What Lies Beneath

The overlay is just the surface of a conform panel 

To get a quality conform panel, you have to start with a quality overlay. But, says Ken Pratt, Operations Manager of Olympic Panel Products, “if you put a great quality overlay on a poor quality panel, you’re not going to get the performance you want.”

A lot of different factors affect a panel’s quality, Pratt says, starting with the veneer.  “A quality veneer should have the right thickness and smoothness and be dried to the right moisture content.”

“The type of adhesive you use and the average glue bond make a big difference in how the blackjack online panel will perform in the field,” Pratt details. “Then there’s process control on the hot press. All of those elements have to be considered and addressed to make a good panel.”

Pratt advises panel purchasers “Go to the mill. If I were a contractor, I’d be asking my supplier if there were someone at the plant to provide technical support and answer questions. That’s critical.”

Good advice can also help reduce costs. “Olympic makes 10 different conform panels with nine different overlays and four species of wood. A concrete contractor may order Multi-pour, Classic, Barrier Film and High Flow panels for a job. But with some guidance, that contractor may discover that Classic and High Flow panels alone will do the job. That can save a lot of money and deliver a quality product.”

DRILLING DOWN: Judging a conform panel

  • Overlay should provide the right finish, stand up to the concrete mix
  • Veneer should be smooth and dried to less than 8% moisture content
  • Check veneer thickness and size of deficits
  • Glue bond should be 90% or more
  • Keys to a good bond: intimate contact, time and heat
  • Check patch material, sanding, cleanliness
  • All edges should be sealed

When Concrete Forming Gets Messy

Answering tough questions means listening with intent

Arclin recently heard from a customer that one of our concrete forming overlays that was supposed to provide 10 or 15 uses was only lasting for about six pours on some jobsites.  Of course, we immediately set out to discern the issue — and discovered the problem wasn’t with the overlay at all, but was being caused by the concrete, itself. “Changes in the concrete formulations made them much more alkaline, and that was shortening our overlays’ life,” says Arclin’s Product Manager of Plywood Overlays, Gordon White.

In response, Arclin has been working on new overlays custom-designed to stand up to these new mixes.

Product and jobsite changes plus advancing technologies http://www.phpaide.com/?langue=fr&id=16 mean we’re constantly reviewing panniekazino.com and evolving our conform products to ensure maximum performance.  The first step in the process of evolution, however, is…listening.

As a senior account manager with Universal Forest Products in Ft. Worth, Texas, Kirby Mano has a lot of experience listening to customer complaints and expectations. In one case, he says, the customer found that vibrating concrete was damaging the conform panels used to shape columns.

“It turned out to be a very inexpensive fix. The customer just needed to use a different type of vibrator tip to avoid the damage.” Since then, Mano explained, “I’ve been able to take that knowledge to other job sites and prevent problems before they ever started.”

White and Mano both know well, too, that construction job purchasers often base their ordering on cost alone — and that can lead to product performance issues. “You get what you pay for,” White says. “A cheaper panel will not give the same stability or stand up to re-use. When you source these products you have to figure in the strength, the life and the finish as well as the cost.”

Judging the quality of a conform panel takes some know-how, and getting the best panel for your job may cost a bit more. But in the final analysis, the results will speak—and pay—for themselves.

HAO vs HDO: Arclin tests overlays for durability, performance

To evaluate the performance and long-term durability of HDO and HAO panels, Arclin asked Nox-Crete to test four overlays to see how each stood up to tough conditions similar to those in the field.

The panels were drilled for multiple fasteners, damaged by drill bits, gouged, not fully sealed on the edges, left un-cleaned, re-oiled with release agents and used in pours with reactive concrete admixtures.

Then the panels were checked for de-lamination, grain raise and swelling, cracking and overall deterioration.

What did we find?

Of the overlays tested—

  • Arclin 252 100-lb HDO on Douglas Fir face
  • Arclin 252 120-lb HDO on Douglas Fir face
  • Arclin 2600 HAO on Douglas Fir face
  • Arclin 2600 HAO on hardwood face (African Celtis)

—the 2600 HAO product on Douglas Fir and hardwood face veneer far surpassed the performance of the 100- and 120-lb HDO. Overlay durability and concrete appearance were consistently better with the HAO system.


