Market Roundup

Cool stuff you might have missed

So much industry news and information to peruse and read — so little time. Here are few articles that we thought worth highlighting.

news_april26_2017_img1Hot weather concreting – methods for success.
Various adverse effects on the properties and serviceability of concrete are brought on by hot weather. Just one of those is the effect on strength. Read more



Goodwill-Romeoville-Silt-Fence5 Green Construction Practices that are becoming Standard Commercial Construction Procedures
Anyone in the commercial construction industry knows there are a variety of certifications and designations that individuals, companies and projects can achieve to show they follow a high level of green commercial construction practices. Read more


002_RBI-image-1024242Revolutionary concrete topping is an Eco-friendly terrazzo replacement
In 2010 Antex Western was remodelling its head office in Winnipeg and hoping to divert 100% of its construction waste from landfill … Read more

Concrete – outside the lines


It’s not just the underpinning anymore…

Concrete is being used in whole new ways. We want conform to be a part of that.

Check out these stylish interiors with exposed concrete walls and floors.

Aside from architectural finishes, concrete is also being used to build low-cost social housing and to reconstruct cities after natural disasters. Regional materials are being used to create distinctive buildings. 

There’s an increasing trend toward using concrete to create retail locations. Take a look at the new minimalist boutiques springing up in major cities like Dubai and San Francisco.

How do we grow the market?


We asked – you answered

We recently ran a survey on how we might collaborate in order to grow the market for overlaid conform panels.  We said we’d share the results — and here they are. A resounding 78% of respondents cited lack of downstream knowledge as the greatest challenge in achieving the growth that we all know is possible.

It’s clear that we need more educational tools that distributors can use downstream to educate their customers/contractors on the benefits of conform versus other, more died-in-the-wool options.

What kind of tools will help us achieve this?

  • 56% of respondents said that virtual training/webinars would be an effective way to educate the market driving sales
  • 44% said educational tools for distributors such as videos, literature on the benefits and attributes of each option and information that they can use to educate contractors on making better buying decisions, based on the technology that is currently available, are vital.

So how do we get these tools into your hands? Let’s pool our resources. Help us create a real tool box for you, and for your customers, along with a simple ‘How To Use’ guide that will help them pass the information downstream.

With the right tools in hand we can show them how to:

  • Post links on their websites to articles on the advantages of conform vs other solutions
  • Email relevant articles to their own customers with easily printable files that can be used as handouts
  • Print and distribute copies of newsletters and articles highlighting the benefits of conform
  • Leverage social media by placing links to industry web pages, white papers and images of conform appearing in new ways with links on LinkedIn profiles, Facebook pages or Instagram.

If you’d like to work with us in creating the elements we all need, Contact Us. The more tools at our customers’ disposal, the higher the chances of increased informational flow.

The Challenge of Change


Contractors who embrace changes in concrete use will find whole new markets.

Concrete has been around for more than 2,000 years. And while it’s still essential for bridges and roads and sidewalks, entirely new ways of using concrete are also gaining traction.

With the use of new dyes and creative finishing techniques — and of course, the right concrete forms and overlays, concrete has greater versatility than ever before as a decorative surface in residential, hospitality, institutional and multi-use projects.

High-end contemporary designs are showcasing concrete for accent walls, kitchen backsplashes and even entire bathrooms, from floor to walls to counters and sinks. Smooth and polished or rough and rugged, concrete is showing up in places where it’s never been seen before.

In this market, plain plyform panels just aren’t good enough. The quality architectural finishes end-users want require concrete forming overlays that can yield satiny finishes, matte or semi-gloss, and specific types of textures and designs that demand the best in conform panels and overlays.

EPIC® evolution – getting ready for what’s next


Adapting to new environments to enhance real-world performance

Continual changes in concrete mixes, building products and methods, regional weather patterns and more, together, keep us on our toes at Arclin. In fact, we’re continually looking at our product attributes to ensure optimal performance for our customers — and theirs.

Most recently, Arclin has been focused on developing its next generation of EPIC® overlays for concrete forming. With greater internal bonds, better water resistance and improved ability to stand up to even the harshest concrete mixes, the new EPIC suite is being designed to offer the best in-field performance yet.

Epic 3333
New generation MDO

  • Highly chemical resistant
  • Extremely durable even when used with aggressive concrete mixes
  • Water resistance enhances form-oil performance in the field
  • Stronger internal bonds – faster, easier and more reuses in the field

Epic 3323 MDO

  • Stronger internal bonds – faster, easier and more reuses in the field
  • Enhanced cushion sheet performance in HDO/HAO panel constructions

Epic Enhanced Flow MDO
New Arclin-developed resin allows faster cure, better saturation and more uniform paper for more consistent field performance.

Visit Arclin at the World of Concrete to see the new EPIC suite!

