A "self-levelling" concrete that’s new to North America will revolutionise the construction industry, its maker says, by eliminating many hours of back-breaking labour. Lafarge, a multinational building material company, says Agilia concrete is able to smooth itself into a flat and level surface. Lafarge invented Agilia in the late nineties and has used it for several years in Europe, but it’s new here. Onlookers at a demo yesterday at the company’s Moodie Drive plant were surprised by how well it worked.
"The physical strain on the human body placing concrete is immense," said Al Brown, Lafarge Canada’s general manager of ready-mix in Ottawa. It’s a lot of back-breaking, bent-over, wheeling and shoveling and raking, whereas with this product (self-levelling concrete) there’s none of that. Literally, with about two minutes of instruction, you could pour and finish your own basement floor in under an hour. As opposed to a finishing crew, which would be three to four men for about six hours."
Lafarge mixes different types of sand and different types of cement, and "super-plasticizers," -- polymers that make the sandy particles slide over each other more easily, so that the liquid concrete flows better. The self-levelling concrete costs more, but Mr. Brown calculates it would add about US$80 to the material cost of a typical garage floor, while saving a couple of hundred dollars in labour.