Concrete is a strong material, but it is also a porous one. This means that water and other substances can penetrate the surface of concrete, causing damage throughout. Some chemicals, like turpentine, can wear away the concrete from underneath. Even if you apply a cosmetic fix to the surface, the stability of your structure can be compromised. Water can be equally destructive on concrete surfaces. Water will penetrate the concrete and then freeze if temperatures drop enough. This process can literally break concrete apart from within.
The Benefits of Concrete Sealants
The good news is that there is something you can do to protect your concrete from these harmful substances. By applying a concrete sealant, you prevent other substances from penetrating the surface, giving a much longer life to your driveway, patio or basement floor. Concrete sealants can also provide an aesthetic quality by adding color or shine to your concrete surface. There are many different types of concrete sealant available, so it can be hard to choose the right one for your needs. This article will provide a brief overview of concrete sealants so you can make an educated guess on the right one for your specific project.
Which Concrete Sealant Should You Choose?
Some concrete sealants actually penetrate the surface of the concrete to protect from within, while others merely treat the surface. In most cases, it is better to choose a sealant that will penetrate, since this provides additional protection. Concrete sealants can also be referred to as “breathable” or “non-breathable”. If your concrete slab does not come equipped with a vapor barrier, you want the moisture that seeps in underneath the slab to be able to evaporate out. A non-breathable concrete sealant will prevent this process, which can mean damage to your concrete foundation down the road. A breathable sealant will allow evaporation to occur while protecting the top layer of your surface from additional moisture.
Before You Finish…
Sealants also come with a variety of finishes. If you want to simply seal your driveway to protect it, you probably want to choose a clear sealant that does not add much gloss to the surface. However, if a patio is your project, you may want a glossy concrete sealant that will offer a shiny finish for a more pleasing aesthetic quality. This is particularly true if you have a stamped or stained patio that you want to stand out in your landscape. You can find high gloss sealants just for this purpose. You can also get concrete sealants with a tint of color to dress up your drab, grey concrete slab or add additional color to a stained or tinted surface.
When you choose the right sealant for your needs, it is important to follow manufacturer’s instructions to the letter to ensure a good result and safe application. Wear the recommended safety gear and pay close attention to the weather conditions. Concrete sealants often need to be reapplied periodically to maintain their appearance and protection, so reseal your surface as necessary. The right concrete sealant can make all the difference in a concrete surface that is beautiful, protected and long lasting.