Best Concrete Resurfacer

Posted: 25th August 2014 by admin in Concrete Restoration

Some concrete is damaged beyond repair and the best way to repair the concrete surface is with a concrete resurfacer. The best concrete resurfacing material is the Quikrete Concrete Resurfacer (No 1131). The QUIKRETE® Concrete Resurfacer (No. 1131) is a special blend of Portland cement, sand, polymer modifiers and other additives. Designed to provide a shrinkage compensated repair material for making thin repairs to sound concrete in need of surface renewal. Can be squeegee, trowel or brush applied.

Once the concrete is cured, it is important to seal the concrete. You can opt for a water repellent sealer, or a protective coating. What’s the difference? A water repellent sealer, like a silane-siloxane sealer, will work entirely below the surface without changing the look or color of the concrete. It will cause water and other liquids to bead off the surface, protecting the concrete from damage caused by the absorption of water (spalling, mold, mildew). If you want a wet look, satin sheen, or high gloss coating, or if you require protection from oil, gas, or hot tire pickup, you need a coating. For exterior coatings, consider a solvent based acrylic and for interior coatings, an aliphatic polyurethane.

Best Sodium Silicate Concrete Sealer

Posted: 20th August 2014 by admin in Sodium Silicates

A silicate, is a silicate, is a silicate. A sealer is a carrier for the silicate to penetrate into the concrete. Once the silicate chemically reacts with the concrete to form CSH (Calcium Silicate Hydrate) within the pores, there is no more “sealer” left. All that is left is the hardened CSH structure.

There will be a few things that vary one manufacturer to the next, and that will be the % solids. Some manufacturers will carry a concentrated form (around 30% solids) which will be diluted with water and applied at a 7-10% solids solution, which is perfect. That is ideal for the application of a silicate. Other manufacturers will sell a prediluted solution. In both scenarios. the same % solids formula is applied to the concrete.

This is one of those products where more solids in NOT better. The silicate needs to be applied at a 7-10% solution in order for it to properly react. If you apply it at too high of a solids you will end up with a hardened sheet of glass on the surface. If you dilute it more, you will end up with a poor reaction.

The primary use of a silicate should be to increase the surface strength of the concrete. While the CSH structure will reduce the movement of water and moisture through the pores, it won’t cause water to bead off the surface and will come of little help in preventing mold and mildew growth. For that, you would need a silane-siloxane sealer.

Best Silicate Sealers:

  • Armor S2000 – Concentrated sodium silicate solution. 1 gallon of S2000 is diluted with 3 gallons of water to make 4 gallons. Total cost for 4 gallons: $64.95 which brings the cost down to $16.23/gallon.
  • Scofield – Pre-diluted sodium silicate. No price listed.
  • Eagle – Pre-diluted sodium silicate. $19.97 plus shipping per gallon.

 

Best Concrete Sealer for Garage

Posted: 20th August 2014 by admin in Garage Floor

There are a few different products that can be used to seal a garage floor. The best garage sealer for your application depends on what you want the floor to look like once sealed, and how you need the sealer to perform.

Here is a list of the best concrete sealers for garage floors:

  1. Silicate: Silicate sealers are used to increase the surface strength of the concrete. They should be used for no other purpose other than that. Silicates will not change the look or color of the concrete and work entirely below the surface.
  2. Silane-Siloxanes: Silane-Siloxane sealers are water repellent sealers. Water repellent sealers will cause water and other liquids to bead off the surface. They help with salt stains, mold and mildew, and spalling but they will not stop oil or gas from staining the concrete. Silane-Siloxane sealers will not change the look or color of the concrete and work entirely below the surface.
  3. Aliphatic Polyurethane Coatings: This type of coating will form a film over the surface of the concrete. Some coatings, like the Armor UTN60 (shown below), come with additives making the coating scratch and abrasion resistant, chemical and acid resistant, oil and gas resistant. This category of coating is used in residential and industrial applications.
  4. Epoxy Coatings: Epoxy coatings are very inexpensive and easy to come by. They won’t be as durable, or last as long as an aliphatic but they will provide a few good years of service.

