Concrete itself is an incredibly strong material that can withstand many years of damage and wear (theoretically even tens of thousands, though that is difficult to prove) without losing any of its famed and noted strength. However, concrete itself can also deteriorate far quicker than its potential would have you believe, especially due to human wear and too much exposure to the elements.
Exposed aggregate is threatened by a number of potential problems, such as excessive water damage and too much salt diffusion throughout the concrete, especially in the winter months. For instance, if water seeps into the exposed aggregate and concrete in the warmer months through the Spring, Summer, and Fall, that water will likely sit in the concrete, remaining clogged in the network of hairline cracks and microscopic pores that are natural to all concrete. While the water does not pose an especially serious threat to the concretes structural integrity in the warmer months, it can be disastrous and ruinous in the colder winter. With the onset of winter, that water sitting complacently within the concrete will slowly freeze, expanding as it does so to crack the concrete. However, these cracks will only become visible with the coming of Spring and the melting of the ice within the concrete now, the ice shrinks and much of the water leaks out of the cracks that have been newly created, leading to numerous costly and time consuming problems.
Another potential problem comes with too much salt seeping into the exposed aggregate during the winter, especially in places that feature salt trucks to help make icy roads safer. Too much salt seeping into the exposed aggregate can lead to tremendous structural problems. Fortunately, there is an easy preventative measure you can take. Simply apply a concrete sealer, like the Siloxa-Tek 8500, to the exposed aggregate. The Siloxa-Tek 8500, a water-based silane/siloxane, will act as a salt barrier, penetrating into the concrete substrate in order to provide comprehensive protection from water, UV radiation, cracking, spalling and pitting.
The Siloxa-Tek 8500 is a natural finish product, so it will not change the look or appearence of the exposed aggregate. If you are looking for a decorative wet look or high gloss finish the Cryli-Tek 5505 is the best sealer to use. This durable acrylic sealer protects and enhances the look of exterior exposed aggregate surfaces for up to 3 years. It will not delaminate, peel or yellow. Treated surfaces resist staining, surface deterioration and hot tire pickup while eliminating concrete dusting.