The Maker & The Mix, Episode 18: From Raw Materials to Revolutionary Products: The Journey of Innovation – Jeff and Caleb

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Description:

Join hosts Caleb Lawson and Jeff Girard on a captivating journey in this episode of The Maker & The Mix, as we delve into the transition ‘From Raw Materials to Revolutionary Products.’ We explore the diverse world of concrete countertops, furniture, tile, and artwork, elucidating the core elements that lay the foundation of their creation.

Our journey is akin to that of Caleb’s grandmother, Fran Carlton, who channeled her dissatisfaction into impactful action, transforming Florida’s legislation. We, too, have transformed dissatisfaction into action. Unable to find user-friendly, high-performing sealers and polymers on the market, Jeff ventured to develop superior alternatives.

Our efforts have culminated in unique materials designed to elevate the concrete craft, bridging the gap between traditional practices and modern innovation. These materials promise to shape the future of the craft, enabling artisans to produce higher quality work with greater efficiency and reliability.

Dive deeper into the world of concrete craft with us. Discover our breakthroughs, learn about our transformative materials, and join us on our mission to redefine the future of the craft.

If you’re inspired to explore these innovations first-hand and elevate your concrete crafting skills, our Ultimate Creative Concrete Course and our 2-Day Professional GFRC Training offer immersive experiences that provide insights into our exclusive techniques and products. For those interested in testing our revolutionary sealers and materials for themselves, visit our online shop and be a part of the revolution. Tune into The Maker & The Mix for a deeper understanding of your craft. The revolution begins here!

Listen to Episode 18 on Spotify

Listen to Episode 18 on Youtube

Don’t wait! Seize the opportunity to enhance your skills and create stunning concrete masterpieces.

 

Transcript:

Caleb Lawson:
All right, well, good morning and welcome to the Maker in the Mix podcast. Jeff and I have been kind of chit chatting before I started recording about different goings on in the industry. Jeff is now getting texts.

Jeff Girard:
That’s my, uh, good morning everybody. Uh, that’s my

Caleb Lawson:
is it?

Jeff Girard:
alarm saying, Hey, you got a podcast this morning.

Caleb Lawson:
He’s a,

Jeff Girard:
Forgot

Caleb Lawson:
he’s

Jeff Girard:
to

Caleb Lawson:
a,

Jeff Girard:
turn

Caleb Lawson:
um.

Jeff Girard:
my phone off.

Caleb Lawson:
popular

Jeff Girard:
Um,

Caleb Lawson:
man

Jeff Girard:
yeah,

Caleb Lawson:
now.

Jeff Girard:
we’re going to, we’re going to talk about materials, you know, that the podcast called the maker of the mix. Like we’ve been talking about a bunch of different things, business related things and whatnot, but. I think today, this morning, we’re going to talk about like. mix raw ingredients, their roles, things like that, not get too deep, we’re not going to go crazy with stuff. What I really want to do is kind of let everybody kind of give you more insight into some of the products that I’m developing right now, Alpha. So we mentioned in a prior podcast, we were talking about sealers. Last week, we showed a new priming technique for Omega. So now its priming method is the same as the way you apply the finish coats, which is also the same way you apply ovation. So

Caleb Lawson:
which is

Jeff Girard:
the

Caleb Lawson:
game changing for

Jeff Girard:
application

Caleb Lawson:
me as a

Jeff Girard:
process

Caleb Lawson:
maker. Saves

Jeff Girard:
Yeah,

Caleb Lawson:
a lot of time

Jeff Girard:
it’s

Caleb Lawson:
material.

Jeff Girard:
streamlined, it’s faster, and it uses less material. So the first products I developed that were physical products, not just educational products, which I’ve been developing for the last 20 years, were the sealers. So that was the first step. Then a few years ago, I started with the concept of What are some of the other ingredients that a lot of folks kind of are challenged by? And If you roll back the calendar five, 10 years, the predominant and really the only mix most people use was GFRC. And then ever since Buddy Rhodes came out with ECC mix and the blended mix and then Buddy’s specialty Crassemin mix, which I’m going to set aside, you look at ECC, GFRC, um, in the same family of fine grain, high cement content, high performance, fiber reinforced, fiber-based concrete mixes. So they have from a 30 mile distance or 30,000 foot

Caleb Lawson:
30 miles, man, binoculars.

Jeff Girard:
perspective, from a 30,000 foot perspective, they’re all cousins call it, right? They’re all in the same family. the bones of the mixes can be a little bit different and all that, but one element that’s common to at least a couple of them is the polymer. So the first product of my alpha line, my alpha pro product line is dry polymer. Now it’s not the first dry polymer on the market,

Caleb Lawson:
So, okay,

Jeff Girard:
but

Caleb Lawson:
yeah,

Jeff Girard:
I wanted to have.

Caleb Lawson:
what makes alpha different than other?

Jeff Girard:
So what makes alpha different from, I can’t speak to what does it make it, what is it different from, or how is it different from other

Caleb Lawson:
I’m not asking

Jeff Girard:
dry

Caleb Lawson:
for

Jeff Girard:
product? Yeah,

Caleb Lawson:
ingredients,

Jeff Girard:
so

Caleb Lawson:
I’m asking for

Jeff Girard:
one commonality

Caleb Lawson:
concept.

Jeff Girard:
that all true GFRC polymers, and we talked about what the role of the polymers for curing. So go back to other podcasts that we stress and emphasize and jump up and down on our little soap box about how important it is. in the role of curing because curing is super important to your concrete. If you look at the commercial GFRC world that has existed and is extremely mature for the last half a century, kind of started in the late 60s,

Caleb Lawson:
episode

Jeff Girard:
early

Caleb Lawson:
2

Jeff Girard:
70s.

Caleb Lawson:
by the way just as

Jeff Girard:
Watch that.

Caleb Lawson:
that’s episode 2 polymer who needs it

Jeff Girard:
Okay, Polymer, who needs it? So go back and see episode two. they were liquid polymers. So the Precass Concrete Institute, their specifications for their, for any kind of commercial GFRC plant that’s certified by PCI, must and can only use liquid polymers. Fortons one, polyplex is another, Polycure, which is over in the UK is another one. There’s some other ones that are out there, but those are like the really true commercial ones. And… They all meet the requirements of PCI, which are, you know, has a certain solids content, certain pH, certain molecular weight, this, that, and the other thing, but they all are aqueous-based, water-based. So they are all liquid. And one of the challenges with liquid polymers is they do have a shelf life. So if it sits around in your shop, over time, they can start to get moldy. So they start to

Caleb Lawson:
They

Jeff Girard:
stink.

Caleb Lawson:
smell real gross

Jeff Girard:
black,

Caleb Lawson:
too.

Jeff Girard:
yeah they get nasty. I have also tested like two-year-old photon that was visually fine, but it didn’t perform as well as new photon. So it started to lose its efficacy. So there’s that. And they can’t freeze. So any of you who have bought liquid polymers and had them shipped in the winter, you know It gets expensive because all of a sudden you have to do overnight shipping and that gets

Caleb Lawson:
for something

Jeff Girard:
expensive.

Caleb Lawson:
that’s 40 pounds and it’s

Jeff Girard:
Yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
not…

Jeff Girard:
So there are, there are significant limitations, um, in terms of, you know, if you’re in a climate that’s cold, a lot of, a lot of the year, you have to stock up and it gets expensive to stock up. Cause if you don’t have the cashflow to do that, you can’t do that. And so logistically,

Caleb Lawson:
Or the space, for that matter.

Jeff Girard:
what’s that?

Caleb Lawson:
I said, or the space, for that

Jeff Girard:
Or

Caleb Lawson:
matter.

Jeff Girard:
the space for that matter, right? Yeah. Cause you got to, maybe you have to order six months of product.

Caleb Lawson:
Well,

Jeff Girard:
I had.

Caleb Lawson:
and maybe, you know, let’s say for the sake of argument, you’re, you know, you’ve, you’ve got a shop space that’s heated, but you can’t store six months worth of

Jeff Girard:
Right.

Caleb Lawson:
this. I mean, what

Jeff Girard:
Yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
is

Jeff Girard:
Not

Caleb Lawson:
realistically

Jeff Girard:
everybody has

Caleb Lawson:
half

Jeff Girard:
a big

Caleb Lawson:
water,

Jeff Girard:
shop. Yeah. Where are

Caleb Lawson:
you

Jeff Girard:
you going

Caleb Lawson:
know.

Jeff Girard:
to store that? Or what happens if, you know, your power goes out because you had an ice storm and your, your shops unheated for a week. It happens. Right. Now you lose all that product. Cause if it freezes, it ain’t any good anymore. Now. Technically, and this is part of the spec, is it’s supposed to be able to withstand three or five freeze-thaw cycles. That’s what it’s supposed to be able to do. But here’s the issue, and this is, I’ve seen this myself. You don’t know how many it’s already been through, right? From being shipped from the manufacturer to the distributor, and from the distributor to you via whatever shipping company you’re using, you know, it’s probably gonna sit in a truck unheated outside. maybe over the weekend, and maybe it’s already gone through three or four freeze-thaw cycles.

Caleb Lawson:
and that’s all it’s got.

Jeff Girard:
And then that’s it’s used up. And then when you get it, it looks like cottage cheese. And that’s how you know it’s bad. So it’s happened to me, it’s happened to other customers of mine, it’s happened to folks that I’ve heard of. So we’ve all kind of been there, done that. The huge advantage of a dry polymer in general is that they don’t care if they freeze, right? So they don’t… They’re immune to freezing. They don’t like to get cooked. So, you know, don’t store them in like a,

Caleb Lawson:
oven.

Jeff Girard:
the trunk of your car in the summer, right? You know, but your shop is fine. And the other big advantages, they’re 100% solids. So, you know, I sell a 40 pound box. 40 pounds of that is polymer. It’s not half water, half polymer. So

Caleb Lawson:
So you’re

Jeff Girard:
what

Caleb Lawson:
not paying

Jeff Girard:
you pay

Caleb Lawson:
to ship

Jeff Girard:
for,

Caleb Lawson:
water.

Jeff Girard:
what you’re shipping, is pure product, you’re not shipping water. And I sell a 40 pound container because a five gallon bucket of Fortan or five gallon bucket of Polyplex or a five gallon bucket of Acme polymer, GFRC polymer,

Caleb Lawson:
It’s 40

Jeff Girard:
that’s

Caleb Lawson:
pounds.

Jeff Girard:
40 pounds. So it’s the same, you’re paying the same shipping cost.

Caleb Lawson:
but you’re getting twice as much material.

Jeff Girard:
getting twice as much material. And because of the nature of creating a liquid polymer. Now, liquid polymers are interesting. The good analogy is salad dressing. You know, you go, you get a thing of salad dressing in the grocery store and it’s separate. You got the oil floating on top and then the usually like vinegar or whatever, the water underneath. And to use it, you’re creating an emulsion. So you’re creating an unstable mixture of oil and water. And the oil is actually in tiny little droplets because the act of shaking, it breaks up the oil into little droplets and those droplets are roughly distributed within the water. And when you use it, it stays kind of as this emulsion mixture, but over time it separates. Well, Acrylic liquid polymers, the polymer itself, are tiny little droplets. It’s an emulsion. And there are stabilizers that keep it from separating. So that stabilizer… adds to the volume of material because it’s part of the polymer.

Caleb Lawson:
So you’re saying 51% solids might not actually be 51% polymer.

Jeff Girard:
Who knows? Only the manufacturer really knows what their formulation is. But you know that 49% of that bucket is water. So 49%

Caleb Lawson:
And

Jeff Girard:
of that bucket is water.

Caleb Lawson:
then the additional components of, you know, I mean, I have used Fortan forever and I’ve used a number of different dry polymers as well. And from my kind of use, Fortan is pretty foamy and sticky. It just

Jeff Girard:
So

Caleb Lawson:
is, I mean, it’s,

Jeff Girard:
let me get

Caleb Lawson:
yeah.

Jeff Girard:
back to

Caleb Lawson:
Yeah,

Jeff Girard:
this.

Caleb Lawson:
yeah, yeah.

Jeff Girard:
All right, so some amount of the solids isn’t actually polymer, it’s the stuff that makes it stay liquid. And then when you mix that into your concrete and as your cement starts reacting with the mixed water, as that reaction consumes the excess liquid water and you now turn into a solid, the polymer droplets, which are really tiny, they’re like 10 microns in diameter, they start, because the amount of water around them is going away, it’s being consumed. So now those droplets coalesce because there’s less water to stay, they’re being forced apart, right? That’s like… two magnets repelling each other. Those little droplets, the stabilizers, now can’t overcome that attraction because there’s less water in between them. And now the liquid polymer merges and that’s why you have to cure your concrete under plastic overnight, because it takes a certain amount of time for the Portland cement to consume the water so that polymer can start to coalesce into a continuous matrix.

Caleb Lawson:
Now let me ask you a quick question about polymer in the concrete, because then I’ve heard this kind of in the sphere of our little industry. By introducing a polymer, are you giving the concrete the characteristics of the rubber and or plastic acrylic that is the polymer?

Jeff Girard:
Certainly in theory there’s a tiny bit of influence, but let’s use a good an- I’m going to answer that question. Largely no, and it also depends on the polymer. But really the relevant point is, and this is what’s glossed over, especially by those who have prejudice against polymers for whatever reason, is that it depends on how much you put in the concrete. So let’s let me use an analogy. So a lot of people are aware that the more pigment you add to your concrete, at some point, you start to affect its strength. And the number that’s often thrown around, yet I have never seen in literature any kind of studies that back this up. And it’s always been on my back burner list of things to test.

Caleb Lawson:
your ever-growing

Jeff Girard:
I

Caleb Lawson:
list of testing items.

Jeff Girard:
got a huge list of things to test is 10%, right? You’re gonna might see that. Don’t put more than 10% in. Well, it depends on the pigment, right? But

Caleb Lawson:
10% super red you’re gonna be waiting three weeks. Ha ha ha.

Jeff Girard:
if you put 0.001% pigment in your concrete, now I’ve made concrete with that much pigment because I needed

Caleb Lawson:
Oh, I

Jeff Girard:
to

Caleb Lawson:
have

Jeff Girard:
interrupt

Caleb Lawson:
too.

Jeff Girard:
it. Tiny, yeah. But it’s a very, very subtle thing. So would you say that concrete is taking on the characteristics of that pigment? Well. Yes, but just a tiny bit because the characteristic we’re looking for is color, color change.

Caleb Lawson:
Or I suppose another good analogy would be salt in your water.

Jeff Girard:
That’s a really good, yeah, excellent,

Caleb Lawson:
It’s like,

Jeff Girard:
yeah, yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
how much salt in a glass of water does it take to actually taste like salt, to take

Jeff Girard:
Mm-hmm.

Caleb Lawson:
on the characteristic

Jeff Girard:
Yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
salt?

Jeff Girard:
Now, if you kind of do the, take the absurd example of, all right, we’re going to take the entire salt shaker and dump it in your, you know, glass of water.

Caleb Lawson:
Like, yeah.

Jeff Girard:
Yeah. Right. But that’s kind of the argument being used is, oh, well,

Caleb Lawson:
Now

Jeff Girard:
if

Caleb Lawson:
your

Jeff Girard:
you put

Caleb Lawson:
concrete

Jeff Girard:
polymer in it, it’s

Caleb Lawson:
is

Jeff Girard:
going to

Caleb Lawson:
rubber.

Jeff Girard:
be rubbery. Well, duh.

Caleb Lawson:
Well, no.

Jeff Girard:
If I put in a 50% solids concentrate, I mean, a

Caleb Lawson:
If

Jeff Girard:
50%

Caleb Lawson:
I put in 50%

Jeff Girard:
solid

Caleb Lawson:
of, yeah.

