Better Environmentally…
Better for Concrete & Wood?
 
by Mike Matthews, Editor

When Toyota decides to make a more fuel stingy Celica, they don't just design a new vehicle from scratch; they tweak last year's model by introducing lighter-weight materials and more efficient engine technology. But every now and then they'll grab a blank sheet of paper and create a Prius.
 
Most coatings manufacturers respond to environmental regulations in the same way – lowering VOC levels by introducing different off-the-shelf resins or by simply reducing the solvents… although those changes may subtly alter a product's performance in other ways.
 
In creating the Seal-Once line of waterproofers, New-Line Coatings opted for the blank sheet of paper. Without any linkage to solvent-borne legacy products, chemist Mike Cork looked for ways to make a high-performance toxin-free water-based sealer that could exceed current and future eco-requirements. The trick, however, would be making the product apply and perform like a traditional water sealer so contractors would feel comfortable using it.
 
As a rule, Oil based products work because oil naturally penetrates wood and concrete better and more deeply than water. But for oil to work, it needs solvents – which means a high level of VOCs. Water based products can be made with a much lower VOC content, but there are other complications. “It's a battle when you try to use water based,” said Cork. “The first thing to overcome is surface tension.” Put simply, the water tends to form its own film atop the substrate, and Cork wanted a product that would burrow its way beneath. That's a very different idea than products such as Thompson's Waterseal, which forms a film above the substrate. Unfortunately, films wear off – especially on decks, driveways, and sidewalks.
 
To penetrate beneath the surface of porous wood and concrete substrates New-Line incorporated sub-micron particles. “The nano particles we use form a unique lattice work,” Cork described. Put simply, Seal-Once sinks beneath the surface, and when it dries it bonds with the surface, hardens it, and prevents water from infiltrating beneath. When used on wood, it forms a ‘composite' that extends as deep as 3/8 inch deep. According to Cork, it even penetrates Ipe. “When you solve the riddle of dynamic surface tension on water based systems, then life gets easier. That's huge. That's when you can use water based and make it perform like a solvent base.”
 
Seal-Once uses a blend of polymers designed to move with a wood's natural expansion/contraction cycles. According to Cork, that prevents flaking and peeling while extending the effective life of the finish. He estimates the product's working life to be 6 years on horizontal surfaces, and up to 10 years on vertical surfaces. By comparison, a typical film-forming finish generally stops working in 6 months to 2 years on a horizontal surface, and 1 to 3 years on a vertical.
 
The product is supplied as a clear, but 8 easy to add semi-transparent tints are available. Seal-Once is free of VOCs, formadehyde, and other toxins. The integrated nano-particles do not interface with people, animals, and plant life, and serve as a natural barrier to mold and mildew infestation. Seal-Once can contribute to LEED credit 4.2.
 
New-Line offers a variety of dealer marketing and merchandising aids.
 
www.seal-once.com 




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