If you have a commercial, residential or industrial setting and you have had newly installed concrete, you have probably been told to seal it off. What these contractors don’t tell you is why, how, or what to use to seal the concrete off. The first of these answers is that water may be the worst enemy of a concrete floor. Worse even, are the daily wear and tear and harsh chemicals. These conditions could lead to mildew or/and mold and could pose a threat to the foundation of your construction.
The plus side to having a concrete floor is that they are durable and easy to clean, but, at the same time, they are also vulnerable to contaminants and spills. No matter how hard the surface is, it is bound to crack with time. And you have even more to be concerned about if you have stained or decorative flooring.
When you are thinking about protecting your concrete flooring, you are likely to be confused by the tongue-twisting scientific names and claims of great performance. This is bound to happen when you are looking for a sealer for your concrete floor. If you are simply looking for the best concrete sealers, then you don’t need to go any further but simply refer to the highlighted text, and read our comprehensive guide. It also tells you the types of sealers there are on the market, so that makes for a must read. But if you are looking for an in-depth guide on the what, how or why of concrete floor sealing, read on.
Oh, they are not, and pity if you have been led to believe that. Let’s get this off the table first — floor sealers are used to seal and bind the surface, whereas floor paints are available in a whole spectrum of sheens. Also, floor sealers can just be left like that or can be painted over. There are plenty of concrete floor sealers, like the Quikrete Acrylic Concrete Cure Seal, which not only leaves a lovely but not too glossy coat. Go on, read all about it!
If you have concrete flooring, chances are that your contractor told you about it. So to reiterate what the contractor told you, concrete is a porous material that has a tendency to absorb liquids. Sealing the floor would not only enhance its look and feel but will also protect it from hazards such as spilling, erosion or damage caused by high traffic.
On unsealed concrete, freezing climates can cause the frozen liquids to expand and cause damage that will need filling. Other stuff that can damage the floor would be salt, oil, chemicals or fertilizers. So by sealing the concrete (or waxing it in some cases), you are creating a barrier between the concrete and these other elements, thereby protecting it.
Sealing the concrete may or may not change the appearance of your concrete floor, depending on the sealer. You would hardly be able to tell if you have applied a chemically reactive sealer because it is absorbed in the floor. If you have used epoxy or a solvent-based sealer, it will give your surface a wet, high-gloss appearance, making the colors look a lot more enhanced. If you have used a water-based acrylic sealer, the colors on your floor will look moderately enhanced, and satin-y, giving it a more natural look.
There are sealers known as urethanes, which are generally applied over epoxies as a topcoat, and are available in gloss or matte (for a less shiny surface). Some sealers may even be colored with tints or opaque shades.
Again, this depends on the kind of sealer you are using on your concrete floor. There are high-performance coatings, such as urethanes and epoxies which should only be applied after the concrete has cured completely (usually, this could take between 25-30 days). There are yet other types of sealers which are reactive (penetrative) that should be applied as soon as the concrete can take the weight of the installers. These are known as silicates and siliconates. But as a general thumb rule, nearly all sealers can be applied after the concrete has cured.
When a concrete sealer is being applied to the concrete, it will usually be slippery initially when it is wet, like any other wet surface. But again, it depends on the kind of sealers you are using. A water-based sealer will be less slippery when compared with a solvent-based sealer. So for these, there are traction additives that can be used with such sealers, as the local hardware seller will tell you. These additives are very essential, especially in areas that see a lot of foot or vehicular traffic.
There are some factors at play here, mostly the environment. The period is usually 10 years or so, in case of reactive chemical sealers which will last as long as the substrate surface. And depending on the traffic in that area, urethane or epoxy will behave in a similar manner (a wide range of 5-10 years). Acrylic resin sealers do a great job of enhancing the look of your floor, such as the Black Diamond Stoneworks Stone Sealer seem to have the shortest lifespans and generally last 1-3 years at best.
Other factors that may or may not influence the life of a concrete sealer are:
Well, in that case, you will need to repair these cracks before you apply a concrete sealer. If left vulnerable, the concrete sealer cannot protect the floor from further damage if it has been cracked because of too much sun, water or chemical exposure. You will do well to realize that small cracks can develop into big ones if left untreated, under the right pressure.
For these purposes, a product such as the one size fits all, Quikrete Concrete Crack Seal Natural has been proven to be durable and effective.
Generally speaking, water-based floor sealers are environmentally friendlier than their solvent-based cousins, because the latter may contain dangerous levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs vaporize under ordinary circumstances indoors and are essentially air contaminants, and inhaling them can be dangerous. You may need to ask the resellers in your area if you are environmentally conscious and would like to know more about the regulations in your state.
Glad you asked because this is what the guide is all about. This guide is for you if you want to eliminate and control dust build up from your concrete floor, protect it from spills, abrasions, discoloration and stains.
So there you have it, that is the entire procedure to seal a concrete floor. Sealing not only puts an extra layer on your concrete floor but also saves you money on home repairs and renovation later on. So make sure you select a professional grade and quality sealer, and you can go right ahead and read these reviews to pick up the best one for you. Sealing is the way to go if you are looking to preserve your concrete floor from harsh weather conditions, and it is easy to do so, so why not give it a go!