Section Titile

Polished Finish Corrects Floor’s Appearance

Decorative Concrete FloorDecorative concrete repair projects sometimes require creative thinking to produce outstanding results.

Certainly this was the case at a Florida residence in St. George Island. Lenny Munez, owner and president of Precision Concrete, one of the largest concrete contractors in the Southeast, needed a solution for “some ugly concrete.” Seven years prior, Precision Concrete had installed about 2,000 square feet of integrally colored concrete floors.

The quality of the concrete was excellent, but deterioration of a color-matched curing compound was marring the finish. Attempts to dissolve the curing compound with solvents several years later only made the problem worse.  Precision Concrete consulted with the expert staff at Decorative Concrete Institute who  proposed grinding and polishing the surface to create a low maintenance, aesthetically pleasing floor. Because the concrete was of such high quality—4,500 psi concrete and thoroughly wet cured—surface hardness made grinding difficult. But the repairs were a minimally invasive and cost effective solution because the existing floor could be reused.

As part of the aesthetic repair, the owners wanted to incorporate some local elements to their floor. Artisans created dolphins, pelicans, and sea shells for ornamentation. They also harvested some sand from the beach and broadcast it into wet epoxy around the perimeter of the slab and the columns. The problem was corrected, the owners were pleased, and the outcome was spectacular.
Contact Jamie Farny

Section Titile

Most Building Material PPIs Up in December

December PPIAccording to the latest report, steel, concrete, and asphalt PPIs all increased last month compared to December 2010. For the sixth consecutive month, steel’s PPIs saw a double-digit jump, at 11.3 percent. Asphalt and concrete’s PPI were up 8.4 percent and 1 percent, respectively. The lumber PPI dropped for the second straight month, down 1.1 percent from the previous year.

Each building material’s PPI was up from November except for steel.  It was down 0.6 percent and has been declining slightly for the better part of six months. The lumber, concrete, and asphalt PPI increased from the prior month, with concrete rising just 0.1 percent. Lumber and asphalt PPIs had slightly larger gains of 0.9 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Reported monthly, complete Producer Price Index graphs are available in the PCA Competitive Materials Report.
Order the PCA Competitive Materials Report at
Contact Michael Howard

Section Titile

All Ash Grove Manufacturing Plants Now ISO Certified

With its reconstructed Foreman, Ark., plant earning the ISO 14001 certification in December 2011, Ash Grove Cement Company became the only domestic cement manufacturer to have its entire fleet of eight operating clinker manufacturing facilities earn this prestigious certification.
In 2010, seven of the company’s facilities earned the designation.  Ash Grove’s ISO 14001 certified plants, in addition to its Foreman location, are located in:  Chanute, Kan.; Durkee, Ore.; Leamington, Utah; Louisville, Neb.; Midlothian, Texas; Montana City, Mont.; and Seattle, Wash.

The certification, administered by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO), requires companies to adopt a rigorous, systematic environmental management system customized to the unique needs of its facilities and subject it to continuous improvement.  Once such a program is implemented, certified third-party auditors conduct an extensive audit to verify compliance with the ISO standards before certification is granted and follow up with annual assurance audits.

“We are pleased to have earned the ISO 14001 certification for all of our plants.  The certification validates all of the work Ash Grove has done to create and maintain our environmental management systems.  Our commitment to earning the certification is a cornerstone of our environmental leadership program,” said Curtis Lesslie, PE, Ash Grove vice president of environmental affairs.

Section Titile

WOC Seminars Explore ICFs, Decorative Concrete

Donn ThompsonDonn Thompson, PCA’s director of low-rise buildings, will present several topics at the 2012 World of Concrete, January 24-27 in Las Vegas, including two new seminars on insulating concrete forms (ICFs).

The first presentation, “Tips from the Field: Commercial Construction Techniques with Insulating Concrete Forms”, to be held January 25, will examine the basics of building commercially with ICFs and explore the energy efficiency, structural and acoustic benefits that make ICFs a high-performance alternative to conventional frame systems. 

The energy efficiency benefits of ICFs will be further explored during a January 26 presentation entitled “Insulating Concrete Forms: How to Build High-Performance Energy Star® Homes.”  Thompson, during the second presentation, will examine current installation details required for thermal and air barriers with conventional frame construction based on the requirements outlined in the Energy Star® program requirements as well as identify each step of ICF installation and construction within the context of green construction.

As part of the World of Concrete’s Concrete Surfaces & Decorative Pavilion, Thompson will present a contractor clinic on January 26 about marketing decorative concrete. Using data collected during a 2011 survey done jointly by PCA and Hanley-Wood, Thompson will compare attitudes and perceptions of contractors, specifiers, and purchasers regarding decorative concrete. Contractors will gain valuable insight into attributes that resonate with customers.
Contact Donn Thompson

Section Titile

Proposed ASTM Standard Covers Fiber-Reinforced Concrete Test Results

A proposed new ASTM standard will provide proper direction and ensure adequate documentation to aid in the interpretation, understanding, and reduction of variance in test results for fiber-reinforced concrete.

ASTM WK35250, Practice for Fiber-Reinforced Concrete for Making and Curing Test Specimens in the Laboratory and Field, is now being developed by Subcommittee C09.42 on Fiber-Reinforced Concrete, part of ASTM Committee C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates. 

ASTM WK35250 describes testing done by means of external vibration, which is effective for fiber-reinforced concrete. Testing agencies and those who specify testing of fiber concrete will use the proposed standard once it has been approved. Fibers can be used in any concrete, especially in precast applications, industrial floor slabs, composite metal decks, blast containment structures, overlays, tunnels and many other applications.

All interested parties are invited to participate in the development of ASTM WK35250.
More information at

Section Titile

Cement Chemistry Course Slated for Toronto

The University of Toronto will present Chemistry of Cement and Concrete, May 14-18, 2012.  This unique and popular course includes lectures covering the chemistry and physics of  cement manufacture, phase equilibrium and reactions in cement kilns, supplementary cementing materials, hydration of cements, chemical admixture effects in hydration, microstructure of cement and hydrates, sulphate reactions and attack, alkali-aggregate reactions, and chloride and corrosion reactions.

The course is open to both graduate students at the University of Toronto and other Ontario universities (for graduate credit) as well as graduate students from universities outside Ontario and cement and concrete industry professionals.
More information or to register


Cement and Its Impact on Concrete Performance
PCA Online Learning
More information

Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures—PCA's renowned reference on the fundamentals of concrete technology and construction has been fully revised with the latest industry standards/specs.



Meetings and Events

World of Concrete
January 23-27, 2012
Las Vegas, Nevada
Free registration

International Builders' Show
February 8-11, 2012
Orlando, Florida
More information

Green Matters Conference February 23-24, 2012
San Antonio, Texas
More information

PCA Spring Meeting
April 16-18, 2012
Rosemont, Illinois
More information

2012 IEEE-IAS/PCA Cement Industry Technical Conference
May 13-17, 2012
San Antonio, Texas
More information

PCA Professors Workshop
July 23-27, 2012
Skokie, Illinois
More information

PCA Fall Meeting
August 27-28, 2012
Rosemont, Illinois
More information

PCA Fall Board Meeting
November 11-13, 2012
Washington, DC
More information

The Executive Report is distributed free of charge to members of PCA and to individuals interested in PCA activities or the cement, concrete, and construction industries.
View or download back issues
Think Harder.Concrete

The Portland Cement Association conducts market development, research, education, and government affairs work on behalf of its members—cement companies in the United States and Canada.

Facebook LinkedIn