How To Remove Old Acrylic Sealer

Posted: 30th April 2015 by admin in Acrylics

Removing an old water or solvent based acrylic sealer from concrete or paver surfaces doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, to remove an old acrylic you don’t even need any fancy cleaners, or toxic chemicals.

The easiest way to remove an old acrylic is with Xylene and a high PSI (high pressure) or heated pressure washer. You will apply the Xylene which eats away at the acrylic and wash it away with the pressure washer. A few rinses may be required until you get a better handle on how much of the Xylene to apply. If you don’t have access to a pressure washer you can pick up a coatings stripper from any local hardware store, including Home Depot, and follow the directions on the package.

Once the old acrylic has been removed you want to give the concrete or pavers at least 24 hours to dry before applying a new acrylic. When choosing a new acrylic, consider the following so you don’t find yourself stripping away an old acrylic every few years:

1. Professional grade acrylics that offer a higher solids and superior resin base will give you more life and better performance than a low solids “cheap” acrylic. While the $99 price for a 5 gallon pail seems attractive, it will cost you more in the long run when you have to reapply after only 6 months, or strip off after a year. Products like the Armor AR350 Wet Look Sealer, or the Armor AR500 High Gloss sealer are designed to bond better and last longer than traditional acrylics.

2. Remember this: Water based acrylics need to be re-coated with water based acrylics (after a good surface scratching); solvent based acrylics need to be re-coated with solvent based acrylics. Solvent based acrylics require less work and tend to last longer than water based so if you have the opportunity to start with a solvent based acrylic it will be easier to maintain and re-coat. Take for example the Armor AR350. In 2-5 years when you decide you want the sheen back you can clean the surface and apply more Armor AR350 right over the old Armor AR350. No removal, no prep – just reapply.

3. Apply the acrylic to a completely dry surface. The only time prep is required before applying a new acrylic is if the old acrylic blushed, or tuned white. This is a clear sign of a water or bonding issue and the acrylic has peeled away from the surface. In this case, you will have to remove the acrylic if it was water based, or use a Blush Repair product if it is solvent based.

Do I have to remove my old acrylic?

Before going through the process of removing an acrylic, talk to a technician to see if you even need to. In many cases a new acrylic can be applied over the old acrylic, and even bad acrylics can be repaired. If you have questions, contact Foundation Armor at 866-306-0246 or Live Chat on their website, FoundationArmor.com. They are a leading chemical manufacturer that specializes in concrete chemicals.

When sealing concrete around a pool deck there are a few different sealer options that can be used:

Invisible, penetrating sealer: If you want a sealer that won’t change the look or color of the concrete you need a Silane-Siloxane water repellent sealer, like the Armor SX5000. The Armor SX5000 is a high solids Silane-Siloxane blend water repellent that contains 10X more active materials than competing brands. It chemically reacts to form a hydrophobic barrier within the pores that caused water and other liquids to bead off the surface. Even after the bead effect wears off, the concrete will remain protected for at least 5-7 years. Concrete sealed with a water repellent sealer are more resistant to deterioration and staining caused by water absorption. They can be used around fresh, salt water, and chlorine water.

Learn more/buy Armor SX5000.

Wet Look or high gloss sealer: If you want a wet look or high gloss concrete sealer that will enhance the concrete you want an acrylic based sealers. Not all acrylic sealers however are the same and many acrylics are very sensitive to moist environments – peeling and chipping when applied around pool decks. While the Armor AR350 and Armor AR500 are of the top sealers for concrete and pool decks, Foundation Armor released the Armor AX25 early last year. The patent-pending formula combines a Siloxane Water repellent with a high solids acrylic resin (Siloxane infused Acrylic). The siloxane offers superior water repellency over traditional acrylics which allows the Armor AX25 to provide a lasting gloss finish when applied around an area constantly exposed to fresh, salt, and chlorine water.

Learn more/buy Armor AX25.

Sealed Concrete Pool Decks

Foundation Armor AR350

Stamped Concrete Pool deck sealed with the Foundation Armor AR350 Wet Look Sealer.

Foundation Armor AX25 High Gloss Pool Deck Sealer

Stamped Concrete Pool Deck sealed with Foundation Armor AX25.

 

 

Wet Look Paver Sealer

Posted: 30th April 2015 by admin in Acrylics, Paver Sealers, Wet Look Sealers

Wet look paver sealers penetrate into the surface of the pavers and give pavers the appearance of being wet. A satin sheen to high gloss finish cures over the pavers leaving the pavers enhanced and protected.

Not all paver sealers are the same – manufacturer formulas vary in the resins and solvents they use. Higher quality formulas will give a better, lasting wet look whereas lower quality formulas will quickly wear. Here are a few wet look paver sealers to consider:

Armor AR350 Professional Grade Wet Look Sealer

Learn more/buy: Armor AR350 Wet Look Sealer

Made from high quality resins and solvents, the Armor AR350 will enhance pavers with a wet look and protect them with a satin sheen finish. Here are a few images taken from FoundationArmor.com:

Concrete Curbing Wet

Concrete curbing before being sealed. The curbing is wet (from water) on the left and dry on the right.

Concrete Curbing After Being Sealed with AR350 Wet Look Sealer

Concrete curbing after being sealed with 2 coats of the Armor AR350 Wet Look Sealer

Applying a Wet Look Sealer To Pavers

How you apply a wet look sealer can be just as important as the wet look sealer you choose. Here are a few tips published by Foundation Armor on how to apply solvent based wet look sealers to pavers:

1. Make sure the pavers are clean and free of any dirt or debri. Consider the use of a pressure washer and let the pavers dry completely before applying the sealer. If you have a previous sealer on the pavers make sure the new sealer is compatible and that no other prep work is required.

2. Acrylics are not designed to be applied heavy. You want to use a roller to apply a thin, even coat. Wait 4-24 hours and then apply the second coat. If you are able to wait at least 12 hours between coats that is best because you will have given the first coat time to allow the solvents to evaporate and for the coating to start to cure.

3. Do not apply acrylic sealers to wet pavers, or to pavers if it is expected to rain within 24-48 hours after application. Acrylics are sensitive to water when not fully cured.

 

Wet Look Sealers for Concrete

Posted: 25th November 2014 by admin in Wet Look Sealers

A wet look sealer is defined as a sealer that gives a concrete surfaces the same appearance it has when wet. A few things about wet look sealers:

  • A wet look sealer can have a satin finish or a gloss finish
  • A wet look sealer has an acrylic base but may come in the form of water based, solvent based, pure acrylic, acrylic co-polymer, or acrylic blend.

Not all wet look sealers are the same. They very significantly from one manufacturer to the next when it comes to performance and life. Here are what we would consider to be a few of the best rated wet look sealers:

  1. Armor AR350: Deep penetrating industrial grade satin sheen pure acrylic sealer with an expected life of 2-5 years.
  2. Armor AR500: Penetrating, bonding industrial grade high gloss pure acrylic sealer with an expected life of 2-5 years.
  3. Eagle Acrylic Sealer: Residential grade acrylic co-polymer sealer with an expected life of 6 months – 1 year.

Products to Avoid

There are a few products on the market we consider to be “bad” products. They are difficult to work with, they don’t last long, and they blush very easily. Here are a few products we suggest avoiding:

  1. BEHR: BEHR is known best (and not in a good way) for their Stain Sealer. The problem with this product is that it does not acid stain the concrete. In fact, it doesn’t even stain the concrete. It puts a thin layer over the surface that makes it impossible for anything to bond to.
  2. H&C Concrete Sealer: H&C concrete sealer is another residential grade product that gives acrylics a bad name. They are hyper-sensitive to moisture and have a tendency to blush easily. They are easy to apply but have a very short life expectancy and often require a lot of maintenance.

