What is Concrete Sealing?
Concrete is a porous building material; it easily absorbs liquids. When used in climates where freezing and thawing is likely, there’s risk that liquids absorbed by the concrete might expand, causing damage. Therefore, sealing concrete surfaces can help to increase durability; it’s also possible for sealants to enhance the colour of a concrete surface.
What is concrete sealing?
Concrete sealing can be achieved using a variety of different types of sealants, depending on the results desired and the stage at which you are sealing the concrete. Integral sealants can be incorporated into the concrete mix, meaning that as your concrete cures it will be sealed from the start.
Penetrating sealants are those that can be applied to existing cured concrete, penetrating the surface and forming a chemical barrier. Another option is decorative concrete sealing, which involves applying a solvent or water-based acrylic product to change the look and texture of a surface.
Why seal concrete?
The purpose of sealing concrete is primarily to protect the surface for as long as possible. The barrier formed by a penetrating sealant will protect the surface from the elements and environmental damage. Concrete sealing also inhibits the growth of mould and mildew, and has the added benefit of making a surface easier to clean and maintain. Depending on the type of sealant you use, you can also seal concrete for aesthetic purposes, making it more attractive.
How to seal concrete
Before sealing any concrete surface, it is important to make sure the concrete is fully cured. It’s recommended that you wait for at least one month after pouring, before sealing the surface. Preparation and safety are vital parts of the process, so don’t skip these important steps.
Make sure you have read the instructions on the sealant product you are using. Ventilate indoor areas and pay special attention to any safety precautions, protective equipment and preparation needed. Before starting a concrete sealing project, check the weather, especially for outdoor projects which might be ruined by the rain. Different sealants may need to be applied within certain temperature ranges, so make sure it won’t be too hot or too cold to achieve the desired results.
Sealing a concrete floor
Before sealing a concrete floor, you’ll first need to sweep and remove dirt and debris, then deep clean the surface to degrease and remove stains. Mop thoroughly and air dry for at least 24 hours before sealing a concrete floor.
Once the surface is prepared, apply sealant to the floor, following the instructions provided. You’ll usually need two thin coats, to achieve a smooth and even finish. Apply each coat in a different direction to ensure all the pores of the concrete are filled.
Leave the sealed concrete floor to dry completely, avoid walking on it during the drying phase. A wax finish can also be added and reapplied to maintain the sealer. Depending on the product used you may need to reseal concrete floors every few years.
Sealing polished concrete
Polished concrete surfaces can be sealed to protect them from dust and dirt. A sealant will also provide an additional barrier to maintain the polished surface when it is subject to regular wear and tear in high traffic areas.
When sealing polished concrete, mask off and protect any areas that you do not want to come into contact with the sealant. Dividing the surface into sections will help to make sure you apply uniform layers of sealant, and that no areas are missed.
Sealing concrete driveways
Preparation is key for concrete driveway sealing. You must ensure the driveway is clean and dry, making any necessary repairs to the surface before applying any type of concrete sealing product.
Plan ahead, you’ll need to leave your driveway sealant to dry for a minimum of 24 hours, with some products requiring up to three days to dry fully. While it is drying, avoid parking cars on the driveway, and walk on it as infrequently as possible. You might want to put up signs, or barriers so that no one else walks or drives across the surface accidentally.
Sealing concrete helps to prolong the lifespan of the surface, and can enhance the colour and finish of floors, driveways and structures. The most important thing to remember when sealing concrete is that preparation and safety are vital. Properly sealing concrete will keep it looking at its best, making cleaning and maintenance easy.