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How to Protect our Concrete Bridges from Deterioration

Posted by Eco-Wares Staff on 1/9/2018 to Trojan Masonry Sealer

The American Society of Civil Engineers' Report Card grades America's Infrastructure maintenance initiative a D+. The organization estimates that $3.6 trillion would be needed to invest into U.S. infrastructure by 2020 just to bring the country's support systems to an acceptable B grade. Faced with the problem that most county and state governments do not have the finances to repair all of their roads and bridges, some local governments are looking for alternative and less expensive solutions to protecting their existing concrete surfaces.

When our parent company formed in 1993, we like many manufacturer's, produced topical coatings. But as with any coating system, they eventually wear away and the consumer is forced to reapply, thus becoming caught in a costly maintenance cycle. So we decided to create a penetrating sealer that would become an integral part of the original surface. The result is our Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer.

The unique polyester component of the sealer, in turn, hardens the substrate to help prevent future surface degradation of the concrete or masonry. The product is so different from other sealers that the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) provided the Trojan Sealer is own category: 07 19 29 Penetrating Polyester Water Repellents. This recognition appeared in CSI's 2016 MasterFormat publication. 

In 2011, the Tippecanoe County Highway Department began looking for a product to help preserve its concrete bridges.

Sealing concrete bridge deck

Located in the freeze/thaw zone of the U.S., Indiana’s winter-month temperatures can fluctuate daily above and below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If rain falls during the warmer part of the day, it gets absorbed into the concrete. Yet as the water freezes in the pores overnight, it expands about 9 percent and begins to produce pressure in the concrete. Once the pressure exceeds the tensile strength of the concrete, it will cause expansion, cracking and crumbling of the concrete over many freeze/thaw cycles.

In addition, as bridges tend to freeze before roadways, an abundance of deicing chemicals are used to melt slippery surfaces. The caustic nature of deicing chemicals can unfortunately create concrete scaling, which further accelerates surface deterioration. 

Tippecanoe County Bridge Project – saving the nation’s infrastructure

After using a coating product for a few years, the Tippecanoe County Highway Department (TCHD) researched alternatives that would last longer. It began to incorporate the penetrating Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer into the department’s Bridge Deck Sealing Program in the summer of 2014 and has thus far sealed 83 concrete bridge decks.

“We were looking for a nontoxic sealer that would not impact our rivers, be easily applied by our own personnel and last longer than other products,” shares Howard Berninger, project supervisor for TCHD. “We are very happy we made the switch.” 

Water drop on concrete bridge after Trojan Sealer was applied