Here are a few products designed specifically to help cool down exterior concrete surfaces.
Kool Deck, which industry experts claim is just as common a brand name as Kleenex, is a concrete- cooling topping introduced by manufacturer Mortex in 1962. Their original topping, Keystone Kool Deck, is a proprietary mixture of natural substances and synthetic oxide pigments and helps surfaces withstand thermal expansion and contraction. The company has since released Kool Deck Elite, a topping that is made using an enhanced formula designed to resist modern chemical attacks and craze cracking and comes in a 50-pound, premixed package.
Manufactured by NewLook International, the patent-pending CoolStain is an infrared-reflective (IRR) concrete color stain that reduces surface temperatures by up to 50 degrees F when a comparable color, says NewLook International co-founder and vice president Jacob Webb. The penetrating, water-based and polymer-modified stain creates a completely opaque and natural- looking finish. In fact, “one of the reasons CoolStain works so much better than other IRR-type solutions is because it’s opaque, which is critical when you want to achieve solar reflectivity,” explains Webb.
CoolStain is designed for unsealed, exterior concrete surfaces, but can also be used to restore previously colored concrete surfaces. “Not only can you use it to restore the image of concrete and make it look brand new, you can use it to fix faded or failed integrally colored concrete. And, of course, the infrared reflective benefit makes your concrete surface more comfortable to walk on during the hot summer months,” Webb says.
L. M. Scofield Co.’s Solachrome High-SRI Concrete System allows contractors to install outdoor concrete surfaces in dark colors while achieving a high SRI value compared to conventional dark pigments. Solachrome comes in two versions, a patent-pending Integral Treatment, and a High-SRI Topping. Both products are highly reflective of the sun’s infrared light, causing it to bounce off surfaces before it can be absorbed, says L. M. Scofield director of marketing Cam Villar. Infrared is mostly to blame in the transfer of heat from sunlight to surfaces, he says.
Solachrome Integral Treatment for High-SRI Concrete also contain an “SRI-restoring ingredient,” which breaks down certain surface contaminants that can reduce SRI values over time. “One selling point is that it helps save the environment, but we also market its ground-level benefit,” Villar says. “You can feel the temperature difference. If a surface is 10 degrees cooler at say, a theme park, people are likely to stay longer, and that could translate to increased spending by patrons.”
Cool Colors and Eclipse
These pigments, produced by manufacturer Ferro, can be used to color many types of surfaces, from industrial coatings to plastics to metal roofing, and they create a cooling effect by reflecting solar heat. The pigments come in a variety of shades, from bright yellow to brown, navy and black. Chris Sullivan of ChemSystems Inc. says Ferro, a company with history dating back to 1919, was the original developer of a cooling pigment technology that other companies have since used in their surface-cooling products.