by ROBIN BRUNET
Given the crucial role waterproofing products play in the construction/renovation sectors, it’s not surprising that manufacturers are constantly coming up with new solutions for a huge range of applications. But even though advanced technology is going a long way in preserving the integrity of residential, commercial, and industrial structures (not to mention infrastructure), misconceptions occasionally arise about the technology being used.
Crystalline admixtures is a case in point. While these admixtures have gained widespread acceptance over the decades, Kris Till, product manager for Kryton International Inc. (the inventor of the crystalline admixture) points out that, “one of the largest misconceptions we see with these crystalline waterproofing systems is that people think they are all the same. In fact, our Krystol technology is chemically different from competitors. The reaction that takes place is what creates crystal growth, with the size and shape of crystals affecting performance, and Kryton exclusively grows needle-shaped crystals that fill more space and interlock better.”
Equally important, crystalline competitors rely on the free lime within concrete to trigger the chemical reaction; but the lime can leach out over time, thus affecting the ability of the product to self-seal. “Kryton on the other hand reacts with unhydrated cementing particles that remain throughout the life of the concrete structure and are always available,” says Till. “Therefore, it will reliably continue to react and self-seal over the entire life of the structure.”
Additionally, a waterproofing admixture that has the ability to limit the initial shrinkage and cracking is widely beneficial. “If you produce smaller cracks, self-sealing becomes easier, waterproofing becomes more reliable, and active ingredients are now saved for later in the lifecycle,” says Till. “Kryton typically reduces shrinkage by 20 to 25 percent and has shown up to a 80 percent reduction in the size of cracks that develop. Competitors do not have the same ability, which makes the probability of leak repairs higher.”
For these and other reasons, structures such as the Boeing Aircraft Development Center in Everett, Washington – one of the largest buildings ever constructed in North America and which was treated with Kryton in 1983 – remains bone dry today. “Our competitors simply don’t have the history and experience we do, so there is a significant risk in using them as a long-term solution,” says Till, adding that closer to home, Kryton has been used successfully on buildings all over Vancouver, where foundations can go five storeys into the water table.
Excerpted From Award Magazine