Concrete is often chosen as the preferred material in creative design works and to emulate natural materials like limestone, cut-stone, fieldstone, cobblestone, marble, and granite. Although decorative concrete is more expensive than plain concrete, it is often more affordable than the natural materials it emulates. It is used in architectural concrete to create durable structures with an attractive appearance. White cement is often the selected ingredient of architects. Regularly chosen for its appearance, white cement concrete has many applications and provides benefits such as safety, energy efficiency, and low maintenance.
Holderchem, a well rounded supplier of construction chemicals and ready to use mortars to the building industry, provides architects, ready mix producers, and contractors with the products and technical assistance needed to design, mix, and place concrete. Products supplied include amongst others, a full range of concrete and cement additives, curing and sealing compounds, concrete repair and waterproofing products, tile adhesives and grouts, ready to use mortars and miscellaneous protective coatings, architectural paints and specialty chemicals. One of the primary aims of Holderchem is to help architects and civil engineers realize the full potential of concrete, providing complete specification assistance and laboratory support.
The building and construction industry is increasing its use of structured fair-face concrete as technology advances and sculptors impose their creativity on the medium. To meet architects requirements, Holderchem has added a range of products for patterned concrete, which includes in addition to liquid rubbers for the self-production of form liners and molds, elastomeric polyurethane form liners and molds for patterning and texturing concrete surfaces supplied ready to use by Reckli®, a world leader in this field. These Reckli® form liners can be used in precast or cast in-situ concrete. Their elasticity enables damage free de-molding of concrete, even for complicated and delicate details. These form liners, which can be used repeatedly as they are weather resistant, flexible and impermeable to water and moisture, allow architects to create a variety of structured surfaces that can give the appearance of wood, stone, brick, or any other creative custom design an architect may imagine. The sheets are flexible enough for the manufacture of curved molds, which can be used to produce structures to imitate the selected materials chosen. The Reckli® catalogue contains over 250 standard designs of form liners, which can be supplied in various degrees of reusability. To ensure surface quality, customers can order accessory products such as form liner adhesives, release agents, and cleaning agents. For best surface protection, a permanent anti-graffiti system is also available.
In addition to the above, Holderchem supplies a range of Reckli® Concrete Surface Retarders that allow the controlled exposure of aggregates in the concrete by deactivating the setting of the cement to required depths. The range of products supplied contains retarders for both the negative as well as for the positive process.
The key to achieving a strong, durable concrete rests in the careful proportioning and mixing of the ingredients. A concrete mixture that does not have enough paste to fill all the voids between the aggregates will be difficult to place and will produce rough, honeycombed surfaces and porous concrete. Although a mixture with an excess of cement paste will be easy to place and will produce a smooth surface, it is likely to result in a less economical concrete that shrinks more. To avoid these pitfalls and successfully complete the building of wall panels, Holderchem can supply contractors concrete mixtures made from carefully selected aggregates, mineral additives and water reducing chemical admixtures, which can be ready to use or simply require the addition on site of coarse aggregates. It also supplies stain sealers and provides site assistance pertaining to mixing and handling, proportioning, batching, placing, de-molding, finishing, curing and protection, patching, jointing etc....
Generally, using less water produces a higher quality concrete provided the concrete is properly placed, consolidated, and cured. The contractor should ensure during placement that the concrete is consolidated and well compacted within the forms to eliminate potential flaws, such as honeycombs and air pockets. Special techniques are used for curing concrete in hot weather as the longer the concrete is kept moist, the stronger and more durable it will become. Within this process lies the key to a remarkable trait of concrete: it's plastic and malleable when newly mixed, strong and durable when hardened. These qualities explain why one material, concrete, can build skyscrapers, bridges, sidewalks and superhighways, houses and dams provided the components are properly selected and proportioned and the mix well placed and cured.