Jeff Girard:
loading, sure, but nobody ever does that. Right? So alpha is a three and a half percent solids. Fortan, everybody uses 5%, but in the commercial world, they actually use 6%. they like the better performance that gives. Years ago, one of the guys who taught me Hiram Ball, he’s one of the pioneers of the GFRC commercial world, and he told me that, you know, in a lot of situations where there’s, you need a slightly more flexible panel, they’ll do seven or 8% polymer solids, right? So that argument, sure, that’s 7% solids is a lot. And does it make it rubbery? No. But relative to concrete with no polymer, it’s a little bit more flexible. Sure.

Caleb Lawson:
So what I’m hearing is that we are overblowing

Jeff Girard:
Yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
in order to detract from… It’s like we’re saying, you know, it’s hyperbole to get a

Jeff Girard:
That’s

Caleb Lawson:
point across.

Jeff Girard:
a really good way of putting it, it’s hyperbole. Now what I’ve noticed with, so getting back to your original question, I’m like all over the place, right? All GFRC polymers that, or all polymers used in concrete for curing purposes. Okay, because they’re, they’re polyp, hang on a second. So.

Caleb Lawson:
but we’re getting a book out.

Jeff Girard:
Getting a book out. Handbook

Caleb Lawson:
Handbook

Jeff Girard:
of Paula.

Caleb Lawson:
of polymer modified concrete

Jeff Girard:
Yeah,

Caleb Lawson:
and mortars

Jeff Girard:
so I’m just not making this shit up, folks.

Caleb Lawson:
Hahaha!

Jeff Girard:
Yeah, so anyway, I’ve had this for many, many years. And

Caleb Lawson:
So why is that not outdated? Why is the use of polymer not outdated? I mean, I know we’ve talked about this.

Jeff Girard:
Who says it’s outdated? I mean, what’s their point of view?

Caleb Lawson:
people trying to get you to use Nopalm.

Jeff Girard:
So the concretes that use polymer are typically used in fast turnaround, large scale, thin panel construction, AKA. getting up and down, you know, this

Caleb Lawson:
steps

Jeff Girard:
kind

Caleb Lawson:
in.

Jeff Girard:
of stuff, this stuff, and that’s the PCI, you know.

Caleb Lawson:
Glass fiber reinforced concrete

Jeff Girard:
So the

Caleb Lawson:
panels.

Jeff Girard:
guy I mentioned, Hiram Ball, he’s the first name on this list. So he’s the guy who taught me. So there’s some of my credentials. GFRC panels, you know, when you’re making the outside of buildings. They’re making dozens of panels a day in a giant factory. They might be casting a thousand square feet a day, maybe more. And that concrete is cast today, demolded tomorrow. And because it has curing polymer in it, they can stick it outside in the lot, in the dirt lot outside on racks, waiting for it to be ready to install. prior to the adoption of polymer, they had to then put that into a climate controlled warehouse that is kept at like 95% humidity for a week. So if they’re making several thousand square feet of panels a day, and every single panel has to spend a week inside this curing chamber,

Caleb Lawson:
massive

Jeff Girard:
that’s

Caleb Lawson:
bottleneck.

Jeff Girard:
a massive building. That doesn’t make it economically feasible. And

Caleb Lawson:
Well,

Jeff Girard:
commercial,

Caleb Lawson:
and to that same point, if that is what we would have to do without SANS polymer

Jeff Girard:
Right.

Caleb Lawson:
to properly cure our concrete. And so that’s what I want our listeners to really kind of grasp onto is that if you’re not using a curing polymer, then your curing practices become wildly different by necessity.

Jeff Girard:
Yes. Yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
And so whereas with a curing polymer, we can… you know, demold next day, process, do all the things, because proper curing with GFRC that is polymer modified is overnight under cover.

Jeff Girard:
Yeah, under

Caleb Lawson:
You know,

Jeff Girard:
plastic.

Caleb Lawson:
whether that’s plastic and a heat blanket and a moving blanket or whether it’s just plastic, somewhat depends on where you are

Jeff Girard:
shop temperatures

Caleb Lawson:
geographically.

Jeff Girard:
really start to

Caleb Lawson:
Yeah.

Jeff Girard:
fold into that, but

Caleb Lawson:
Yeah, but point being,

Jeff Girard:
it’s simple.

Caleb Lawson:
if that’s what you’re doing, then that’s your best curing practices. If what you’re doing is non-polymer modified, then suddenly you need days, not

Jeff Girard:
So

Caleb Lawson:
hours.

Jeff Girard:
here’s where. Non-polymer modified concrete. So we’re gonna, you know, the obvious example is 99% of the concrete made everywhere on this planet. Regular concrete, whether it’s a bridge abutment or a bridge deck or a parking garage or a sidewalk or a fence post, that kind of concrete. Right, that’s all massive concrete. So even a concrete floor that’s for a house, maybe the slab is four inches thick. We’ve talked about this, you know, four inches of concrete. There’s a lot of space between, it’s two inches from the middle of the slab to the outside edge. It takes a long time for that moisture to go away. And then this kind of concrete, your expectations of what does it look like and how does it perform aren’t that great. I mean, my shop, you look at the floor and it’s full of map cracking. Okay, that would be an absolute redo on some of the pieces we make. because our clients wouldn’t accept it. But this is just a floor in a warehouse. Who cares, right?

Caleb Lawson:
Mm-hmm.

Jeff Girard:
So it’s that perspective is, you know, you can’t start whitewashing all concrete to be the same, have the same expectations. Most concrete has very, very

Caleb Lawson:
you

Jeff Girard:
low aesthetic expectations. Now let’s take some of the really high performance stuff, UHPC, which stands for ultra high performance concrete. And one of the definitions, it’s a relatively modern version of concrete. So it’s a mortar-based concrete. So it’s sanded cement with heavy dose of pozzolins, usually silica fume, no aggregate, and

Caleb Lawson:
other than the

Jeff Girard:
always

Caleb Lawson:
sand, of course.

Jeff Girard:
some sort of fiber. Usually structural UHPC uses steel fibers, which are very strong, but incredibly inconvenient to work with. stick your hand in a pile of needles. That’s steel fibers. So yeah, and they’d rust because they’re not stainless steel. So, or most of them are not stainless steel because it’d be too expensive. So yeah, you don’t want to go near steel UHPC. But here’s the thing, UHPC is, it can be cast in place because it’s used to, you know, you have two bridge decks, you have two highway overpasses, they have to repair it or replace it. and then you have a short turnaround time. So most of the bridge is precast, preassembled, and then they set it in place, and then they’ll have loops or rebar that are kind of think of like a zipper. And so those two bridge precast concrete slabs come down, they mesh together, so there’s a gap, there’s a slot that’s empty. And then the rebar loops are in that slot. And so… they pour the UHPC in there to kind of bond that all together.

Caleb Lawson:
Okay, so there’s a mix that a lot of you all may know about. Stealike by Bill Kulish, who I think sold the company, but their website, actually, if you go to their website, literally that process

Jeff Girard:
Yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
is what they’re showing on the homepage.

Jeff Girard:
That’s one of the

Caleb Lawson:
It’s a video of them doing that exact thing. So

Jeff Girard:
Yeah,

Caleb Lawson:
if you want to see what it looks like.

Jeff Girard:
that’s a great example. Yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
Stealike.com. I mean,

Jeff Girard:
Stealike.com.

Caleb Lawson:
that’s literally what they’re doing.

Jeff Girard:
So its characteristics are 17,000 PSI or higher. And I can’t think of what that is in metric, but it’s a lot. Certainly more than 100 MPa, maybe 120 MPa. That’s a lot, right? Your typical driveway is 3000 PSI, so we’re talking six times more.

Caleb Lawson:
What would the bar pascal pound force per square inch standard atmosphere or torr?

Jeff Girard:
MPA.

Caleb Lawson:
Well, it’s

Jeff Girard:
Mega

Caleb Lawson:
not giving

Jeff Girard:
Pascal.

Caleb Lawson:
me that. Okay. 17,000

Jeff Girard:
One bar.

Caleb Lawson:
is 1.17211e plus 8. I don’t know what that means.

Jeff Girard:
that scientific notation. That’s one with eight zeros after it. 10 million. Anyway, so in Cast in Place UHPC, after it’s cast, they do cover it in plastic and it’s got a very, very specific curing regiment.

