What’s Going On Out There?

Multi-family and mixed use projects drive recovering construction market

blogheaderDriving much of the construction industry recovery is a particularly strong U.S. market for mixed-use communities and high-rise residential buildings, according to the American Panel Association (APA), which predicts a 40% rise in multi-family construction in April 2014, following a 32% gain in 2013. (Commercial building not associated with mixed-use development is recovering, but not as quickly.)

“The mixed-use trend is really strong in North America,” echoes Ed Moroz, sales manager at Savona Specialty Plywood in Kamloops, British Columbia.

By contrast, single-family starts grew a not-insignificant 16% in 2013, according to the APA. Increases in mixed-use development, high-rise construction and an estimated 1.1 million in 2014 U.S. housing starts together bode well for the concrete construction business. And, by extension, the overlay business (BBOE plywood still outpaces the cost of overlaid panels by 10 – 15%).

Traditionally, too, as building starts improve, they’re quickly followed by growth in infrastructure improvements. “We’re seeing a significant amount of product going to projects like bridges and overpasses to meet the increased traffic that follows residential growth,” says Moroz. “That’s going to be a strong market for quite a while.”

An EPIC® Evolution Making a Good Thing Better


Jobsite conditions and expectations change. Concrete mixes evolve. And our technological and chemical expertise enables us to constantly look for new solutions to new challenges.

Arclin is rolling out enhanced overlay products in 2014, most notably its EPIC 3333 overlays. The new overlays are designed for greater durability and consistency, from panel plant to jobsite.

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


Conform Inform was created to support Arclin and its customers in providing resources and helpful information for the entire concrete construction value chain. Please get in touch with content suggestions, requests for copies or for cobranding and distribution opportunities. Email us or forward Conform Inform to invite others to subscribe.

EPIC® High Alkaline Overlay Makes Industrial Waste Recycling a True Win-Win

Efforts to “reduce, reuse, recycle” in the building industry have taken on new meaning in recent years. Certainly, the environmental benefits are foremost. For many of us, reuse and waste reduction efforts offer tangible benefits to our bottom lines.

Take concrete, for example. Blast-furnace slag from iron processing and fly ash removed from power plant emissions — once environmental and waste nuisances — are now frequently added to concrete mixtures, ridding industry of caustic wastes and, in turn, helping create a tougher, more durable and less expensive concrete mix.  Win-win, right?

Well, yes…but. These additives yield concrete with a much higher alkaline content than purer mixes, which can create a pretty serious challenge for most concrete forming overlays. Which is precisely why Arclin developed a High Alkaline Overlay (HAO), specially crafted to perform with these mixes.

Arclin Technical Director Dave Gibson explains, “Our HAO has been engineered with a special polymer that resists high alkaline mixtures better than most overlays. It’s easier for the panel manufacturers — it requires one sheet versus multiple sheets of Medium or High Density Overlays (MDO/HDO) often used for caustic mixes — and it outperforms past solutions on the job site.”


With Proper Care, HAO Nets More Pours
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.  Says Arclin Technical Director Dave Gibson, “The number of pours is very subjective. The simplest thing to say is that the guy who takes good care of the panel will get the most pours out of it.”

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.


Arclin’s HAO may help contribute to LEED MR Credits 2.1 and 2.2 for waste reduction and MR Credits 3.1 and 3.2 for material reuse. It’s E-Gen® certified, and may be available with FSC® chain of custody certification.