SikaFlex Crack Sealant Review

Posted: 25th November 2014 by admin in Product Reviews

The SikaFlex crack sealant is an affordable, easy to use sealer for permanently repairing concrete cracks. At less than $8.00 for a 10 ounce container, not many residential grade products compare. Trying to seal a wall crack, or around a window? Consider the Sika Concrete Fix instead.

Sikaflex Crack Flex Sealant is a one part, polyurethane sealant for permanently repairing cracks in horizontal concrete surfaces. It can be used in cracks up to one inch wide and provides long term durability. Its elastic technology formulation allows the sealant to remain flexible and move with the crack.

Benefits:

  • Gradually self levels in the crack
  • Water immersible after cure
  • Forms a permanent watertight seal
  • Textured for added density

Don’t have any cracks? If you don’t have any cracks and are looking to seal your concrete, brick, or masonry, consider an industrial grade penetrating concrete sealer instead.

Best Basement Floor Sealer

Posted: 9th November 2014 by admin in Basement Sealers

Best Basement Floor Sealers

There are a few different options when it comes to sealing your basement floor and which option is best for you is entirely dependent on your situation. Please use this article to learn about how to seal your basement floor.

The most common type of basement floor sealer is a sodium silicate based sealer. Silicate sealers penetrate into the concrete and chemically react to form a crystalline barrier within the pores. Silicate sealers are great at reducing water and active water seepage but the problem with silicates is that the amount of moisture they are capable or reducing can’t be predicted or controlled. Silicate sealers work very well, and are very effective, but you may need 1 coat, or you may need 5. The size of the CSH structure will depend on several factors, including:

  1. How you apply the silicate (roller vs sprayer)
  2. How much silicate you apply
  3. How porous the concrete is
  4. How much free lime and calcium is available in the concrete

It is important to remember that silicates can reduce active water seepage and moisture coming in through the pores. If you have water coming up through a crack, you need a concrete repair product. Silicates are breathable and are not designed to stop 100% of water and moisture. A typical reduction will fall between 5-40% with each coat.

Best Silicate Basement Sealer

  • Armor S2000: Concentrated sodium silicate based sealer. You dilute with water before applying.

A second type of basement sealer is a silane-siloxane water repellent. Sodium silicates form a crystalline structure within the pores and silane-siloxanes form a hydrophobic barrier. High solids solution, like the SX5000, have been proven to reduce moisture significantly with only two coats. For severe moisture cases, a silicate will often be applied first, followed by the application of a high solids silane-siloxane a week or so later.

Best Basement Floor Coatings

If you have high moisture, which would be considered anything around 10 LBS or higher and you need to bring moisture down to at or below 3 LBS in order to install flooring (or just to rid your basement of moisture), you will need a coating. Coatings are very effective in stopping moisture when the right coating is chosen and when the coating is properly applied. Acid etching alone won’t work. Any effective coating will require you to rent a floor machine and prep the floor to a 40-80 grit before applying a coating.

There are not many coatings on the market that can withstand moisture. Paint companies like Drylok will market their products as moisture barriers but more often than not you will hear horror stories of paint peeling off in areas, and in full sheets. Paint bonds to the surface, it is incapable of holding back large amounts of moisture. While paints like Drylok are idea in certain situations, if your moisture is higher than their recommended specs, you will spend hours with a sand blaster removing paint. If you choose to use a paint for waterproofing, make sure you fall exactly in their guidelines.

An alternative would be a high solids epoxy system (100% solids), or an epoxy designed for moisture mitigation. Foundation Armor manufactures two types of epoxy coatings, the first type of epoxy (Armor Epoxy) is designed to bring moisture down from around 10 LBS to below 3 LBS or less and the second type of epoxy (Armor Epoxy MM) is designed to bring moisture down from 24 LBS to around 3 LBS or less.