From Shipping Box to Big Box


Just as we thought the online “Cyber Monday” shopping day might overtake the “Black Friday” shopping frenzy, another trend — decidedly analog — is taking hold:

Internet retail giants such as Birchbox, Garnet Hill, Blue Nile and yes, even Amazon, are opening brick-and-mortar stores.

Despite significant gains in online shopping in recent years, still, more than 90% of purchases are being made off-line — that is, in real stores. In real buildings. And as the millennial generation moves into urban centers, forsaking suburbs and traditional shopping malls, retailers are following, fueling yet more development.

That’s good news for the construction industry. And, certainly, for those of us in the concreted slice of that business.

Big-box retailers have been expanding at a rapid pace, too. All this expansion adds up to projected retail construction growth that will top out at just over 10% this year and rise by about 9% in 2016, according to the American Institute of Architects’ most recent Consensus Construction Forecast. (Consensus Construction Forecast Jan. 2015)

This promises healthy gains in the concrete industry. The Portland Cement Association projects 6.5% growth in the use of cement in construction next year.

Now that’s a trend we can buy into.

Right product, right place.

small image

Creating the best conform panel requires technical know-how, and sometimes, a little collaboration.

From the manufacture of conform overlays to the production of the panels, Arclin and its customers have one goal: To ensure the end-use customer is satisfied with the product and the resulting concrete finish.

Arclin EPIC® Overlays for Concrete Forming:

High Alkaline Overlays resist the high alkaline content found in many newer concrete mixes — and they can withstand more pours than many of their predecessors, if used properly. The more care that’s taken with the panel the more pours it will yield.

The same chemistries that enable HAO to perform with these harsh additives mean that it requires a bit more care to make it last. So how do you make the best use of Arclin’s EPIC® HAO?

  • Predrill.  The same polymer that makes HAO tough makes it slightly more brittle than other overlays. Predrilling before nailing or screwing in the panel reduces the chance of damaging it.
  • Handle with care. If scraping is required, Arclin recommends using non-metal tools to scrape and clean the surface of HAO between uses.
  • Sharpen tools. Make sure drill bits, nails, screws and other tools are clean and sharp before using them on HAO, to minimize chances of fracturing or chipping the overlay.
  • Use the right release agent. Use a chemically active release agent (Nox-Crete or equivalent) instead of just an oil or barrier coating. The right release agent makes cleaning easier.


Achieving the goal of producing a panel that performs requires that the panel manufacturer and Arclin work together to take into account such issues as:

  • The type of pressing equipment used.
  • Temperature, humidity and other environmental factors in the panel plant.
  • The quality and type of backing panel for the overlay.

The panel maker in turn must get answers from the end-user about what they need and expect, including:

  • How many reuses does the customer want from a panel?
  • Is the concrete high alkaline?
  • What concrete finish does the customer want? Smooth, architectural, brushed, etc?
  • What are the conditions on the jobsite? Tough weather and methods of storage can affect a panel’s life and performance

That need for collaboration to ensure the best possible results inspired Arclin to build a sales team that combines technical, sales and account support—so that customer and end-user needs are considered right along with logistics and quality control. “A consolidated approach ensures everything from manufacturing to delivery and downstream product performance are equally important ” says Arclin Technical Sales Manager Mike Bunn. “That makes us all part of a knowledgeable team, and Arclin offers a 24-7 support system ,” he says.

Enhancements to Arclin’s EPIC® suite of concrete forming overlays:

Base Paper 
Combines different types of
woods with both short and long fibers

Allows for uniform resin penetration
Paper gains strength and durability

Tougher in the field even in wet harsh conditions

Gives more consistent concrete finishes

Reduces separation or delamination

Offers easier release

Proprietary MD3000 resin more uniformly saturates the overlay base sheet Simplifies and speeds panel production

Creates stronger internal bonds

Offers greater durability even with high alkaline concrete mixes

Going Up!

Commercial construction is still rising—and taking demand for concrete with it



U.S. Census Bureau employment data shows that areas within a three-mile radius of city centers are increasing the number of jobs at a healthy clip, while job growth in suburban areas has begun to decline. And in those city centers, the only way to grow is up—in high-rise construction that often demands concrete.

There’s more driving the growth in concrete use than its long-standing usage for structural building. Some projections call for architectural concrete to see the fastest-growing demand through 2015, driven by the popularity of decorative facades and surface walls. Concrete floors are also growing in popularity, thanks to the many options available in color and surface textures.

Inside or out, in floors and walls, in commercial garages and upscale offices, concrete is going up.