Caleb Lawson:
117

Jeff Girard:
So in the

Caleb Lawson:
megapascals.

Jeff Girard:
technical literature, like, there’s no one mix design, there’s a bunch of different mixes, but the mixing process is extremely specific,

Caleb Lawson:
laborious.

Jeff Girard:
laborious, lengthy, and controlled. Part of it is you mix the dry ingredients for 10 minutes before you even start to add any liquid, et cetera, et cetera. So, and it took, in real world UHPC, typical batch times are 20 to 30 minutes per batch of mixing. That’s

Caleb Lawson:
Well,

Jeff Girard:
how long

Caleb Lawson:
so

Jeff Girard:
it took.

Caleb Lawson:
that’s why a truck works very well, because you got to drive to the place.

Jeff Girard:
Right, right. Or they’ll mix it on site. So I’ve seen situations where, and maybe even in this, in that steel-like example, they have an Eimer, the big one, the gas-powered one on site mixing, because they don’t need a lot, because it’s too expensive to put if you were doing a big truckload. Now in precast situations in a plant, this is where a lot of it’s used to cast some really high-performance smaller things, thin-walled things. more akin to what we do, in that situation, you still have the same mixing issues and all that, or requirements, let me say. The curing, like to really extract and achieve the kinds of strengths that UHPC promises, 17, 20, 25, even up to 30,000 PSI compressive strength. pretty insane, 200 MPa for the metric folks. Those have to be steam cured at controlled and elevated temperatures for a fairly lengthy amount of time, 48 hours, 24 hours at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. So that’s what, 60 centigrade maybe, I think. It’s not just casual, I’m going to throw a blanket on it. That’s not enough. These are very, and it’s, there’s a very slow specific ramp up of temperature, so you don’t shock the concrete. It’s held

Caleb Lawson:
Mm-hmm.

Jeff Girard:
at a temperature for a very specific amount of time, and then it’s allowed to cool down at a very specific amount of time. It’s more akin to like forging and tempering steel. That’s the really good way to thinking about it. So getting back to curing, you know, curing involves moisture, right? Water is the activator that makes Portland cement do its thing. Temperature is how you control the rate at which that curing occurs. So if you mix your concrete and you cast your concrete and you cure your concrete in a shop that’s cold, like so cold you’d have to put a jacket on, that reaction rate is going very slowly, very slowly.

Caleb Lawson:
We’ve absolutely

Jeff Girard:
On the

Caleb Lawson:
had that

Jeff Girard:
flip

Caleb Lawson:
happen

Jeff Girard:
side,

Caleb Lawson:
in our shop before we got

Jeff Girard:
yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
full on heat, you know, North Carolina.

Jeff Girard:
Yeah. On the flip side is if you have a hot shop or you heat your concrete, that chemical reaction goes a lot faster. And since Portland cement generates its own heat for a relatively short amount of time as it cures, using some sort of curing blanket. We’re doing this, I’ll call this passive heating, right? So you’re just trapping the heat now. I’m making. I’m going back to the alpha because I’m developing other products that build on this. In part of my testing, I also measure the temperature over time. I measure it every five minutes as those samples cure for 24 hours. So I cast and demold within, I test them at 24 hours. So they’re usually demolded at like 23 hours, 23 and a half hours. And there’s usually a temperature spike. Of course it depends on your cement and it depends on the cocktail of what you’ve got on the concrete, but you’re generating 20, 30 degrees of, usually about 20 degrees of excess temperature. Now the more concrete you make, the more heat you’re going to be making, so you could get a thermal spike that’s even higher. That’s free heat. That’s free time. It’s like, it’s like accelerating everything. It’s a free accelerator. So it only makes sense. First you cover it in plastic to trap the moisture. and then you cover it in blankets. So I went to Home Depot and got some of that foil radiant barrier. It looks like bubble wrap that’s got silver on it. So I’ll put regular plastic, I’ll put the bubble wrap on top, the radiant barrier on top, and then I’ll pile three or four moving blankets on top of that, just because I have them, right? It’s easy, I’m making small samples. But that thick mass holds all that heat in, and that heat, that radiant barrier, reflects it back into the concrete. helping to accelerate and gain strength of your concrete. So if you didn’t do that, if you had, let’s say your shop was cool, you didn’t cover it. You only covered in plastic, but you didn’t cover in blankets. You might have two thirds of the strength the next day than you did if you really trapped all that heat. No, I’m just waving my hands and guessing two thirds. Maybe it’s more than that, but it’s not gonna be the same. Concrete that is cured under warm conditions is always stronger if it’s the same concrete as concrete

Caleb Lawson:
So

Jeff Girard:
that’s…

Caleb Lawson:
if you’re advising artisans, are you even in hot environments,

Jeff Girard:
Why not?

Caleb Lawson:
you know, like I

Jeff Girard:
What’s

Caleb Lawson:
was

Jeff Girard:
it

Caleb Lawson:
in

Jeff Girard:
gonna

Caleb Lawson:
Florida,

Jeff Girard:
hurt?

Caleb Lawson:
would you still cover it in moving blankets

Jeff Girard:
Absolutely,

Caleb Lawson:
just for,

Jeff Girard:
why not?

Caleb Lawson:
you know, why not?

Jeff Girard:
Why not? I mean, everything about everything, I’ve been doing this so long, everybody wants things faster. Well, it’s free. Why wouldn’t you do it? And in the winter, that’s where you have to start thinking about active heating. Do you use electric heating blankets? Do you heat your shop? Do you have infrared radiant heaters over your concrete to battle the cold shop temperatures?

Caleb Lawson:
Yeah, I mean, I have infrared, I have very large infrared heaters, as

Jeff Girard:
Yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
you know. I think

Jeff Girard:
They’re

Caleb Lawson:
each

Jeff Girard:
really

Caleb Lawson:
one,

Jeff Girard:
nice.

Caleb Lawson:
oh, they’re wonderful. They’re like 30 feet long, and they’re like 100,000 BTU each, like they’re big boys. They also use a lot of

Jeff Girard:
Power.

Caleb Lawson:
natural gas.

Jeff Girard:
I forget, yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
My heat bill is astronomical in the winter, because I keep my shop at 70 or above, even at night, because concrete. So, you know, something economical for me to do would be to invest in a bunch of heating blankets

Jeff Girard:
Well,

Caleb Lawson:
big enough to cover my casting table.

Jeff Girard:
there are commercial heating blankets used for like curing footings in the winter.

Caleb Lawson:
Mm-hmm.

Jeff Girard:
They are expensive. It’s been a long time since I looked at those. They kind of fell out of favor. I don’t know why, probably because they’re so darn expensive.

Caleb Lawson:
Right.

Jeff Girard:
Several hundred dollars a piece. And then of course they’re still electric. So you’re paying for electricity.

Caleb Lawson:
Hmm.

Jeff Girard:
And if your electric bills are, you know, if your electricity is expensive, you’re still spending that money. You know, it’s power it’s used more efficiently. So you don’t need to, you’re not heating your whole shop. You’re just heating your concrete, but you know, some shapes of concrete don’t really lend themselves to that, that well, or if you’ve got a lot,

Caleb Lawson:
Well,

Jeff Girard:
like you do

Caleb Lawson:
for

Jeff Girard:
big

Caleb Lawson:
reference,

Jeff Girard:
projects, like you

Caleb Lawson:
I’m

Jeff Girard:
like

Caleb Lawson:
looking

Jeff Girard:
that.

Caleb Lawson:
this up in real time.

Jeff Girard:
Yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
Power blanket, concrete curing blanket from Northern Tool, 10 foot long, five feet wide. So would not, I would need two of them to cover my casting table. $1,029.

Jeff Girard:
For two? Oh, each. Okay. Yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
One. Yeah.

Jeff Girard:
So

Caleb Lawson:
So I need

Jeff Girard:
it’s

Caleb Lawson:
to

Jeff Girard:
a

Caleb Lawson:
spend

Jeff Girard:
significant

Caleb Lawson:
$2,000 to cover

Jeff Girard:
effect.

Caleb Lawson:
my casting table.

Jeff Girard:
Yeah. And…

Caleb Lawson:
That’s two months of a heat bill.