Picture taken from FoundationArmor.com:

How To Apply Foundation Armor UTN60 Garage Floor Coating

Best Concrete Sealer for Winter

Posted: 20th August 2014 by admin in Ice Damage

There are a few different types of sealers that can be used to protect concrete from the hard effects of winter, but if you are looking for the best winter sealer, consider a high solids silane siloxane sealer.

De-Icing salts and warmer days will melt the snow and ice. The concrete, much like a sponge, will absorb the water where it will re-freeze within the pores of the concrete. Ice takes up more space than water so when the water turns to ice, it expands causing the concrete to chip and spall on the surface.

A silane-siloxane sealer will cause water and other liquids to bead off the surface, preventing the water from penetrating into the concrete. When water freezes, it will freeze on the surface, as apposed to in the surface.

When choosing a silane siloxane, go with a high solids solution, solvent based, and preferably DOT approved. This certification proves the product has gone through very rigorous ASTM testing.

Best Sealers:

  • Armor SX5000 (40% Solids, Solvent, DOT Approved)
  • Prosoco PD (7% Solids, Water Based, no certification)
  • OKON (20% Solids, Solvent, no certification)

Silicates

Some manufactures like to push silicates for sealing exterior concrete. Silicates should only be used to increase the strength of the concrete. Silicates do not cause water to bead off the surface so when ice melts, the concrete will absorb the water.  If you truly want protection from winter, you need to seal with a silane-siloxane. If you want to increase the strength of your concrete as well, you an put down a silicate then apply a silane siloxane to the surface a week later.

Breathable Concrete Sealers

Posted: 20th August 2014 by admin in Concrete Sealers

There are a few categories of sealers that can be classified as breathable:

  1. Silicate Sealers: Sodium, lithium and potassium silicate sealers are all breathable. They will chemically react with the free lime and calcium to form a  CSH structure within the pores. The CSH structure will reduce the movement of water and moisture, but it will not stop it completely.
  2. Silane-Siloxane Sealers: Silane-Siloxane sealers fill in the pores with a hydrophobic material. They will stop the absorption of water on the surface, but will allow more moisture from below grade to pass through. While moisture penetration will be reduced in higher solids formula, the sealer will always remain breathable.
  3. Acrylic Sealers: Many acrylic sealers, and some acrylic hybrids (epoxy infused acrylic) will remain breathable. They will form a hardened coating on the surface that will reduce but not stop the movement of moisture up through the concrete.

When To Use a Breathable Sealer

There is a time to use a breathable sealer, and there is a time to avoid a breathable sealer. Here are a few tips:

  • If you plan on installing hardwood floor, linoleum, carpet, bamboo flooring, or any other type of flooring to a concrete slab, you want to seal the concrete slab with a non-breathable sealer. If you don’t use a non-breathable sealer, moisture will penetrate up through the concrete and destroy your flooring. Aside form destroying your flooring, you will notice that efflorescence, mold and mildew can form below the forming, causing the flooring to push up and become uneven. Now, the amount of moisture you have coming through your floor will determine  how much damage is done, but most flooring contractors require your moisture be less than 3 LBS which is why a Non-Breathable sealer is best. It will also be important to make sure the sealer you choose (most likely an epoxy base) has been rated for use in moist environments and that is has been tested to hold back high amounts moisture.
  • If you are applying a sealer or coating to exterior concrete, brick, or pavers, you want to make sure the sealer is breathable. If you don’t apply a breathable sealer, the moisture will cause the sealer or coating to delaminate. Avoid using epoxy or urethane coatings on exterior applications and stick to a silane-siloxane water repellent, or an acrylic sealer.

