Concrete floors and structures can last up to 100 years and beyond. However, the durability depends on a variety of factors. It starts with the mix and ends with the sealing. It is important to select the right mix of cement and sand, grit and suitable admixtures. The amount of water that is used to create the mix is just as important since too little can result in the concrete drying out and cracks forming. Too much water can prevent the formation of air bubbles inside that allow for expansion and contraction. During freezing weather the saturated concrete can be subject to expansion pressures that causes cracks. Temperature also plays a vital part in the concrete curing process.
Concrete is best cured at lower temperatures and kept hydrated all the while, at least for a week, according to experts. The curing can also be achieved with application of liquid membrane in cure and seal process. The liquid forms a thin polymeric layer on concrete surface and restricts evaporation of moisture resulting in better structural properties. Curing must be done with keeping sealing process in mind. One can use polymer seal over the concrete or use a penetrating sealer. Concrete sealing is not a one-time process. It should be carried out on a regular basis in order to keep concrete protected against ingress of moisture and chemicals that can degrade the material.
Concrete Floors Sealing
Concrete sealer types
Concrete sealing can be carried out using variety of materials. One type adheres to the surfaces and creates an impermeable barrier to the air and moisture. This type of concrete sealing material is usually made of polymers such as polyurethane, acrylic and epoxy. The liquid polymer is applied to the surface where it cures to form a film that gives a nice wet, polished look so desirable for concrete floors. Liquid silanes or siloxanes are penetrating sealants that react with moisture and alkalies and form a water repellent film inside the concrete. It is recommended that for old concrete slabs you carry both treatments with the penetrating sealant treatment first followed by the surface application of polymer concrete sealant.
The importance of concrete sealing
You can think of concrete as a porous man-made rock. It stays in perfect health if there is no ingress of moisture and air. Keeping it healthy is achieved by the process of concrete sealing, a process that has a number of benefits.
- Penetrating sealants will penetrate deep inside concrete and it will form a water repellant barrier that will prevent oxidative damage and also potential damage by water. In summer, water can form vapor that will expand and exert pressure to cause cracks. In winter, water inside can freeze and expand with similar results. Penetrating sealants are not sufficient. For better protection one must always apply a couple of coats of polymeric concrete sealing compounds.
- The surface sealing will prevent water, oils, chemicals and air from penetrating the concrete and causing any damage. Concrete remains like new when it is sealed and fully protected.
- While concrete is tough, it can be damaged by the chemicals and the impact. Sealants take the brunt and prevent the material from becoming damaged. This is just as important for interior floors and roofs as it is for driveways.
- While penetrating concrete sealants you need to keep the concrete protected from inside, film forming sealants protect it from the outside and also confer beauty to plain concrete.
It is the last step but the most important one. It may add to the cost but will definitely add to a great life and beauty of your concrete structures such as flooring, walls, driveways and roofs. If you still want to know more then let’s go the details and get more information.