Concrete, because of its inherent strength and durability, is an important structural material. However, as strong as it may be, it is also porous. This porosity allows the material to absorb water and soluble salts, both of which are destructive. When embedded in concrete, steel reinforcing bars increase the concrete strength considerably. However, salts will eventually cause corrosion. A concrete sealer helps to protect concrete from environmental issues. Concrete sealers preserve the function of the material over an extended period.
Once applied to the surface of concrete, sealers act as a water repellent, reducing, or eliminating the ingress of water and soluble contaminates. Concrete sealers are most often used above ground where concrete is exposed to rain, snow, and other forms of moisture. Concrete sealers are used on parking decks or other areas where thick film coatings are not desirable. Concrete sealers may also be used on block walls and masonry walls. There are several different sealers. SilaCast, offered by Deco Products, Inc., is a non-hazardous polymer emulsion. The product is the choice of many contractors as the material is excellent at resisting the effects of water and chemicals.
Decorative concrete sealers react with concrete. The material fills the open pores, which in turn makes it exceedingly difficult for water to penetrate the surface. The best concrete sealers can be expected to last several years, depending on the service environment. Concrete sealers are typically applied by spray. The sealer penetrates the pores of the concrete surface. This method of application leaves little or no measurable film on the surface. Polymer emulsions can be used on both new and existing concrete. Once the material has been applied, it forms a watertight barrier, while at the same time, enhancing the appearance of the surface. Polymer emulsions are resistant to the growth of mildew, non-toxic, non-hazardous, and non-flammable.