Every year when winter rolls around the avid skiers are jumping for joy and the average joe is grumbling about snow and ice removal. To the average joe—we don’t blame you one bit! Getting that old shovel out usually means sore shoulders and an aching back. It is not uncommon to rely on ice melting granules to help bust through thick ice buildup. However, with so many chemical compounds available, you might be scratching your head as to which ice melt is best for your concrete. Calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, potassium chloride and calcium magnesium acetate (CMA)—what’s the difference and why does it matter? Stay tuned and we’ll melt it down for you!
Considerations Before the Winter Season
As with any concrete care, it is always best to plan ahead. Performing a detailed inspection of your concrete areas is advisable before you need to put down ice melting products during the frosty winter months. Locating and repairing any broken or crumbling areas is strongly encouraged due to the physical and chemical composition of commercial ice melting agents. The de-icing granules are hard and coarse—this can cause more damage to vulnerable areas of concrete when ground-in by foot traffic and vehicles. For more on fixing crumbling concrete see our latest blog. A small fix before winter is always preferable to a larger one after the fact. You’ll thank us later.
The Difference in Chlorides
There are a wide variety of ice-melting compounds on the market today, and they all have their place within the parameters of their intended use. One key element to consider is how low the temperature will drop. The availability of moisture on the top layer of ice is an imperative factor that determines the effectiveness of the product. The colder it is, the less moisture is available. “Hygroscopic” ice melting agents work by attracting moisture and absorbing it into the granules. This process is known as “exothermic” and it creates heat when the salt and moisture bond together—thus melting the ice. Take a look below at the most common de-icers on the market.
Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride appear to be the superior products when it comes to quickly melting ice. While there is potential corrosion risk with all chloride compounds, adhering to the application instructions and precautions will provide the best results for your concrete and surrounding areas. A high-grade and well-maintained concrete should withstand any corrosive properties produced by these agents. As mentioned above, removing any leftover granules once the ice has melted is a best practice tip to maintaining your concrete throughout the winter season.
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.
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.
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!
Stamped concrete is a creative and affordable way to enhance any exterior or interior space. Also known as textured concrete, the process replicates the high-end look of stone, brick, tile, cobblestone, pavers and even wood, often at lower cost than the materials it mimics, making it especially popular with homeowners.
The wide variety of decorative concrete options knows no bounds when it comes to pattern and color. Stamped concrete is often used to beautify patios and pool decks, front porches and entryways, walkways and driveways, just to name a few. Many homeowners and businesses even use stamped concrete to make a dramatic statement on interior flooring and accent walls.
With so much potential for customization, stamped concrete has a high “wow” factor. Aesthetically, stamped concrete is hard to surpass when it comes to customization of pattern and color. Pattern sets the tone for the overall design so it’s important to choose one that achieves your design goals. When done well, stamped concrete can be indistinguishable from the real thing. Most stamping mats are molded from the actual materials they mimic, adding a realistic element. Click here for tips on choosing texture, color and pattern.
Prep and Maintenance
Preparation is always key to any concrete project. Maintenance is typically low, requiring only occasional reseals. A high-quality sealer can protect your investment against efflorescence, moisture and the elements, keeping it beautiful for years to come. Another benefit? No grouted joints for weeds to sprout through, which can require tedious maintenance when it comes to traditional stones and pavers.
Time and Cost
Decorative concrete can be less costly than high-end stones and pavers, depending on the complexity of the project. A single color and pattern can be more cost-efficient than multi-pattern and color designs. Simple stamped concrete can be poured in less time than it takes to place stones or pavers. While the process can be labor-intensive, it’s a different type of labor than the heavy and tedious placement of stones. Time is money, so even in cases where the materials break even, there’s often savings in labor.
Integral color is one of the most popular color enhancements for stamped concrete. The admixture infuses concrete with rich, long-lasting color. Layering colors, color hardeners, and chemical concrete stains can add natural variations to more realistically replicate natural surfaces.
Concrete Stamp Promo
Through the end of 2017, Intermountain Concrete Specialties is offering a great deal on stamped concrete. Get a free stamp rental when purchasing two of these three decorative concrete products: color, release and/or sealer.
We carry a complete line of high-quality stamping tools and seamless texture skins, borders and touch-up tools from trusted brands like Innotech and Brickform. For more information on the products, tools and equipment needed to achieve a high-end stamped concrete look, visit one our six showrooms in Utah and Idaho.
