Although concrete may seem pretty tough, it actually is vulnerable to many environmental factors. People often overlook the fact that concrete is porous. And as with porous surfaces, moisture, stains, molds, and other environmental hazards can seep in, wrecking havoc on your beautiful concrete surfaces.
Your concrete is always vulnerable to water. These porous surfaces will allow moisture to loosen your vinyl tiles or ruin your carpet.
How does water get in my concrete, (and how do I stop it)?
Water can enter concrete in two ways: from the top side or from the ground. Water entering from the top is called positive moisture. It comes from rain and other liquids that spill on the concrete surface. Ground moisture is called negative moisture. It comes from the natural moisture of the ground over which the concrete is laid.
Concrete surfaces act like sponges when exposed to water. It will draw water until it is saturated, or if there is no more water available. It will then disperse the water until it reaches equilibrium state.
What does water do to my concrete?
Water may cause many processes that can lead to noticeable damage. Water causes the rebar to rust. This in turn weakens the concrete.
Water also activates alkali disintegration. During the curing process of concrete, the alkali in the concrete becomes dormant. As water seeps into the concrete the alkali begins to react again with the concrete around it. This destroys the concrete from within.
Water is also causes mold, mildew and algae to grow. Mold has been known to influence severe health problems. Algae, on the other hand, cause the concrete to become slick and discolored while mildew often give off a bad odor and stains organic materials.
Up to 60% of homes have basements that suffer from this sort of problem. This could seriously affect the resell value of your home and make your home a health hazard to its occupants.
The moisture must be stopped to stop the damage.
To protect your concrete walls or floors, you need to have them protected with a concrete sealer. Concrete sealers protect concrete from deterioration brought about by road salt, stains, oil, moisture, and molds. It also provides a layer of protection that allows for easier sweeping and cleaning.
You will most likely need only one application of concrete sealant to keep your concrete surfaces protected.
First of all, you need to assemble the needed equipment. First of all, you must wear protective clothing since you are about to work with potential irritants. Gather a stiff brush and a water bucket. You will also need some rubber gloves, goggles and small-particle filter to protect you against chemical agents. You will also need some paintbrushes and a paint roller. Make sure there is proper ventilation at the place you are to work with the concrete sealer.
How to Apply
1. Clean the Floor. Your surface must be free of dirt, grime, grease, and oil. The stiff scrub brush will help remove stubborn stains. Use a commercial cleaner to help remove the dirt. Stubborn stains might need some soaking in a detergent solution before they can be removed. Rinse thoroughly with clear water. A second application may be required.
2. Apply Sealer: Before painting the floor, make sure you test the sealer on a small patch of floor. This will tell you if the floor is clean enough or if there are still imperfections that should be remedied. Uneven density in the concrete may result in a blotchy appearance that may be undesirable. Apply the sealer using a paint roller with an extension handle. Use the brush to cut in when working the perimeter. Start in a rear corner and work your way out of the area you are working on. Work the sealer into the surface. Spread it in a way that all the puddles are eliminated and apply a relatively thin uniform coat. You will probably only need one coating. Allow the sealer to dry. This will take a few hours.
3. Clean Up: Don’t forget to wash up with soap and warm water immediately afterwards. Remember you had just dealt with a potentially hazardous chemical. Always keep safety in mind as you work on your area. Also, dispose of the roller and the brushes you used for the job. Concrete sealers may require that you use these equipments just once.