Water is one of nature’s most powerful elements. It’s forceful enough to make its way into some of the most solid materials. Take for instance concrete. Even though concrete is tough, concrete is porous just like a sponge. Water can cause a lot of damage to concrete if the concrete is not sealed or not sealed properly. Let’s go over the damage water can cause and what can be done to protect concrete against this agile element.
If water penetrates concrete and freezes, it breaks off small flakes from the surface of the concrete. If you live in a part of the country where deicing salts are used, that breakage may be even worse. This breakage is known as scaling. Concrete that’s been exposed to freezing and thawing in the presence of moisture and/or deicing salts is affected the most by scaling. Another problem that can happen when water enters concrete is that it forces the surface to peel. This is called spalling. Spalling happens when there is moisture present in the concrete. This can be common in basements. In addition to spalling, sometimes pitting will occur. Pitting can sometimes look a lot like spalling but there is a difference. Pitting creates small, deep holes that have a rugged edge. Pitting can be caused if the concrete wasn’t mixed properly. Sometimes even the age of the concrete can be a factor of pitting. Cracking may be the most familiar imperfection when it comes to concrete. Cracking can’t be prevented but it can be controlled. There are a few reasons why cracking may occur in concrete: There may have been excess water in the concrete mix when it was being prepared. When there’s a lot of water in the concrete mix, it takes away from the concrete's strength. Cracks can form from extreme temperature change while the concrete was drying, and climate’s where freezing and thawing take place could eventually see cracks in concrete as well.
A good water repellent will help to prevent and protect concrete from all the issues mentioned above. Water repellents help reduce water, vapor, and moisture intrusion into concrete. A product that is a blend of silane/siloxanes will make for a great penetrating sealer. This formula works by creating a hydrophobic barrier which doesn’t allow water to penetrate the concrete. The water ends up sitting on the surface, resulting in a water beading effect. The silane/siloxanes protect from the inside out, capable of impregnating the concrete from the surface and internally lining the concrete with the sealer. It lines the concrete but doesn’t fill it, making the surface breathable. A solvent based sealer can emit strong vapors and care should be taken, especially if using them indoors. A water based repellent will have a lower VOC content than a solvent based repellent, so less chemical odor. Both solvent and water based repellents will help protect concrete against water intrusion. Our Siloxa-Tek 8510 is an industrial-grade, solvent-based, water repellent. The lifespan of a solvent-based repellent will be longer than a water-based water repellent. Siloxa-Tek 8510 will repel water and salt. This is a great penetrating sealer that will also restrict oil and protect against staining. If you’re leaning more toward a water-based water repellent, Siloxa-Tek 8505 is a great choice. This industrial-grade, water repellent will still prevent water and salt intrusion along with oil and stain protection. One of our favorite products to treat nearly any application is Siloxa-Tek 8500. This industrial-grade, water-based repellent is a preferred choice for those that live in a climate where a freeze-thaw cycle occurs. Along with its salt and water repelling elements, this is a great choice for driveways and garages.
The damage that water can cause to concrete is undeniable. Using a water repellent to safeguard the life of your concrete is ideal to get the most out of any concrete surface or structure.