The results
After 21 pours against the 100-lb HDO panel:

  • The overlay surface began to show signs of internal bond failure at pour 21.
  • Significant grain swelling was visible across the entire panel surface at the completion of pour 2.
  • Uniformity in the concrete color was inconsistent from pour to pour.

After 30 pours against the 120-lb HDO panel:

Cracks began to appear at pour 11

Heavy grain swelling and general deterioration were noticeable around the overlay system penetrations

After 30 pours against the HAO panels:

  • Grain raise and damage were well contained throughout the testing.
  • The overlays on both panels were still in very usable condition,
  • The hardwood-faced panel did not perform any better than the Douglas Fir-faced panel.


The details
The panels were treated with two heavy applications of Nox-Crete Edge-Flex 645 edge seal ; the bottom edges were left unsealed.

W.R. Meadows Duogard II form oil was used to oil the panels before the pours.

During the pour, a special funnel was used to divert the concrete directly against a portion of each test panel to simulate conditions that regularly occur on jobsites. An internal vibrator with a one-inch head was used to vibrate the concrete placed against all test panels.

The concrete was left to harden against the test panels at a controlled temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees F for 24 hours.

The test panels were then removed from the concrete, and the concrete was allowed to air dry for approximately two hours, and then reviewed and photographed.

The test panels were placed in a room online casinos where the temperature was kept at 140 degrees F and less than 10% humidity for 48 hours.

Next, the test panels were removed from the heated room and allowed to cool at room temperature for approximately two hours, at which time they were reviewed and photographed.

Finally, the panels were re-oiled—but not cleaned—to prepare them for a subsequent pour.

The following concrete mix was used for the duration of the testing:

  • Cement (Type I/II)                                                                          940 lbs
  • Sand                                                                                              1,009 lbs
  • Gravel                                                                                            1,800 lbs
  • Water                                                                                             330 lbs
  • Water reducing agent (ASTM C 494 Type A/D)                             38 fl oz
  • High range water reducing agent (ASTM C 494 Type F/G)           113 fl oz
  • Water to cement ratio                                                                     0.33
  • Slump in inches                                                                              6 /- 1
  • Concrete unit weight in pounds per cubic foot                             151.4
  • Total concrete volume in cubic feet                                               27

Care & Handling of Conform Panels

Care and handling

Proper care and handling on the jobsite can maximize the life of conform panels and ensure you get the number of pours you expect. Here are some tips:

  • Before first use, coat the panels with the proper form release agent. Arclin recommends Nox-Crete form releases (or equivalent).
  • Clean panels after each use with burlap or flat plastic or wood scrapers that won’t damage the face of the panel.
  • Reseal cut edges or exposed wood, at holes or openings, with two coats of a good quality, exterior edge sealer. (Arclin recommends Edge-Flex 645 or equivalent)
  • Store panels flat and keep them in a protected area before use.
  • Use rubber-tipped vibrators and avoid gouging the panels when vibrating concrete.
  • Use wood wedges, not metal bars or pries, to separate the form from the concrete.
  • When cutting panels, use carbide tip saw blades that are sharp. Make sure the saw is cutting into the overlay (cut with the overlay facing up, to minimize chipping).
  • For form fastening, wood screws are recommended. Pre-drill pilot holes for screws using “screw pilot drill bit” sized appropriately for screw size. These bits are tapered for drilling pilot holes and also countersink the hole to minimize any cracking around screws.
  • Avoid using nails as that may result in cracking of the panel face when the nails are set flush.
  • Ensure proper spacing to allow for panel expansion.
  • Use suitable tape or expandable caulk to seal panel joints.
  • When drilling, ensure all drill bits are well maintained and kept sharp, for drilling tie holes a spur point bit will work well.
  • Use a backing board when drilling panels for less splintering of the panel backs when the bits exit the panel.
  • In hot weather, clean and reapply form release as soon as possible. The form release application will help minimize dry-out of the panel face.
  • When stacking panels, ensure they are stacked face to face.
  • Follow the appropriate pour rate to keep avoid damaging the panel.
  • Lower the panels—don’t throw or drop them—to avoid damaging the edges and face.
  • Remove fasteners to prevent damage and warping.
  • Repair damaged areas with fast drying polyester, polyurethane or epoxy patching materials