How to Protect Your Concrete

Concrete is one of the most famous building materials used in the construction industry because it is durable, inexpensive, and it requires very little maintenance. Furthermore, it can be customized easily and is utilized in a variety of applications.

Even though it needs less maintenance, it still requires it and concrete is susceptible to wear and tear, especially its appearance. If you want to protect and maintain your concrete, here are a few practices you can implement.

Why Concrete Needs Protection?

Concrete is highly vulnerable to water and thus, it should be protected against natural elements like snow, rain, and deicing salts. During winters, one has to be extra careful because of the constant freezing and thawing. If you didn’t know, concrete is a porous material; meaning that it absorbs water.

Everyone knows that water expands as it freezes, sometimes by as much as 9 percent. When the absorbed water freezes and expands, it can damage the concrete through surface scaling. The scaling results in the finished surface peeling or local flaking.

This also happens when snow is present on concrete. During daytime, the snow melts and the water is absorbed by the concrete. When evening sets in and temperatures fall, the water freezes and expands. Additionally, the continuous freezing and thawing of ice is detrimental to concrete surfaces.

·      Use Deicing Solutions

There are many deicing solutions available in the market commercially which have been specially designed for concrete. However, you still need to exercise caution because deicing solutions tend to raise the thaw and freeze cycles which concrete undergoes each winter.

Nevertheless, it’s better to avoid using deicing solutions if your concrete is new; alternatively, you can utilize ice grit or clean sand as a protective layer. Remember that deicing solutions and chemicals can cause surface flaking, but if you really need to use them, do so in a sparing manner.

Deicing salts like ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate, on the other hand, should never be used on concrete surfaces because they are chemically strong and will cause extensive damage.

·      Use Concrete Sealers

If you’re hesitant in using deicers, use concrete sealers instead; they protect your concrete against staining, chemicals, and moisture absorption, and they also enhance the brightness, texture, and color of the surface.

To determine if the concrete needs a sealer, pour water over it. If it absorbs water, it definitely needs it and if it doesn’t, the concrete is in good condition. The purpose of a concrete sealer is to prevent water from entering the concrete and hereby, protecting it against deicing salts, wear, abrasions, and stains.

Once the water sealer or repellant is applied, it lasts for a period of five years. You should know that the life expectancy of concrete is difficult to determine because there’s no way of telling the amount of traffic the concrete will receive. A concrete sealer will give longevity to your concrete and ensure that it is aesthetically very pleasing.

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