Jeff Girard:
Yeah. And then you still have to pay for electricity. So that’s, that’s what I’m getting at is let’s you think of, look at things, look at the bigger picture and is it really worth it? Because the rest of your shop is still cold. So you still suffer,

Caleb Lawson:
Hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe

Jeff Girard:
right? And then what are you going to do about sealer? Cause

Caleb Lawson:
Yeah,

Jeff Girard:
there is

Caleb Lawson:
well,

Jeff Girard:
a sealer

Caleb Lawson:
and that’s

Jeff Girard:
on

Caleb Lawson:
the

Jeff Girard:
the

Caleb Lawson:
other

Jeff Girard:
market

Caleb Lawson:
thing.

Jeff Girard:
that isn’t affected by temperature.

Caleb Lawson:
You gotta keep the shop warm in the winter regardless of what you

Jeff Girard:
Right.

Caleb Lawson:
do.

Jeff Girard:
So, and if you’re not heating your shop and you’re using liquid polymers, what if your shop freezes? So

Caleb Lawson:
You’re kind

Jeff Girard:
maybe,

Caleb Lawson:
of locked into that heat bill.

Jeff Girard:
yeah, that’s a cost of doing business. You go into any business. And if you want quality of quality of life, if you’ve ever gone into like a, a car repair place that didn’t heat the shop, man, what a miserable place to work. Imagine working on a car with no heat. I’ve done it.

Caleb Lawson:
Yeah,

Jeff Girard:
It sucks.

Caleb Lawson:
it’s awful. Your hands are…

Jeff Girard:
Anyway, getting back to, so alpha polymer, so I actually have three, alpha is a line. So there’s the polymer, which we just talked about in great detail. Oh, by the way, I have heard some folks say that polymers affect the strength of CSA cement in a negative way. And we had mentioned this, there’s a paper that says, sure, It slows it down for about an hour, but after that,

Caleb Lawson:
Well, it certainly does not affect the strength.

Jeff Girard:
so I

Caleb Lawson:
Well,

Jeff Girard:
wanted to

Caleb Lawson:
well.

Jeff Girard:
look at this, not from a theoretical academic paper type perspective or, you know, spout some hyperbole that really is just, you know, kind of knee jerk reaction that isn’t real. I made some concrete. So I went to Home Depot. and I bought a bag of cementol. I forget what the lot number is, but a single bag of brand new cementol. And I made two samples. My water cement ratio was 0.36. I use a 0.2% citric acid. So that gives you a pretty good working time, right? I added, normally you don’t need to add super plasticizer because cementol has a mild super plasticizer. I think it’s a melamine-based. super plasticizer based on the smell. But one of the issues that a lot of you who do use Symantele have noticed is sometimes you’ll make a batch and it’s really runny and other times you make a batch and it’s not and it’s because the dosage varies a lot. They don’t have a ton of control because what is it really made for? Anyway, so to kind of combat that, I added my fluidizer, my super plasticizer, which is the most powerful super plasticizer on the market.

Caleb Lawson:
CMP,

Jeff Girard:
Yeah, TMP.

Caleb Lawson:
the most powerful. It

Jeff Girard:
It is

Caleb Lawson:
is

Jeff Girard:
a

Caleb Lawson:
a

Jeff Girard:
20-pound sledgehammer.

Caleb Lawson:
good lord.

Jeff Girard:
It’s very powerful. So I did

Caleb Lawson:
You want

Jeff Girard:
0.2%

Caleb Lawson:
a powerful plasticizer? That’s the one.

Jeff Girard:
plasticizer. Just a little bit. Wasn’t sure. I just wanted, I wanted to make flowable concrete. I wanted to make, make sure it was flowable. Three percent, 19 millimeter fiber. Those are the two samples. And the only difference is one didn’t have 3.5% alpha in it, alpha polymer, the other one did.

Caleb Lawson:
Only difference, correct?

Jeff Girard:
Only difference. I’m gonna pull up my test results here. Um, so I ran these, uh, July 18th. So what’s that? Eight days ago. So I did these tests eight days ago. The sample with no polymer, 0.2% citric acid, the 24-hour strength, flexural strength, 1,279 PSI, average flexural strength. Now don’t think about compressive strength. Those numbers are gonna be much higher. Flexural strength is bending strength. A reading of 1,200, just round number 1,200. is it’s not bad, right? Regular concrete that you might make a driveway or sidewalk out of might have a flexural strength of 300, maybe 400. So 1200 is pretty good. Okay, the same exact mix from the same exact bag made with everything the same except I added three and a half percent alpha polymer. My average flexural strength, that’s an average of six samples, 1885 psi. That’s an increase of 47% of its strength. So I almost. 50% greater strength. by adding a small amount of dry polymer, my dry polymer. Now, I’ve tested that with Fortan too, and Fortan doesn’t do that. You don’t get those kinds of characteristics. So, I did tests with Cementol last year. Same exact, no, same, this is all always from the same bag and obviously I don’t have that concrete from last year because I used it up. So 0.36 water cement ratio, everything exactly the same. In these cases, I got a strength of 1,500 psi with no photon and 1,600 psi with photon. Actually, it’s less than 100 psi difference. So, photon was giving me basically the same, but it was greater than not using polymer. And know, in this particular instance the difference between with and without was greater. So the lesson here, the point is polymer doesn’t take strength away.

Caleb Lawson:
Good answer.

Jeff Girard:
Here’s what takes strength away, and this is the difference between alpha polymer and say, and I’m using photon not because I’m

Caleb Lawson:
Well,

Jeff Girard:
picking

Caleb Lawson:
it’s-

Jeff Girard:
up photon,

Caleb Lawson:
you-

Jeff Girard:
I’m using

Caleb Lawson:
photon’s

Jeff Girard:
photon

Caleb Lawson:
kind of ubiquitous.

Jeff Girard:
because it’s a well-known

Caleb Lawson:
It’s like Kleenex,

Jeff Girard:
product.

Caleb Lawson:
you know? It’s like I would say, you know, instead of tissue, I say Kleenex, instead of polymer, we say photon, because that’s really-

Jeff Girard:
Most people when they say, you know, concrete polymer, they’re talking about a liquid polymer, right? That’s the connection there, which is not necessarily accurate, nor is it fair. Liquid polymers tend to be foamy because they don’t have a lot of de-foamer in them. And they don’t need a lot of de-foamer because of the way, A, they are commercial polymer, and commercial polymers are used to make commercial GFRC. And commercial GFRC is sprayed through a pump sprayer, not through a hopper gun. And it’s that spraying action through a pump, a spray pump, that helps that entrapped air. So the mechanical action of casting gets the air out of the concrete. So they don’t need to put a defoamer in the polymer because it doesn’t matter. Now, most of us who are mixing with a hand mixer in a bucket, maybe you’ve got a hopper gun, maybe you’re pouring it, we don’t have any of that mechanical advantage. And although spraying through a hopper gun does help, that action does help purge air out of the mist coat. it’s not gonna purge it out of your backer. And even a hopper gun backer that sprays is not gonna purge it the same way as it does through a big machine that’s blowing a lot more vigorously. And it’s that energetic velocity that matters. I hit the microphone, sorry about that. I’m talking, I’m all excited here. So when you take the mechanism of removing the air out of the equation, physically out, and yet you’re not using it anymore, you’re left with foamy concrete. And if you think about a sponge, you could have a sponge made out of titanium, but the only

Caleb Lawson:
the

Jeff Girard:
parts

Caleb Lawson:
air is still

Jeff Girard:
of the

Caleb Lawson:
made

Jeff Girard:
sponge

Caleb Lawson:
out of air.

Jeff Girard:
made out of titanium is the thin parts that surround all the empty voids, and air is just empty. So the more air that’s in your concrete, there’s less concrete in that space. And you could have strong concrete, but if there’s less of it, the whole thing you’re making is not as strong as if you made it dense. So that’s why you wanna have a powerful defoamer to help get rid of that air or prevent it from getting in there because defoamers don’t make air disappear. They just help it come out

Caleb Lawson:
They prevent it from coalescing.

