concrete sealers

Maintaining Concrete: How to Protect and Improve Durability of a Concrete

If you really want to extend the service lifespan of a concrete, you must protect and also maintain it well. Applying concrete sealers will definitely protect it from staining, surface damage, and corrosion. Sealers minimize absorption of salts and water by the concrete by blocking the pores within it. In other words, they form an impermeable layer on the concrete hence preventing such substances from passing.

Research done by concrete authorities such American Concrete Institute indicates that most of the concrete damages are caused by water. Other kinds of damages occur as a result of chemical intrusion and alkali-silica reaction.

concrete sealers

Types of sealers:

Topical sealers

These types can not only provide visual enhancement but also protection from chemicals and stains. They are normally applied on dry and clean surfaces so as to gain adhesion. They are usually added together with anti-skid materials and have a lifespan of up to 5 years.

Penetrating sealers

These are normally applied to either damp or dry surface. They are first matched with the porosity of the substrate so as to go through the surface effectively hence reacting. The chemical reactions result in the formation of a strong bond between the substrate and active ingredients. This prevents the water from penetrating the surface. Their lifespan can be 5 or more years.

Reinforced concrete

This is a combination of a concrete of relatively low ductility and reinforcement of higher ductility or tensile strength. The combination is usually stronger than the components because it utilizes the higher tensile strength of reinforcements and the concrete’s compressive strength. When concrete is exposed to unfavorable weather conditions such as hot sun, heavy rain, and freezing temperatures for a long time, it can crack. Such occurrences can be prevented with the help of concrete mesh.

In driveway slabs, concrete steel mesh and driveway mesh are commonly used to control the length and width of cracks. The mesh should not be placed below the concrete slab otherwise it may not be able to control the cracks. Placing the mesh in the correct position is very important. For a durable, ductile, and strong construction, the reinforcements should have the following characteristics.

•    Ability to withstand tensile strain

•    High relative strength

•    Ability to form a strong bond with the concrete

•    Long lifespan while in the concrete

•    Ability to withstand changes in temperature

The final appearance of a sealed surface

The final appearances of sealed surfaces depend on concrete sealers applied. Those which are chemically reactive penetrate the surface of the concrete and this is why they are nearly invisible. Acrylic resin sealers that are solvent-based are appropriate for exterior and interior surfaces. They do not only provide UV protection but also give surfaces a high-gloss wet appearance.

Acrylic resins sealers that are water based can also be applied to both exterior and interior surfaces. They provide natural finishes, which are stain and water resistant. They provide minimal color enhancement.

When to apply sealers

Some reactive penetrating sealers such as silicates and siliconates and acrylic resin sealers should be applied on new concrete. Siloxanes and silanes are examples of reactive penetrating sealers that can be applied to a fully cured concrete. Water-based concrete sealers are environmentally friendly.