With more cold weather on its way, here’s the low-down on protecting your concrete!
Climates here in the midwest are particularly hard on concrete, due primarily to our frequent freeze-thaw cycles. The best way to prevent lasting effects of this on your outdoor spaces is to maintain regular upkeep by sealing your driveways and patios.
Concrete sealer acts as an outer layer shield that prevents water from finding its way into the concrete and causing spalling once it freezes. Since this problem is in direct relation to the amount of moisture seeping into your concrete, we recommend a solvent-based, acrylic sealer — and highly discourage the use of water-based sealers outdoors. This acrylic sealer will penetrate the naturally porous concrete, and should be applied in thin coats to avoid trapping in any moisture that finds it way in during the process.
Solvent-based, acrylic sealers can be purchased at many construction supply stores in the metro. Distributors will be able to aid you in finding the best product for your particular project, as well as demonstrate for you how to accomplish your goals. Here at ACS, we have found that it’s best to always start with a clean workspace. Power-washing your patio, removing any furniture or decorations, and ridding it of all natural debris is a must before a sealing project. Once you’ve washed the area, be sure to allow full surface drying, if not even long enough for superficial drying to have occurred throughout the slab. Next, we like to start small. As with any sort of painting project, it is easier to add more than it ever is to take away. Using a paint roller & pan, lightly coat your surface with the sealer until all areas are just moistened. Once this application has dried fully, you’ll be able to visibly see where else your efforts can be focused to ensure an even overall coat. Please refer to manufacturer instructions for detailed application recommendations.
Another big contributor to the degradation of your slab is salt-based deicers. As the ice melts, the water takes the salt with it down into the concrete. This can compromise the structural steel rebar inside, and leads to surface imperfections. Our recommendation is to make sure your sealer is up to date, and use sand for added traction during icy weather. A non-slip additive can be added to the sealer if it’s in a high-traffic area and you’re concerned about slip resistance. The link below provides specific instructions for various concrete finishes. https://www.concretenetwork.com/clean-seal-concrete/