Best Basement Floor Crack Repair Products

If you have cracks in your basement floor, or water coming in through the seam where the floor meets the wall, you need to use a concrete repair product. In some cases, a product like the JFX35 is perfect and in other cases, a product like SikaFlex may be more cost effective. In severe cases, a hydrophobic polyurethane injection kit will be required, especially if you have active water leakage. Buy Concrete Repair Products.

Best Water Based Acrylic Sealers

Posted: 6th November 2014 by admin in Acrylics

Water based acrylic sealers are popular in states where there are strict VOC limitations. They have a low odor and little to no VOCs. They differ significantly from solvent based acrylic sealers and are more commonly available as Cure and Seals (simply because they can be used on newly poured concrete).

When it comes to purchasing a water based acrylic sealer there are a few factors to consider:

  1. The finish: Not all water based products look alike. As described below, a low solids solution will have a lower gloss and a high solids solution will have a higher gloss.
  2. The solids content: Lower solids solution will leave behind less of a wear surface than high solids solutions. The two most popular % solids are 15% (sheen) and 25% (high gloss). When you go lower or higher you may find you run into issues with application. The 15 and 25% solids solutions are easy to apply without any experience.

When it comes to applying acrylic, you can apply it with a roller or sprayer. If you have little to no experience with acrylic applications, a roller is preferred. When it comes time to recoat an acrylic you can rough up the surface (to remove any and all gloss) then reapply.

Products:

Ratings are compiled from various websites including Home Depot. They include easy of application, product life, and overall appearance.

 

Stop Concrete Deterioration

Posted: 6th November 2014 by admin in Concrete Restoration

Deterioration can be caused by a variety of things but the #1 cause of deterioration is water absorption. Water itself can cause concrete to deteriorate, or it will cause deterioration when it freezes from within the pores. Salt can be just as damaging but the abrasion isn’t what does the most damage – salt melts ice and snow, the concrete absorbs the water, the water re-freezes within the pores. Signs of deterioration including cracking, spalling and pitting.

The best way to stop deterioration is with a water repellent sealer, or a durable coating. Water repellent sealers work below the surface and won’t change the look or color of the concrete. They form a hydrophobic barrier within the pores to cause water and other liquids to bead off the surface. A coating works a bit different. A coating will form a protective coating, or visible layer, over the surface of the concrete. Both types of products are effective in reducing deterioration caused by water absorption.

Learn more:

Best Basement Sealer

Posted: 28th October 2014 by admin in Basement Sealers

A sealer and a coating are very different from one another and there is often a lot of confusion that surrounds basement sealers. Use this article as a resource to explain the types of basement sealers so you can made a more educated buying decision.

Sodium and Lithium Silicate Sealers: Silicate based sealers, like sodium and lithium silicates, are Densifiers. They chemically react with the free lime and calcium in concrete to form CSH within the pores. Each type of sealer forms the exact same CSH structure, the difference between the two being how fast the structure is formed (lithium reacts faster). The CSH structure formed will partially fill in the pores of the concrete. The pores aren’t completely filled and the concrete will remain breathable. Through densification, the movement of water and moisture can be reduced.

The downfall to silicate based sealers is that the size of the CSH structure formed can’t be predicted, controlled, or even measured. The size of the structure will vary from pore to pore and is dependent on the amount of free lime and calcium present, the applied solids percentage, the porosity of the concrete, the amount of moisture present within the pores, and other factors. Multiple coats are required and a full reaction cycle can take up to 90 days.

Silane-Siloxane and Silicone Sealers: Silane-Siloxane sealers are silicone based sealers. They chemically react to form a hydrophobic barrier within the pores. The benefit to going with a Silane-Siloxane blend sealer is that it takes the benefits of each of the three types and eliminates the weaknesses. High solids (10% water based, 40% solvent based) will provide the best protection below the surface and on the surface.

