Your home is a very important investment. Therefore you have to do everything in your power to protect it. The use of concrete sealers is among the methods of protecting your home. Concrete sealing helps many home owners to reduce dislocations and damages to their fences, wood decks by elements such as rain and ice. It also helps to prevent the sun’s bleaching effect. Exposed concrete slabs should also be sealed for these same reasons.
How does concrete sealing protect your home?
Water and moisture usually enters cracks, capillaries and fissure. This water causes variation in temperature which in turn causes contraction and expansion. Repeated expansion and contraction ultimately weakens the concrete. The water that enters the cracks, capillaries and fixtures may also freeze inside these openings causing them to increase in size. This way, the integrity of your house is greatly affected.
In addition, sealing your concrete protects it from dirt, grease, oil, stain and chemical agents that can affect the appearance making it difficult to clean.
Types of concrete sealers
There are many types of concrete sealers available in the market today. With the wide variety, it is very crucial that you do your homework well before you choose the type of sealer you would want to use. The choice you make should be based on the knowledge you have about sealers.
The sealers fall into two broad categories. These are the film-forming sealers and the penetrating sealers. Their main function is protecting the concrete. As they perform the primary function of protecting your concrete, they also perform the secondary function of decorating and adding color to the concrete finishes.
Film-forming sealers work the same way as stain does on wood. It is usually applied to decorative concrete. It offers varying degrees of protection and enhances the color of the concrete. The degree of protection varies depending on whether you use epoxy, polyurethane or acrylic base sealer.
Penetrating sealers on the other hand, just as the name implies, protects concrete by penetrating it. This way de-icing chemicals and moisture cannot cause any damage. It is used on non-decorative exterior concrete.
Steps followed when sealing concrete
There are four steps which are normally followed when sealing concrete.
1. The surface is thoroughly cleaned. A portable power washer is suitable for carrying out this job. You can buy your own washer, borrow or rent. You will also need to make or purchase a concrete cleaning solution. If you choose to make your own mixture, a 50/50 mixture of water and bleach works well.
2. Scrub the surface of the concrete with a stiff brush. Rinse and allow the concrete ample time to completely dry.
3. After checking that the surface is completely dry, apply the sealer the using a roller. Do more than two thin applications. Ensure that the surface dries a bit between applications.
4. Give the sealer time to cure depending on the manufactures recommendations. Generally sealers take around 14 days to completely cure. The surface should therefore not be used before this period expires and be protected from water.