Kraft Paper FAQs

Are there any advantages to using Kraft (brown) base paper as opposed to bleached Kraft base paper for concrete form overlays?

Yes, there are two key advantages to the Kraft paper forms: lower costs and lower environmental impacts.

A peer-reviewed study looked at the lifecycle impacts of manufacturing 1,250 tons of natural Kraft paper compared to making the same amount of bleached paper. Manufacturing bleached paper would use almost 800 tons more of wood from approximately 5,800 more trees than the Kraft paper would require.

The additional energy used to make the bleached paper instead of Kraft paper would supply the energy needs of 59 American homes for one year (38 million Btus vs. 33 million.) The total energy required to make the bleached paper would also create over a half a million tons more carbon dioxide than the CO2 resulting from natural Kraft paper manufacturing.

Bleached paper manufacturing also creates much more wastewater than kraft paper –about 15 million gallons more, or enough to fill 23 swimming pools.

In addition, the cost of titanium dioxide, used in the bleaching process, is rising. And according to a report from Dow Chemical, the demand for titanium dioxide should remain strong through 2012. (See

So on both cost and environmental impact, Kraft paper is the better choice. That’s why Arclin uses natural Kraft base paper for all its Medium Density Overlay (MDO) panels. High Density Overlays (HDOs) are available with either bleach Kraft or natural Kraft base papers.

Innovative overlays to meet new demands

As the concrete industry develops an ever-increasing number of mixes to improve performance and for specialty applications, Arclin is keeping pace by creating new overlays to meet the challenges of these new extended formulas.

Among the new mixes gaining in popularity is self-compacting or self-consolidating concrete. Defined as a “high deformability, moderate viscosity” mixture, SCC offers significant advantages in certain building applications, such as in earthquake-prone areas where structures must use more rebar than usual.

Arclin’s Gordon White explains that “thick concrete mixes are more difficult to use in these applications. When you have lots of rebar, it’s very challenging to get access to the mixture to vibrate it and make it settle and set up properly. It takes a lot of time and labor.”

That’s where SCC shows its superiority. “Self-compacting mixes are much more liquid, so they’re easier to pour, require less vibrating to settle, and provide strength that is just as good, if not better, than the thicker mixes.” White says.

But SCC also presents performance challenges for concrete forming panels. These new concrete mix designs use chemical admixtures that reduce the surface tension of the liquid concrete, which makes them more “liquid” and easier to place with less vibration. The result is a better concrete surface. However, the alkalinity of these admixtures also allows They’ll be hitting the scales on from Condition-of-the-Art Slot Machine Game Design to the present Legal aspects of Gambling and Facts of Operating inside a Controlled Business. the liquid to penetrate the overlays faster, resulting in less than optimal performance with most overlays.

“SCC mixes exert more pressure on concrete forming panels because they stay liquid longer than standard concrete mix designs,” White says. “BBOEs can soak up a lot of water and warp; even traditional MDOs can have a hard time standing up to SCCs.”

That’s why Arclin is developing improved high alkaline overlays (HAO) that are more impervious to highly alkaline liquid concrete. Their greater resistance to the liquid concrete allows these panels to absorb less moisture and remain stiffer longer. Concrete forming systems that use HAO overlays can handle the pressure and liquid content of SCC mixes better than forming systems typically used in the industry.

“These new systems are higher in cost but they give a superior finish. Forms are easier to place, and that can reduce labor costs,” White says. “Plus, you get all the strength advantages that SCCs are designed to offer.”

Saving Forests for the Future

From coast to coast, North America was once covered in forests. Now more than 99% of our original eastern forests have been cleared or replaced by second growth, while much of the Pacific Northwest woodlands have been managed with state-of-the-art silviculture and are now truly “farmed”.

Sustaining our natural forests is an environmental imperative in North America today. And Arclin is doing its part.

All of our suppliers use sustainable forest harvesting methods. Sustainably managed online casinos forests are carbon neutral, producing as much wood and carbon as they remove.

Our decorative overlays are printed on papers made from tree fibers grown on controlled, fast growing plantations, sparing old growth trees and exotic woods.

