Protect Your Concrete With an Exterior Concrete Sealer
Aggregate concrete is the backbone of modern concrete construction projects, providing both a strong foundation and long-lasting durability. Unfortunately, concrete exposed aggregate isn’t all that beautiful. Typically, it’ll look blotchy and with contrasting striped bands (or “strips”) of light and dark patches. Compounding that problem, most professional concrete contractors don’t particularly adept at applying paint, which is one of the reasons exposed aggregate concrete cost is so high around pool decks.
One of the first steps to repairing exposed aggregate concrete around a pool is to stop the bleeding. One popular option is applying a high-quality sealer to the pool surface. If the pool’s drainage system is causing the problem, don’t just apply a coat of sealer – check to make sure the problem is with the drain pipes because those can also be clogged with exposed aggregate concrete. Using sealant is a good first step toward making exposed aggregate concrete look better. And if you’re just doing a minor patch job, you can apply just a layer, leaving the remaining exposed aggregate to dry overnight, then wipe away with a wet mop or a soft sponge.
For more exposed aggregate concrete repair around your swimming pool, you’ll likely need to apply more than just a coat of sealer, because the exposed aggregate is also prone to staining from pool water, especially during the hot summer months. As you might expect, a large pool will require a lot of exposed aggregate for repairs. In that case, you might want to consider repainting the pool just to get a fresh start. There are several good choices, from highly decorative concrete borders to interlocking pavers or smooth texture flooring.
You may not need a decorative concrete sealer for an in-ground pool, because the concrete itself can be stamped, stencilled or painted to give it an attractive look. However, there are times when sealers are needed, particularly in climates with high levels of acid in the soil. In those cases, applying a protective coating of the sealer is especially important to protect the concrete and its finish. In these cases, an acrylic or rubberized concrete sealer is preferred over a sealer made from a natural material like stone. The major difference is that one of these sealers is highly flexible, allowing it to conform to almost any surface – including curved surfaces like stairs or walls. It is less likely to damage concrete if applied at the right temperature, which is important when using it for decorative concrete features like stairs.
Certain types of sealers also have antimicrobial properties that can help prevent the growth of bacteria, mould or mildew. Acrylic-based sealers work well around pools and are especially recommended for bathrooms and kitchens. If you’re having problems with mould, use this type of sealer for exposed aggregate concrete features that are placed outside, since it will not add to the visual appeal of the area. In the kitchen, it may be particularly important to apply an anti-microbial sealant for areas that are exposed to moisture regularly, since mould can make foods taste bitter.
Some sealers have been designed to resist stains and scratch damage, but this may depend upon the ingredients of the concrete sealer that you choose. Stone-based sealers may be particularly good at resisting damage from liquids, while acrylic-based sealers may be less effective. When applying the sealant, work from the outside inwards, and apply with even strokes. Wipe up excess residue with a rag.
Exterior Concrete Sealers
Exterior concrete sealers come in two different forms – penetrating and non-penetrating. Penetrating sealers penetrate deeply into the concrete to cover exposed aggregate concrete and other exposed surfaces, preventing future corrosion. A non-penetrating sealer works by preventing corrosion by forming a protective barrier over the concrete. Some penetrating concrete sealers also contain ultraviolet inhibitors that help protect exposed aggregate concrete, stone and cement surface from sun damage. If you have exposed aggregate concrete or other parts of your construction that constantly get wet or greasy, you should consider a penetrating sealer to help preserve the appearance of the concrete and prevent further corrosion.
Installing a concrete sealer is fairly straightforward. If you’re having problems with your concrete or you want to know more about the various types of sealers available to protect your concrete, contact a reputable company in your area that offers sealers for all types of concrete and exposed aggregate concrete. With a little help and research, you can find a sealer that will protect your concrete and keep your project’s budget under control.