Silane-Siloxane sealers are breathable. They can reduce moisture and will stop virtually all water absorption. They help to reduce dusting, mold and  mildew, efflorescence, and moisture. When used in a basement application, moisture will be reduced. It can’t be stopped because Silane-Siloxane sealers are breathable, but moisture can be reduced as much as 40%.

Epoxy Sealers: Some epoxy coatings, like the ones manufactured by Foundation Armor, are designed to stop 10-24 LBS of moisture. If there is a requirement by flooring contractors to bring moisture down to below 3 LBS, an epoxy designed to hold back moisture is the most guaranteed solution.

Paint: Do your self a favor and avoid paint at all costs. Paint chips, peels, flakes, and doesn’t last. It is very sensitive to moisture and doesn’t hold a strong bond.

Sealing a Basement

There are a few steps that can be taken to reduce moisture. The products you require to seal your basement will be dependent on your budget, the source of water/moisture, and the amount of water/moisture penetration.

  1. Seal joints and cracks. The first step to stopping water and reducing moisture is to seal the joints (floor joints and coveseams), wall cracks and floor cracks. Some cracks need professional grade concrete repair products while others can get by with the use of a silicone grout, or similar product.
  2. Seal the walls and the floor. Moisture comes in through any concrete below grade. If you are looking for a preventative solution, or to reduce moisture, a sealer alone may be sufficient. If you need to bring moisture down to below a certain point, you may require a coating like the epoxy mentioned above.
  3. Install a drainage system. If large amounts of water enter into the basement during or after heavy rain storms, or in the Spring, consider installing a drainage system around the perimeter of the exterior to divert water away from the foundation/basement.
  4. Seal the outside. Use a water repellent Silane-Siloxane sealer to seal any exposed concrete on the exterior. Should water or snow be pushed against the concrete, it will be repelled and won’t absorb into the concrete and penetrate through into the basement.

Products:

  • Armor SX5000
  • Foundation Armor S2000
  • Foundation Armor Epoxy

Best Acrylic Concrete Sealers

Posted: 28th October 2014 by admin in Acrylics

Best acrylic concrete sealers. Best acrylic sealers for concrete. Wet look and high gloss acrylic sealers for concrete.

Not all acrylic sealers are treated equal. Everything from the resins and solvents vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The cheaper the product, the cheaper the raw materials, the shorter the life. Here are a few buying tips when it comes to using the best acrylic concrete sealer.

  1. There are acrylic co-polymer sealers and acrylic lacquer sealers. Acrylic lacquer sealers are made from a 100% pure acrylic blend and acrylic co-polymers sealers are blended acrylics (they contain Styrene). Acrylic co-polymers are most commonly also known as Cure N Seals. The Styrene pushes water away from the coating and is less sensitive to moisture during the application process. Pure acrylics are more sensitive to moisture during the application process but they provide a more durable end coating.
  2. Some acrylic sealers are designed to penetrate deeper than others and will result in a “wet look.” For example, the Armor AR350 is designed to penetrate into the concrete and cause it to go through a wetting process. During this process, a durable surface film is formed, locking-in the wet look. The AR500 on the other hand bonds primarily to the surface and will leave behind a durable gloss coating, without the dramatic wet look. Learn more/buy Armor Acrylic Sealers.
  3. Resins and solvents are what make up an acrylic sealer. Those two components alone contribute to the significant variance in life and performance. Companies like Foundation Armor will use a higher quality blend of resins and solvents which are reflected in the life and performance of their products. They will outlast and outperform residential-grade products like Eagle Sealers, H&C, and BEHR. Price is most often a direct reflection of quality. Spending a few dollars more could result in a longer life and better performance.

 

Foundation Armor AX25 High Gloss Pool Deck Sealer

Foundation Armor AX25 High Gloss Pool Deck Sealer

 

Armor AR500 High Gloss Sealer

Armor AR500 High Gloss Sealer

Foundation Armor AR350

Foundation Armor AR350

Resources: