In a strange way, working with EkoFlo coated pebbles reminds me of Play-Doh®. As a kid, there were endless possibilities when I cracked the plastic lid open from atop a cardboard canister. I could shape and mold the various colors into dinosaurs, cars, and people. Although I have to admit, I never liked the taste of Play-Doh spaghetti.
Pebbles blended with EkoFlo can seemingly go anywhere. Sure, there are obvious projects like a backyard patio or a garden walkway, but tree wells? The area around a tree that’s nearly impossible to maintain and always looks terrible? Yes, tree wells, and it doesn’t stop there. There’s the area below your hose bibs, that planter bed you’re tired of weeding, the floor of the greenhouse, the downspout washout, decorative add-ons for any concrete, paver, stone, or DG surface, the floor of an outdoor pool and hot tub shower, and, well, you get the point. If there is an unsightly patch of dirt around your home or office, then it’s EkoFlo to save the day.
Bottom line, EkoFlo is as wonderful as your imagination. So take a stroll around the house to find a couple areas. Go ahead, I’ll wait until you get back (Final Jeopardy music playing in background).
OK, and we’re back! What did you find? A few areas for EkoFlo? Cool, now let’s talk about how to get it done.
Until the summer of 2017, EkoFlo was only available in 1-gallon and 5-gallon bottles. It was up to you to scout out the right pebble for your project down at the local landscape supply yard. And don’t get me wrong, that is a great thing too! You get choices, a little bit of adventure is involved in finding that perfect pebble. Then all that’s left is cleaning and drying the pebbles before the EkoFlo spin cycle begins.
Alas, the pebbles are not always so easy to find. So we went a step further. I guess you could say we went two steps further. We sought out the most commonly requested pebbles based on feedback from Authorized Dealers across the country. Next, we clean and package them in a heavy duty 5-gallon bucket, and finally, we throw in a 16-ounce bottle of EkoFlo binder, some gloves, and an install guide. And that’s not even the best part! You can pour the binder on the pebbles and mix directly inside the bucket using a 1/2″ drive cordless drill and the EkoFlo Mixing Wand! (drops the mic)
Now let’s get down to those Top 5 Tips. Here they are with some color commentary on the side…
(1) EkoFlo contains isocyanate, and although rare, may produce an allergic reaction in some people. Persons allergic to isocyanate, and particularly those suffering from asthma or other respiratory conditions, should not work with isocyanate. When working with EkoFlo, always use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety glasses, impenetrable gloves, long sleeves and pants, and closed toe shoes or boots (avoid direct contact to skin).
TJ >> Trust me, it sounds scary but it boils down to the fact you should just be careful. It doesn’t matter if you’re using EkoFlo or operating a blender, use common sense. A small percentage of people have a mild allergic reaction when their skin comes into contact with the polymer compound found in EkoFlo. Before you get overly nervous, don’t. There are hundreds of products lining the shelves of your local building supply store that contain similar polymer formulations. So throw on some old work clothes (long sleeves and pants) and wear safety glasses and gloves when using EkoFlo. I hate to sound like your parents, but, better safe than sorry.
(2) EkoFlo should be installed within an ambient and surface temperature range of 55° – 90° F. Shaded, low sunlight, or colder areas will lengthen cure times. Conversely, direct sun, warmer areas will shorten cure times. Avoid temperatures at or below 55° F and above 90° F for EkoFlo installation, curing phase, or storage.
TJ >> Fairly straightforward tip right here, but I think it’s important to expand on that tidbit about ‘surface’ and ‘ambient’ temperatures. It is a critically important note any time your using one of our sealer products like NanoPave or Molecule, but still a good rule of thumb for EkoFlo. It goes like this, ambient temperature is just the outside air temp. But it is rarely the same as the surface temp! If it is 89º F outside and your project is in full sun, you are within the temp range – right? Technically, yes. But just how hot is the base rock surface temp your EkoFlo blended pebbles will be going down on? Believe it or not, sometimes the surface temp can vary by up to 20º F or more – sometimes a lot more! That means your 89º F day might yield a 109º F surface temp, and that can literally cook the binder to cure faster than it should. Invest in a laser temperature gun, they are a great tool. The last part is important too, it takes more time for EkoFlo to cure in colder temperatures and less time for it to cure in warmer temperatures. Watch your weather forecast before installing and if the temps are going to drop below the 50º range at night, hold out for a warmer time window.
