Concrete is an essential building material for commercial properties, whether laying paved areas or pouring walls, columns, and landscaping features. Modern concrete can last hundreds of years, but it is still a porous material that fares better when properly protected. This is where concrete sealant becomes an important part of the process.
Sealing concrete is essential to preparing beautiful and long-lasting commercial concrete. This article will expand on how to seal concrete and why it is necessary.
What is Commercial Concrete Sealing? And Why is It Needed?
Commercial concrete sealing is when your contractors expertly apply a layer that seals a concrete surface’s top layer and joints with a chemical sealant. The sealant provides a slightly more polished surface resistant to moisture, oil, chemical spills, and other elements that might invade the porous concrete slab. It also provides additional protection against foot traffic.
Unsealed concrete is subject to environmental hazards that can reduce its quality over time. When water seeps into the concrete, it can expand with cold or heat, causing cracks. Oil, dirt, and other contaminants in porous concrete can cause discoloration and worse. With Cincinnati receiving over 40 inches of rain a year, this is something to always remember with concrete surfaces exposed anywhere in the elements. However, sealed concrete is much more resistant and shows a glossier, more attractive appearance.
Concrete Sealer Types
Many concrete sealant formulas fall into two different categories: Topical vs. penetrating concrete sealants. Topical sealants are designed to cover the surface, while penetrating sealants seep into pores of the concrete and seal it on a deeper level.
Topical concrete sealants include acrylic, epoxy, polyurethane, and polyurea formulas. These form a coat over the top of concrete, and some can be used to create an artificial layered floor.
Penetrating sealants are often used in more heavy-duty environments, penetrating and then sealing deeper into the concrete and even resisting some cracks. These include silane, siloxane, silicate, and silicone sealers.
When Should You Apply Sealer to Commercial Concrete?
Knowing when to seal concrete is important to get the best result. Concrete sealing should be done when the concrete is fully cured, completely clean, completely dry, and when the temperature is right.
- 30+ days after the concrete is poured
- When the weather is clear for a week before and after sealing (for outdoor commercial concrete)
- After the concrete has been power-washed of all oil and contaminants and allowed to fully dry
- when the temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees F.
Concrete Sealant Application Methods
When your contractor decides how to apply concrete sealer, they determine the location and conditions of the concrete installation and the type of sealer that will be used. There are four typical methods for sealing concrete: Rolling, spraying, mopping, and squeezing.
Rolling on concrete sealant is a lot like using a paint roller. The brush roller applies sealant evenly over the entire surface, preventing puddles. Once the first coat is applied and dried, the second coat should be applied in the opposite direction to ensure all pores are filled.
Spray application allows skilled contractors to apply an even layer of concrete coating. It is most often used for penetrating sealant where a deeper sealant layer is appropriate. Your contractors will know the right amount of pressure and number of coats to apply.
Applying concrete sealer with a mop is an aesthetic choice, as the mop is more likely to create tracks and swirls on the sealant surface. It’s important to match your mop fibers to your sealant and remember that each layer will be thin.
Squeegie concrete sealing is done with a squeegee-style mop. It is often used when the sealant has a fast cure time because it allows for rapid application.
Contact Cincinnati’s Concrete Sealcoating Contractors
Whether your commercial concrete is aging or brand new, sealing concrete is the best way to keep the surfaces safe and beautiful. Prevent cracks, discoloration, and oil or chemical penetration by sealing the surface of your concrete. Concrete sealing is also a great opportunity to add color, style, and finish to your commercial concrete surfaces.
Neyra Paving has provided expert concrete sealing services since 1965 for all commercial properties around Cincinnati, OH. From polished concrete lobbies to loading docks and workshop floors, contact us today to learn more about commercial concrete sealing and whether it’s right for your properties.