Jeff Girard:
exactly. So if you’ve got concrete that physically is denser, a cube of concrete weighs more than an equivalent cube of foam, there’s more concrete. And if there’s more concrete, it’s stronger. Even if it’s concrete itself, the material itself isn’t any stronger because you have more material, the bulk strength is greater. And so

Caleb Lawson:
I mean,

Jeff Girard:
that’s

Caleb Lawson:
you’ve been doing

Jeff Girard:
one

Caleb Lawson:
test

Jeff Girard:
of the…

Caleb Lawson:
samples that literally the test sample of the same exact mix is physically thinner

Jeff Girard:
Yeah,

Caleb Lawson:
than

Jeff Girard:
yeah,

Caleb Lawson:
the equivalent.

Jeff Girard:
I see that. Because when I make these flexural test samples, I make, you know, they’re exactly the same all the time. Same water, same everything, all across the board. Provided I’m not like changing pozzolin dose or super plasticizer dose or something like that. But the

Caleb Lawson:
but they’re

Jeff Girard:
bulk

Caleb Lawson:
always

Jeff Girard:
and

Caleb Lawson:
the

Jeff Girard:
greet,

Caleb Lawson:
same weight.

Jeff Girard:
they’re always the same weight. So that physical sample, all you have to do is look at it. It’s like, wow, this one’s that thick, and this one’s this thick, and they physically weigh the same. So there’s the same amount of concrete, but this

Caleb Lawson:
We’ve

Jeff Girard:
one’s…

Caleb Lawson:
got visitors.

Jeff Girard:
Hey, visitors.

Caleb Lawson:
Hello visitors. Oh come on be on the podcast. You you want to be up mister I want to be on YouTube and you will hide behind on the podcast. For those of you listening my son one of my sons just walked into the room and he’s being all embarrassed and but he wants it but he tells me all the time dad I when are we going to record on YouTube. Oh we’ve got the whole family coming in we got Boone my dog. Say hi. All right Mr. Jets talking I gotta finish I love you.

Jeff Girard:
Um, I got, I got sidetracked here, but you know.

Caleb Lawson:
Can you close the door behind you, son?

Jeff Girard:
Real-world tests, real-world

Caleb Lawson:
That’s

Jeff Girard:
flexural

Caleb Lawson:
right.

Jeff Girard:
tests that are very much in accordance with the STMA947-C, which is what I do. That’s the appropriate test for GFRC. And cementol with alpha polymer is significantly stronger. than without and also significantly stronger than photon. Right. And I think, you know, if you added a defoamer to photon, you might gain a little bit more because it’s less foamy. I’d have to look at the densities. I don’t think I was measuring density back then. I wasn’t as smart as I am now, which is only a little bit smarter. You know, one of the things I look at is after I make a sample, I cut it up and I’m basically make a little rectangular prism. And I don’t have any here to hold, but I measure it. I got my, or my dial calipers. So I don’t use these. I have some digital midi-toyos, but I measure to the thousandth of an inch. So I get a pretty accurate volume. I weigh it on my scale to the 10th of a gram. And so my bulk density, I can pretty accurately track. bulk density. I can see the effects. I can see samples dry out over time. I can see the weight change over time. All that being

Caleb Lawson:
Well, that’s

Jeff Girard:
said…

Caleb Lawson:
a totally separate question. How much water do you actually like? How much water weight do you actually lose? So let’s say you make 20 pounds of concrete or 100 pounds of concrete, a round number of concrete. Once it’s fully cured, how much of that, you know, because you know, my mix designs call for let’s say 18 pounds of water and 140 pounds or whatever that is.

Jeff Girard:
Yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
I mean, that’s

Jeff Girard:
How

Caleb Lawson:
how

Jeff Girard:
much

Caleb Lawson:
much

Jeff Girard:
is left

Caleb Lawson:
of that

Jeff Girard:
over?

Caleb Lawson:
20

Jeff Girard:
How

Caleb Lawson:
pounds

Jeff Girard:
much is…

Caleb Lawson:
is gonna…yeah.

Jeff Girard:
I don’t know. So here are some of the things that are effective. How much water do you start with? So

Caleb Lawson:
the, in

Jeff Girard:
if

Caleb Lawson:
my

Jeff Girard:
I have

Caleb Lawson:
case,

Jeff Girard:
a

Caleb Lawson:
0.29%

Jeff Girard:
water cement

Caleb Lawson:
in Portland.

Jeff Girard:
ratio 0.29, I’m a lot closer to the, and there’s a couple different.

Caleb Lawson:
Because there’s still some water of convenience in there because

Jeff Girard:
There’s

Caleb Lawson:
I’m not

Jeff Girard:
some

Caleb Lawson:
UHPC.

Jeff Girard:
water convenience, right? So let’s say for the sake of argument, the theoretical minimum, and this varies, so it’s not like you can put a specific number on it because it depends on the cement, but it depends on other things going on your concrete, blah blah. Let’s just say that number’s.22. I’m pulling a number out of the air. It’s not too far off, but let’s just say it’s.22, and yours is.29. So you have.07 parts. of excess water, called water of convenience. Some of that is going to be absorbed in… Sand has a pretty low absorption rate, 0.05%. It’s pretty commonly easy to look that up. So your sand’s going to get pretty quickly saturated, and it’s not like it’s a sponge. Now, if you’re using some… When I say sand, I’m talking about like quartz-based silica sand, hard, dense stuff. If you’re using something like… crushed marble or crushed limestone,

Caleb Lawson:
got a matai

Jeff Girard:
it’s got

Caleb Lawson:
or

Jeff Girard:
a

Caleb Lawson:
absorption

Jeff Girard:
little bit higher

Caleb Lawson:
rate.

Jeff Girard:
porosity. If you are using any kind of lightweight aggregate, especially stuff like expanded clay or expanded shale, that stuff is a, it’s supposed to be this way. It’s a sponge. You know, we’re talking about sponge. That can absorb a lot. And if it’s bone dry to begin with, it can suck a lot of moisture out of your concrete and actually cause problems. So, you know, some of that water’s still free inside the concrete. Now, if you don’t have a curing polymer in your concrete and you don’t have good curing practices, that water is going to come out of the concrete pretty quickly because it takes a while for that, as concrete cures, you’re generating calcium silicate hydrates and that gel starts plugging up those pores and starts knitting everything together. and becoming more and more of a solid. Well, that takes time. So in the very early stages, the day after casting, your concrete is brand new. It’s just solid. That’s when your concrete’s the most vulnerable. And so it’s gonna start losing moisture. If you have covered your concrete in plastic, like you should, and you pull the plastic off the next day, what do you notice on the underside of that plastic?

Caleb Lawson:
water.

Jeff Girard:
water. Now some concrete mixes and some concrete admixtures let lots of moisture, and one thing I’ve noticed with Fortan is I always used to get a ton of moisture on the underside.

Caleb Lawson:
With Alpha, you get

Jeff Girard:
And the thing

Caleb Lawson:
very

Jeff Girard:
is

Caleb Lawson:
little.

Jeff Girard:
that that’s the thing I’ve noticed with Alpha is like, there’s next to no moisture, a couple drops on the

Caleb Lawson:
Mm-hmm.

Jeff Girard:
underside. What is that telling you? It’s that’s

Caleb Lawson:
It’s

Jeff Girard:
trapping

Caleb Lawson:
more effective.

Jeff Girard:
moisture in the concrete where it’s supposed to. And that’s how quick it acts. So it’s more effective than a liquid polymer, and I’m using less of it.

Caleb Lawson:
So here’s what

Jeff Girard:
I

Caleb Lawson:
I’m

Jeff Girard:
have

Caleb Lawson:
going

Jeff Girard:
less

Caleb Lawson:
to

Jeff Girard:
of

Caleb Lawson:
do,

Jeff Girard:
an effect

Caleb Lawson:
I think.

Jeff Girard:
on the concrete. Let’s say that again.

Caleb Lawson:
Here’s what I think we ought to do, Jeff, because we are at 50 minutes, is a little TLDR. You know what that means? So TL semicolon DR means too long didn’t read. So it’s a way of condensing, like at the end of a long post,

Jeff Girard:
Okay.

Caleb Lawson:
a lot of times people will put a TLDR, like if you want to. And I’ll put this as a chapter. So basically, the bones of what we’ve been saying here is the entire reason why CCI has even gotten into materials at all, materials and products. is because we’ve seen a gap in the industry as far as what is best for the artisans that we’re trying to support. So with regard to Omega, there was, you know, we wanted to make the application process of a really high-performance urethane sealer easier. And so

Jeff Girard:
and faster.

Caleb Lawson:
you developed and faster. Because, you know, if you’re using the other urethane chemistries on the market, what you’ve got is you’ve got to roll it for eternity. I mean, and I have a video of this because I had a friend in film school, it’s kind of funny and I’ll find the video at some point, but I had a friend in film school who wanted to come film like some B-roll and a kind of promo for my business. And by the time we were done, he had one day to do it and I happened to have some stuff to seal that day. All of the B-roll was me rolling, Sealer, because you just had to roll and roll and roll and roll and roll. And with Omega, it’s like you roll it out. and you walk away, you leave it alone. So

Jeff Girard:
Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Caleb Lawson:
that’s exactly right. So it would take two days to seal concrete and then you have to wait another day and a half to install it and we just, ain’t nobody got time for that. So I want a finish, I want a topical that won’t delaminate if I seal my concrete or prepare my concrete correctly. And I just want you to know in seven years, I’ve used Omega for a year longer than anybody else other than you obviously, but longer than anybody else in production. I’ve never ever, ever seen a single ounce of potential delamination. It’s just

Jeff Girard:
Even

Caleb Lawson:
not

Jeff Girard:
when

Caleb Lawson:
something…

Jeff Girard:
I’ve tried to make it delaminate short of Doing something

Caleb Lawson:
Listen.

Jeff Girard:
stupid like sealing over waxed concrete. I Can’t make it delaminate. It’s stuck to my phone glass

Caleb Lawson:
I put airplane stripper on it and it still takes three gallons for an average kitchen of this $50 very high dealing like trying to make it come off. It will. It’s so anyway. So I want a urethane because I don’t want a solvent based sealer generally speaking. Now there are some applications for it. Like we actually have been testing out. Trinic’s stamp shield under Ovation, which is awesome. I’m loving it. We did it on…

Jeff Girard:
Fantastic combination. We did

Caleb Lawson:
It’s

Jeff Girard:
that

Caleb Lawson:
so

Jeff Girard:
at

Caleb Lawson:
cool.

Jeff Girard:
the Legends event with the

Caleb Lawson:
We

Jeff Girard:
buddy

Caleb Lawson:
did.

Jeff Girard:
handcrafts that sort of

Caleb Lawson:
And

Jeff Girard:
amber colored.

Caleb Lawson:
we liked it so much actually that soon, can I say this, Jeff?

Jeff Girard:
Sure.

Caleb Lawson:
We liked it so much that soon we will be offering Trinic’s stamp shield as a primer for Ovation because the performance is really cool. Um, yeah.

Jeff Girard:
In courts.

Caleb Lawson:
In courts. Um, so new size, uh, to go along with ovation. Um, so super excited about that. Uh, and we’ll have, we’ll have upcoming, you know, talks about all of that, but it allows you to do, you know, things that don’t need, you know, something you wanted to, like a wall panel that you wanted to seal and install like right now. Um,

Jeff Girard:
You want to pop the color,

Caleb Lawson:
but you want to pop the color? Use this.

Jeff Girard:
and it’s fast, fast turnaround.

Caleb Lawson:
It’s

Jeff Girard:
I mean,

Caleb Lawson:
quick.

Jeff Girard:
in that piece, we sealed it. We did like two or three coats of stamp shield and two or three coats of ovation.

Caleb Lawson:
Suck

Jeff Girard:
And then

Caleb Lawson:
it outside.

Jeff Girard:
we assembled and installed it the same day.

Caleb Lawson:
And it’s been outside ever since and there is no evidence of any issues.

Jeff Girard:
So.

Caleb Lawson:
And so that’s a really cool, um, you know, that is the, in my opinion, exception to the rule of no, um, no solvent based sealers, because that combo is really, really great. And because stamp shield cures so quickly, um,

Jeff Girard:
Well, dry.

Caleb Lawson:
it outgasses all of that pile or all of that solvent very, very fast. And so, you know, whereas other solvent based finishes that are, um, you Like I think I used to use Amperseal. That’s a very robust graffiti coating that is solvent-based. That kind of outgassing, I think, takes a little bit longer. And so I worry about that for use in a kitchen, a food prep surface.

Jeff Girard:
It goes

Caleb Lawson:
So

Jeff Girard:
in the

Caleb Lawson:
you

Jeff Girard:
air. It

Caleb Lawson:
want,

Jeff Girard:
also goes in the concrete.

Caleb Lawson:
yeah, exactly. And then it kind of leaches out. So the point of that is that we promote, with that one exception, we promote water-based, food-safe topical urethanes. And we wanted something that you could actually make efficient in your business. So ergo Omega. So the TLDR here is we got into products because there were some gaps that we felt needed filling and they weren’t being filled. It’s like my grandmother. Those of you, if you’re listening in the state of Florida and you’ve been there since, you know, the seventies, let’s say people. my parents age, right? Remember my grandmother because she was in legislature and she had an exercise TV show before that, the Frank Carlton exercise show. Regardless, she was in legislature for one reason, okay? And you can agree or disagree with this, but she was a part of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and she wanted to raise the drinking age in the state of Florida. And her efforts at lobbying were not doing much, even given she was in a, you know, prominent organization. So she says, screw that, I’m going to run. And so she ran one and raised the drinking age. And so the point of that is she saw a gap and she fixed it.

Jeff Girard:
Mm-hmm.

Caleb Lawson:
We’re seeing a gap and we’re fixing it. And that’s,

Jeff Girard:
And

Caleb Lawson:
you know, so it’s like, we’re coming from this as a, we, we were more than happy to promote other people’s products for a long, long time. And we just felt like there was a gap that we needed to improve.

Jeff Girard:
So let me jump in because those are some extremely valid and insightful points. What are those gaps that we’ve seen? So let me just kind of rattle off a handful and feel free to add. So like we talked about polymer, right? So for many, many years, the go-to was Fortan, a liquid polymer. Well, some of the downsides are… It’s expensive to ship, it can’t freeze, it gets more expensive to ship in the winter, has a

Caleb Lawson:
It’s foamy.

Jeff Girard:
somewhat

Caleb Lawson:
It’s sticky.

Jeff Girard:
limited shelf life. Like, okay, if you’re going through heavy production, it’s not an issue. It’s foamy. So you’re gonna make less dense concrete, there’s more air in it. It’s stickier. If you’ve ever tried to trial it, it’s just a nightmare. By the way, alpha polymer doesn’t have those characteristics. Like when you mix it in

Caleb Lawson:
It

Jeff Girard:
concrete,

Caleb Lawson:
really doesn’t feel like there’s polymer

Jeff Girard:
You can’t

Caleb Lawson:
in there at

Jeff Girard:
tell

Caleb Lawson:
all.

Jeff Girard:
there’s polymer in it. It’s not sticky. It doesn’t have any, doesn’t smell, has no smell. It’s just, it’s like, it’s not even there.

Caleb Lawson:
Maybe we should put up for a few minutes.

Jeff Girard:
We can make it smell like blueberries, at least not fish. Yeah, there’s

Caleb Lawson:
strawberries

Jeff Girard:
no smell

Caleb Lawson:
maybe

Jeff Girard:
to it. The, so that’s, you know, one downside. Omega, obviously there’s some great urethanes on the market that give you performance, but if it takes a long time to get to

Caleb Lawson:
to

Jeff Girard:
do

Caleb Lawson:
get it

Jeff Girard:
it,

Caleb Lawson:
onto the concrete.

