SurfEtch from Butterfield Color is a water-based mild surface retarder that, when used with fresh concrete, exposes the sands in the concrete for a unique decorative finish. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, it can add slip resistance and is solvent-free. Best of all, it’s easy to apply for even the beginning contractor.
“You spray it on after final finishing, and come back the next day (depending on climate) and wash it off,” says Keith Boudart, Butterfield Color sales and marketing manager.
SurfEtch works by chemically delaying the set of the surface mortar while allowing the underlying concrete to harden normally. This gives the contractor time to wash the surface and remove the surface mortar, exposing sands from 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch deep.
SurfEtch can be used on most horizontal installations, including curbs, sidewalks, driveways, patios and pool decks.
It is ideal for decorative uses, particularly in conjunction with stencil jobs. “The SurfEtch does not wick its way under where the stencils touch the surface,” says Boudart.
For example, if a contractor lays down a stencil of a brick pattern and then applies SurfEtch, the bricks will end up with exposed sands, while the grout lines will not. “It gives an old, worn brick pattern,” he says.
Adding to its decorative appeal, SurfEtch can be used along with integral color.
“When SurfEtch is applied it still gives the look of integral color, but it exposes the sands enough to change the color,” says Boudart, adding that many people
use it in borders or accent ribbons.