Concrete is permeable by design. Even the best quality concrete on the planet has some degree of porosity. With this feature you can tell, water is one of the biggest enemies of concrete. Your garage, patio, driveway, and the floor of your house need proper concrete waterproofing if they are to stand many years of service. Why? Because waterproofing is the surest way of protection against the destruction. Things such as mildew, rust, and mold thrive on moist surfaces. But proper concrete waterproofing significantly rolls back their likelihood to appear on your concrete.
The use of concrete sealers in concrete waterproofing is the most common and effective way of protecting your concrete from the destructive elements. There are two types of concrete sealers. These are:
- Penetrating sealers
- Film-forming sealers
Penetrating sealers are also known as impregnating sealers because they penetrate concrete and bond with its chemical composition to form a barrier that blocks out moisture. It is a little expensive but its effect on concrete lasts much longer. It may take you an eternity before you make another trip to the dealer. Plus, the appearance of your concrete remains unaltered after applying a penetrating sealer. This is a great option for a concrete basement.
Film-forming sealers, on the other hand, give your concrete a glossy finish. However, you need to apply it frequently because it wears out faster. Whether you opt to use the penetrating or film-forming sealer, be sure to apply it on a clean and dry concrete for better results. Additionally, never apply concrete sealers on immature concrete. By immature I mean new concrete that is still under the curing process. Give it ample time to cure fully before you do concrete waterproofing. At least a month should be enough.
So, how do you waterproof concrete? Read on for insights into finer details on how concrete waterproofing is done to achieve desirable results.
Here is a checklist of requirements for the concrete waterproofing task.
- Water hose
- Push broom
- Concrete cleaner
- Scrub brush
- Liquid concrete waterproofer
- Watering can
- Painter’s tray
- TSP – trisodium phosphate
- Long handle roller
- Protective gear: Gloves, goggles, boots, etc.
Sweep your concrete exhaustively to remove dust. Do it at least twice depending on how dirty the surface is. Just ensure there is no dust left on the concrete after sweeping it. You can randomly rub the surface with your fingers to check for dust presence.
After ensuring the surface is dustless and dry, use the watering can to sprinkle the concrete floor cleaner on the surface. Give it like 15 to 20 minutes for the cleaner to soak into the surface. Then use your scrub brush to scrub the surface with vigor. All along, ensure the cleaner is wet while scrubbing by adding some little water to the surface.
If you are sure you have scrubbed the surface thoroughly, use the hose to rinse it. Allow the surface some time to dry. Remember you are going to apply concrete sealer and the chemical composition of concrete sealers makes them immiscible with water. A day or two should be enough depending on the weather. In a nutshell, just ensure your concrete surface is dry enough to absorb the sealer.
Once your surface is dry, double-check to ensure there’s no dust or grit. Otherwise, rinse your concrete surface again for better results.
Different brands of concrete sealers require different quantities per square feet. Check on your sealer package for directions and pour some into the painter’s tray. Apply it to the floor using your paintbrush. Be careful not to stain your wall if it is the floor you are sealing. By the way, you should cover your walls with protective plastic sheets before you start sealing.
Use your paintbrush when sealing the floor edges adjacent to the walls. Use the roller to apply the sealer to other parts of the floor. Push the roller in one direction as you apply the first coat. Roll it thoroughly into the concrete and allow it some time to dry.
Apply a second coat for better results. This time around push the roller in the opposite direction. Doing so ensures the sealer spreads evenly into the concrete. Give it some time to dry again. Two days should be enough.
You have now sealed your concrete surface and it is dry. Care starts right away. After the two days of drying and curing, you should give it a further three days before anyone sets foot on it. If it is a driveway, allow it at least two weeks before you can drive on it. What is more, do not be quick to start cleaning it with concrete floor cleaning detergents. Only start the cleaning after between 25 to 30 days.
Depending on the type of sealer used and the amount of traffic on the concrete surface, consider resealing periodically. Remember film-forming concrete sealers tend to wear faster. Therefore, resealing annually would be ideal to protect your concrete surface against wear and tear. But again, like I have said it entirely depends on the traffic on the surface and how much it is exposed to the elements. Therefore, reseal the surface as soon as it starts fading and absorbing water.
Concrete reacts with water and chemicals. When it absorbs and retains moisture for some time it leads to discoloration due to corrosion. Moisture promotes the growth of mold and mildew that is harmful to concrete. Chemical compounds such as salts and certain acids also react with the aggregate, cement, and metal used to reinforce concrete thereby deteriorating it. For that reason, concrete waterproofing is indispensable if your concrete surface has to last long.
Concrete waterproofing takes time and practice to master. It is an exercise you need to learn from a concrete waterproofing expert and do over and over again for you to produce desirable results. Therefore, it is advisable for you to have your concrete waterproofing job done by an expert who understands the nuts and bolts of concrete waterproofing. Southside Concrete Waterproofing is equal to the task should you need help. Feel at ease to let us know your concrete waterproofing needs.