Decorative concrete is one of the most cost-effective building materials you can use to completely transform your Florida business. Since decorative concrete can last for decades when properly maintained, the greatest advantage of opting for this alternative is that you don’t need to spend money on restaining concrete or installing other floor finishes any time soon.
Whether you intend to use decorative concrete to revamp driveways, entryways, pool decks or other areas of your Florida business, choosing the right concrete coating solution is of the utmost importance. But prior to selecting a sealer for decorative concrete floors, one essential thing you need to know is that concrete can be affected by:
- Moisture coming from the ground – When pouring a concrete slab, the groundwater or excess moisture present in the ground will move upwards through the slab. The more water will travel through the slab, the more time the concrete needs to cure and dry. To reduce moisture migration through the substrate, builders place vapor barriers between the ground and the concrete slab.
- Moisture content in the slab – Under ideal ambient conditions (50% relative humidity and 70°F), concrete slabs need to cure for at least 28 days before any sensitive floor finishes such as stains and sealers can be applied. The high levels of relative humidity in Florida, which fluctuate between 72% and 76%, can significantly extend this time frame. That is because relative humidity affects the evaporation rate of water from the concrete slab.
Now, let’s take a look at the sealing solutions available for decorative concrete floors subject to elevated moisture levels in Florida.
As their name suggests, these types of sealers penetrate concrete floors, typically lasting longer than film-forming products. One thing many painting contractors like about using a penetrating sealer for decorative concrete floors is that it provides excellent protection against moisture penetration without changing the surface appearance with regards to color intensity and sheen level. On the downside, because concrete structures absorb most of the product applied, penetrating sealers can leave concrete surfaces vulnerable to stains. Penetrating sealers can be successfully used to seal decorative concrete against outdoor conditions.
Film-forming sealers for concrete are divided into three categories:
- Acrylics – Acrylics can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications to protect decorative concrete against water intrusion. In general, solvent-based acrylic sealers perform better than water-based products. However, the service life of water-based sealers can be extended through the application of a sacrificial product on a regular basis.
- Polyurethanes – Also suitable for sealing both exterior and interior concrete floors, polyurethane sealers form a high-build protective film with good resistance to moisture as well as different chemical and mechanical factors. Since polyurethane sealers are moisture intolerant until they dry, the concrete slabs should be allowed to dry completely before applying these products.
- Epoxies – Epoxies deliver the most durable types of sealer for decorative concrete floors. Forming a hard-wearing, water-repellent protective coat, they’re the best sealers available for high-traffic areas. Since the yellowing of epoxies is accelerated with exposure to UV rays, most professionals prefer to use them indoors.
Most sealers can trap moisture in the concrete. In order to avoid common problems like bubbling and cracking, sealers should only be applied to sufficiently dry substrates. To reduce the risk of any potential subsequent problems in the surface finish, we recommend testing the substrate for humidity and acidity prior to applying a sealer. Bubbling and cracking can also occur when the sealer is applied in hot weather or in direct sun.
At Performance Painting Contractors, we employ highly trained painting crews that specialize in a wide range of commercial, industrial and residential painting services. Whether you’re looking for the best paint system for your walls or for the right sealer for decorative concrete floors, you can count on our skilled painting contractors who always provide professional services, while ensuring quality work in a timely manner. For more information on how we can help you refresh the curb appeal of your Florida business, please call Performance Painting Contractors now at (904)-641-4800 or (813)-308-0388.