Fall is here and it’s a great time to take stock of your concrete tools and products to make sure you’re properly equipped for seasonal projects. In Utah, early fall typically brings stable temperatures ideal for pouring concrete, and it’s important to get the job done right before cold weather sets in. Here are nine concrete products you need!
1. Concrete Sealers
First things first – it’s sealer season! This is the time of year to seal your job well before cold weather sets in. Proper sealing concrete surfaces keeps them protected from moisture, dirt and excess wear, while enhancing the overall appearance. Click here to learn about our top selling sealers, and which one is right for your project.
2. Chapin Dripless Shutoff
Tired of sealer drips? Dripless shutoff is what you need! Chapin dripless shut-offs seal at the nozzle tip, eliminating excess buildup in the extension wand that can cause unwanted drips when the shut-off is disengaged. When the trigger grip is released from spraying, the shut-off seals at the nozzle tip keeping the excess left in the wand from dripping. Excellent for applying sealers where precise control is needed!
3. ICS Construction and Precision Grouts
We have a variety of concrete grouts in stock and ready for use. Stop in and see us so we can help you pick the perfect one.
4. Halder Hammers
Get the right hammer for your job. Dead Blow Halder Hammers are vibration-reducing even with high impact, ergonomic, noise dampening, and wear-resistant. A great choice for concrete formwork and construction!
5. Dust protection
Filters and shrouds from Metabo and MK Diamond provide protection from concrete grinding dust. Helps control airborne particles for a cleaner working environment, while prolonging the life of tools by preventing abrasive dust from entering the motor.
6. True Temper Shovel
Having the right shovel is a must. This 6-inch wide shovel from True Temper Tools is great for pushing concrete in forms.
7. Grime Monster™
From NewLook International, Grime Monster is an effective water-based formula that attacks oil, grease and grime so it can be easily be sprayed or wiped away. The bio-degradable formula breaks down the molecular bond between the grime and the surface and is effective for removing grease and oil from all types of surfaces including concrete.
8. Keson Measuring Wheel
Sturdy, strong, reliable – Keson Industries leads the industry in precision, quality and safety.
9. VP Fuel & Sure Can
What’s better than VP fuel? Putting it in a Sure Can. This innovative gas can has patented spill-proof technology so you won’t tip or spill.
Some concrete products are seasonal, some you’ll need year-round. Find out what’s new in store at Intermountain Concrete Specialties.
1. Efflock by NewLook International
This is the time of year when efflorescence—that white powdery substance caused by vapor migrating to the surface of a slab—begins to appear on concrete. Think of it as dandruff on your concrete (nobody wants that!). Efflock is a fast-acting, water-based concrete and masonry cleaner that removes chemical impurities at a nano-molecular level, so you can get rid of the problem for good.
2. Jackson Wheelbarrows
The professional’s choice for superior quality and performance, the latest Jackson Wheelbarrow at ICS features steel handles, a flat-free tire, and a 6-cubic-foot steel drum that can carry huge loads. This thing is made to be tough!
3. Sikaflex Self-Leveling Concrete Sealant
It’s a great time of year to seal cracks and joints in concrete sidewalks, balconies, garages, terraces, pavements and more. With SikaFlex Self-Leveling Sealant, you get a high-performance, premium-grade polyurethane sealant with accelerated curing capacity. Stop by your local Intermountain Concrete Specialties and let us show you the best way to use it!
4. Keson Industries Measuring and Marking Tools
Just in from Keson Industries! Check out the variety of long and short tape measures, chalk, chalk boxes, string lines and measuring wheels. Make your mark with the best measuring and marking tools!
6. Topcon RL-H4C All-In-One Laser
For more measuring perfection, check out this cool laser. The Topcon RL-H4C all-in-one laser combines the functionalities of three lasers in one. Horizontal, slope and long range in one tough package—where distance and accuracy meet. Get it at any ICS location.
7. Norton 4×4 Max Cut Diamond Blade (14 inches)
Dependable performance and quality assurance is what every concrete contractor asks for—and Norton’s 4×4 MaxCut Diamond Blade delivers. The 4×4 Max Cut delivers true cutting performance, longer life, and anti-crack gullets that help resist core cracking under extreme conditions. Visit our Salt Lake City location for a great promotional deal on this blade now.
8. Re-Grip Yellow
Improve the grip on hammers, shovels, hatchets, pipe wrenches, trowels and more. Re-Grip adds durability and comfort to almost any handle.
9. Husqvarna Fuel (Quart)
Husqvarna pre-mixed fuel is ready-to-use, ethanol-free, 95 octane premium blend designed for optimal engine performance. 50:1 fuel to oil ratio stays fresh. Get it at ICS Salt Lake.
