Going Green: Using a Concrete Sealer
A concrete sealer is an excellent option to make your exposed concrete protected against grease, dirt, chemicals, and even from foot traffic. It acts as a shield even as it enhances the physical appearance of concrete. Since concrete is porous, it acts like a sponge where water can easily seep in and cause havoc to an otherwise rigid structure. When ice starts to form in the crevices and expand, it will easily chip out the affected portion and exposed more within until the structure gives in.
Types of Concrete Sealers and Its Purpose
Concrete sealers come in two broad classifications: the film type and the penetrating type. Each type depends on the purpose and even the aesthetic effect it is expected to produce.
Film Formers or Clear sealers are mostly applied for decorative concrete works. The material inhibits the seepage of water and impurities by forming a barrier along the concrete surface. Typically producing a sheen or gloss, the film formers can enhance the aggregate colored concrete.
Penetrating sealers absorb into the concrete by 1 to 4 millimeters deep thereby producing better water-proofing ability. The penetrating sealers don’t produce a glossy finish as compared to the clear or film type.
So which type of concrete sealer should you use? This generally depends on two factors: first, the appearance of the surface you like and second, the type of maintenance you are willing undertake. If prefer a glossy finish, choose the film formers. But if you desire a matte finish with non-slip surface, use a penetrating type.
Concrete Sealer Applications
For around the house exterior surfaces, an option for clear or film type concrete sealer can be enough. Patios, driveways, and even floors go well with a nice coat. It results in a surface that is easily cleaned – an advantage compared to its unsealed counterpart. Inside the house, an epoxy sealer can go well over countertops to keep your concrete surface intact. This will make your countertop last long even if you use chemical cleansers and over frequent cleanings. Such sealer provides an extra layer but also lets the intended stain or surface color shine through.
Penetrating sealers are also applied over highways, streets, and roadways to protect the surface. These are mixed with metal alloys to purposely address the demand for durability. The broad application of concrete sealers therefore goes beyond the confines of the home or a building. You’ve got to decide on the applicable type depending on your budget.
Other Hybrid Sealers
In addition to the above sealers, there are also hybrid formulations called “cure and seals” that cure and seal concrete in a single application. These formulations are solvent-based or water-based acrylic resins. Even on freshly installed concrete, this can be applied as a replacement to the curing membrane. Such can be applied as sealer to concrete of any age.
Finally, choose only those products that meet the requirement of ASTM C1315 standard for materials used in curing and sealing concrete.