The extended life and cost-effectiveness of our EPIC™ overlay panels make them cost-effective and environmentally responsible. And these panels are available with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain of custody certification and our E-Gen® designation. They may also contribute to LEED MR Credits 2.1 and 2.2 for waste.

The Big Green Story

On the surface, concrete doesn’t seem very ‘green.’ In fact, producing one pound of Portland cement results in the release of one pound of carbon dioxide.

But under the surface of concrete structures being built today lie some ancient techniques and waste materials that, says Matt Dalkie, Technical Sales Engineer for LaFarge North America, “are making concrete a much more environmentally friendly product.”

The secret lies in the use of pozzolans—siliceous material that reacts chemically with calcium hydroxide to form compounds that mimic the properties of cement. Pozzolans such as pottery shards and volcanic ash have been found in the ruins of ancient walls and buildings where they helped strengthen the structures and made good use of what would otherwise have been waste material.

Today, supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs)—such as fly ash from coal-burning power plants, slag from pig iron manufacturing and silica fume from the production of silicon metals and alloys—are used to extend concrete mixes, replacing a proportion of the Portland cement used. And because cement is the most expensive ingredient in concrete mix, that means lower costs.

Not only do these SCMs reduce costs, Dalkie explains; they also improve performance. “SCMs behave differently than ordinary cement. Fly ash, for example, helps to ‘lubricate’ the mix so that it requires less water. That means the concrete sets up faster, is stronger and is more durable.”

Using SCMs also can contribute to LEED credits for lowering energy use and  CO2 production, reducing waste, and recovering structural materials. So too can the use of concrete overlay forms, which offer additional benefits by allowing more re-uses than BBOE, among other advantages.

Dalkie asserts that concrete has another key environmental benefit. “In terms of sustainability, I believe its durability makes concrete the ‘green’ building product of choice.”

Enhanced flow MDO stands up to tough mixes

When it comes to choosing the right concrete forming panel for the job, there is one point that builders need to be very aware of, says Olympic Panel’s Hal Studer:

“This is not your grandfather’s concrete mix you’re working with today.”








Concrete mixes are now more highly alkaline than before. “The most expensive ingredient in concrete is cement,” Studer explains. “So it’s pretty common now for other materials to be added to concrete mixes—things like fly ash from coal burning power generating plants and blast furnace slag from steel manufacturing—that reduce cost and also improve concrete properties.”

To create the type of high-strength, fast-set concrete required by many new high-tech buildings, Studer says, reducing the amount of water in the mix is also critical. “When you reduce the amount of water in concrete mix, you increase the strength, at least up to a certain point.”

The downside? These mixes raise the alkalinity of concrete. And that’s tough on conform panels. BBOEs will give 3 to 5 uses per panel on average; regular medium density overlays will yield 12 to 15 uses each. But with an enhanced or high-flow MDO, builders can get 2 to 5 more uses out of each panel than with regular MDO, thanks to an overlay that is more abrasion- and alkaline-resistant.

Arclin’s Enhanced Flow Medium Density Overlay uses a slightly different resin—and much more resin—than standard panels, giving it greater resistance to the alkalinity of modern concrete mixes. The more resin in a panel overlay, the longer the panel lasts. And, says Studer, “the performance of these panels is more consistent than that of BBOEs.”

Even when MDO panels are priced higher than BBOEs, the cost per pour is reduced by using the engineered panels, according to Arclin’s Gordon White. “If you get 5 re-uses out of BBOE, the cost per pour is about $5,” he explains. “With a standard MDO panel, you can get 15 to 20 re-uses, and the cost per pour goes down to as little as $1.75 per pour, depending on the job and the type of panel used.”

White goes on to say “In recent independent test pours, performed by Nox-Crete,, high-flow panels with Arclin’s Enhanced Flow overlays outperformed the competitive overlay that has been the industry standard.”

These tests used a highly alkaline concrete mix design with a water-to-cement ratio of 0.33. While Arclin’s Enhanced Flow 3369 showed little deterioration after 15 pours, the competitive overlay developed surface cracks after 5 pours and was worn out before the 15th pour White explains.