Market Segment Consensus Growth Forecasts20152016
• Overall nonresidential building7.7%8.2%
• Commercial / industrial11.8% 10.4%
• Hotels15.3%10.4%
• Office buildings 12.9%11.5%
• Industrial facilities
• Retail 10.1%9.0%
• Institutional5.0%5.4%
• Amusement / recreation 9.1%5.3%
• Education 4.7%5.2%
• Healthcare facilities4.7%6.2%
• Public safety1.7%%3.6
• Religious1.2%3.6%

Source: AIA

Still Green

It may be gray, but concrete is proving its green credentials.

In the drive to achieve sustainability and reduce environmental impacts in construction, one of the oldest building materials is making a whole new name for itself: Concrete.

Concrete may not seem all that ‘green’ at first glance, but take a closer look at its advantages:

  • Concrete lasts. Just look at Rome’s Coliseum, still standing after more than 2,000 years.
  • Concrete’s thermal mass helps reduce energy use in buildings by minimizing temperature swings.
  • Waste materials such as fly ash and iron slag can be safely added to concrete to strengthen the mix and keep these materials out of landfills.
  • Concrete’s natural light color reflects heat during the day and reduces the need for exterior building lights at night.
  • Concrete is usually manufactured locally, reducing energy use in transporting building materials over long distances.

Banner ImageArclin’s EPIC® suite of concrete forming overlays have long set the standard for extending panel life and producing high quality finishes. But they do their part to keep concrete green, too. EPIC overlays last longer and perform better, creating less jobsite waste, reducing material usage and lowering labor costs. EPIC overlays can extend panel life from 5 -10 times for MDO and 10 – 20 times for HDO over the life of non-overlaid BB Plyform panels.

EPIC Overlays carry Arclin’s exclusive E-Gen® designation, reserved for products that are specifically engineered to meet or exceed existing product performance standards and to reduce manufacturing and downstream environmental impact.

Recently Arclin has devised a groundbreaking new resin system that strengthens panels and enhances durability and performance—even on the highest alkaline concrete mixes.

Arclin also enhanced its overlay base papers by combining a variety of wood fibers that stand up to moisture and tough weather without separating or delaminating

That means that panels carrying our EPIC overlays are tougher than ever, will last even longer and perform better, while continuing to reduce material waste and labor costs.

  • Arclin EPIC® Overlays for Concrete Forming:
  • Are available with FSC® chain of custody certification
  • May contribute to LEED Credits 2.1 and 2.2 for waste reduction and MR Credits 3.1 and 3.2 for material re-use
  • Cut materials costs by up to 64% and reduce jobsite waste
  • EPIC® Medium Density Overlay 3333 (MDO)
  • Enhanced alkalinity resistance and internal bond
  • For a smooth, matte concrete finish
  • Has the Arclin “cross-cut” advantage
  • EPIC® Enhanced Flow Medium Density Overlay 3369 (Natural Kraft) and 3379 (Green) (MDO)
  • Formulated with a high flow phenolic resin system for increased caustic resistance and reuse
  • For a smooth, matte concrete finish
  • Has the Arclin “Cross-Cut” advantage
  • EPIC® High Alkaline Overlay 2600 (HAO)
  • For aggressive, high alkaline concrete mix designs
  • Can provide semi- and high-gloss finish when combined with the appropriate substrate and pressing surface
  • EPIC® Coated Concrete Form Overlay 4098 (CCFO)
  • Coated with alkaline resistant phenolic resin for improved caustic resistance
  • Can provide high quality concrete finish when combined with the appropriate substrate and pressing surface
  • Has the Arclin “Cross-Cut” advantage
  • EPIC® High Density Overlay 2252/2253 (HDO)
  • Available with standard and premium resin contents
  • For smooth, low- and semi-gloss finishes
  • Can provide architectural finish when combined with the appropriate substrate and pressing surface



Arclin’s workhorse just gets better

jobsiteAt Arclin we’re always looking for ways to make great products even better, to find new applications for proven chemistries, to put our expertise and knowledge to work in new markets.

But sometimes it’s important to pause and acknowledge those products with consistent, proven performance — like our workhorse EPIC® HDO’s used in 2252 & 2253 HDO panel construction.

Arclin has a strong family of concrete forming overlays, each with its own advantage in various applications. But the HDO overlay, says Mike Bunn, Technical Sales Manager — Plywood, is the product “you can use anywhere, anytime. And especially where you want a better finish.”

Bunn explains, “HDO consistently outperforms one of its primary competitive products — non-overlaid BB-OES — in the field. HDO gives many more pours and yields a much better finish on concrete than plywood, so it’s great for commercial, institutional and multifamily projects. Because of its extended life and quality of finish, HDO remains a great value.”


Extends panel life by up to 10 times that of non-overlaid BB-OES panels

Resists high-alkaline concrete better than BB-OES plyform

Available with FSC chain of custody certification

May contribute to LEED MR Credits 2.1 and 2.2 for waste reduction and MR Credits 3.1 and 3.2 for material reuse

Carries Arclin’s E-Gen® designation