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The Radio Shack commercial aired during the Super Bowl was a fun, somewhat self-effacing piece that showed 80’s icons coming into the store to “get their stuff back.” From Hulk Hogan to Mary Lou Retton, with help from iconic characters like Alf, the entire store is emptied of all products, leaving only bare shelves so that the new Radio Shack can emerge with a new fresh feel. Clean look, new design, and lots of possibilities.

It was this commercial that reminds us how we can take some things for granted, assuming they never change, only to find out that there is a whole new way of thinking. Innovative ideas applied to everyday items that we don’t think of often – such as concrete.

Recently the World of Concrete conference invaded Las Vegas, providing education, training and tons of innovative ideas. As everyday items go, concrete is one that we would not give a second thought. It makes up our sidewalks, parking garages, and even flooring, but truthfully, how exciting can concrete really be?

“The World of Concrete is the largest industry trade show in the world. It fills multiple buildings and parking lots with opportunities for education, training, growth, and of course, demonstrations of new products and industry developments,” said Shawn Morgan, KPOST Company Director of Waterproofing. “Most people would be surprised as the size and scope of this conference. People attend from all around the globe.”

What’s New in the World of Concrete

“We are seeing significant growth in the air barrier industry. What started off simply as an energy savings to buildings, particularly in the northeast, has now become mandatory in several states and rapidly gaining popularity across the U.S.,” said Shawn.

Air barriers are designed to control air leakage in and out of buildings, and can take many forms including membranes, open and closed-cell spray foam, and boardstock. Supported across the industry by the Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA), air barriers now have their own codes and standards. These codes are being adopted by various states and manufacturers and design professionals.

“As air barriers become more prevalent, we will see additional codes and regulations being adopted by municipalities. The benefits are proven, so manufacturers are organizing in order to provide better options across varying geographies, rather than only the northeast,” said Shawn.

Another interesting development from the World of Concrete is “vector mapping,” a technology that is rapidly gaining notoriety as a method of leak detection. Think CSI – the team needs to find something without breaking ground, and they need to find it quickly. They break out equipment that lets them “see” through walls and underground. Vector mapping provides a similar function.

Using low voltage vector mapping allows for quicker and easier leak detection. The surface of the roof or deck membrane is moistened (not flooded) to create an electrically conductive medium. A conductive wire loop is laid on the membrane around a section of the area to be tested. One lead from a pulse generator is connected to this wire loop perimeter. The other lead from the generator is connected to the structural roof deck. Leaks or breaches in the membrane are detected when the electric current flows across the membrane and down through the breach to the deck, completing the circuit. The technician uses two probes connected to a receiver to determine the direction of the electric current and precisely locate the breach, ensuring faster, more accurate means of leak detection.

“This technology has been widely used in Europe for several years. Now it is rapidly being adopted in the U.S.,” said Steve Little, President of KPOST Company. “It provides an accurate and non-destructive way to chase and locate leaks, something we are always interested in doing to preserve the integrity of a structure. Now when it comes to leak detection, ourwaterproofing team has better ways to keep the building envelope intact.”

While the 80’s may not know what to do with all this technology, the waterproofing team at KPOST will have no problem adopting and adapting.

“We are always looking for better ways to serve our customers. Investing in new technology that allows us to better perform our jobs while also minimizing the impact to our customers is of great interest to us at KPOST,” said Steve. “It’s one of the things I really like about being with KPOST – we put educating our customers first consequently earning their trust to maintain their building envelope for years to come.”

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