New Elephant Armor Overlay is Touted as Being Crack-Free

Shotcreting onto foam Elephant Armor
Elephant Armor is shot onto the side of a foam-constructed training facility at Fort Stewart, N.C. Photos courtesy of GST International Inc.

GST International Inc. is best known for its concrete cleaners and sealers, but the company has been working on developing the ultimate cementitious overlay for a decade and a half. They think they’ve finally cracked the case.

GST is billing Elephant Armor as “The World’s Most Amazing Cementitious Patch and Overlay Product.”

The overlay is not polymerized. Rather, it’s a one-component mix fiber-modified with PVA fibers — a lot of them. GST has engineered a mortar that holds an unusually large amount of fibers and allows them to be dispersed evenly throughout the mix. It’s also very flowable, making it easy to work with.

Most impressively for decorative contractors, Elephant Armor allows seamless floors without expansion joints.It can be finished, it’s pigment-friendly, it holds texture well, and it eliminates the need for repair grouting on restoration jobs.

Construction worker replacing failed stamped overlay.
Elephant Armor is shot onto the side of a foam-constructed training facility at Fort Stewart, N.C. Photos courtesy of GST International Inc.

Elephant Armor is available in three variations: Mortar, Asphalt Patch and DOT Industrial Grade. Because the mortar works well as a finished stampable overlay, it will be repackaged and launched as a fourth product in the spring.

GST technical services director Thomas Martin says he did his homework. “ASTM testing was conducted for shrinkage, strength both compressive and flexural, abrasion resistance, ductility, shear strength, freeze-thaw and heavy salted highways — the results are phenomenal!” he boasts. “The versatility of this product is unmatched. The viscosity of the product can simply be adjusted with the addition of more or less mixing water. This allows for one product to be both a permanent patching material or an overlay. It can even be mixed and applied with a peristaltic pump for difficult vertical spraying applications.”

As Martin says, Elephant Armor is a just-add-water bag mix. Its consistency changes with the amount of water added. Among other things, this frees it to function as both a horizontal and vertical overlay.

The repair after the work is done, with curing compound visible on the patch surface.
The repair after the work is done, with curing compound visible on the patch surface.
Concrete worker using Elephant Armor to repair a slab.
Spraying on a trowel aid for a full-depth repair of an active runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

The overlay doesn’t require joint cuts because it is practically crack-free, thanks to the ductile mortar and large amount of fiber. The company claims the mortar has 500 times the tensile strain capacity of other cement-based products. It offers great flexural strength too, applied as thin as 1/4 inch.

The overlay may find friends among repair and restoration specialists. The mix settles over surface flaws in one pass without ghosting cracks or flaws. Once the damaged concrete is cleaned and primed, the semiflowable Elephant Armor will lock into the nooks and crannies itself, eliminating the need for repair mortar.

And it offers high strength early, with the repair products achieving final set in less than two hours.

The highly cementitious mix accepts any and all colorants. If any PVA fibers fuzz out of the surface, they can simply be burned off. It even resists de-icing salts and freeze-thaw damage.

A 50-pound bag of Elephant Armor will retail for roughly $35 to $50 a bag, with the DOT mix being more expensive than the other two. Dealers will get the bags for $25 to $30. It’s also available in 10-pound buckets.

The material will be sold nationwide, including at the Menards home improvement store chain.

The CST team stumbled across the right formula for their mortar by accident two years ago after a decade of trial and error. They’re patenting the system.

They’ve also been field-testing it all over the world in the past couple of years, reporting positive results in several locations, from repair patches on a highway in Utah and a runway at Los Angeles International Airport to horizontal and vertical repairs at an aqueduct in Nevada.

Finally, the new overlay even has applications in furniture. GST is working with two nationally known furniture designers, Janna Phillips and Braden Richter, to develop foam-core Elephant Armor-coated lines for outdoors.

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