Concrete holds a special place in the hearts of home and business owners alike, thanks to its incredible durability and lifespan. Yet that doesn't mean that concrete isn't susceptible to developing problems as time goes on. Cracks and spalling can quickly undermine the structural integrity of a concrete surface, if not carefully protected against.
One of the best ways to prevent premature breakdown of concrete involves applying the substance known as a concrete sealer. Of course, to get the right results, you'll need to select the most appropriate type of sealer. If you would like to improve your knowledge of concrete sealers, read on. This article will discuss two key factors to consider in deciding on the right sealer for you.
When applied correctly, virtually any type of concrete sealer will protect your surface from undue wear and tear. Yet the same can't always be said for the concrete sealer's effect on you and your family. You must appreciate the fact that a sealer will alter the traction - and hence the safety - of your concrete.
The important variable is thus how much the sealer will reduce traction. The thickness of the sealer plays a huge role in this determination. Generally speaking, the thicker the sealer, the less traction it will yield. The further the top of the sealer gets from the rough and stubbly surface of the concrete, the smoother and flatter it will be.
To a certain degree, however, this depends on the original texture of the concrete. More highly textured concrete, for instance, broom-finished concrete, will continue to impact the texture of the sealer at a greater depth. Be sure to discuss your traction needs with your concrete contractor, in order to determine the best possible tradeoff between thickness and traction.
Also, keep in mind that you can increase traction at any sealer thickness through the application of surface additives like sand and plastic grit. A contractor broadcasts such substances across the surface of the still wet sealer. As the sealer dries, the particles become stuck in the surface, thus imparting a great degree of grip.
This method has one drawback in that the filler does tend to come loose as time goes on, meaning the sealer will gradually lose its traction.
Most of the concrete sealers on the market today have acrylic resin as their number one ingredient. Yet a variety of secondary substances are also used to alter the sealer in terms of behavior, application time, and appearance. Silicone, epoxy, and polyurethane all fall into this category.
Where appearance is concerned, the most common variable at play is gloss. Concrete contractors rate gloss using a 0 to 100 scale. A sealer whose gloss level is zero will be perfectly matte - in other words, it's surface will reflect the lowest possible level of light. The higher the gloss rating, the more reflective and glossy it will become.
Be sure to discuss your appearance needs with your contractor in order to determine the most appropriate level of gloss. Outdoor applications generally benefit from a lower gloss rating, to cut down on unwanted glare. A higher gloss, on the other hand, will help to enhance the features of indoor and/or decorative concrete.
Sealer represents the best way to protect your investment in a concrete surface, whether its purpose is practical or decorative. Of course, to ensure best results, you will need to have your sealer installed by a professional with the requisite knowledge and experience. If you would like to learn more about what type of sealer is best suited for your needs, please don't hesitate to contact the experts at Southport Concrete Corp.