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:

Best Penetrating Concrete Sealer

Posted: 27th October 2014 by admin in Concrete Sealers

Best penetrating concrete sealer. Best penetrating concrete sealers. Best penetrating sealers for concrete.

A penetrating sealer is designed as a sealer that penetrates into the concrete and works below the surface from within the pores. Below is a list of the top penetrating concrete sealers:

Silane-Siloxane water repellent sealer: A Silane Siloxane water repellent sealer, like the Armor SX5000, creates a hydrophobic barrier within the pores of the concrete. They are designed to repel water, reduce moisture, and protect concrete from the damaging effects of the absorption and exposure of both elements. Silane-Siloxane sealers, which are silicone based sealers, will reduce cracking, spalling, pitting, mold and mildew, efflorescence, and staining. When searching for a Silane-Siloxane water repellent consider a 10.5% solids water based, or a 20-40% solids solvent based. Learn more about silane-Siloxane sealers.

Silicate Densifiers: Silicate Densifiers are most commonly sodium or lithium based. They chemically react to form CSH within the pores and increase the strength of the concrete through densification. Silicate based sealers should only be used to increase the strength of concrete as they offer little to no other benefits. They have been linked to reducing the movement of water and moisture, but they don’t prevent the growth of mold and mildew, nor do they prevent staining or salt/ice damage. If you need to increase the density of your concrete, use a silicate first followed by a Silane-Siloxane a few days later.

Acrylic Sealers: Acrylic sealers fall more under the category of a coating because they leave behind a surface film. Learn more about the best acrylic sealers.

Best Garage Floor Coating

Posted: 24th October 2014 by admin in Garage Floor

There are a few types of coatings that can be used to coat garage floors, the most common being an epoxy coating or an acrylic coating. The problem with epoxy and acrylic coatings is that they don’t offer scratch resistance and they will soften if exposed to oil or gas for long periods of time.

A better alternative is an aliphatic urethane coating, such as the Armor UTN60 by Foundation Armor. The Armor UTN60 is packed with additives for scratch and abrasion resistance, oil and gas resistance, chemical and acid resistance.

Armor UTN60 in Arabian Sand

Armor UTN60 in Arabian Sand

 

Armor UTN60 Garage Coating

Armor UTN60 Garage Coating

How to Install Garage Floor Coating

How to Install Garage Floor Coating

 

Best Concrete Sealer for Stamped Concrete

Posted: 24th October 2014 by admin in Stamped Concrete

Best sealer for stamped concrete.

Foundation Armor AX25 High Gloss Pool Deck Sealer

Foundation Armor AX25 High Gloss Pool Deck Sealer

Penetrating Stamped Concrete Sealer

A penetrating sealer is designed to work entirely below the surface, without changing the look or color of the concrete. The best type of penetrating sealer is a Silane-Siloxane sealer however, because penetrating sealers don’t leave behind a surface coating, any color will be left exposed. If you have a stamped colored concrete area, you should instead consider the use of an acrylic sealer.

Wet Look – High Gloss Stamped Concrete Sealer

The best type of wet look and high gloss sealers to use on stamped concrete is an acrylic based sealer. Under this category there are water and solvent based acrylics, acrylic co-polymers, and various solids level acrylics. Which type of acrylic sealer is best for your application depends on your need and your budget.

Acrylic Sealer Reviews:

 

Foundation Armor AR350 Satin Sheen Concrete and Paver Sealer

Foundation Armor AR350 Satin Sheen Concrete and Paver Sealer

 

Armor AR500 High Gloss Sealer

Armor AR500 High Gloss Sealer