Your Finish Is Only As Good As Your Care.
Sealing with Water Based Sealer
In colder climates we have issues with maintaining our hardscape surfaces. With freeze thaw cycles and different ice melting products available how do we know what is best for our concrete hardscapes?
The goal is to offer you, the client, tips for the best looking and longest lasting finish for your concrete hardscape installation.
WATER BASED PENETRATING SEALER
Water Based Sealers are created using silanes, siloxanes, silicates and siliconates. These are very small particles which fill the air gaps within the concrete surface and PENETRATE becoming part of the concrete. A chemical bond is formed leaving the concrete with a hydrophobic surface (repelling water). The finished look of the hardscape is a more MATTE or NATURAL finish. This Natural Finish does not adversely affect the Slip Resistance of the concrete or hardscape surface.
With its breathable abilities these types of sealers can be applied prior to the completion of the curing process. The concrete surface retains its ability to allow moisture and heat to be released. It is still recommended to allow the concrete to cure for at least 7 days prior to applying.
The length of time required to cure concrete will vary based on the weather and the Concrete Mix but is generally 28 days. After 7 days, concrete has usually reached about 65% of its full hardness. After 14 days it typically reaches about 90%, and the final 10% is around the 28-day mark.
Water Based Silicate Sealers are also more VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) compliant. They are virtually odourless and are great on interior surfaces as well. Concreation offers a GreenSil Primer (WA), for protection on newer/greener concrete and GreenSil Sealer (WSR) for concrete cured for 14 days or more.
Application of Water Based Sealers is more forgiving than Solvent Based. After the water has evaporated any leftover residue can be wiped off to leave a clean surface. Water Based Acrylic sealers require a little more care in application. Because the Acrylic is topical you still need to follow the thin application procedures (as Per ConcreteNetwork.com). Tests shows that these products have a longer life cycle per application but can turn cloudy during high moisture conditions. This discolouration will disappear when the surface dries.
When using a Water Based Silicate Sealer, you can add a Solvent Based Acrylic Sealer or Water Based Acrylic Sealer only after the concrete has been allowed to fully cure (no less than 28 days). Water Based Silicate Sealers SHOULD NEVER be applied over an existing TOPICAL or Acrylic Based Sealer. The Topical Sealer must be completely removed, and the pores of the surface open, before applying a Water Based Silicate Sealer. Re-Applying Water Based sealers can be done when required based on the wear of the hardscape surface again, providing the surface of the concrete is clean and the pores are open.