A Concrete Future

Construction Boom Bodes Well for the Industrymix2

Even a quick glance at projections for construction growth and concrete use tells the tale: all signs are pointing up.

From infrastructure projects to commercial buildings, multi-family high rise to single family detached homes, virtually all sectors of the building industry expect to see continued growth in the high single or even double digits this year, and in the near future. The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Consensus Construction Forecast projects that overall construction spending will grow by 9% in 2015.

We’ll take a look in future issues of ConformInform at what the future holds for all these sectors. Here, we’re going to focus on what is possibly the hottest market of all — multifamily housing.

Spotlight: High Growth Anticipated in Apartments Market

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that approximately one in three new housing units being built is rental apartments — the highest level in 40 years. As of May 2014, buildings with five or more units comprised 35% of all residential housing under construction, according to Forbes.

And just as fast as those units go up, they’re being filled — largely by millennials who want to live in conveniently located, vibrant communities where jobs, shopping, restaurants, public transportation and gathering places are just steps away.

The result is a boom in the rejuvenation of city centers and the creation of whole new districts populated by high-rise residential and commercial buildings — construction that requires concrete.

The Portland Cement Association (PCA) expects cement consumption to increase by almost 10% in 2015. And while much of that growth is fueled by commercial construction, the use of precast and on-site concrete construction is also seeing growth in the residential sector.

But in addition to the traditional uses of concrete in high-rise residential buildings—such as parking garages and building exteriors—new uses are on the rise, from decorative floors to interior fixtures.

2015 Projections 
Total U.S. construction starts for 2015 will rise 9% to $612 billion a larger gain than the 5% increase to $564 billion estimated for 2014.
Commercial building will increase 15%
Institutional building will advance 9%
Single-family housing will rise 15% in dollars, corresponding to an 11% increase in units to 700,000 (Dodge)
Multifamily housing will increase 9% in dollars and 7% in units to 405,000 (Dodge basis)
Public works construction will improve 5%, a partial rebound following the 9% decline estimated for 2014


Market Segment Consensus Growth Forecasts

Commercial, Industrial20142015
Office Buildings9.2%10.8%
Industrial Facilities


Amusement, Recreation 9.9%
Healthcare Facilities 5.2%
Public Safety -0.2%3.1%
Religious -1.7%1.3%


Source: AIA



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.

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