete foundation walls, floors and slabs for cracking, heaving or deterioration. Some cracks are minor and can be repaired. If the crack is the width of a nickel, it’s time to call a professional.
Winter can take a toll on your roof so perform a close inspection each spring. Check flashings, and look for punctured, cracked, curled or missing shingles. Some are visible from the ground, but it’s a good idea to get a closer look to see if roof maintenance is required.
Gutters and downspouts need to be clear of obstructions to properly manage rain water and to prevent moisture damage to your home. Clear leaves and other winter debris from gutters, reattach loose ones, and make sure water runoff is directed away from the house. If there are leaks, dry the area and use caulk or epoxy to seal.
Check for loose siding panels and ensure the flashing is in place. Clean siding with a pressure washer to remove winter’s dirt and debris. Take care of any necessary exterior siding repairs or painting.
Routine maintenance on your central HVAC unit can improve airflow, which in turn can lower heating and cooling costs. If you have an outdoor unit, remove dust, leaves, grass clipping and any other debris that may be blocking airflow. Be sure to shut power to the unit before performing any maintenance. HVAC spring maintenance is definitely something you want to tackle before Utah’s summer heat kicks in.
√ General landscaping
This is a given when it comes to spring home maintenance. Clear dead leaves, branches and other debris; clean out garden and flower beds; prune and trim trees and shrubs; and reseed thin or damaged areas of the lawn.
Check for leaky valves and broken or clogged sprinkler heads. Clean or replace poorly performing sprinklers, check operating pressure, and adjust sprinkler heads as necessary. Open the main water valve slowly to allow pipes to fill gradually and avoid bursting a pipe.
√ Windows and doors
Check screens for punctures or holes, and inspect windowsills and doorways for cracks and potential leaks. To protect from spring rains, remove eroded caulk and fill cracks with fresh exterior caulking. Repaint and seal for a beautiful home enhancement.
Your Utah home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. Take care of it with spring cleaning and home maintenance so you can enjoy a safe and beautiful home for years to come. Don’t forget to check out our list of 7 Outdoor Concrete Projects for Spring and the 10 concrete products you need to make them happen!
Using the right tools can be the difference between loving and hating rebar – and when you work with concrete, you need to love it!
1. HIT Cutter/Bender
If you have to cut and bend rebar on the job, make sure to bring your HIT cutter/bender (and a little muscle wouldn’t hurt!). With jaws made from high-grade alloy steel, this handy tool serves double duty as a rebar cutter and bender.
2. Rebar Ratchet Twister
There are so many ways to tie rebar. A rebar ratchet twister can make the process a little easier, especially when using pre-cut bar ties.
3. Dobies / Rebar Spacer Blocks
When using rebar or wire mesh in a concrete slab, you need something to keep it off the ground. Dobies, also known as dobie blocks or rebar spacer blocks, act as little chairs to help maintain rebar reinforcements at the correct height as the concrete hardens around it.
A few small concrete tools that make a big difference in concrete forming.
4. Pencil Rods
Thanks to its versatility and ease of use, pencil rod has many construction and industrial applications. Using pencil rod is especially ideal for those odd-shaped forming projects, where snap ties aren’t practical. It’s also a simple, economical alternative when surface appearance isn’t essential.
5. Cam Lock Bracket
When it comes to architectural walls, the Gates Cam Lock bracket is a proven must-have. The bracket engages the loop-end tie, securely holding 2×4 walers into place. Customizable and flexible, this system is adaptable to most types of wall forming systems, uses less lumbar and requires less nailing.
6. Chamfer Cutter
When you’re forming and need a perfect 45-degree angle, make sure to have a chamfer cutter in your bag. This deluxe hand tool creates precision miter cuts on the job site quickly and accurately.
7. Concrete Vibrators
Powered by a Honda GXH50, these are a must have for most concrete pours. But when you don’t have power, try a gas-powered backpack vibrator.
8. Husqvarna FS400 LV
Ideal for concrete repair jobs, this all-around push floor saw from Husqvarna offers power, perfect cuts, weight distribution and excellent stability. Features a 6.625-inch cutting depth, 11 hp, and an 18-inch blade.
9. Metabo Hammer Drill
Quality right from the start, this is one amazing hammer drill brought to you by Metabo North America. Metabo hammer drills are perfectly equipped for demanding applications on the job site.
10. Tiger Grip Gloves
Protect your hands with Tiger Grips. These orange nitrile gloves are powder-free with a raised, textured surface so hands don’t slip.
11. HEPA filters
Make sure that when you’re prepping floors, you have a HEPA filter in your vacuum. Remember, OSHA requires a HEPA-rated vacuum (99.97% efficiency at capturing particles greater than .3 microns) for dry cleanup work.
12. Joint Protectors
Soff-Cut joint protectors help eliminate incorrect breakage in concrete products to keep cross sections from blowing out. Why does this happen? If joint cutting isn’t done at just the right time, the concrete doesn’t have the tensile strength to survive the cross cut. Soff-Cut joint protectors apply just the right amount of pressure to keep concrete from cracking.
A few other products we recommend for tools and gear to make life easier on the job.
13. Keson Industries Giant Chalk Box
A chalk line is a very simple tool that performs an essential task: providing a perfectly straight line. When you need a longer, bolder line, reach for the Giant Chalk Box by Keson Industries.
14. T13 Tangs
Dayton Superior T-13 Tangs are designed for use in the floor slabs of tilt-up projects. Use them to securely attach and anchor wall braces.
15. Joint spatulas
Albion Engineering joint spatulas are used by professionals to make the job a little easier. Comfortable curved handle and rounded tip for standard application, precision ground for optimum flexibility for perfectly finished joints.
We have all of these tools and products available at all Intermountain Concrete Specialties locations, plus just about any other specialty concrete tool you can think of. Stop by and see your local concrete specialists.
The arrival of winter in Utah has the potential to wreak havoc on your outdoor concrete projects. Even mildly cold temperatures can affect curing time. That’s why winter is a great time to focus on those projects you can do indoors. Learn how to use concrete for your indoor projects with these DIY products and tips.
Installing a concrete floor is a common basement renovation, and an ideal project to take on during winter. Once the concrete has been prepped, poured and leveled, use a trowel to smooth any rough areas, then level the surface using a float. A self-leveling floor topping and underlayment like FLOOR-TOP STG can help smooth out uneven or rough floors, while curing to a hard surface suitable for foot traffic. A benefit to this underlayment/overlayment product is that it can be mixed with integral colors, stains, dyes and sealers. More on this below.
Concrete countertops are a durable, affordable and rewarding DIY projects for homeowners. Smooth surfaces, plain edges and simple cutouts are recommended for rookies. Don’t despair – when you factor in the endless possibilities of stains and dyes you’ll end up with a pretty spectacular decorative finish. Quikrete Countertop Mix is a great starting point, creating a durable, economical finish that can be created to suit almost any décor style.
When introducing concrete floors and countertops to home interiors, there’s a vast array of decorative stains, dyes and finishes that can turn concrete from a gray slab into a statement piece with a wow factor. Pattern and texture set the tone, and color enhances the overall design. Innotech stains and dyes are available in a variety of options including integral colors, chemical stains, acid or water-based stains, color hardeners, antique releases and more to create just about any decorative concrete finish you can imagine.
Taking it outside
Still determined to pour outdoors in winter? While cold temperatures, snow and ice can disrupt outdoor concrete pouring and curing, you can still get some concrete projects done with the right conditions and products.
Concrete blankets will be your saving grace in any cold weather concrete pour. Moisture and temperature are the top causes of curing and sealing problems. Concrete blankets help prevent freezing and cracking while providing optimal insulation for your outdoor concrete projects. The blanket helps block out moisture and cold to help the curing process. Concrete blankets like those from Midwest Canvas provide the thermal resistance (R-factor) and protection necessary to prevent newly poured concrete from freezing in winter. In cases of cracked concrete, Ultrabond 365CC Cold Weather Epoxy comes to the rescue, delivering a full cure in just 45 minutes.
Winter is a great time for interior concrete projects. Don’t put a hold on your renovation plans. Intermountain Concrete Specialties showrooms are a great place to find out about the latest and most reliable concrete products. Stop by any one of our six locations to speak with a product expert!