Concrete is one of the most durable and reliable structural materials used in construction today. Whether you have used it for your patio, sidewalk, exterior walls, or pavement, you can count on decades of reliability, strength, and aesthetics. So, is it really necessary to apply a sealant on your concrete surface?
A short consultation with an expert will tell you that yes – applying a sealant is an affordable and accessible way to protect your concrete surfaces and extend the lifespan of your investment. Here’s what you need to know!
Concrete Sealant: An Overview
A home’s exterior walls, patio, driveway, sidewalk, masonry, and foundations are the structures most exposed to daily wear and tear and natural elements. In particular, the concrete’s porous structure makes it prone to damage from the elements.
In fact, wind, freeze-thaw conditions, rain, snow, UV rays, salt water, salt, moisture, and chemicals can take a toll on any concrete surface – especially the most exterior ones. Moisture issues and mold can be so severe as to create structural damage.
However, other issues appear as cracks, flakes, and discoloration. A concrete sealant can protect the concrete, porous structure and guarantee you more structurally sound elements!
Types of Concrete Sealers
A concrete sealer does not have to be glossy or make your surface slippery. Thanks to the several kinds of sealants on the market today, you can find a material that is not only efficient but also preserves the original design and texture of your concrete surface.
Innovative types of sealants are always in evaluation to determine their efficacy and potential. However, today’s main options are:
- Topical sealers – topical sealers are particularly appreciated because they are easy to apply as an additional protective layer atop your concrete surface. Aside from improving the concrete’s aesthetics, topical sealers protect your patio or driveway from chemicals and stains. On average, concrete sealers last around five years, but high-quality epoxy systems can last much longer.
- Penetrating sealers – Instead of dwelling on the concrete’s surface, penetrating sealers act at a molecular level. The sealer reacts with the substrate and creates a chemical barrier that prevents moisture and chemicals from damaging the cement. These sealers can last longer than five years, and they won’t modify your surface’s appearance.
- Integral sealer – these sealers might be an option to consider if you are building a concrete surface from scratch. This concrete sealer is added to the concrete mix before the application and will start protecting the surface immediately.
When selecting the right sealant for your concrete surface, there is no “one-size-fits-all” formula. Indeed, you can opt for a topical concrete sealer’s wet look or prefer a clear concrete joint sealer that won’t affect your patio or driveway’s aesthetics.
Benefits of Sealing Concrete
Sealing concrete is not only beneficial to your home’s structure; it might also be necessary. While you can avoid sealing interior concrete surfaces, the outermost walls, pavements, sidewalks, and driveways might need the extra layer of protection that only sealants can offer.
Here are some of the benefits of this choice.
Increases the Concrete’s Lifespan
Concrete is not one of the costliest construction materials, but increasing its lifespan is essential for many reasons. Indeed, poured concrete or pavers can involve a high initial cost and, once in place, it can be difficult to repair or modify a concrete structure.
Additionally, concrete structures are not among the most environmentally friendly materials – which means that it is important to extend their lifestyle and limit the usage of new material.
Of course, concrete is known to be already long-lasting – especially in high-traffic areas and such as roads and driveways. However, an adequate sealant can increase its longevity by over 30 years!
Protects the Concrete From Moisture Damage
Moisture damage represents the most severe threat to the health of your concrete surface. Moisture damage can derive from humidity, rainwater, or stagnant water. And, when this affects an exterior wall or floor, you might also have to deal with severe internal damages.
The most common consequences of moisture damage include mold and bacteria growth, making your home environment less healthy and livable. If left untreated, such damage can also end up affecting the reliability of the whole building!
However, this is not the only consequence of water damage! Indeed, as water moves through the porous texture of concrete, it dissolves and leaves behind deteriorating chemicals such as carbon dioxide, sulfates, and roads’ deicing salts. The damage caused by these chemicals can spread much faster than moisture or mold. A topical or penetrative sealant can prevent such damage.
Protects the Concrete Against the Elements
The concrete surfaces of your driveway, pavement, or patio are particularly exposed to natural elements and everyday wear. Indeed, usually, these areas have to withstand high levels of constant traffic. While doing so, they also have to act as a reliable barrier against water, moisture, winds, and chemicals.
In an area where the climate tends to present freeze-thaw conditions, sub-zero temperatures, or heavy rains, the concrete’s porous surface will start showing signs of damage earlier than you would have thought. Some of the telltale signs that contaminants have taken hold of your concrete surfaces include flaking, cracking, and spalling.
A sealant can help you protect your home’s structure from the constant action of natural elements.
Preserves the Surface’s Design
Concrete is highly versatile. Whether you have opted for a luxurious home design or a minimalist style, concrete is the right material to help you achieve that look. However, once you have spent money and effort on crafting the perfect design, it is crucial to protect it against the action of elements and daily wear and tear.
A sealant can help you protect your driveway, patio, and exterior surfaces from oil spills, UV rays, and natural elements.
In turn, this can help you prevent discoloration, cracks, and damages that would otherwise call for a costly renovation!
Protects the Surface Against Chemical Damage
As we have seen, moisture and mold can be extremely damaging to your concrete surfaces. However, the chemicals that water brings and releases into the concrete’s porous surface are even more dangerous.
Chlorides, salts, oxygen, and sulfates can penetrate through the concrete’s surface layers and affect its pores. By doing so, they can reduce its elasticity and durability, causing it to crack and become brittle.
One of the most frequent uses of concrete slabs is to design driveways. Indeed, concrete can easily withstand high traffic levels and most climate conditions, making it a long-lasting choice! However, if your area’s climate is likely to bring harsh winters and spring frosts, you need to consider investing in concrete sealers for driveways and pavements.
Sealants create that extra layer of protection that ensures that deicing salt from the road and freeze-thaw conditions – and the chemicals that they transport – won’t affect the concrete.
Is It Always Necessary To Seal Concrete?
Concrete sealants might not be necessary for indoor surfaces that are not constantly exposed to elemental damage. However, applying a sealant is often a worthwhile voice for external surfaces to protect them from water and chemical damage.
Compared to dealing with foundation or driveway damage, applying a sealant is an affordable and accessible choice. In any case, it is always recommendable to speak to an expert before selecting the right sealant for your needs.
How Long Does Concrete Sealant Last?
A debate on how often concrete sealant should be applied is still open. Some believe that reapplying the sealant every year is necessary, while manufacturers agree that regular applications can benefit the concrete surface.
Among the different kinds of sealants seen above, reactive or penetrating sealants are the longest-lasting ones. Indeed, they penetrate through the surface layers of concrete and bind the porous surface at its core. Because of this feature, these sealants start to lose efficacy only when the surface becomes worn – which might happen after ten years or longer!
Topical sealers are shorter-lived, but they can still last for as long as ten years, especially if you opt for high-quality epoxy or urethane systems.
Best Concrete Sealants for Your Project
As we have seen, there are so many sealants on the market – and not all of them might be suitable for your needs. Here are some of the best options on the market:
- Prosoco Gloss n Guard – if you wish to achieve a glossy, wet look for your driveway, pavement, or patio, this sealant offers you long-lasting protection. It is ideal for polished or unpolished masonry and allows you to bring to life the natural beauty of your design. The sealant also boasts anti-slip properties for increased safety.
- Prosoco – Durasheen – this sealant is a fast-drying, high-performance option to achieve a unique glossy finish for your concrete surface. While it does not boast slip resistance, it creates an extremely tough layer of protection against chemicals and moisture.
- Prosoco – Salt Guard – this is a penetrating sealant designed to be an alternative to shiny or glossy sealers. Thanks to its slip resistance, this sealant is perfectly suitable for driveways that are constantly exposed to salt from the road and UV rays.
Get in Touch With Specialty Sealants, Inc Today
A high-performing concrete sealer paint can help you preserve your concrete design elements’ beauty and sturdiness, from driveways to exterior walls.
Here at Specialty Sealant, Inc, our team of experts has over 20 years of experience in the field and will be able to guide you in the choice of the perfect sealant for your needs. Get in touch today to discover our concrete sealants and the best professional application techniques.