Jeff Girard:
or it’s really difficult to get a good… like a good looking surface where, okay, I spent all this time rolling it and then it cures out, I got all these roller lines, I got to do it again. You know, you’re going in circles, you’re chasing your tail, you’re wasting a lot of time, you’re wasting a lot of material because the material is letting you down. It forces you to be an absolute expert in applying it. Really? So that’s where I wanted something that was, now we have something that’s really easy to apply. It’s quick and you end up using, there’s almost, I don’t wanna say there’s no waste, but it’s a heck of a lot less

Caleb Lawson:
very

Jeff Girard:
waste.

Caleb Lawson:
little waste. And so I was comparing dollars per square foot of sealer.

Jeff Girard:
Yeah, and

Caleb Lawson:
And

Jeff Girard:
that’s the

Caleb Lawson:
with

Jeff Girard:
way to

Caleb Lawson:
this

Jeff Girard:
look

Caleb Lawson:
new…

Jeff Girard:
at it.

Caleb Lawson:
Yeah, so you can’t say quart to quart. If a quart is $100 and it covers 100 square feet, and another quart is $130 and covers 130 square feet, they’re the same price. So we’ve actually… Jeff, we haven’t done calculations on that, but based on this new priming method, we’ve dramatically increased our square footage coverage,

Jeff Girard:
Absolutely.

Caleb Lawson:
thereby becoming a more economical sealer while still being more powerful and easier

Jeff Girard:
And

Caleb Lawson:
to apply.

Jeff Girard:
which actually was that the part of the original topic of this broadcast was time and labor costs as well. So if you spend an hour less messing

Caleb Lawson:
a

Jeff Girard:
around

Caleb Lawson:
day

Jeff Girard:
doing

Caleb Lawson:
less.

Jeff Girard:
something, time is money. And your laborers or your costs or your schedule, how much is that worth?

Caleb Lawson:
Well, and

Jeff Girard:
Right.

Caleb Lawson:
there are some finishes out there that are, that you have to, you know, you wipe them on and then you sand them and then you wipe them on and then you sand them and then, like, there’s a lot of in-between steps. It’s like, you can’t just roll. You can’t just go, you know, I

Jeff Girard:
consumables

Caleb Lawson:
wanna be done in an

Jeff Girard:
cost

Caleb Lawson:
hour,

Jeff Girard:
money. Right.

Caleb Lawson:
you know? And then, okay, and then so, is there anything else that, you know, is in the works that would alleviate some of that for people at all.

Jeff Girard:
Yeah, so… I am right now developing as, you know, Alpha, I’ve, like I said, I have three products. I have the, the polymer has a defoamer in it. You can buy the defoamer by itself so you can use it in other things. And then I have fluidizer. So I have Alpha Pro Polymer, Alpha Pro Defoamer, and Alpha Pro Fluidizer, the super plasticizer. Any of those can be used in any concrete. So they’ll all work in cemental, they’ll work in whatever concrete you want, right? Um, we teach from scratch and the reason we teach from scratch is a, anybody in the world can make concrete using their own local materials. Cause that’s the least expensive way to make concrete. Not everybody can get say white cement or the right kind of pozzolins or whatever. So I’m working on a very high performance. Pozzolin ad pack. So it’s going to be a cocktail pozzolins, the defoamer, I mean, uh, the polymer alpha propolymer. And that ad pack you could add to a from scratch mix based on your, the standard GFRC mix. You can use it to make your own whatever.

Caleb Lawson:
which would be great for people using that

Jeff Girard:
You could

Caleb Lawson:
shipping.

Jeff Girard:
add it to a bag of Home Depot mix and it would make it better.

Caleb Lawson:
Oh gosh,

Jeff Girard:
I

Caleb Lawson:
yeah.

Jeff Girard:
don’t know how much better, but it would absolutely make it better. But just as a little teaser, so today’s the 26th, yesterday I did tests on, I’m doing one day and seven day tests. So this is Portland cement-based concrete. I’m getting one day Portland cement-based. strengths, flexural strengths, that are not too far off from cemental, like within 100 to 200 PSI flexural strength of cemental.

Caleb Lawson:
Which is crazy.

Jeff Girard:
That’s average. Some of my peaks exceed cemental. How’s that?

Caleb Lawson:
It’s good.

Jeff Girard:
That’s coming soon.

Caleb Lawson:
You want

Jeff Girard:
And.

Caleb Lawson:
rapid set strengths in Portland? I’m

Jeff Girard:
Yeah,

Caleb Lawson:
coming at you.

Jeff Girard:
and it’s pure white. There’s no grayishness to it. And. really high densities because it’s got the fantastic do-fulmer

Caleb Lawson:
Direct cast,

Jeff Girard:
in it.

Caleb Lawson:
no face coat

Jeff Girard:
High fluidity.

Caleb Lawson:
capabilities all the time.

Jeff Girard:
Yeah, so… And I’m using 3% 19 millimeter fibers, which are the most difficult fiber to get flowability with.

Caleb Lawson:
Yeah, I do want to talk about fiber loading in a future podcast.

Jeff Girard:
And another…

Caleb Lawson:
We don’t have time for it today,

Jeff Girard:
Yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
but, um, you know, there are other mixes out there that are claiming very high, you know, there are other mixes out there that are getting their fluidity from a lower fiber load, which is a totally valid way to do it. And

Jeff Girard:
Absolutely.

Caleb Lawson:
we’re actually working on testing the strength. And so that’s one of the things that, that really is. I think admirable about the way that Jeff likes to put products out as he’s tested them. to the nth degree.

Jeff Girard:
Yeah, I don’t have like a sequential number of tests, but my Excel spreadsheet of test results.

Caleb Lawson:
What’s your final line number at the moment?

Jeff Girard:
Uh, 297 and every single one of those is an individual test. There

Caleb Lawson:
Yeah,

Jeff Girard:
was, those

Caleb Lawson:
so

Jeff Girard:
are always pairs. So

Caleb Lawson:
that’s

Jeff Girard:
I’ll either

Caleb Lawson:
verification,

Jeff Girard:
do like, yeah,

Caleb Lawson:
right? So.

Jeff Girard:
I usually do like, like currently I’m doing a one day and a seven day, so I make one single batch, I cast it into two identical samples, one gets tested 24 hours. One gets tested seven days later after casting and then earlier.

Caleb Lawson:
And so you’ve got a line, you’ve got 297 lines and two columns per line at least. So let’s call it 600 tests. Plus your, I know you’ve been doing 28 day tests as well. So we’re probably at over a thousand tests at this point.

Jeff Girard:
Yeah, it’s a lot and a lot of those are, some of them are replications because it’s important to like

Caleb Lawson:
You want

Jeff Girard:
validate

Caleb Lawson:
to verify.

Jeff Girard:
and verify. And a lot of those are just different mix designs.

Caleb Lawson:
Yeah, so a lot coming at you from the Concrete Countertops Institute. Um, we’re, we’re really, really excited about all of these, um, kind of plans that we have in place, you’re going to be seeing a lot more of us.

Jeff Girard:
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Caleb Lawson:
So, um.

Jeff Girard:
We’ve been quiet for a while, but we’re not going to be quiet for much longer.

Caleb Lawson:
That’s right. Well, Jeff, I think we’ve done it.

Jeff Girard:
Yep, we hit our

Caleb Lawson:
We deviated

Jeff Girard:
mark.

Caleb Lawson:
a little bit from the original title, which we hadn’t come up with a title per se. But we were talking about materials and cost. And I think we ended up talking more about materials and why certain materials,

Jeff Girard:
I know what

Caleb Lawson:
which

Jeff Girard:
the

Caleb Lawson:
is

Jeff Girard:
title

Caleb Lawson:
fine.

Jeff Girard:
should be.

Caleb Lawson:
All right, go on.

Jeff Girard:
Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Caleb Lawson:
Ain’t nobody got time for that. Ha ha

Jeff Girard:
Which is true.

Caleb Lawson:
ha. Awesome. It

Jeff Girard:
Everybody

Caleb Lawson:
is.

Jeff Girard:
wants it quick. So

Caleb Lawson:
Quick and good.

Jeff Girard:
time to head on and get on with our day so you can get on with your day. Thanks for joining us. See you

Caleb Lawson:
and

Jeff Girard:
next week.

Caleb Lawson:
see you next week. I’ll add, yeah.