(3) Under-applying EkoFlo binder will reduce bond strength. Conversely, over-applying will adversely affect the curing process and aesthetic. Always consult manufacturer coverage rate guidelines, or contact TechniSoil technical support at: 877-356-2250.
TJ >> I don’t know what it is about us guys (the ladies don’t seem to have this issue). We simply will not follow instructions! We’re guys, so we know better… or so we think. When it comes to mixing EkoFlo there is definitely a happy medium between too much and too little, and we spell it out on the product label and a few other helpful places. If you subscribe to the ‘more is better’ philosophy with EkoFlo, things can go south quickly. Besides looking like a gooey mess, too much EkoFlo binder can lead to foaming during cure leaving you with a white bubbly texture captured in the binder. And there’s no going backward once it’s cured, so that means tear out and redo (no one wants that). If you subscribe to the ‘less is more’ philosophy with EkoFlo, then you wind up with too few bonding points on and around the pebbles resulting in a project that will not be strong enough. The bottom line, follow the mixing instructions and you should produce a wonderfully mixed material with evenly coated pebbles that trowel into place like butter.
(4) Do not install EkoFlo less than 48 hours before or after rainfall. In damp conditions, allow to dry completely before application. Disable any irrigation systems near treated areas during application and cure phase.
TJ >> The message here is clear, no water. On its face value, it seems counterintuitive for a product that creates permeable surfaces to have issues with water during installation. But, it is so. Don’t worry though, this is easily managed. Check the forecast, look for a solid 3 day time window to install. Turn off any lawn or planter bed sprinklers that might spray on the project area. A little bit of moisture is no big deal, but getting water on EkoFlo before it’s cured can cause problems both in appearance and cured strength. For the unlucky souls that get caught by a freak storm after installing EkoFlo, find a tarp to cover the project as best you can right away. We can’t always control our surroundings, but it never hurts to be prepared.
(5) Mask all adjacent surfaces with tape and polyethylene film to protect surface materials from possible staining (i.e. stone, pavers, concrete, etc.). Clean any accidental spills immediately with acetone and a wash cloth.
TJ >> So, if you are tasked up with painting the trim in your living room – do you use masking tape? I ask because I know from my own personal experience that I will always start a project like that by saying to myself, “I don’t need to mask. I have a steady hand. I won’t get any trim paint on the walls.” Invariably, if I don’t mask, I get paint on the walls, the floor, the windows, not to mention my hair and my clothes. The moral to the story? Just use the masking tape. The same goes for EkoFlo my friends. This is especially true if you are planning to install EkoFlo pebbles in between flagstone as a jointing material. It looks incredible, but it is a labor-intensive install that requires some care. If you get any EkoFlo binder on something around your project, clean it up immediately, the sooner the better. If it cures, it can stain most hardscape surfaces like concrete, pavers, and bricks (it’s a clear stain, but a stain nonetheless). If the stain cures, there are less options. The state of California has outlawed most of the chemical cleaners designed to remove a binder stain, but some acetone, a scrub brush, and elbow grease might get the job done. I’m always a huge fan of the stain cleaning powers of WD-40®. Try it some time, you’ll be impressed.
There you have it… the inside scoop! For more information on EkoFlo, visit TechniSoil.com or any one of our social media channels. We have videos, FAQ sections, installation guides, project photos, and so much more. Of course, if you come up with that question that just can’t be answered – shoot us a call or email by visiting our Contact Us page.
Thanks and good luck!
The Top 5 Tips Blog Series is brought to you by TechniSoil Global, Inc. Customer feedback indicated to us that a large percentage of end-users installing TechniSoil brand products are not interested in reading an encyclopedia worth of boring instructions. Rather, they would like to focus on the most important factors for a successful installation. One of our more recent innovations was to incorporate a hinged label on the back of several 1-gallon and 5-gallon bottled products. The label is made up of three sections. The outer cover showcases a finished project, the inner cover features complete installation instructions translated for Spanish and French speaking users, and the bottle cover is a full color instruction panel in English. On it, there are two sections entitled ReadMe.txt and Top 5 Tips, the latter being a list of things to consider should you ever wind up marooned on a desert island with our product (also works well for projects around the home or office). If you are the type of savvy installer who loves research and due diligence, then never fear, we have you covered there as well. For more information on our products including videos, FAQ’s, installation guides, and more, visit us online at TechniSoil.com or any of our social media channels.