Sunday 3 February 2019

Delamination (spalling) and Surface Peeling of Driveway Surfaces in a Freeze Thaw and Vapor Lock and other Additives vs. Topical Sealers or "No" Sealers for Concrete

Vapor Lock or Sealer and why?

The most common dictionary definition of "spalling" concrete:

spalled concrete is caused by poor finishing and the use of water on the surface to aid in the finishing process. Excess water and over-finishing create a weak surface that can't handle freeze-thaw expansion and contraction. This definition is widely advertised everywhere that is not a northern freeze thaw climate. Everyone can be an expert on the internet, and what might be true in California, may not be true in Canada, and especially in harsh climates of the Prairie Provinces.

In my reality we see similar examples of spalling that can be directly related to freeze thaw, salt use, vehicle salts, and most recently in our city the use of Magnesium Chloride in conjunction with road salts and sand. This is also compounded by the inclusion of "light weight aggregates" by the concrete plants in the concrete mix. (these cause pop-outs during freeze thaw cycles) The costs associated with importing gravel from other provinces and jurisdictions is expensive.

Through experience and in an effort to maintain happy customers (minimize issues with concrete) we have advocated the following recommendations:
  • never push wet salty vehicle sludge and water out of your garage and onto your driveway.
  • if you have a downspout running through an area you park on your driveway in the winter try and redirect that flow of water. installing drainage in walks is common now.
  • keep your driveway shovelled and clean, dry is good thing!
  • wash and reseal with topical acrylic sealer in the spring to protect annually. 

The latest defence in the toolbox that we tried in 2018 is Vapor Lock Additive. All the above recommendations still apply with the exception of the Acrylic Sealer or even better in conjunction with the use of Acrylic Sealer. The cost of  Acrylic Sealer can be from .50 - $1.00 per square foot depending on the person doing the installation, the number of coats of sealer and the quality of the sealer. By choosing Vapor Lock, you are saving this sealer cost over the future years. 

There are a few customers that do not worry about pop-outs, spalling concrete, and opt out of using any additives. 

What is Vapor Lock Additive:

First Vapor Lock costs .75 cents per square foot of concrete or about $750 for an average driveway. This cost is passed on to the customer. The benefit, one time cost for customers. (reducing the cost over the life of the concrete) Typically we would only offer Vapor Lock with plain broom finish concrete with no colour additives or where there is no intent to use a "Topical" sealer to enhance the colouration of the concrete. Typically Stamped Concrete, Exposed Aggregate Concrete and Coloured Broom are used with Acylic Sealer (not vapor lock) to enhance the colour.

Does Vapor Lock work?

Rockscapes Concrete Saskatoon  have been offering concrete installations and have a strong history of offering excellent product in the Saskatoon and area. We have advocated annual washing and sealing of concrete with Acrylic's with great success! Vapor Lock is knew to us, we feel the obligation to offer to our customers every alternative to make informed decisions. The decision to purchase a driveway is a difficult and expensive decision. Concrete Contractors do not use the same methods or systems. By creating a template of how we do driveways that is available upon request, and offering the options we do, we have a long track record of successful installations. Approx. 30% of our customers opted for Vapor Lock in 2018, and I had personally inspected some driveways that were done as test sites in 2017 or earlier. I feel that Vapor Lock should be considered for most outside plain concrete applications. Anything that can reduce pop-outs, spalling, and extend the life of your concrete should be considered. (In my opinion) I look forward to seeing the success of the driveways we used Vapor Lock on in 2018, without the use of Acrylics, and sharing some addresses with prospective customers.

Vapor LockTM 20/21 Waterproofing & Exterior Protection Concrete Ad-mixture is a ready to use concrete admixture that has an inorganic chemical reaction with components of the cement and utilizes the water of convenience to eliminate the route of water ingress/egress. This reaction is a permanent and integral component of the finished concrete.
Vapor LockTM 20/21 water proofs/densify concrete to an industry lead- ing level. Vapor LockTM 20/21 should be added to concrete whenever superior water proofing, extended service life, chemical resistance and densification at an economical cost are desired.
~Water proofs concrete (.0017 US Perms) ~Increases concrete density and hardness ~Increased abrasion resistance
~Requires no Chemical Curing

~Stops ACR, ASR ~Effective in reducing:
-Plastic & Drying Shrinkage Cracking -Efflorescence
-Freeze-thaw spalling -Delamination
-Slab curl