Best Concrete Sealer for New Driveway

Posted: 9th September 2014 by admin in Concrete Driveways

There are a few concrete driveway sealers that can be used to seal a new concrete driveway. When you seal your driveway will depend on the type of sealer you want to use and what you are looking to achieve.

Cure and Seal

Cure and seal sealers can be applied to new concrete (concrete that has been poured in as little as 24 hours prior to sealing). Cure and seal products will prevent the concrete from losing too much water, too quickly and will allow for the new concrete to properly cure. There are curing compounds (which won’t leave behind a coating) and cure and seals which will leave behind a surface coating.

Silane Siloxane Sealers

Silane-Siloxane sealers are the most popular type of sealer to use on a concrete driveway but in order to use a silane-Siloxane driveway the concrete should be fully cured (28 days old). Silane-Siloxane sealers will penetrate into the concrete and leave behind a hydrophobic barrier within the pores of the concrete causing water and other liquids to bead off the surface. Silane-Siloxane sealers do not change the look or color of the concrete, and they do not leave behind a surface film. Silane-Siloxane sealers will help to stop and prevent a variety of issues including freeze thaw damage and mold growth.

When searching for a Silane-Siloxane sealer consider a high solids, solvent based sealer like the Armor SX5000 (featured in video).

How a Silane-Siloxane Sealer Works

Acrylic Sealers

Acrylic sealers are available in several formulations. Some acrylic sealers can be applied to new concrete (cure and seal) and some acrylics must be applied to cured concrete. Acrylic sealers will give concrete a wet look, satin sheen, or high gloss finish. They are the best type of sealer to use on exterior concrete because of their breathability and adhesion. Acrylic sealers can be applied to virtually all types of concrete surfaces including poured concrete, stamped concrete and pavers.

When shopping for an acrylic sealer, consider a solvent based solution. Solvent based acrylics are very easy to use. When the acrylic has reached the end of its life, you simply put more down. With water based, you would have to remove what was down and start over.

Not all acrylic sealers are treated equal. There are professional grade acrylics, like the Armor AR350 which will give you about 2-5 years, and there are temporary acrylics, like the Eagle Sealer, which will get you through one season.

AR350-Driveway-Coating-Before-After

Foundation Armor AR350 Wet Look Driveway Sealer

Foundation Armor AR350 Review

Posted: 5th September 2014 by admin in Acrylics, Product Reviews

Foundation Armor AR350 wet look sealer has been taking the industry by storm. It offers superior bonding and adhesion to concrete surfaces and will outlast other similar products in this category. Here are a few customer testimonials we have gathered from the web:

Concrete Décor Magazine

In May of 2014, Concrete Décor Magazine posted a photo of a customer that had experienced severe acrylic blushing (white surface haze) in New Mexico. One coat of the Armor Blush Repair and 2 coats of the Armor AR350 later, the customer’s patio looked fantastic.

Foundation Armor Blush Repair and Foundation Armor AR350

Foundation Armor Blush Repair and Foundation Armor AR350

Facebook

Facebook is a great place to check for honest customer reviews and testimonials. You hear directly from the customer about their experience with a company’s product. With thousands of likes and hundreds of photos, we consider this to be a great review source.

Doreen: “Total happiness with this product! Love it!”

Doreen AR350 Review

Doreen AR350 Review

 

Barry: “My wife is in love with our new pool deck!”

Barry AR350 Pool Deck

Barry AR350 Pool Deck

 

For dozens more customer photos, visit the Foundation Armor Facebook page!

Best Silane Siloxane Water Repellent

Posted: 3rd September 2014 by admin in Silane/Siloxane Sealers

With all the products available, it can be hard to find the best Silane Siloxane water repellent. Use this guide to learn about silane Siloxane water repellents and the differences between each silane Siloxane water repellent.

Best Silane Siloxane Sealers

  1. Foundation Armor
    1. SX5000 (40% solids, DOT approved)
    2. SX5000 WB (10.5% solids)
    3. SX5000 EXT100 (100% solids)
  2. Okon
    1. S-20 (2-8% solids)
    2. S-40 (7-15% solids)
  3. H& C
    1. SX-7 (7% solids)
    2. HB-100 (10% solids)
    3. HB-150 (15% solids)
  4. Prosoco
    1. Sure Klean® Weather Seal Siloxane PD
  5. Eagle
    1. Natural Seal (2-7% solids)

Silane Siloxane Water Repellents

When it comes to choosing a Silane Siloxane water repellent, there are a few factors to consider:

  1. Percent Solids: The percent solids is associated with the formula. The lower the solids, the cheaper the solution. You can purchase a 2% solids solution for $20/gallon but it won’t give you anywhere near as much protection as a 40% solids solution which costs around $50-65/gallon. Higher solids solutions will allow for a more aggressive bead. They have also proven to perform better and last longer.
  2. Water or Solvent Based: Water based solutions tend to have a lower solids content than solvent based solutions. Water based products are great to use on applications where fumes are a concern but solvent based solutions will penetrate better. Another benefit to going with solvent is that you can apply a sealer or paint over a solvent based surface, but not with a water based surface.
  3. Performance: If you apply a 40% solids solvent based solution to a basement wall, you an see an up to 40% reduction in moisture penetration. If you apply a 5% water based solution, you may see a 2-5% reduction. Higher solids solutions will fill in more of the pore.

How Water Repellents Work

Silane Siloxane water repellents penetrate into the concrete to form a hydrophobic barrier within the pores, causing water and other liquids to bead off the surface. All silane Siloxane sealers are breathable, and they won’t change the appearance of the sealed substrate.

Here is a video that demonstrates how a Silane Siloxane water repellent works:

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: