If you were asked about the most commonly used material on the planet, your mind might immediately jump to plastic, metal or wood – right?
Well, you’re wrong! Did you know that concrete is the world’s most popular building material?
It’s not surprising when you consider the vast number of structures like bridges, driveways, patios, swimming pools, houses and sidewalks all made from this material. The popular artificial material has even played a crucial role in shaping civilizations that came before ours.
Because of its versatility and mass appeal, concrete is a choice material for homeowners, who will likely want to keep it looking attractive and durable for the foreseeable future, and thus improve the curb appeal of their property.
While these surfaces are known for their strength and durability, they are inherently imperfect substances subject to structural deterioration. Here is where sealant becomes a must.
Sealers are chemical substances that permanently protect from weather-related damage, various stains and cracks. They actively block pores on the material’s surface to drastically lower water absorption, prevent salt penetration and become an impermeable protective coating.
Sealants offer crucial benefits, including:
- Concrete is porous, meaning that it absorbs moisture. If left to dry improperly, mildew can form and taint the surface with a greenish discoloration. Water that seeps into concrete can also corrode its steel reinforcement. Research from major authorities including the American Concrete Association, Portland Cement Association and U.S. National Ready Mix Concrete Association confirms that most damage is attributable to surface moisture intrusion. However, high quality sealers can block up to 99% of surface moisture.
- Exposure to the elements can cause cracks that lead to scaling, weakening the structural integrity of concrete. In cold temperatures, moisture that penetrates the surface can freeze and thaw continuously, causing it to shift and buckle. This is the most pervasive form of damage, according to authorities. The good news is that sealants are hydrophobic, or water-resistant. They also work well for guarding against de-icing salt in the winter.
- The chemicals in sealants make everything stain-proof and oil-spill free. Resistance to these damaging elements extend the material’s lifespan, and repair needs are often minimal.
- The acrylic resins in sealants are well known to increase perceived visual enhancement and can provide good UV protection for colored substrates. For homeowners on the hunt for aesthetically pleasing options, acrylic resins are a popular (and budget-friendly) choice for decorative concrete such as stamped and exposed aggregate. Epoxy and polyaspartic sealers can also help to create a seamless and appealing surface.
- Failure to seal concrete can result in significant damages that translate to the costly early replacement of surfaces. Using sealant will help you save money in the long term.
Maintenance is key – whether you have a decorative driveway or you need to seal a sidewalk. Ultimately, chemical sealers add instant property value and are the only way to guarantee your concrete stays looking spotless and new.