Concrete Sealers – Why Use Them?
Sealers can enhance the appearance of your driveway and concrete generally. They can provide a ‘wetlook’ or you can opt for a more natural look to your concrete. Either way, sealers, in their varying forms can do the following for your concrete, pavers, sandstone etc.
- Enrich the colour of the concrete
- Protect it from dirt and stains
- Act as a moisture repellent
- Help retard the growth of mould and mildew
- Ease of cleaning
- Prevents surface dusting
- Prevents salts coming through (efflorescence)
- Helps reduce rust stains in exposed aggregate (pebblecrete)
When you ring us, or come to see us regarding concrete sealer, we will ask a few questions about the area you wish to seal or reseal.
Resealing can be a little tricky, so we like to know as much as we can about your particular job, so that we may sell you the appropriate product or products to enhance the appearance of the completed project. Technical data sheets and MSDS are available for all products on request.
REMEMBER: Sealing or resealing of decorative concrete is important to enhance the appearance as well as to assist with surface wear. We understand that it does get confusing as to what type of concrete you may have, so listed below are some descriptions which may help, as well as the type of sealer we would recommend.
Stencil, pattern stamp, sprayed on resurfacing (frequently known as covercrete) – These types of finishes are normally sealed with a solvent based acrylic sealer. These are frequently referred to as ‘wet look’ sealers. You may have either a gloss or a satin finish.
These sealers should be applied in dry weather as they do not like wet conditions prior to curing. You will need two to three fine days when applying these sealers. We do recommend slightly different steps to assist you when resealing, depending on whether your concrete is wet concrete stencil, pattern stamp or
spray on resurfacing.
We will take you through these steps when you buy your sealer, to assist you to achieve the best possible finish. You will need to reseal with a solvent based acrylic every 18 months or so. It should also be noted that usually in the process of sealing pattern stamp, an anti-slip product should be used with your sealer.
Well sealed pattern stamp does tend to be slippery, and anti-slip should always be used for sealed pattern stamp in pool areas. It is also excellent for decorative concrete on steep gradients. Should you be concerned about tyre marks on your sealer, there are products available to remove tyre marks from sealed concrete.
*Should any of these decorative finishes be used in commercial food areas, we would strongly suggest the use of polyurethane for sealing as opposed to solvent based acrylics.
Exposed aggregate (pebblecrete)
Sealing exposed aggregate will help stop unsightly rust stains. Some staining can’t be stopped, but sealing will help minimise it, and improve the appearance. If your exposed hasn’t been sealed before, you may decide to use a penetrative sealer. Penetrative sealers are easy to use, and are normally water based. They can be applied with a garden type sprayer and provide excellent protection against moisture. This will help to reduce mould and mildew growth on your driveway. Penetrative sealers also leave the surface with a natural look. We have a range of excellent water based and solvent based penetrative sealers.
To achieve a gloss finish with a penetrative sealer, Satin-Lok is available. If your driveway has been previously sealed using a solvent based acrylic, you will need to use a solvent based acrylic again. Solvent based acrylics are also acceptable sealers for use on exposed aggregate, in fact, to date, they have been the sealers more commonly used to achieve the ‘wet look’ or gloss appearance.
Coloured concrete – This can be achieved a couple of ways. Coloured sealer, which is normally a solvent based acrylic, is a good option, very cost effective, and has a much better life span than paving paint. Paving paint only skims the surface of concrete. Coloured sealers penetrate slightly giving better adhesion to your concrete. Where paving paint will chip off, coloured sealers form a better bond with the concrete surface.
The other option to colour concrete, is buying it premixed from a concrete company BUT it should be sealed to protect the colour. We specify a matt sealer because colour through concrete will always have slight variations, using a matt sealer these variations are not highlighted as much as they would be with a gloss sealer. These particular sealers are the solvent base acrylics, previously mentioned for decorative concrete. Penetrative sealers can also be used on colour through concrete, but they will not enhance the colour as much as a solvent based acrylic.
If you should be making paving stones or mixing small amounts of concrete, we have oxides available so that you can mix the colour in as you are mixing your concrete. Straight oxide should not be thrown on the surface of concrete but mixed into the concrete. (Specially designed colour hardeners are available to throw on the surface of wet concrete, but this application is best left to an experienced concretor.)
Sealing, will enhance and protect the finished product.
Pavers, Sandstone, Concrete
Pavers, Sandstone, Concrete – penetrative sealers are best for pavers and sandstone. There are many benefits to using penetrative sealers, the first one being ease of application.
Other benefits include resistance to oil & water based staining, UV stable, reduce mould, reduce the adhesion of bat excreta and chewing gum, which would help cut cleaning costs in commercial applications. With the penetrative sealers the surface sealed retains a natural appearance. Penetrative sealers (being water based) are an excellent choice for sealing sandstone coping around pools also.
We stock a product in 1lt containers specifically for this purpose. The reason we recommend penetrative sealers over the solvent based acrylics for these applications is that the solvent based acrylics do not tolerate moisture which is frequently present between pavers, and they are not the best way to care for your sandstone. These products can be used for internal or external application. Penetrative sealers are best applied using a low pressure sprayer.
Natural Stone, Travertine, Reconstituted stone
Natural Stone, Travertine, Reconstituted stone – silane based penetrative sealer is recommended for these surfaces due to the penetrative quality of this particular type of sealer. These products provide protection without altering the appearance of the original stone. They are UV stable, minimise efflorescence (salts), repel water and organic stains and allow trapped moisture to escape. These products should be applied using a low pressure sprayer.
The Gloria Pro 5 sprayer is the sprayer we use for spraying water based penetrative sealers. It is an excellent commercial, low pressure sprayer.
Rising Damp, Slab Edge Dampness, Recurring Efflorescence (commonly known as whitesalts coming through bricks, block and concrete)
Since the extraordinary wet season in Queensland, we have seen an increase in these problems. Pictured, is how some of these problems may present themselves. Concrete will appear to have a white salty crust. You will clean it away, but it will reappear, and in some instances, cause small pieces of concrete to chip away.
Several years ago when efflorescence used to come through, it could be easily despatched with a light acid wash, but unfortunately it now seems to be a more persistent issue. If you experience these problems, please call us, or come and see us, preferably with photos of your particular problem.
We have specialised sealers that can deal with this. Effloresence (white salty appearance) should not be confused with dusting concrete. This is a separate issue.
Epoxies, Polyurethanes & Flake flooring – mostly internal
Whether it be commercial flooring, your home garage or rumpus room, we stock an excellent range of water based and 100% solid epoxies. Water based epoxy is an excellent low odour, hard wearing, chemically resistant floor coating. This is an excellent coating for workshops, food and hygiene areas. The other advantage with water based epoxy is that it cleans up in water. To complement the epoxies, we also stock polyurethanes. As epoxies tend to yellow, we always recommend putting polyurethane over the epoxy. It is possible to use the epoxy/polyurethane system without adding the flake. There are 4 different colours available in the water based range should you just need a good, hard wearing coating.
We have a range of 16 flake colours available, and custom flake is available with sufficient lead time. We can also access flake from other companies.
CEMENT BASED CONCRETE REPAIR PRODUCTS/SURFACE HARDENERS & DUSTPROOFERS AND POLYMER BINDERS
Dusting Concrete: Does your garage floor need continual sweeping because it always appears to be dusty? This is not an uncommon problem. When you have a dusting problem – please do not clean with Hydrochloric Acid – this will make it worse by attacking the surface. Surface hardeners based on sodium silicates, react with the calcium hydroxide in the concrete surface to harden the surface and make the concrete dust free and easier to clean. Give us a call if you are experiencing these problems, and we have a couple of products that can help.
Cement based repair products: Useful for a range of applications from building up edges, to general patching or building up small ramps. We have a couple of products available depending on your requirements. Not suitable for external use.
Polymer binders: These products are for use with cement mortars and concrete mixes to give excellent water resistance and enhanced adhesion. They also improve the workability and flow of cement bound mixes. (think Bondcrete, think polymer binders)