Breathability Lies

There are some companies on the market that will tell you anything to make a buck. Here are a few of the  most common “lies” not to believe when looking for a breathable sealer:

  • Breathable sealers, and even non breathable coatings will stop Radon.” That statement is 100% false. The only thing that will stop Radon is a Radon mitigation system. Some sealers may slightly reduce Radon, but not enough to make a notable difference. If you have Radon, you can seal the floors and wall and repair cracks, but you should also install a Radon fan or full Mitigation System.
  • You don’t want to put a non-breathable sealer on a basement floor.” This is 100% false. If you have mold and mildew issues, or plan on installing flooring, you need a coating that is designed to hold back moisture so that the moisture won’t ruin your flooring. The coating will penetrate and bond to the surface pores of the concrete and the floor will not be negatively effected by preventing moisture from passing through. The best type of coating will be an Epoxy rated specifically for moisture.
  • Our sealer will stop efflorescence.” This is 100% false. There is not a sealer or coating in the world that will stop efflorescence. High solids silane-siloxanes and some coatings may reduce efflorescence, but unless you can seal the surface at the source, you can’t stop it. For example, if you have efflorescence coming in through your wall, the only way to stop it would be to seal the wall from the exterior.
  • Our sealer will seal hairline cracks.” This is 100% false. If you can fit a piece of paper into the crack, the only way to seal the crack is with a concrete repair product. If the crack is letting in water, you need a concrete repair product. If the crack is so tiny (spider crack) that you can’t fit a piece of paper into it, you can just seal the surface and not have to worry about a concrete repair product.
  • “Our sealer will last for 100 Years.” In this industry, there are two things that will make one manufacturer different from the next. The first is the formula. The resins, solvents and solids used with vary from manufactuer to manufacturer. These characteristics are associated directly with performance. The second way a manufacturer will differ is in the warranties they offer. Warranties are completely made up by marketing departments in an effort to drive salts. Every category of sealer is rated to last for a range of time and has been proven to fail after that. Don’t spend more on the warranty when it comes to sealers because 99% of the time, that company won’t be there to let you cash in! Here is a chart that shows the approximate life of each category of sealer:
  1. Silicates. Once a silicate chemically reacts with the concrete, there is no longer a sealer left. Silicates are simply chemicals that   spark a chemical reaction. The CSH formed from this reaction will never break down.
  2. Silane-Siloxanes. A low solids solution (2-10%) will typically last for 1 year. In some cases, up to 2 but there aren’t enough solids present to allow the sealer to perform. A high solids solution (20-40%) will typically last for anywhere from 5 to 8 years depending on the application surface and how much was applied during the time of application.
  3. Epoxies. When applied to an interior surface, an epoxy will last for anywhere from 5-8 years depending on whether you go with a store bought or industrial epoxy, whether there is moisture present in the concrete, and how the epoxy was applied to the surface. When applied to an exterior surface, an epoxy will last anywhere from 1 week to 1 years. In some cases you can get longer but usually an epoxy will peel from exterior moisture/pressure.
  4. Urethanes. When applied to an interior surface, a urethane will last for anywhere from 8-10 years depending on whether you go with a store bought or industrial urethane, whether there is moisture present in the concrete, and how the urethane was applied to the surface. When applied to an exterior surface, a urethane will last anywhere from 1 week to 1 years. In some cases you can get longer but usually a urethane will peel from exterior moisture/pressure. Under this category there are Aliphatic Polyurethane, Aliphatic Polyurethanes and straight Urethanes. When choosing this type of coating look into what the coating has to offer: scratch resistance, chemical resistance, etc.

Manufacturers:

Here is our list of trusted manufacturers. These companies have a proven track record for manufacturer quality products. They also offer superior customer service and give you access to technical representatives:

  1. Foundation Armor
  2. General Polymers
  3. Prosoco
  4. Okon

 

Best Basement Sealers

Posted: 11th August 2014 by admin in Basement Sealers

There are a few different types of sealers that can be used to seal basement walls and floors. Which basement sealer is best for your basement depends on several factors. Here are the best basement sealers, and when to use them:

  1. Sodium Silicate Sealers. Sodium silicate sealers will chemically react with the free lime and calcium in concrete to form CSH within the pores. Through densification, the movement of water and moisture will be reduces. The size of the CSH structure formed is dependent on several factors, and can’t be predicted or controlled. For that reason, how much water and moisture is reduced will vary from application to application, coat to coat.
  2. Silane-Siloxane Sealers. Silane-Siloxane sealers are not designed for moisture mitigation, but some manufactures, like Foundation Armor, have proven that with their formula, you can see up to a 15% reduction in moisture within a 24 hour period.
  3. Epoxies. Not all epoxies are treated equal. Most epoxies will peel when moisture becomes present, but some epoxies, like the Foundation Armor 2 part epoxy and the Foundation Armor moisture mitigating epoxy, will reduce moisture down to less than 1/2 lb of moisture. To put that into perspective, most flooring installers require your floor to be at 3 lbs or less.

If you have cracks in your wall or floor, or water coming in through the coveseam (where the floor meets the wall), you need to use a concrete repair product, not a sealer.

 

SX5000 Review

Posted: 2nd August 2014 by admin in Product Reviews

The Foundation Armor SX5000 is popular for several reasons:

  1. It is DOT approved in several states.
  2. It is available in a 40% and 100% solids solution.
  3. It uses a very particular blend of solvents that allow it to provide superior performance above and below the surface.

When it comes to silane-siloxane sealers, the % solids is very important. If you ask any contractor whether they would prefer a 10% solids solution or a 40% solids solution they will absolutely tell you 100% of the time a 40% solids solution will outlast and outperform.

A recently posted video demonstrates the effectiveness of the Armor SX5000 sealer:

 

When purchasing a silane siloxane concrete sealer there are a few things to consider:

  1. You can purchase a water or solvent based. The ONLY reason solvent based tend to be more popular is because they are formulated with a higher solids. The highest solids solution you will see with water based is 20% but most water based solutions are 2-10% solids.
  2. You can purchase a sealer by the % solids solutions. 10% solids is ideal for water based and 40% ideal for solvent based.
  3. Look into the testing data. Some products have gone through very rigorous testing and been approved for certain applications. Look at ASTM testing data, or certifications such as a DOT approval.
  4. Look into the warranty. Usually, if a company offers a ridiculous warranty on a silane siloxane they are a fly by night company and won’t be around long enough to back the warranty up. The typical life of a silane siloxane is anywhere from 3-8 years. You could get less and you could get longer but that will depend on the substrate, the material, and how much you apply. Water can stop beading after a few years, but the material will continue to work below the surface. 10 Years? 25 Years? Don’t be fooled by false warranty claims.
  5. Buy the right amount of material. Ask a technician what would be appropriate. If you are applying a silane siloxane to brick you will need more material than if you were applying it to trowel finished concrete. Applying the correct amount of material will give you the longest life, and the most protection.

Stamped Concrete Sealer Problems

Posted: 2nd August 2014 by admin in Product Reviews

In some cases, stamped concrete sealer problems are a result of using a bad product, and in other cases, stamped concrete sealer problems are the result of not properly applying the sealer.

There are two types of sealers that can be used to seal stamped concrete. The first is a penetrating water repellent sealer (high solids silane siloxane) and the second is an acrylic lacquer. Acrylic lacquer coatings are the most popular because they help to protect the integral color, and enhance the surface with a wet look, satin sheen or high gloss finish. Sealers (high solids silane siloxanes) rarely experience any problems, but they not enhance or change the appearance of the stamped concrete in any way.

When you use an acrylic on stamped concrete, you can experience certain problems. Stamped concrete sealer problems include:

  1. Peeling and Flaking
  2. Yellowing
  3. Turning White
  4. Wearing Off
  5. Bubbles

Avoiding these problems is fairly simple when you have a understanding of how the sealer functions and how to properly prepare the concrete.

Peeling and Flaking

Peeling and flaking can be caused by a variety of factors. If the acrylic peels after the first few weeks of applications, the sealer was most likely not applied. When acrylics are applied to a properly prepared surface, they will penetrate and bond to the pores of the concrete. If the coating is not able to form a bond to the concrete, or if too little of the coating is applied, it will peel and flake away.

Solution: Avoid peeling and flaking by making sure the surface of the stamped concrete is porous. A rough surface will allow for better penetration and bonding; a smooth surface will prevent proper penetration and bonding. When applying the acrylic, use a roller and make sure that 2 even coats are applied to the concrete. This will allow for proper film formation. Make sure the concrete is 100% dry during the application and that it is not expected to rain for a few days.

If you have an acrylic down that has started to peel, you have a few options. If a water based acrylic was used, you have no choice but to remove it. If a solvent based acrylic was used, you can use Xylene to repair the surface. Xylene will bring the coating back to a liquid form and allow it to re-cure. In some cases, you can leave the coating as is once Xylene was used. In other cases, a new coat will be required once the solvents have evaporated.

If the acrylic peeled from a moisture issue, consider applying a high solids silane siloxane to reduce moisture and protect the coating.

Yellowing

Acrylics today aren’t what they were 10 years ago. Any good acrylic will resist yellowing and will not yellow under UV rays. If you are using an acrylic that experienced yellowing, you should consider removing it and try a different acrylic. Most all acrylics today are formulated with UV blockers.

Turning White

A white haze is very common with acrylic coatings. The coating can form a white haze from moisture, or from old age. In any event, the solution is easy. If a water based acrylic was used, you have no choice but to remove it. If a solvent based acrylic was used, you can use Xylene to repair the surface. Xylene will bring the coating back to a liquid form and allow it to re-cure. In some cases, you can leave the coating as is once Xylene was used. In other cases, a new coat will be required once the solvents have evaporated.

Wearing Off

Wear is common when a sealer starts to reach the end of its life cycle. If a water based acrylic was used, you have no choice but to remove it. If a solvent based acrylic was used, you can use Xylene to repair the surface. Xylene will bring the coating back to a liquid form and allow it to re-cure. Once the solvents have evaporated, apply 2 new coats of a solvent based acrylic lacquer.

Bubbles

Bubbles form when air is trapped below the coating during the curing process. These can be rolled out with a touch up of Xylene and a roller.

Concrete Sealer Nano Technology

Posted: 2nd August 2014 by admin in Concrete Sealers

The truth about Nano Technology and concrete sealers.

According to Nano.gov, nanotechnology is the application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.

“Everything on Earth is made up of atoms—the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the buildings and houses we live in, and our own bodies.

But something as small as an atom is impossible to see with the naked eye. In fact, it’s impossible to see with the microscopes typically used in a high school science classes. The microscopes needed to see things at the nanoscale were invented relatively recently—about 30 years ago.

Once scientists had the right tools, such as the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) and the atomic force microscope (AFM), the age of nanotechnology was born.”

Want to see concrete sealer nano technology in action? Just look under a microscope at the hardened, or reacted, result of ANY concrete sealer.

What does this mean? Don’t be fooled by Nano Technology claims and marketing materials. Nano Technology is not proprietary, and it isn’t an ingredient. Nano technology is a word that describes the size of the molecules. Nano = tiny. Most penetrating sealers use nano technology, therefore, don’t pay more thinking you will get more!

When looking for a penetrating concrete sealer, here are a few important buying factors to consider:

  1. Sodium and lithium silicates are available in diluted and concentrated forms. Diluted formulas range anywhere from $16-$30/gallon and concentrated silicates range anywhere from $64-100/gallon. The $65 silicate will perform just as well as the $100 silicate because it is the silicate that causes the chemical reaction. A benefit to going with a concentrated solution is that you get more for your money. One gallon of sodium silicate is diluted with up to 3 gallons of water, and 1 gallon of lithium silicate is diluted with up to 4 gallons of water.
  2. Silane-Siloxane sealers are better purchased as is. What makes one manufacturer different from the next is the % solids (40% is best) and the resins that go into the formula. A great silane siloxane will run about $55/gallon, sometimes less. Low solids solutions, which don’t perform as well as a high solids solution (low solids range from 2-10% solids) cost much less but you will have to put more on sooner AND you won’t get as much protection above or below the surface. Your best option? A 40% solids silane siloxane sealer.