10. Briggs & Stratton 6-Gallon Air Compressor
Available at our Salt Lake City location, this Briggs & Stratton 6-gallon air compressor brings power to portability. Equipped with tough wheels to move across rugged job sites, an oil-free pump for less maintenance, and a removable handle for easy storage.
Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference, and sometimes it’s the big things. From safety glasses to walk-behind cutters, we’ve rounded up 10 concrete products you need, big and small, to help you out with your next spring concrete project of any size.
1. Stabila Tech Levels
Stabila takes electronic measuring technology to the next level with precise measurements, fast and accurate readings and single button calibration in this lightweight and strong tech level.
2. Epoxy coated rebar
Rebar has a tough job reinforcing concrete. Protect your rebar’s tensile strength from corrosive damage with green rebar.
3. PIP Protective Gear
PIP has been an industry leader in safety gear for 30 years. Come see us for the industry’s best hard hats, safety vests, safety glasses and more.
4. MBW Screed Demon
MBW’s answer to the wet screed: the low-vibration, low maintenance ScreeDemon. Patent pending mount retention method minimizes operator control, so hand/arm vibration is 50-90% lower than other screeds.
5. MAX USA CORP.RB398 Rebar Tying Machine
Featuring a lithium ion battery, the RB398 Rebar Tying Tool makes ties in less than 1 second per tie with consistent tie strength. Save time, money, and impact on your wrists!
6. Albion Backer Rod Rover
This walk-behind inserter can transform a labor-intensive job into an efficient and hassle-free one man operation. Achieve higher speed, quality, productivity and craftsmanship.
7. 204 Universal Adaptor
The go-to adaptor for many types of concrete tools that gives the user a 360-degree angle that other adaptors won’t. The 204 Universal Adaptor is locally manufactured in Utah.
8. SwissMex ProFoam Foaming Sprayer
This foaming sprayer is a great accompaniment when using cleaners that need to stay on the surface.
9. Kenrich Products GP-1HD Grout Pump
Designed for ease of use, the GP-1HD Grout Pump is designed for grouting hollow metal door frames and windows in place. Compact and requires minimal maintenance.
10. Plews Lubrimatic Pump
Need to get some sealer, form oil or cure out of a 55-gallon drum? Plews Lubrimatic Barrel Pumps will get the job done.
Intermountain Concrete Specialties has been the leading distributor of concrete supplies to the Intermountain West for 67 years, providing a wide range of products and world-class customer service. Visit one of our six stores in Utah and Idaho, and we’ll get you the concrete products you need to make your next concrete project a success.
Self-leveling concrete is a polymer-modified cement that helps even out floors and create a flat, smooth surface. When properly applied, it has a similar compressive strength to traditional concrete. Depending on the type of self-leveling concrete used, it can be applied prior to applying a decorative finish or installing interior flooring.
Different self-leveling concrete formulas are recommended for different applications, finishes, and types of substrates. Here are three of Intermountain Concrete Specialties’ top recommendations for self-leveling concrete products.
MAPEI NOVAPLAN EASY PLUS
This easy-prep, self-leveling concrete underlayment and repair mix creates a high-strength surface for interior concrete and engineer-approved floors. NOVAPLAN’s high-strength formulation is ideal for direct application on clean, properly primed and securely bonded substrates. NOVAPLAN EASY PLUS can be used over radiant-heated floors, and is recommended for interior residential, commercial, and institutional locations.
W.R. MEADOWS FLOOR-TOP STG
This single-component, self-leveling floor topping and underlayment is ideal for smoothing out rough, uneven concrete surfaces or slightly deteriorated interior concrete floors. It can be enhanced with integral colors, dyes, acid stains, and sealers. FLOOR-TOP STG cures to a hard surface suitable for standard foot traffic and light rubber-wheeled traffic. We recommend FLOOR-TOP STG for residential, commercial, retail, and office applications.
When you need a job done fast—and correctly—FLOWCRETE’s cement-based, self-leveling concrete formula is designed for rapid leveling of interior concrete floors. Use FLOWCRETE to level and smooth concrete prior to installing carpet, wood floors, tile and more within just 12-16 hours. FLOWCRETE is mixed with water, hardens through hydration, and does not require any troweling or curing.
We can help you choose the best self-leveling concrete for your next interior concrete project application. Visit your local Intermountain Concrete Specialties location for the expert advice, high-quality products and equipment you need to make your next concrete project a success!