Concrete exposed to multiple freeze-thaw cycles during the winter months has an increased risk of scaling and cracking, which is why it is so important to use an air-entraining agent. Air entrainer generate thousands of tiny air bubbles in the concrete that help reduce the risk of cracking from water freezing and expanding in the concrete. Usually, air-entraining agents come in the form of liquid or powdered concrete admixtures, but it is not uncommon for concrete contractors to use a detergent as an air entrainer. While this may seem like a more cost-effective alternative to commercially produced admixtures, there are many problems associated with adding detergent to your concrete mix.
How much air are you going to get?
One of the biggest challenges presented by adding a detergent instead of an air-entraining admixture is the lack of dosage control. You don’t know how much air is generated when you add the detergent to the mix. This means that you might end up with too much air or not enough. And since there are no standards for how much detergent to add to the concrete, you could spend a significant amount of time trying to get the air right at the job site, with no guarantee that the load will not get rejected anyway.
Which projects are detergents approved for?
The short answer is none. Because detergent is not a regulated or tested concrete admixture, it does not have any ASTM certification. This means that it cannot be used in most municipal projects or for projects contracted by the DOT.
For residential or general commercial jobs, the specific detergent will probably need to be submitted with the design specifications and may or may not receive approval from the engineer or inspector for the job.
How are Fritz-Pak’s Products different?
Fritz-Pak’s Air Plus & Super Air Plus are made with a natural resin material that entrains air more evenly throughout the concrete than synthetic air-entraining admixtures.
This gives you extra control over the concrete and reduces the risk of rejection at the job site. Air Plus offers up to half a percent of increased air, while Super Air Plus can improve the air content by up to 2%. Both products are ASTM certified and approved for DOT projects in many states.
If you’re ready to order your case of Fritz-Pak Air Plus or Super Air Plus, visit the online store today. Don’t forget to follow our social media channels for more information about how our products can improve your concrete.