Construction Chemicals Market

By Kerry Pianoforte | August 10, 2005

The construction chemicals market is changing, now offering innovative products in a variety colors, high-performance options and more.

Traditionally the offerings of the construction chemicals market�concrete, sealers and caulks�while functional, are pretty bland. That has changed. Manufacturers are launching new high-performance construction chemical products, ranging from new color options to tough sealants able to withstand extreme weather conditions to caulks with antimicrobial additives that will fight mold and mildew. These products are being developed not only with the professional contractor in mind, but also the average homeowner who now demands more from these products.

Two of DAP's latest offerings are AlexPlus, now available in antique white and crystal clear, and Weather Flex sealant, which is able to withstand extreme weather conditions, according to the company.
"We see trends towards higher performance products," said Jim Meagher, marketing manager, GE sealants and adhesives. "Both users and building material suppliers want reliable, permanent products. Owners want low-maintenance solutions."

GE's latest offering is Siding-Seal, a high-performance sealant for use on siding, windows and doors. Key benefits of this product include superior adhesion to construction materials including aluminum, metal, vinyl and wood, and flexibility that is consistent with traditional high-performance sealants such as silicone or polyurethanes. The product is paintable with both latex and oil-based paint.

"Property owners opt for siding because they want an aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-install, low-maintenance solution," said Mr. Meagher. GE Siding-Seal's premium formula is engineered to withstand the expansion, contraction and movement of joints in a building, which occur over time. "It's a high performance, 'lifetime' product that supports everything the property owner is looking for."

New durable sealants able to withstand extreme weather conditions have recently been developed by DAP Canada. Weather Flex can be applied in wet weather conditions without washing out and even in sub-freezing temperatures, gunability is excellent, according to the company. Application temperatures range from -37� to 60�C. It can be applied on almost any surface�windows, doors, siding, aluminum, vinyl, fiber cement and masonry�and in sun, rain, sleet or snow. The product, which is low odor and low VOC, remains flexible when cured and doesn't crack, shrink or yellow. It is durable, while resisting dirt pick-up and stains. It also provides excellent paintability when tack-free (approximately two hours in most conditions).

"Weather Flex's most outstanding feature is that it can be applied in virtually any condition and remain weather-resistant," said David Fuller, vice president of marketing for DAP. "This is great news for people working in cold climates. Weather Flex allows homeowners to seal gaps and cracks even during the cold winter months that could otherwise let in drafts that lead to high energy bills."

More Choices
Today's customers demand more choice in the color and appearance of construction chemical products and manufacturers are meeting these needs with expanded offerings. Homeowners who are bored of the limited color choices and plain appearance they have when coating concrete now have a new option. Rudd Company's SkimStone is a new concrete floor finish that offers a unique textured appearance on concrete floors.

According to the company, it is much easier to apply than acid dye stains, provides more design options and durability than concrete paint or stain, and is more economical than stone, granite or tile.

SkimStone, a concrete floor finish, gives a textured appearance to a variety of concrete surfaces, including floors and walls. End-users can control the color and strength when they mix the ingredients.
SkimStone is a blend of acrylic resins (type I solution) and dry ingredients, including portland cement (powder). The end-user controls the color and the color strength of each coat by adding the desired amount of the ColorPak to the type I solution. The tinted type I solution is then mixed with the powder. The combined mixture is applied by pouring a small amount onto the floor and spreading it very thinly with a straight-edged trowel. A standard application is three thin coats of SkimStone followed by up to four coats of protective sealer. Though primarily intended for floors, SkimStone can be used on virtually all concrete surfaces, including walls, countertops, fireplace surrounds and pools.

DAP's marketing research determined that DIYers and professional painters are looking for an off-white caulk that would be a match to common shades of off-white wall colors including antique white, swiss coffee and linen white. DAP now offers its customers more variety with the addition of two new colors�crystal clear and antique white�to its Alex Plus acrylic latex caulk plus silicone. The addition of crystal clear and antique white makes ten colors available in the Alex Plus line. The caulk is multi-purpose, flexible, highly durable and paintable after it dries tack-free in 30-minutes.

And following the trend of improved performance, both new colors are treated with a fungicide to prohibit mildew build-up once cured.

Innovative Coatings Corp. Awarded Patent For Synthetic Stucco
Innovative Coatings Corporation, a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of polymer-based coatings for the commercial and residential construction industry, has been awarded patent No. 6,442,912 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its synthetic insulation and finish system (SIFS). The InstaChem based coating system can be retroactively applied to existing exterior finish insulation systems (EIFS) to solve cracking and leaking problems or may be used as the primary finish system for new construction. The company's patent award, issued with 34 claims, also includes the application of its InstaChem technology to hardboard siding, architectural shapes and ceiling tiles.

Germ-Killing Products
As people become more aware of the detrimental health effects associated with bacteria, molds and mildews that can grow in their homes, products that contain antimicrobial ingredients are increasingly gaining popularity in the market. One of the more well known names among homeowners is Microban. DAP has continued its partnership with Microban International, Ltd. with new Kwik Seal Plus kitchen and bath adhesive caulk. Kwik Seal Plus with Microban fights the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew that cause odors, stains and degradation of the caulk by neutralizing bacterial and fungal growth. In addition to fighting microbes, Kwik Seal Plus with Microban features a watertight seal and maximum adhesion. It comes with a crack-proof guarantee and is easy to clean up after applying.

Microban's antimicrobial product protection is an odorless, tasteless and colorless chemical known as triclosan that is incorporated directly into the caulk during the manufacturing process. It creates an electrochemical reaction on the surface of the product that disrupts bacterial cell walls. It will not wash or wear off and lasts for the useful life of the sealant, according to its maker.

"Society has become much more germ conscious," said David Fuller, vice president of marketing for DAP. And according to research, this is a trend that shows continued growth, allowing manufacturers to focus on additional offerings. "Microban market research tells us that the antimicrobial category is seeing tremendous growth due to heightened consumer concern over bacteria, and 83% of consumers think it is very important to have antibacterial protection in solid products."

Related Market & Technology:

Related Raw Materials: