Do You Need to Waterproof Concrete?

Doug Enright 

Do You Need to Waterproof Concrete?

Waterproofing helps shield concrete from the elements, creating a barrier that repels water and prolongs the life of the surface. Here’s what you should know about this important process.

Why Should You Waterproof Concrete?

If you have a concrete garage, patio or driveway, it’s best to protect it with a quality water sealer. By adding a protective layer, you can help slow down degradation while also diminishing stains from mildew, mold and leakage from automobile engines. A quality sealer can also enhance a concrete surface’s durability by preventing freeze-thaw damage, corrosion and spalling, which occurs when small pieces begin breaking away due to abrasion or natural aging.

Not only does water affect concrete’s appearance; it weakens it over time. As water erodes the surface, it can expose matrix materials and promote deterioration.

In extreme cases, water can destroy concrete quickly, but it usually takes a few years for the damage to show. Unfortunately, if you notice damage on the surface of concrete, the underlying structure of your floor or wall is likely damaged too. That’s why it’s so important to waterproof horizontal concrete surfaces soon after they are installed.

When Should You Waterproof Concrete?

When it comes to waterproofing concrete, there’s no one-size-fits-all rule. Generally, the decision comes down to the size of the surface and its location or function. Flooring and other horizontal surfaces benefit from waterproofing because they are often close to a home’s foundation and susceptible to flooding. It’s also a good idea to waterproof patios, porches and other surfaces that are exposed to rain and groundwater, since this can help prevent wear and prolong their lifespans.

waterproof concrete

Waterproofing can prevent a lot of serious issues, especially when it comes to concrete flooring. When groundwater seeps up and onto concrete floors, especially in basements, it can cause them to crack or buckle. This can lead to flooding and other serious issues. Eventually, you will have to replace flooring and pay to fix any issues that may cause it to occur again.

What Type of Sealer Is Best? 

There are two basic types of concrete sealers: penetrating sealers and film-forming sealers. Composed of substances such as silicates, siloxanes, silanes and siliconates, penetrating sealers are designed to permeate concrete, forming a strong chemical barrier. Commonly known as impregnating concrete sealers, this product is typically only available from professionals. It can be more expensive, but it also lasts much longer and won’t alter the appearance of the concrete.

Film-forming sealers are made to protect concrete with a layer of epoxy, acrylic or urethane. This sealer yields a wet look or gloss finish. It also wears faster, so you will have to reapply it more frequently.

When it comes to choosing a quality sealer, you can decide between waterproof coatings, finishers, sealings, membranes and more. Which one is appropriate for your surface? It all depends on the location of the concrete, whether it’s indoors or outdoors, and what surfaces it's next to. This is why it's generally best to bring a qualified professional into the mix.

Successful waterproofing depends on the age of the concrete. In almost every instance, it's best to apply sealer shortly after installation. While you can do it later down the road, you’ll have better results if you act sooner. With this in mind, you need to have a plan in place before you have a new surface installed.

A concrete professional can give you suggestions and help you take steps to protect your surface and any surrounding areas. When it comes to waterproofing concrete, you’ll save money and avoid potential problems by hiring a professional to waterproof the surface so it stands the test of time.

When choosing a contractor to seal your concrete surface, it’s important to select a reputable company with a strong reputation in the local community. Founded in 1989, Enright has a long history of being the most reliable concrete and asphalt contractor in the Denver area. Contact our courteous experts to learn how we can strengthen and protect your concrete surfaces.

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