Are you looking for a fast, affordable method to improve your cold-weather concreting experience? The easiest solution is adding an accelerating admixture – such as calcium chloride. Calcium chloride is a popular accelerator with contractors and ready-mixed drivers because it is a budget-friendly product; however, adding this chemical to your mix comes with additional risks to the concrete that may not be worth the trade-off.
Calcium chloride tends to darken the color of concrete once it sets up – which might not be a concern if it occurred consistently throughout the finished project. Calcium chloride is difficult to disperse evenly throughout the mix, which means that the areas with more chloride will appear darker than other areas – resulting in a blotchy, uneven appearance. Adding calcium chloride to the mix also increases the risk of efflorescence and can distort the pigments and colors in dyed concrete.
Concrete mixed with calcium chloride has more of a tendency toward future damage than concrete without this chemical. The chloride can cause the mix to shrink as it cures, creating cracks in the surface. There is also an increased risk of scaling in concrete made with chloride accelerators, especially in disproportionate mixes or concrete exposed to deicers.
Finally, adding calcium chloride to your concrete mix can result in the corrosion of the steel reinforcements. Steel reinforcements are protected from corrosion by a bond with concrete. Adding calcium chloride to your concrete mix can disrupt this bond and expose the steel to rust and corrosion, compromising the strength of concrete.
Solution: Non-Chloride Accelerators
By now, you have hopefully started to realize that calcium chloride is not a friend to concrete – especially structural or decorative concrete. The good news is that there is an alternative admixture that provides the same acceleration and early strength as calcium chloride. Fritz-Pak’s Non-Chloride Accelerator (NCA) is made using powdered calcium formate, which will not change the durability or coloring of your mix. Plus, we package it in our patented water-soluble bags – so it is easily added to your truck at the job site. For more information or to order your case of NCA today, visit our online store today!